Friday, June 19, 2015

My Yoga Life

It has been six weeks since I left my corporate job to start a new life. When I walked out the door on that sunny Friday afternoon and looked out at the city scape from the large glass elevator, I promised myself that I would never look back. And I haven't.

I also told myself that I wanted to forget everything I know about the healthcare industry. And although all of that knowledge surely resides somewhere in my brain, it has definitely moved into the archives. Hopefully it will continue to fade from lack of use.

My new life revolves around yoga. I spent most of the month of May completing my yoga teacher training and preparing for my final exams. And now I am exploring options for teaching yoga and working at yoga studios until I figure out what to do next. Right now, I work at the reception desk at one studio on Sunday mornings in exchange for free yoga. And I was offered to teach my own class at another studio on Monday mornings.

I absolutely love working at the studio. Every Sunday morning, I get up early and put my hair up in a ponytail and drive 25 minutes just to open up the studio. It is dark and quiet when I arrive. Slowly, I turn on the various floor lamps and open up the yoga room. I try to make sure it is a friendly and hospitable environment for the students.

There is something magical about a yoga studio. It is a sacred space where people connect with their inner world. It is a place where physical, mental and spiritual transformation happens.

Then the students start to arrive. I greet them and register them in the computer and send them into class with a smile and a peaceful nod. When I am working at the yoga studio, I am balanced and centered. It feels completely authentic to me.

Teaching yoga is a little different than working the reception desk. It takes a lot more preparation to teach a class. Usually I am nervous going into it, but once I get started my yoga voice takes over and I am able to guide the students through their practice. I hope that the more I teach yoga, I will feel less nervous and more confident. My teacher tells me that it will come with time and experience.

All of this exploration has been enlightening and yet there is part of me that wonders where it can really go. My favorite part of my yoga life is working the reception desk, which is not even a paid position. And the average yoga teaching job at a studio makes between $25 and $35 per class.

Of course, it is not all about the money. In fact, I would prefer that money never even entered into the equation. The challenge is that if I want to teach yoga for a living, I will need to make at least enough money to pay my bills.

Everyone says that yoga is a multi-billion industry, but the money is not going to the studios or the yoga teachers. It is going to the companies who are making the yoga mats and yoga clothes. They focus on selling the image of yoga, instead of the actual yoga classes.

I was thinking the other day that each person probably spends anywhere from $75 to $150 on the yoga outfit they wear to class and other related supplies. If there are 10 students in class, there could be up to $1500 spent on the clothes and equipment. And yet the teacher, the person who provides the actual yoga experience that people are seeking, makes less than the cost of one pair of yoga pants.

The other thing I have noticed about my yoga life is that things tend to evolve more slowly. I have been following up on referrals from various people and meeting with these amazing women who either own a yoga studio or have some other related business. One woman I met with is a yoga broker. She contracts with the clients and she recruits the teachers. Then she connects them together and handles the class scheduling and payment on both sides. It seems like a great business model that works for everyone.

Whenever I go into one of these yoga meetings, it has a very similar vibe. We meet and talk to each other about our backgrounds and motivations. In many cases, the yoga business owner is similar to me in that we have both left a corporate job seeking something more fulfilling through yoga. We share our thoughts on the yoga world and how things are evolving. And we identify possible ways that we might be able to work together.

In the corporate world, a meeting like that would be followed by an e-mail with meeting notes and action items to move forward with all of the great ideas. In my old job, you could come up with an idea (even a bad idea) and if it gained momentum then the company would just force it into being through sheer will and determination.

Things are very different in the yoga world. We all believe that there is a force greater than us that guides and directs the course of our lives. So even when we come up with great ideas, the next steps are usually to consider our options and wait for the right opportunity to present itself.

In my last meeting with my yoga teacher who also owns a studio, she and I talked about four different ways to work together. I told her that I would go home and do some thinking about it and her response was "Don't think too hard. It should be organic. Whatever we do together, it should just feel natural to both of us."

I can't ever remember someone in the corporate world asking how I felt about my projects or whether my heart was guiding me toward the right solution to our business needs. The only instructions I ever received were to fix it and find a way to get it done. Fast. If there were barriers, we were supposed to just knock them down or escalate.

I have to admit there is still a part of me that wants to try and do something (anything) to move things forward and make this work. In my corporate life, there was always a clear next step. Of course, it was not necessarily in a direction that I wanted to go! In my yoga life, I find that even if I wanted to do something, most of the things that need to happen are not really within my power to change.

It might take awhile for me to adjust to this new yoga life. It is very different to listen to my inner voice and place my trust in a mysterious force that somehow will know more than I do about the course that my life should take.

While I might feel uncomfortable for awhile, I keep reminding myself that during the 20 years I worked in the health care industry I never found the contentment and peace of mind that I have experienced working the reception desk at a yoga studio for three short weeks.

I must be on the right path. I just need to be patient and wait for the universe to reveal the next step.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article to read
How An NFL Linebacker Became A Renowned Yoga Teacher

Anonymous said...

In the words of Anaïs Nin:

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

If that day has come, welcome it and enjoy the ride!

Pam Coultis said...

Refreshing read -