I found my passion. Now what?

Ashanga yoga has an interesting reputation. Those outside of the practice, or those who aren’t suited for it, often demean it.

“It’s only for 12 year old boys”

“It’s just hard for the sake of hard”

“Ashtanga is only about the gross body, what I teach is more subtle, more powerful”

“That’s yoga Type-A people”

I’ve heard so much rage, so much judgement from people, from yogis, over the years. The one thing I understand is that Ashtanga is one of the few branches that demands discipline. You’re expected to be on your mat 6 days a week with a few exceptions. You are on time.

While assisting a Mysore practice with Clayton years ago, we had to arrive at 4:30am to practice before the doors opened to students at 6am. If you showed up at 4:31am, you found the door locked and you didn’t assist that day.


“Follow your passion” is the worst advice for any person starting a new career.

I know. “But, I love yoga and I want to share my passion with everyone!”

I know. I understand.

That spark that ignites the passion is critical. Passion gets you to your first step. There has to be more. Much more. Discipline is key to reaching your goals and dreams without burnout. Passion gets you to the door, discipline opens it!

How do you find discipline in your teaching career? Here are a few ideas.

  • Take notes…create a practice diary. We teach what we practice. Do you still practice? What does that look like? Do you make excuses to avoid the mat?
  • R&D…research new themes for your class and develop sequences that support the theme. Real research isn’t just searching the net for what someone else is doing. Make it unique, from your heart.
  • Take another one…teacher trainings are time consuming and increasingly expensive but a training or a teacher intensive can be the catalyst to get your passion back on the right track and create good work habits.
  • Clean up after yourself…What? Seriously. When you exit the studio, leave it better than you found it. Be an example of selfless effort. When a teacher leaves their props behind for ‘someone else to use’, so do the students. It makes a mess that the next group has to clean up.

Check out this passionate article about the value of disciple from Christian motivational speaker, Scott Cochrane:



Nice Niche :: Big Fish

In Teacher Training there’s typically a moment when you talk about the business of yoga and they will tell you to find your niche.

In every TT, half the class wants to:

  • teach beginners
  • teach seniors
  • teach children
  • teach “under-served” populations (aka poor, and/or non-white students)
  • teach outdoors
  • teach athletes (insert discipline here)

That’s an admirable but VERY common list.

So, what’s a niche?  The dictionary says…

  1. suitable place for somebody: a position or activity that particularly suits somebody’s talents and personality or that somebody can make his or her own
  2. specialized market: an area of the market specializing in one type of product or service

We focus on the second definition without looking at the first.  Targeting a specific, specialized market can lead to monetary success if that’s your talent.  But, how often to we move towards a career we wish for without being realistic about what we’re good at or suited for?

I saw a story about Big Fish Expeditions on grindtv.com.  Personally, I love sharks.  I think they’re amazing, beautiful, misunderstood, mistreated and awesome (kinda like me).  I hope to be a shark in my next life…but that’s another story.

There are thousands of tour leaders around the world who will show you the beauty of the oceans but Andy Murch and his group found a real niche.

Andy is a “shark fanatic”.  He is the creator behind The Elasmodiver Shark and Ray Field Guide.  He is a driving force behind the Predators in Peril Project.  He’s a professional diver and talented photographer.

Big Fish Expeditions isn’t the only group that offers the opportunity to dive with sharks but they are the most passionate.  Check out their site for Andy’s inspiring photos.

passion + skill = NICHE

flickr-Kevin Bryant
Kevin Bryant (Flickr)

As a yoga teacher, you don’t need to swim with sharks to have a niche. Or, maybe you do-metaphorically.

Be honest about what you’re good at, what experience and talent you have and how to turn that into specialized product for your students.  Wishing you could be someone you’re not doesn’t serve your students or your career.