I’ve been teaching yoga since 1995, but it was only about a year ago that I began to realize I wanted to reach out to more people to share the science and the methods behind slow, conscious practices. While there are some of us who have been loving practicing and teaching this stuff for a long time, a critical mass of like-minded yoga teachers and yoga students is just beginning to arise.
In reaching out more, I’ve been really fortunate to connect with people from all over the world who “get it.” Here are some things I’ve learned as I’ve cranked up my visibility:
- The body positive and #metoo movements have launched a great interest in self-acceptance and in self-care practices including slow, mindful movement.
- There is a significant number of tuned in yoga teachers who get it and want to reach more students. (It’s been amazing to help so many like minded people connect with each other via my Facebook group. )
- The neuroscience revolution has given us the power and language to validate the benefits of these practices.
- If you love what you do and you’re passionate about it, it’s always worth sticking it out, regardless of the perceived outcome.
Last week a lovely person named Lindsey Fitzgibbons contacted me and asked for an interview for a masterclass series she’s putting together called Ignite Your Soul’s Purpose. Which is about creating a sustainable spirit-based business. Since I’ve been through the ringer in the yoga industry and believe that sticking it out and living my purpose has been an essential part of my yoga journey, I said, “Sure!”
When Lindsey asked me about my marketing strategy and how I make a living doing something that I love, I said, “Look, you can follow all the formulas and do what all the marketing gurus out there tell you to, but basically, there’s one thing that is essential that underlies all that – you have to be committed to becoming really good at what you do, and always open to learning more.”
Seth Godin, author of The Purple Cow, has really influenced me there.
If you are in love with your work and it has helped you through the darkest nights of your soul, then it’s worth every frustrating moment of wondering if enough students will show up, of watching people get up and leave class, and of dealing with the diva-complexes that plague this industry (…you know what I’m talking about).
The yamas and niyamas provide a powerful litmus test – actually more like a grindstone to navigate the business of yoga. I’ve had to travel some questionable marketing terrain, and, when it bumps up against my values, I have to refine my understanding of my own ethics with every hard decision. Doing business ethically is a powerful yoga practice.
Last week, someone wrote and said, “I’m a brand new teacher. I really want more students but they are not coming. Oh well, I guess I just have to stick it out.”
As long as there’s no defeatism here, it’s a great attitude. But, eventually, it can become limiting. I know because I clung to it for years. The universe will provide…Just to do the right thing…Even if I only help one person…If I build it they will come… and so many other affirmations/rationalizations. They are all quite useful and accurate, but they can also get you off the hook for not stepping up.
When you get to the point in your practice that your cup is overflowing and there’s no one to catch it, then you are wasting precious resources. You gotta find your peeps. They are out there. And there are ways to find them.
I’m working on a very short free course about finding your students and I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
Keep the faith. Considering the massive, public health crisis of nervous system dysregulation that’s out there, the world desperately needs you doing what you’re doing – but it is just starting to wake up to it.
Wanna get better at sharing the science behind slow, mindful practices? Check out my course, The Science of Slow here.