Today, April 16, was my personal yoga teacher anniversary. Oh my god! How fast time passed by and how many experiences had come with it. Fact is, that this first year hasn’t been like I expected. I haven’t completed everything on my to-do list. And sometimes I’ve felt like loosing the direction. But do you know what? It was fucking great. 12 months of learning, teaching classes, launching my blog and much more I hadn’t even planned. I am happy and thankful. And yes man, I am confident to say: I rocked my first year!
Teacher Insights: sharing 12 months of learning in 5 stories
Today’s post I dedicate especially to upcoming yoga teachers as a very intimate insight of my first year. After my time in India I started this new period in life. Bye bye comfortable student life. It was getting serious: I had to figure our how to create the lifestyle I want. I am not an employee type of person. A 9-5 job with a secure salary is not my idea of an exciting life. I want to realize my full potential. So one year ago I took the first steps into a self determined and independent life. It should be a locally independent lifestyle, living digital nomadism but working with yoga and its healing power.
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Being autonomous is not a kindergarten. There were up’s and down’s. Self doubts and existential fear. But at the end there’s always one thing that helped me to reconnect: Yoga and Love. To live from what you love, and earn your monthly income is not easy. There are moments of connection and disconnection, happiness and gratitude and this moment of asking yourself: Why do I do that shit. Maybe a 9-5 Job with a good salary isn’t that bad. You can go to work, do your job, go home and relax. Instead being self employed means to do everything by your own. What time to work? Where? What? No one is telling you what to do or giving you some tasks for today. It’s all up to me. But for me it’s worth it. It’s worth every minute of struggling, of challenging the paper work, of learning new skills, of getting upset. Because nothing else then doing what comes from my inside gives me that moment of bliss and gratitude, when a student after class comes to me, says thank you and gives me such a long hug, that I wonder if she/he will release the arms again. No money of the world can replace the moment when a student surrenders in healing tears and afterwards appears renewed and lighter. So to all the yoga teachers outside. Don’t give up. Trust yourself. Do your own practice and stick to the old wisdom. Everything else will come.
I just gave an interview about the gift of teaching yoga and the girl told me at the end: “what comes from the heart goes to the heart”
From heart are also coming the 5 following stories, talking about the different periods of my first year as a yoga teacher, starting with the time after my TTC and finishing with future plans.
Enjoy reading and let me know in the comments if you can connect or have had similar experiences.
1 The time after my TTC or how to fit into old life again
June/ July 2016:
When you recently come back from India, there’s still this whisper of temple chanting in your ears, the taste of spicy food and masala chai on your tongue and the picture of people doing their spiritual practice at 6 am at the beach. Who could not be in peace with itself in such an inspiring environment. Everyday I’ve done my meditation next to a peaceful ocean, spend almost 90% of my time awake outside at fresh air, and I hadn’t used a spoon for 6 weeks. For breakfast I had a fresh coconut and for dinner a fantastic veg thali.
This was over now. I was back in Spain, the capitalist and industrial world. I had to get used to fork and knife again and instead of cows and sand I saw cement and cars in the streets. Matching my return (my god it seems like the industry just waited for me to come back) supermarkets started to sell coconut water or even fresh coconuts. What happened to this world that you can buy a “freshly fallen” coconut with a straw?!? Imported from Costa Rica. That’s insane.
So after my holy life in India I needed to figure out whats next. How to start my classes and how to schedule my new self employed life as a freelancer.
Bad luck that just in summer Seville seems a desert. No one stays during this unbearable heat. And I wouldn’t do it either. I was looking for yoga teacher volunteers, internships or work exchanges close to Seville (my boyfriend didn’t like the idea of a new adventure of mine after not having seen me during the last 10 weeks abroad, so I tried to keep the damage to a minimum). Yoga and Surf in Portugal, Luxury Yoga Retreat in Morocco. Sounds not too bad and is close, but was it what I needed to do? Do I want to “practice” more or simply start?
Finally it was boyfriend pushing me to do my first own class instead of figuring out how to gain more experience (no matter if he said it to made me stay or simply to help). He kept telling me: “You have everything you need already. Trust yourself. Just start.”
First tip: After your time abroad take a a break to re-adapt and get your stuff together. There’s no rush.
2 How to start as a yoga teacher: my first steps
When you have finished your training and got your certification the next inescapable step is: to start. And this is a big step. Do you know that feeling of “I want to start, but I don’t know if I am ready?” or “My classmates are already teaching their first class, and I am still dreaming?” That was more or less, what happened to me. Somehow I knew I will be a good teacher, but there was this small feeling, that holds us back from doing: fear.
August ’16: first class – 4 students and for free
Well one day, I just I pulled myself together and created my first yoga event on Facebook: Yoga in Green. I knew once I settled day and time I will actually do instead of just plan. There is no perfect moment to start. It’s always possible to prepare more, to learn more, to practice more. But the more time passes the harder it will be to begin.
So I followed the words of my partner and just started. And my first class was not a big “éxito”. It was humble. It was me and four students (which is very good considering that it’s AUGUST!) While instructing my first sun salutation in Spanish I wondered if the word I just used for saying “forward” was correct, or actually meant “in front of”? And at the end of the class, talking about non judgmental attitude and acceptance, I realized that it was exactly that, what I was doing: judging myself. My second (and third, fourth,…) class was different. I didn’t plan, I didn’t prepare a sequence, I just went to the park teaching from heart and giving what came out of me, what came out of my deepest Self. Practicing myself in trusting.
3 September ’16: It’s getting serious
Blog Launch and regular Yoga classes
So after my first free classes in the park, I pretty much liked it. I decided to build up regular classes. But how and where? Should I apply in a yoga studio or just run my own classes? Choosing the second, the next questions are: how to find students? What about promotion? Where do I teach my classes? In which language will I teach?
I decided to teach in english, focused on the international students in Seville and found an amazing space right in the city centre. I didn’t want to feel financial pressure starting with my classes. So I continued the very well paid german private lessons. Just to make sure my teachings won’t mix up with existential questions (which later happened anyways). The space I got was part of an exchange of services: I helped the culture house in terms of marketing and communication and they left me their facilities for free. Everything looked like a good plan and I started advertising my classes in social media platforms and at the universities. On a Sunday I offered a free trial: class was full. October 2016 I started with 4 classes per week and 8 students (increasing numbers every month).
Curious what my students say about classes? Read here!
Say hello to yoga-can-do.com
After months of preparation, testing different WordPress themes, finally deciding myself to spend the 60$ to buy one, and creating the first content, I published my Blog yoga-can-do.com September 29. And it happened a bit like my first class. It was now or never. I was re-editing for so long, checking what’s still missing, trying to make everything perfect. But do you know what? Who cares. It’s better to launch something than nothing. (I know this is not what my Blog Camp mentors pray, but for me it worked.) And finally I started my page with 7 articles and a introducing welcome post.
4 Six Months of teaching and blogging – Six months of learning
After my blog launch and course beginning followed 6 months of teaching, writing, creating, and changing. But the most important thing I learned: It’s always a journey to your Self. I started my classes with a clear idea of who I am and how I want to teach. But the following months taught me better: I discovered parts of myself I haven’t known before, with every class I got more confident and secure in how I teach. And simply by doing my personal, very individual yoga style gets clearer and clearer. Many students ask me what style do you teach? I always tell them the same: Mine. It’s never the same but it’s always me. This first time teaching taught me the more you are connected and teach from your heart, the realer it is and your students will feel it. Authenticity and coherency are what leads you to be happy with what you do.
There were many challenging moments during my first year (first steps into self employment, finding a new yoga space in 4 days, balance work and my own yoga practice…) but it was worth every moment. What I would like to tell you after all: Do what you love, but be conscious that nothing is effortless. You need discipline, stamina, a strong will and highly believe in what you do.
5 March ’16: Happy anniversary “Trust yourself and just do what feels right!”
In one year I taught in different environments: regular classes, workshops, I changed studio, I set up my own classes and I am everyday closer to the lifestyle I dream of: self responsible and locally independent.
I have set up my own little business with yoga-can-do.com
And inquiries for interviews and my readers are getting more and more. I set up new workshop series and build a little team of guest writers and co-authors on the blog.
I reduced my german classes (which are well paid and had allowed me to live without money problems) to a minimum and I am very optimistic to leave them completely at the end of the season.
My personal gift to myself for this year: I will go to Bali for a month to do yoga, write and research for the upcoming Bali Guide for Yoga lovers.
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My first year in numbers
You ask yourself how? You have a project to realize? Let me know in the comments or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to know you and share experiences.