I don’t want to just be a “yoga” teacher…

Hannah the yoga teacher?

I’ve been reflecting a lot recently on my career teaching yoga- and realise maybe it’s a career that won’t last forever. (perhaps it will, I’ll stay as long as the students wish to be taught by me) But what was it that sparked an interest for me in the beginning? Was it the yoga itself? Honestly- probably not. Was it the chance to be a teacher and pass on knowledge and inspire others and provide a “if I can do it, so can you” space to motivate individuals? More so yes.

My passion for teaching yoga is more aligned with where the “teaching” takes place.  More so than the “yoga” itself. I love yoga yes, but what I enjoy is transferring the tools and tips I have learned onto others which can help enrich their lives. Where it’s by movement on or off their mat, sharing knowledge whether it’s physical, mental or experience I have gained. The teaching goes far beyond just a set of postures or “memorised spiritual spiel” I hear a lot, and often wonder if the person actually “understands” the words they are using? 🤔

Natural born teacher

I believe my natural abilities of teaching started way back at primary school. I used to do a bit of dancing as a child (like most do) and it was my life! Literally from the age of about 6+ I loved nothing more than teaching my other friends (the non dancers) on the school field what I had learned at dancing that week. Showing them handstand into bridge and assisting them!! The school teachers themselves saw my natural flare and would usually get me to choreograph dances for plays/assembly.  This was great at primary school, not so much secondary when girls started bullying me because I was vivacious. So teaching others started pretty much as soon as I was able to show something new to someone else.

My previous working role, that I’ve spoken briefly, before coming into the yoga industry was in sales. I wouldn’t say I’m a natural sales person- but I can naturally find something in common with people. And “people buy from people”. With this genuine interest in people and my customers, I built very strong and close relationships In the industry’s I worked in, which is the foundation to every business. My bosses noticed this (even when my roles changed through various companies) the situation would always be the same. I was always asked to “train new people” who joined the company. I again, became the teacher, teaching them to build relationships, to sell, to become successful to a certain point. It wasn’t the selling I loved- it was developing the skills of new colleagues put in front of me.

Market saturation or natural growth to cater for demand?

So recently, after noticing in my small village when I started teaching  4 years ago, there was only me and 1 other (known to me) teacher. As from a couple of months ago there are more than 20+ with 5 new studios within a 5 mile radius. (On my 500 hour YTT Nov 18- there were several studio owners on the course who had their business go into liquidation/bankruptcy and lost her house, and another worried owner having to do extra work to keep her studio afloat after it was making a loss for 2 years because of how the market is growing and competing with each other) I am confident in the service I provide but even these staggering statistics and hearing others personal challenges, makes one reflect upon the longevity of what I do.

Identity crisis

I think it’s easy to get sucked into your job role, and allow that to become your identity. I even noticed it happening with myself. Everything became about the yoga. Where was Hannah in all this? The girl that had multi level interests and aspirations. Hence why I’ve backed off from the “bubble” slightly and broadened my physical (rock climbing, snowboarding) social horizons- to develop the relationship with myself which yoga brought me closer to initially. The space encouraging also,  to maintain the “interest” in my current chosen career, clients and lifestyle choices. (A change is as good as a break)

The problem with putting all your eggs in one basket is your pretty knackered if for whatever reason it doesn’t work out (injury, family commitments, mass market saturation, exhaustion).

I realised that even for me, if the yoga gets too much- the teacher in me will always live on, in whatever I chose to do. Does this make me a bad yoga teacher? Maybe in your eyes? Does it make me a bad at teaching though? Definitely not, Teaching someone the tools to change their life in whatever the area is, is a gift….

My thoughts on paper.