What I learned from saying goodbye to being a full-time yoga teacher

It’s literally been forever since I’ve written here and when before I used my blog as a tool for sharing information and attracting abundance – I use it now as a space to decompress and know myself again.

Thinking about it now, I’m pretty sure a big part of why I’ve put this blog and my writing to the side is because I feel like it was part of a life that is so different from what I’m living now.

When before I was a full-time teacher, now I teach 3 classes a week – at most 5 to 6. I’m lucky enough to say that those classes are part of a full-time 40-hour job at a nonprofit called the Kaimuki YMCA, where most of my day I’m writing, creating, brainstorming, and serving the staff who work there as their go-to marketing and media person.

When before I was living with my parents and had a little bit of luxury when it came to disposable income and not having to cook or clean or even do my laundry, now I pay the rent, use a fraction of my time making my house a home and spend a good part of an afternoon or an evening making sure I have food to eat.

When before I could do yoga 5 times a week plus go to meditations and be a student, now I practice at most 3 times a week and spend my other time working, enjoying myself in nature, and being in the company of a loving partner.

In some ways, this new life may seem unsavory and filled with personal obligations and adulating, I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy 🙂

That’s not to say that I don’t miss teaching full-time, because I truly do. Being my own boss, being a full-time yogi, having the freedom to dictate where and when I work, being able to share and impact people first-hand – it’s pretty self-explanatory why I would miss it.

But… in the time that I haven’t, I’ve learned a lot.


The hardest part of the yoga practice is our practice off-the-mat…

As much as the physical practice can be testing for us, I’ve got to say – the off-the-mat practice triples the challenge.

To maintain equanimity, kindness, faith, self-discipline, honesty, and self-love… in the face of trying to making financially in a completely foreign place, literally finding a space you can call a home, going through heartbreak, and not being sure that you’re strong enough… well, it’s tough.

The experience has been humbling and it definitely threw me off the idea that I had gotten somewhere in my practice. At times it felt like I was back to zero – to the point where when introducing myself I’d feel reluctant to share anything about my practice or my teaching background, because I felt like I had lost it completely.

I still can’t do a handstand and a big part of me doesn’t really care, because that hasn’t been the challenge presented to me in my practice. Instead, what’s confronted me is living the practice.

But the time we invest on our mats, with asana, studying and sitting, really does pay off. And despite a lapse in practice, if you remain committed to coming back to your mat again and again, it will carry you through. Your yoga practice will not forsake you.

The bright spot is, I made it! 🙂

Despite not practicing as often as I did, and losing physical strength – the time I had previously invested in my asana practice, doing my best to meditate, and studying spiritual books that I was drawn to all paid of tenfold.

As all of us have heard it said, you get back much more than what you put into your practice. It’s true and it’s a really encouraging thought – one that motivates me to keep on going and to be proud of my faith, my devotion to a higher power, and my willingness to surrender to the flow of life.

As someone who works a full-time job, I hear everyone loud and clear when we all say, it’s hard to get on the mat. And sometimes, we’re just in a phase of life where our asana practice is far from us – it happens. But if we somehow keep that commitment in our minds to come back, and claim that we are, will be, and continue to be the yogis we know we can be – the practice and its gifts will always be available to us.

How do I know? Because, I realize I could be writing a completely different post with pain, anger, and shame – but instead I’m here talking about what I’ve learned. And I’m grateful.

There’s more to life than yoga. There’s more ways to serve than to teach. There’s more to life than what you do for work.

There is just so much more out there y’all.

Perhaps this is one that y’all already knew but back when I was teaching full-time, I didn’t.

I taught yoga, I did yoga, I wrote about yoga aaaand I wondered why I didn’t have a boyfriend

This hit me like a small brick when I got to Hawaii – where everyone is so in-touch with nature and seek to enjoy it, where everyone knows that there’s way more to life than what you do for a living. I had no hobbies! Haha!

And more importantly, I realized I was waaaay toooooo attached to my identity as a yogi and yoga teacher. “I’M A YOGA TEACHER!” I couldn’t have said it loud enough.

I’m thankful to Hawaii for gently releasing me from my ego and my self-identification
for teaching me that the identity is fluid but the equanimity we can achieve is not
for showing me that work and my practice, though integral and important, is just a part of a bigger whole

The whole includes relationships, passions, and a much, much deeper appreciation of yoga as a companion to life – all of which I’m happy to say I’ve gained in the act of letting go of my whole “I’M A YOGA TEACHER” thing.

What a gift.

 

There’s much more that I’ve learned but I’m going to take it slow, stepping back into a space of claiming my voice and knowing that what I have to share is important and needed.
Aloha and mahalo.

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