I whole heartedly succumbed to the holiday season frenzy. Every temptation was welcome as though they were necessary for survival. Logic and reason vanished as deep-filled mince pies were washed down with oodles of red wine, after a hedonistic night in the company of Nicole Kidman and the delicious Alexander Skarsgard. I ‘caught up’ on almost every HBO TV series ever made and on the 27th December I began a new journey delving into the vast offerings of Netflix. Somewhere in my ‘festive’ head, it made sense to shun sleep and daylight and nest on a leather reclining sofa, relying on the sporadic visits from the cat to show the passage of time.
Nothing was more obvious as to how much of a business yoga is, than at this year’s Om Yoga Show in London. It tied in with the Mind, Body, Soul Show, buy one ticket and go to both exhibitions. It felt like one enormous, never-ending circus, everyone vying for your attention and selling their soul.
Every possible item you can imagine is for sale from the obvious such as mats, clothes to the less obvious shamanic witchcraft and food dice. (Which literally is what it says: a set of dice with food names on it)
I had spent hours agonising over the contents of my first ever class. So many decisions.
Pranayama? Yes. Something short, but essential.
Music? Yes. A carefully crafted playlist to enhance the yoga journey.
Chanting? Yes. 1 short mantra, 3 OMs, and 3 Shantis.
As soon as I was allowed to teach yoga (half-way through my 200-hour course), I set up a 6-week beginner yoga course in my local, damp and dark village hall. Ready with my matching purple mats and yoga blocks, incense to mask the fumes, and a few electric candles (think health and safety) for ambience. I had genuinely thought of everything; even a selection of herbal teas should people mingle after class and create the epic yoga community I envisaged. I had invited a few work colleagues and friends to join me for free. I might not make a whopping profit, but at least the class wouldn’t be empty and the real punters would feel this was an actual pukka yoga class.
Barely two months after graduating from my 200-hour teacher training course, I landed a regular teaching slot at one of the most exclusive clubs in the UK. This isn’t me bragging, but contemplating ‘how on earth did that happen?!’ How do you land a yoga job when you’re a fresh graduate (or newbie)? What is the magic formula for landing a yoga job? Sometimes it’s an audition and the employer just knows you’ll fit in. Sometimes it’s timing and the gods decide to smile on you that day (and you remember your cues!). Or maybe it’s who you know (and/or how many Instagram followers you have!!), but that discussion is for another article.
Let’s be honest, in the beginning, no matter how good your 200-hour teacher training is, you are still wading your way through mud trying to find your own voice. ‘Just be yourself’ gets bandied about as a solution, but isn’t that similar to being told to ‘act natural’ whilst bending over in a wide-legged forward fold with the entire class fixed intently on your rotund posterior. What does ‘just be yourself’ even mean? (more…)