My Yoga Journey and Road to YTT

Yoga Love

It’s been over a year since I received my 200 Hr Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certificate and I still have a hard time penning this post. This post is one I’ve started and erased on paper, well computer, and in my head, over and over again. Honestly, it’s because at times I still question whether I should have done it or not. To be clear, I’ve never doubted my decision to get certified, but I do doubt my decision to be an actual yoga teacher in America. Because…any yoga teacher will tell you that there is yoga and then there is the business of yoga. But before I can get into that, let me start with my yoga journey.

Yoga has been around me  and a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Coming from a traditional Indian family, I’ve seen family members of mine practice it for years. My mother has a daily routine of doing 13 rounds of sun salutations and an hour to two hours of meditation. I’ve woken up to my aunt’s breathing exercises in the morning, also known as pranayama during my visits to India and I’ve been in awe of my cousin’s core strength as I watch him stand on his head (without the support of the wall). Apart from joining my mother for a round of sun salutations every now and then yoga didn’t find me until I turned 24 and was diagnosed with clinical depression. I became so weak and needed a gentle exercise form to get back into my body. I found a serene studio that offered gentle yoga classes and really found a save haven.

I didn’t take my first power vinyasa class until I moved to Atlanta a year later. I had been fighting with exercise on and off and realized that even in hot yoga classes, I didn’t hate it. Soon enough, I was basically living at the studio and started working in exchange for classes. I signed up for YTT not to teach, but genuinely due to my love for yoga and to deepen my practice. It was the most authentic decision I have ever made: to invest my time and money to learn something solely because I enjoyed it. Out of everything I gained from YTT, this is my most valuable experience. It’s an experience that has allowed me to start this blog and genuinely live my truth, and for that I am forever grateful. I didn’t learn how to do a  full split or hand stand, but I did find my comfort in Downward Dog, which anyone who practices knows is a miracle enough. I started teaching post training because I genuinely enjoy teaching and being in front of others.

If you’re doing yoga teacher training for any other reason than your love for yoga, don’t do it.

When I first started teaching I subbed at a local yoga studio, picked up community classes at my home studio and did fun yoga in the park events with my friends. Fast forward a year later, I teach once a week at work…barely. Between a back injury that has slowed down my practice and my genuine disdain for the business of yoga, I honestly have no motivation to teach. You see I love yoga, but I SEVERLY dislike the business of yoga. It seems you have to be a size 2 contortionist to get any decent sort of gig and or attention. And don’t even get me started on the Instagram yogis. I can see studio owners not paying me any mind when I walk into their studio, a “plus” size 8 (sometimes 10) to ask for an audition. I don’t even ask for a job anymore…it’s not worth it to me. Somewhere between teaching yoga in my spare time and working full time, yoga started to get less precious. And I have the business of yoga to blame for that.

I teach once a week at work and practice on my own and that’s perfect for me. The teachings I have learned in YTT enhance my life daily and for me that is enough. I don’t want the business of yoga to take away something so precious and authentic to my culture. Everything else I can deal with, everywhere else I can play the game..but not here.

Some things you just gotta keep for yourself, ya know? Will my practice be gusto again if my back ever heals? IDK. Will I teach more in the future or get my advanced YTT cert? IDK. But one thing is for sure..whatever I do will be organic and from the heart, not for profit or society’s expectations.

Once again, I love that Instagram has made yoga a viable career option for so many people; yogis deserve that. And I love that the West has literally saved yoga and brought its teachings to improve the lives of so many people, but there are always multiple sides to every story. And this is mine.

Any yoga teachers out there? What’s your story, would love to know.