Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 303 of 365: What Makes You Different

So I'm rounding out the last few months of my training, which means I need to start thinking about life outside of "Yoga School". They were right in saying that yoga teacher training is transformative in and of itself, and there's a part of me that really will miss the classes. But I'm also anxious to start getting ready to actually teach.

The training ends at a great time: in August, just as the summer ends and people are heading back to school -- and the gym. I've been in talks about potentially doing yoga for teachers (which is so much in the earliest phases of development that I almost don't feel right talking about it as a viable plan. Almost). I also plan to hit the ground running again, talking with martial art studios -- only instead of trying to hawk my tai chi class, I'll be trying to hawk yoga for martial artists.

There are so many yoga teachers in this world -- way more than there are full-time positions available (which is why the majority of us are independent contractors). And the current trend really is, "I'll just quit my job and become a yoga teacher!" Which, to be honest, is about as foolhardy as, "I'll just quit my job and become a writer!" Granted, I essentially did both, but I'm also in a financial situation where I can do whimsical shit like this without worrying (too much, at least) about how I'm going to pay the bills.

The thing that should be on every aspiring teacher or writer's mind should be, "How do I set myself apart?" There are a million wannabe yogis and a million-plus wannabe writers. Everyone claims they are great, but very few have the chops to back it up (and even fewer outside people have the patience to verify your claims). What can you do to make you noticeable?

While my staggeringly meager four-year tenure as a teacher turned out to be an abysmal failure and my time as a tai chi instructor has been a frustrating situation in terms of gaining regular students, this background gives me something over the typical college kiddo who dives into yoga training to avoid the real world: I can offer classes tailored for those frenzied, overworked teachers and I can offer classes tailored for martial artists. I have the background to understand exactly where those teachers are coming from and I have the background to know what would and wouldn't work in a class set for martial artists.

So that's what I'm hoping for when it comes to officially register myself as a yoga instructor. The world might be filled to the brim with enough yoga instructors to fill every gym in the tri-city area, but maybe there's a place for yoga instructors who have a keen eye and kind heart for the overworked teacher and the devoted martial artist.

We shall see.

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