About four years ago I quit my full-time job in public relations and dedicated myself to teaching yoga full-time. Amidst the ongoing attempts to perfect my schedule and avoid getting lost in social media mayhem or a comparison trap, I’ve worked hard to remember what it is I love about the practice, what it is that got me hooked. At times it can feel competitive, especially in San Francisco, where so many teachers are teaching full-time, hustling to fill their classrooms, hosting retreats, and seeking those “prime-time” classes.
Now that I’m on the Live Be Yoga Tour, the time away from my day-to-day rhythm and regular class schedule has offered me distance, and in that distance I have gained a ton of perspective already. Yet it wasn’t until I sat down with Tiffany Cruikshank that I felt invigorated and inspired to go back to the drawing board and ask myself some fundamental questions about why I practice and why I teach.
Tiffany is the founder of Yoga Medicine and a teacher trainer whom I’ve had the privilege of studying with over the years. I’ve also watched her build an amazing brand and business that is thriving in so many ways. It was an honor to chat with her about yoga’s evolution, hear her enthusiasm and excitement about how many more people are practicing today, and ask her for solid advice for instructors, like me, who are choosing yoga as a career path.
We covered the importance of quality education, what it means to “make it” as a yoga teacher today, and ways to create a positive impact within our communities while staying true to our intention as teachers. Tiffany’s enthusiasm about the ways yoga continues to reach more people was so infectious that, though lately I’d been feeling discouraged, I left our talk feeling hopeful and reinvigorated. I was eager to return to my classes with even more intention and focus, to distill what it is I truly want to share, and to figure out how to do it consistently.
You may question how this happened in a 60-minute conversation. Well, like all effective educators, Tiffany inspired me to ask myself key questions about my path as a yoga instructor. If you, too, are a yoga teacher, I believe you should do the same. Here, several questions to help you dive deeper into what you love about this practice and determine what you feel most called to share.
Navigating the Path of Teaching Yoga? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Are you clear about your intentions?
If you are clear and honest about your intentions, and constantly checking in with yourself, you can lead from a grounded place instead of getting lost in the “race to the top.” To do this, Tiffany suggests acknowledging three things: What you love most about the practice; what you’re good at; and what your community needs. “If you put these things together to be of service, many of the other pressures associated with being a teacher can dissipate,” says Tiffany. As a result, you remain sincere, make a long-lasting impact, and create a niche for yourself.