Hamilton Yoga Blog
My work: Being a Yoga Teacher in Newcastle
Recently, I have encountered this one type of question a lot, from parents of my children’s new friends, but also in random conversations at a supermarket line-up, or at a breakfast event with some university scholars.
“So, WHAT IS WORK FOR YOU?” “What do you do for a living?”
“I AM A YOGA TEACHER.”
Often, this response is followed by a moment of SILENCE and some quite noticeable contemplations behind the other person’s eyes.
So, what does a yoga teacher do? That is surely not a full-time job? But what do you do for real work?
What comes out of their mouths is polite: “Oh, really? Right!! That’s great.” Sometimes followed by a quietly voiced: “You must be super flexible”, or “You must be very healthy”.
Whatever that means to convey, there are certainly a lot more unspoken questions hidden in this response! Whatever way it may be intended, it is, I believe, mostly a friendly way of saying: “I don’t have any clue what to make of this really.”
Sure, there are a lot of stereotypical assumptions surrounding yoga and yoga teachers.
And quite likely, there are a lot of misconceptions and prejudices out there.
And yes, a lot of possible variations in the job description for a yoga teacher.
And yes again, there are many kinds of different yoga teachers around. Some of the descriptions I might not necessarily identify with.
But the great news is, at that moment in that conversation, when you ask me “What do you do for a living?”, there is a unique individual standing in front of you (that is me), who is able to engage with you in a conversation, if you are genuinely interested, about what it is for ME to be a yoga teacher, what kind of job this is for me, and what drives me.
Some things that drive me are:
· To help people realise what is possible for them, in their bodies and in their minds, no matter where they start their yoga journey from.
· My passion for providing yoga classes to our community, and I am immensely proud to be running the longest continuously operating yoga school in Newcastle,
· Knowing, that Iyengar Yoga is such a thorough, methodically developed, and high-quality approach to yoga, not just for the young and fit, but all members of the community, suitable to all abilities.
· It is such a satisfaction to know, that I am able and qualified to guide students to achieve some of the many benefits yoga can provide and improve their overall well-being and take on life.
Admittedly, it’s not all fun and games all the time. And yes, it is sometimes much more than a full-time job! I am not just working when standing on the yoga mat, that's for sure.
There is so much more to do than the time I teach at the school. I run this small family business as a sole trader, and of course, there are expenses. I need to consider fluctuations in students across the year, need to plan and adapt my classes according to my students’ abilities and conditions, maintain the studio, and keep developing personally through study and my own practice. As a full time yoga teacher / full time yoga studio manager I also wear the hat of an electrician, a bricky, a landlord, a gardener, a cleaner, a bookkeeper, … , the list goes on.
At times, the going can be tough. While running a yoga school is often more than a full-time job, there is certainly no hourly pay rate for this kind of work. The rewards can come in different ways though.
The thing is, as long as I continue to feel the value in what I do, I am doing a service to the community. And THAT is what I love the most and THAT IS WHAT KEEPS ME GOING and I would not change it in a hurry.
I am one of those yoga teachers who actually say that yoga is not my one and only passion. I love it, yes, I love how I feel and experience the impacts of yoga mentally and physically, and how it challenges me in the simplest of poses.
Even more though, I LOVE teaching Iyengar yoga, and I love sparking students’ interest and commitment to practising it.
Still, I have many interests outside of yoga, that keep my cup full. I have family, and still youngish children. I love being Dad, and with that come the multiple commitments to many out-of-school activities and involvement in the community.
And I LOVE FOOTBALL in case this fact has bypassed you until now.
I even listen to German commentary of international football games, pretending to practice my German. I am much involved in Cooks Hill United FC from line marking to volunteering and having a say on the management committee.
Other times, I am representing my family at Newcastle University events for the Ma-Morley Scholar Ship Program, meeting graduating scholars and hearing about their passions and inspiring future plans. I love being involved in the multi-layered fabric of our Newcastle community, from young to old, from academia to sport or music. I still love playing electric bass when I can, these days mostly for relaxation.
And last, but not least I am the one looking after our animals at home when the girls have forgotten their chores again 😉.
So, yes, apart from all these other things AND life, I run this yoga school full-time as a yoga teacher/yoga school owner/business manager/sole trader.
To sum it up, I love what I do.
I love teaching Iyengar yoga.
And given the feedback from some of my long-term, loyal, and trusted students, I hear that I am a reasonably good teacher too.
But don’t take mine or their word for it. It’s always better to form your own opinion.
If you are keen, I WOULD LOVE TO TEACH YOU! A teacher cannot do what they do without having students.
Feel free to support this small family business by attending classes if you can or support my service to the community by spreading the word.
You know where to find me. 😉
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