Guest Blog: Finding a New Yoga Home
When my husband had an opportunity to relocate with his job, my first thought was, “The yoga better be good, otherwise no dice.”
Then on my first trip to Chattanooga, I mapped out a yoga plan to check out yoga in the area. And low and behold, the yoga was amazing! Not only were all the teachers well trained and caring with their own unique styles, but all the different styles of yoga were true to their class titles – flow was flow yoga, power was power and yin was yin. I was stoked and sold and needless to say we moved.
As a yoga teacher, I, of course was going to not only leave my practice community behind and teachers I practiced under, but also all of my students and their practice that they usually did under my instruction. It was a very difficult decision, as anyone would imagine. Yoga teachers and their students have a unique bond and are like family in this spiritually connected, concentrated kind of a way that is really difficult to describe.
So my journey began, I first had to do several auditions at the yoga studios where I was interested in teaching. I only did this at the studios that I had the most in common with in terms of my style of teaching and what classes I like to take. Once I was cleared and considered experienced enough and the studio determined if I was a good fit for them was I hired, then I just had to hope that some class slots came open during times in which I could teach.
When I first began teaching in Chattanooga, even though I had a few classes of my own that were added to the schedule (timing is everything to get classes- I was just fortunate that I arrived ready to teach right when some keys slots opened up), I also subbed for teachers that had to have time off. It was a great experience for me as a teacher, but also as a student. One of the biggest elements that had an effect on my teaching and on my practice was that all the Power classes at this one particular studio were taught hot. Some teachers cranked the heat up more than others, but always above 85 degrees. This was an interesting challenge for me because my old studio was in the same temperature climate (at least at that time of year) but there classes were not taught hot – you just got hot when you practiced. No additional heat was added to a class. I realized after my first hot class experience where I didn’t take a towel and wasn’t the most hydrated I could have been going into the class I was out of shape for the heat and for the practice in that kind of heat.
I have to say I am not a big fan of the added heat in a practice it’s just a personal preference and my pitta dosha, but I knew if I wanted Power Yoga in my practice and I wanted to teach Vinyasa I’d better get used to it and so I did and fast.
Another challenge I had a newbie is reading the students – One, I didn’t know any of them (I felt in some ways like a guest teacher, except for the fact that I was a super star they had signed up for a workshop with as a guest). Two, I wasn’t used to students coming to flow or power and then ending up practicing yin on their own during the class (very strange to me, but the studio would rather them come and practice than miss out). I couldn’t read the energy in the class very easily because of this. Three, the students were used to rotating around their mat in quite a few of the most popular classes, not that I hadn’t taught this way before, it just wasn’t a regular thing for me so I had to learn to sequence that way quickly to give students the style of class they were used to.
One other interesting element to the yoga community for me in my move was Facebook. Before I moved I always used Facebook when I taught yoga, workshops, reminders, to touch base with students, all sorts of things. But, when I moved my Facebook trail for my new students was null. And, when I was teaching a workshop I had very few new people to share the event with. I also had a hard time, watching all the interactions, events and activities with my friends in the town I moved from. I was still connected there even though I really wasn’t there anymore – a strange sort of missed out feeling was with me.
I have to say, as scared and nervous as I was about the move, the yoga, the teaching, the practice it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am no longer afraid of what might come, in fact it all turned out better than what my ego tried to get me to expect. And I can say I get to practice more as a teacher now than I used to and that I am a better yoga teacher because of my journey.
Have you ever moved away from the yoga you knew so well? What was your experience?
Lora note: Thank you so much for the guest post! Moving from New York City to Florida was petrifying for me–no more yoga yoga everywhere and I am grateful to Tiffany for sharing her story. It is always encouraging and inspiring to know we are not alone in our changes–and to see how we can grow and learn on our journey. Find out more about Tiffany here. She is a beautiful teacher and you can take class with her, no matter where you live. Step on your mat, set-up your computer, and click on one of her online classes available on Yoga Vibes! I especially love (and miss) her yin classes. When teachers move away, they are not the only ones faced with the unknown–the students miss the yoga teacher who has gone away!!