I’m trying to make my living teaching yoga.
Actually, scratch that—I am making my living teaching yoga.
I feel weird identifying myself as a yoga teacher, because at the end of the day, I’m not—I am a human being exploring my life and how my life works and feels to me. And on most days, I happen to spend large portions of time inside studio walls with people on mats saying a bunch of things.
It’s all part of my life—something that falls under the umbrella of Me!, alongside all the other ways I spend my time—including, but not limited to, being with other people, making meals, writing thoughts, reading other peoples’ thoughts, meditating, playing music, using my body, laughing really loudly for no reason, talking to myself in a reassuring manner and getting sucked into the world of Netflix instant.
I wouldn’t trade the way I spend my time for anything in the world, which means that I often confront the thought, “You’ll never make it in this game, girl. You’re going to fall down on your broke-ass, and soon!”
Because teaching yoga is not super lucrative for me right now. And as far as I can tell, it’s not super lucrative for most of the other yoga teachers I know. There’s definitely a sense most months of just getting by and wishing that my landlord would accept payment in Karma points.
And when I think about it this way, it all feels so…hopeless. Like, what’s the point if 90% of us are going to hit a financial dead-end anyway?
But making money teaching yoga is also not impossible. And that’s what I want to talk about.
I have always had everything that I need—I’m able to feed myself, house myself and take care of myself. I don’t feel the need to sacrifice the quality of my food, my clothes, my body products or the space that I keep for myself.
On the other hand, I can’t afford to take large amounts of time off, I can’t afford to travel much, I don’t have benefits and any large purchase is something to be “saved up for.”
The reality of my situation is that I teach in six places every week, my brain has a large portion of it that is tuned into perpetual calculator mode, and the juggling pace of my life brings about the question, “How much money did I make today?” pretty much every evening.
But I’m okay with all of this. (For now…)
And for right now, if I have to pick my poison between doing something I really want to be doing and not being rich, or being rich and doing something I don’t really want to be doing, I pick the former.
And I don’t think it will always be this way for me or for anyone who truly believes in their power to do what they love and get appropriately financially compensated for it.
I truly believe the day is coming where I will never again have to ask, “how much does that cost?”
I think that because teaching yoga is something I really want to be doing. It’s something I can’t say “no” to. It creates me and shakes me and reflects back to me my very reason for momentarily claiming ground on this planet.
It teaches me how I want my life to spark inside my nervous system—the feelings I want to have, the expression I want to build, the curiosity I want to maintain.
It allows me to find ways to spend time outside of the yoga room that just fucking feel good.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
~ Marianne Williamson
For anyone who has ever had to pick between love and money, let’s change our tune from: you can do what you love, but don’t kid yourself by trying to turn it into a career; to: if you want it bad enough, it will happen.
If you believe with every fiber of your being that you can teach yoga and not be poor, it will happen. The trick is actually believing it.
I teach yoga and I have everything that I need. I will have everything I need tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
And one day, I will have more than what I need, and when I wake up on that day, I hope to be of sound enough mind to open my eyes and say, “Let me help other people secure what they need today.”
I believe in our collective power to go get what we want out of life.
So let’s get it.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise