Supporting Victims of the Camp Fire

Supporting Victims of the Camp Fire

Butte County where I live is currently experiencing one of California’s worst fires. My friends and colleagues have lost their homes, and my heart is heavy for the loss our community is suffering. Please consider donating to help victims of the fire, or reaching out to me to find out more ways you can lend support.

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Trust Yourself


Trust your instincts.

Believe in your strength. Look how far it has brought you.

You can be happy on your own, without asking anyone else for their approval.

You're capable, and the universe has offered you this moment to shine.

And if you get to the end of the day and realize you haven't even been aware of your instincts, or noticed your strength, give yourself permission to shake that off and start over again.

Photo by Ken Johnson of CKCImage.com.

Movement


Maybe you're tired, or feeling defeated, and you'd rather sit on the couch than roll out your yoga mat.

I encourage you to try a little movement, despite the discomfort.


Five minutes. Maybe ten. Set yourself a small enough goal that it's really hard to make an excuse not to move.

Take a walk around the block. Do ten pushups and ten situps in your living room. Three sun salutations.

Do only the yoga poses that feel good, the ones your body is calling out for, and for now, skip the rest. Release any feeling of guilt, any notion of, 'I could do better,' or, 'I'm not good enough.'


It may not feel fun to get started, but I'd guess that afterwards you feel grateful you made time for keeping your vital energy moving.

Find a little movement that works for you in your day. See how you feel.

Namaste.

Photos in this post by Ken Johnson of CKCImage.com (1), Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography (2) and Justin Kral of Kral Studios (3).

PS, as a side note, this post is as much for me as it is for you... so please remember, you're not alone on the days when you might struggle to make time for movement. And if you happen to be having a sh*tty day, this is another great post to check out.

Badass Yoga Teachers: Online Resources You Don't Want to Miss


Happy Monday, yogis!

So far in the Badass Yoga Teachers series, we've talked about some great topics:
The more I write this series, the more I've realized: there are endless topics for yoga teachers to explore!

Today, I'd like to refer you to a wonderful list of websites that I've used for support in my professional and personal development.

Whether you're new or experienced, feeling eager or feeling stuck, these sites have some incredible wisdom to offer. Happy reading!

Websites Every Yoga Teacher Should Check Out





  • I love Allie's heartfelt writing. Her site is a wonderful resource for finding creative sequences to incorporate into your own home practice. I appreciate that she offers short yoga routines, and as a teacher sometimes a 10-minute or 30-minute video is the perfect pick-me-up for during your busy day!
  • She's also got a great post on how to create a blog, if you're a teacher hoping to share your story more.

What are your favorite websites for yoga teacher resources? I'd love to hear! XO

Your Yoga Practice


Consider for a moment that every move you make today will count as your yoga practice.

Each word you speak. Each breath, the fullness with which you breathe.

Let your poses, like your life, be an offering.


Consider the way you move through your day.

Can you leave more evidence of love?

Can you spread kindness in subtle ways, even when your first reaction isn't compassion?


Go within. Do your meditation.

Share your practice.

Namaste.

Badass Yoga Teachers: Things to Consider Before Accepting a Teaching Gig


Next up in the Badass Yoga Teachers series, a post on what to do once you've completed your yoga teacher training and you're starting to look for teaching gigs.

What do you need to look for in a studio? How will you know if it's a good fit?

While at first you may want to say 'yes' to every teaching opportunity that comes along, I believe it's important to find a balance between accepting offers to gain experience and accepting offers that will create long-term growth in your teaching career.


Here are 5 things to consider before accepting your next yoga teaching gig.

1. What's the vibe of the yoga studio, and how does it align with my teaching style? 

Consider practicing at a studio before teaching there (sometimes this is required; the owner and current teachers want to get to know you a little bit before they bring you on board to teach). Whenever you're in the space, notice: how do you feel? What sorts of conversations do you have? 

What energy do the people at the yoga studio bring to the space? Do you feel comfortable and at ease? 

See if you can step back and sense the bigger picture of what's going on with the space. What changes are happening? Is there drama? If you're familiar with someone already on the team, consider having coffee or lunch to chat about what it's like working at that studio. 

How will your unique voice fit in to the mix? Does the studio seem to be wanting a class that's in the style you teach, or would there be an expectation that you'll shift your style toward whatever is consistent in the space?

Taking notes and doing some free writing around these topics can often bring clarity. Consider finishing these sentences:

I see myself teaching here and feeling...
My goal for teaching here would be to...
This studio needs me because...


2. What leadership style does the studio owner have, and what is his or her vision for the studio? 

Studio owners have a big impact on the way a yoga studio runs. Notice if the owner of the space where you are thinking about teaching is present or distant. Does he or she hold regular meetings with staff? One-on-one meetings for feedback on classes?

What's going on in this studio owner's personal life and professional life? What goals does he or she have for the studio? How would you fit into the mix?

Does this studio hire teachers as independent contractors or as employees?

If possible, you may want to ask other teachers about their experience working for this studio owner. Have they had any issues or seen any problems arise with staff? How does the studio owner keep the teachers motivated and supported? What sort of a work environment do they create?

Keep in mind that some of these things may be a little uncomfortable to consider, but they will give you great perspective on whether or not this teaching gig is a good fit. Also keep in mind you're totally allowed and encouraged to ask questions such as:

  • How often will I get paid? 
  • Has payment to teachers ever been late?
  • How much will I get paid? Is my rate of pay based on class attendance, or is it a flat rate?
  • Am I expected to practice a certain number of times per week at the studio?
  • Will I be paid for time spent in staff meetings?
  • What are the expectations of me as a teacher with regards to arriving at the space before class, cleaning up after class, recording my time, and submitting my hours for payroll?
  • What tax documents, contracts, HR agreements, etc will I need to sign before I'm hired?
  • What is the procedure for schedule changes at this studio? If a class I'm teaching is going to change on the schedule, or be removed from it, how soon will I be notified before this change takes place?
  • How will my performance as a staff member and as a teacher be measured? Is there an expectation on how many students will be attending my classes?
  • Is there opportunity for me to grow the number of classes I'm teaching, or offer additional workshops as time goes along, or is this opportunity limited to the class(es) you're offering now?
These are tough questions but will definitely give you a realistic sense of the practicalities of teaching at a studio!!



3. Does the rate of pay align with my needs?

Teaching yoga doesn't always pay well. Before you say 'yes' to a class, consider if the rate of pay meets your needs. How much will you need to spend on gas to get to the studio? How much time will you need to spend at the studio before and after class, and when you do the math, how does that factor in with your rate of pay? 

Will there be opportunities to teach back-to-back classes? Workshops? Do teachers ever get wage increases?

Another note on pay: if you are accepting a gig that is unpaid, will you do me a favor? Please please please set some specific, clear goals about what you want to get out of your unpaid teaching gig. Write them down! Talk to a friend about them! Be accountable for meeting these goals. Whether you're looking to offer something to your community or to gain personal experience that will prepare you for future teaching gigs, be sure you're clear on why you're teaching for free. Because teachers are willing to teach for free, this impacts the economy of the yoga market, and can make it harder for 'full-time' teachers to secure wages that equate to enough income to survive. I totally understand that sometimes we must take unpaid opportunities as we launch into teaching yoga, but be sure to consider what you're worth. Your teaching is valuable! People are willing to pay for it. Don't sell yourself short ;)

PS Also check out this awesome excerpt from a book by Amy Ippoliti about money and teaching yoga.

4. If I accept the opportunity to teach this new class, or new classes, how will this impact my schedule?

One wonderful thing about being a full-time teacher is that you have freedom to create the schedule you want. The tricky part about this is that depending on the yoga market you're in, you may find yourself with a somewhat chaotic schedule if you're driving all over town to teach in different spaces throughout the day!

A couple ideas to consider with regards to schedule:

  • How many classes per day is your 'sweet spot?' For some teachers, 1 or 2 classes is perfect; others can handle more like 3 or 4. You may have to use some trial and error to discover how many classes a day you can teach without feeling too exhausted.
  • Similarly, it may take a little while to figure out how many classes per week is your sweet spot.
  • Take days off! If possible, get two days in a row off! Protect these days and schedule yourself some much-needed R&R when you're not teaching.
  • Before saying 'yes' to a new teaching gig, consider: will I be rushing to get to the studio in time to teach this class?
  • Discover what times of day you want to teach, and then say 'no' to the opportunities that fall outside of that schedule. When I first started teaching, I accepted gigs for 6am classes and 7pm classes. Over time I realized it was not a good fit for me to have to get up super early (I'd get anxious the night before, and have trouble sleeping). I also realized it wasn't ideal to teach later than 5:30 or 6, especially on days when I'd already taught a morning class, because I'd be exhausted and hungry by the time I got home, and it would take a few hours to wind down before bed.
  • Watch out for the 'split shift' schedule. If you teach an early morning class and a late evening class, consider what you'll be doing in the middle of your day. Driving back and forth from home can be exhausting. Consider stacking classes differently, or bringing your laptop and working from a coffee shop in between classes. Taking a nap or doing yoga outside at a nearby park during your break can always be fun too :)
  • SUBS! Get clear on what the protocol is for getting a substitute teacher when you're out of town or sick. How hard will it be for you to get a sub for this new class? Can the other teachers usually accommodate a last minute sub request, or will you need quite a bit of advance notice to get your classes covered? Getting subs can be a real headache, so be as prepared as you can by knowing who is available to teach during your time slots. Trades can also be a really nice way to support the other teachers at your studio. Get to know the teachers who teach right before you or right after you. Take their classes so you have a sense of their teaching style and the ability of their students. Then, if they need coverage, you can easily step in and help out!


5. What are students saying about the community?

What are students looking for? What's missing? Does this community seem like it's growing and changing, staying static, or is the energy and enthusiasm in the space dwindling? Do you feel connected to the students? 

Give yourself permission to be real with your students. Be open and honest with them from the start, and willing to be vulnerable as you move forward.

6. (BONUS question to consider!) What does my gut instinct tell me about teaching here?

If you're getting any sense of why you shouldn't teach in a yoga studio where you have an opportunity to, explore that hunch. What feels off? Who can you talk to about this? Clear up any doubt or negativity before you teach there, so that you bring clarity and excitement when you start. Alternatively, if you discover that this teaching opportunity is not the right one for you, give yourself permission to say 'no.' Be kind and honest with the studio owner or hiring manager about your decision (you're allowed to keep your personal life personal, but be real with them) and keep the communication lines open and positive; you never know how things may change down the road.

Trust yourself!

Was this post helpful? I hope it offers you some insight into making an informed decision before you decide to add a class to your schedule. I'd also love to hear your feedback on this post or any others in the Badass Yoga Teachers series! You can always email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com.

Namaste.

PS Some other posts for yoga teachers:
Sharing space with your students.
Tips on what to track when you're going to be filing taxes as an independent contractor.
5 books that will bring your teaching to a new level.

Illustration made using Canva. Photos in this post by Lucid Reflections (2, 3), Brett Miller (4), Respiro Photography (5, 7) and Felipe Silva of Uprise Collective (6).

Badass Yoga Teachers: Holding Space for Your Students


For my next post in the Badass Yoga Teachers series here on Alive in the Fire, I wanted to share a little 'secret' that helped transform my experience of teaching...

About two years after my yoga teacher training, I had a full schedule of classes (8-12 per week) and was teaching Vinyasa yoga at five studios in the Sacramento area. I was hosting free community kirtans and offering a workshop every few months. My group of 'regulars' at each of my classes was starting to grow and I often heard positive feedback from them that they enjoyed taking my class.

And yet, I felt overwhelmed and burned out. I was tired of driving across town twice or three times a day. I wasn't sure if I could handle another conversation with a student about personal struggles. The thought of being at the front of the room to demo a pose made me want to take child's pose and just rest.

I had built up to this moment for so long... becoming a 'full-time' yoga teacher was my dream! And yet I felt exhausted, and a little voice in my head kept asking, When will it be my turn to have space held for me, instead of me being the one to hold everyone up? When can I find a teacher who will lead and inspire me? 

Around this time, I put a post on my blog about feeling stressed and immediately I heard back from a dear friend who is also a yoga teacher.

He offered me a piece of advice that has truly stuck with me:

What if, instead of holding space for your students, you focus on sharing space?

This was exactly the shift in perspective that I needed.

I began to notice the ways that my students were holding space for me as much as I was holding space for them. The more open with them I could be about my experience, the more support and love I received in return.

I also made a habit of receiving the energy of the room, especially toward the end of class.

There is something very sacred about people practicing yoga together, and I tend to notice it most when class is winding down; students are in restful yin poses, usually on the ground, or they are perfectly still in Shavasana. Supta Baddha Konasana and supine spinal twists are also poses where I notice the presence of deeply healing energy.

As a teacher, you can sit on the floor right in the middle of your students, and be with them in these moments. Feel how nourishing it is to share space, and how you receive the peacefulness of yoga even if you are leading a class rather than participating in it pose by pose.

By sharing space with your students, you gain the ability to hold space for yourself as a teacher. Next time you walk in the studio door to teach, perhaps you'll be able to notice what space is being held for you.

Namaste.


PS: More great articles on how to hold space as a yoga teacher:

The Badass Yoga Teachers series here on Alive in the Fire is meant to:
  • inspire you with new ideas
  • support you on days when you feel exhausted or worn down from teaching
  • ignite your passion
  • offer useful, tangible resources to help you create a successful yoga business
  • connect you with a network of amazing, talented, experienced yoga teachers
  • provide safe space for you to learn, share, and grow in your career
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this series! If you have ideas for posts, or want to share your journey as a teacher, please email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com.

Badass Yoga Teachers: A New Series on Alive in the Fire Dedicated to Yoga Entrepreneurs


Calling all badass yoga teachers!

Welcome to a new series on Alive in the Fire dedicated to your growth as a yoga entrepreneur.

Whether you're fresh out of your 200 hour yoga teacher training, you've been teaching for a couple years and want to kickstart your growth, or you're experiencing burnout as an established yoga teacher, this series is for you!


The Badass Yoga Teachers series here on Alive in the Fire is meant to:

  • inspire you with new ideas
  • support you on days when you feel exhausted or worn down from teaching
  • ignite your passion
  • offer useful, tangible resources to help you create a successful yoga business
  • connect you with a network of amazing, talented, experienced yoga teachers
  • provide safe space for you to learn, share, and grow in your career

Are you in? :)


One thing I've learned in my experience as a yoga teacher is that it's not easy. Teaching yoga is hard work, especially when you're putting your heart and soul into your classes.

There is a certain hustle to the lifestyle of a modern yoga teacher: you're constantly on the lookout for new teaching opportunities, you're busy running from studio to studio, at times you may question your motivation for teaching or wonder if you're making a difference or doing enough for your students.

You may experience drama, frustration, fear, or confusion. 

You'll also have days where you feel confident, encouraged, inspired, and connected.


I believe that yoga teachers are needed in our world, and I'm so grateful for the many teachers I've had that have inspired my path.

First and foremost, I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all you amazing yoga teachers out there for doing what you do. I hope that this series is helpful to you, and I'd love to hear your input and feedback along the way.

Let's cultivate a community of thoughtful, respectful, encouraging, badass yoga teachers!


If you're interested in being a part of Badass Yoga Teachers on Alive in the Fire, please feel free to contact me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com! I'd love to hear your ideas for blog posts, or hear your story about your yoga teaching career.

Stay tuned for post #1 in the series: Books for Yoga Teachers That You May Have Missed in Your YTT.

Namaste, friends.


Graphic illustration created using Canva. Photos in this post courtesy of friends and by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography (5).

Yoga is a Practice


Here are a few things that I know, in this moment.

Yoga is a practice.

And my practice is in a constant state of flux, just like me.

Postures will come and go.

Inversions? Fancy transitions? They do not define me.

Today I practiced yoga for the first time in a week, and my body felt stiff and tight. My joints ached. I tried for binds in Goddess pose and Extended Side Angle, and felt as though I was in a different body than my own.

I felt uncomfortable. I kept going. And, in Shavasana, I felt relieved and a little proud of myself for sticking through the discomfort.



I've heard other teachers and students talk about 'taking a break' from their practice. It has been years since I've done that with mine, but in the last few months there have been moments when I'd rather do anything than yoga.

I know I've spent a lot of time comparing myself to other yogis, teachers and students, deciding who has a 'stronger' practice, who knows more, who is capable, who is worthy.

I'd love to let all of that go.

I journaled about it today, actually. How I'm tired of letting my practice define me, rather than support me.

I don't live to do yoga; I do yoga in order to live a more balanced, happy, peaceful life.

Let that be my mantra. Let the comparisons and judgments fall away.

I want to be remembered as a yogi who loved wholeheartedly.

I want to be remembered as someone who cared, who took care of herself with grace and kindness, and who refused to let fear get the best of her. If handstand is in that picture, OK. If not, OK.

How do you practice ahimsa in your yoga routine? How do you let go of a fear of failure, of not being good enough?

Namaste, loves.