Wa Yo Yogi

Leanne Kitteridge's adventures in Yoga

Am I a serious yoga teacher? April 24, 2011

The benefits of my job- Cherry Blossom Viewing Japan 2011

“Yeah- I am quitting my job to become a serious yoga teacher”.

This is a phrase I overheard that sent the anava-mala landing with a resounding thud over my heart. Serious? I still have another job. So what am I.. yoga teacher “lite”? I feel suddenly small and inept next to the yogi that has given everything up to pursue their full-time yoga teacher dream.

Thankfully the veiling is short-lived as my pitta heats up my vata mind and I think from a clearer place, “Good for you- hope it makes you happy.” I mean really, they could have been miserable at their “job”. And what do I have to be insecure about? Looking at my hundreds of training hours, weeks spent away from my children and thousands of dollars I have spent- I am pretty darn serious about yoga. So why do I feel I am suddenly less ” serious” than the other teacher?

So why don’t I quit my other job and do nothing but teach yoga? Well quite frankly it is not fear- it is actually the opposite- love! I love my job. Just as much as teaching I love to fly to Japan every week where I can pray and meditate at a temple, or do a rockin’ yoga practice for three hours without distractions. I have used my layovers to visit yoga classes in other cities, sneak in a yoga workshop, read yoga books, write about yoga, or just sit a beautiful museum, art gallery or garden and contemplate my yoga teachings.

On a practical level, flying pays for all that yoga training and gets me, at a discount rate, to yoga trainings around the world. It also pays for the karate lessons, gymnastics, and water polo lessons of two young children- which may be much more difficult on a “yoga-only” income.  Also  there is no better practical application for yoga than being sealed in a metal tube with 300 people for 11 hours. If you want to practice patience and loving kindness , try it 37,000 feet in the air. Really – you have no idea how many hugs I get as people get off my flights.

As my yoga career grows and I delve deeper into the world of yoga therapy, moving slowly closer to Anusara certification, I am getting asked more and more if I will quit flying- like one precludes the other. How do I answer this?

Yes, it would be nice to focus just on yoga and be home on a weekend for a change. That said,  flying actually brings a balance right now. It gives me perspective outside the yoga world and allows me to apply the teachings in creative ways off the mat…it can also make for some great themes!

I believe that we need to make room for all that serves us and when it doesn’t serve us anymore it just naturally falls away- no regrets or sadness- just the natural transition of life. Maybe one day that will happen with flying but until then it serves me- why change it?

So, am I a serious yoga teacher? Yes, I am ….and a serious wife , mother and flight attendant. But who wants to be serious anyways? My teaching style is actually known for a great deal of laughter.  I think I prefer the term sincere…….sincere yoga teacher…….  anava-mala  be gone!

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6 Responses to “Am I a serious yoga teacher?”

  1. leslie fiore Says:

    Funny… I feel veiled because all I do is teach yoga. Like its not a “real job” I am asked ” Is that all you do?’ Yes thats all I do. I think the person that keep judging me the most is me. 🙂

    • shibuiyoga Says:

      The veiling is one of the ways in which we start to create a discomfort that makes us take action or ask questions. As soon as we do that, Grace comes to support our actions. Hope you are feeling a little less veiled, Leslie! 🙂

  2. Marcy Says:

    Leanne you are more than ‘serious; You are an inspiring yoga teacher. I LOVED your class and every week I totally looked forward to it even though I thought it was too hard for me 🙂 More than anything I loved the feeling and true joy your classes embodied. I was going through a huge transition in my life at the time. Each week the grounding yet soaring aspect of the practice further helped me in my daily life to allow myself to hear the call to grace more clearly.

  3. Michelle Says:

    Very thoughtful perspective on that ongoing question. You are also a seriously sincere sister! Thank you for the lesson, back at the studio yesterday and it felt wonderful to be back on the mat.

  4. Good for you! I am a devoted Anusara student, so I loved to hear about all of your yoga layovers. Awesome!


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