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First Year as a Big Yoga Teacher

The Ups and Downs: Musings from My First Year Teaching Yoga in the Bay Area

Doing a very edgy photo shoot at the Berkeley Marina (in my sports bra and leggings! *gasp*)

I’d like to start by saying it hasn’t been easy. I could just focus on the positive, but I believe there is always a dark to the lightness, a Yin to the Yang. There is balance, and I don’t believe in “just being positive” all the time. I did that for a long time (in my twenties) and it didn’t serve me in the end. There is always a time to step back and look at the big picture, some of it’s good and some of it’s not so good. I feel it’s important to honor the times when we aren’t feeling so positive.

Stepping into the yoga world (which IS a part of the “fitness/gym” world in many ways) has been interesting to say the least. Stepping into this world as a bigger-bodied person has definitely posed a lot of challenges. I see why a lot of bigger teachers stick to online videos... I think of what it took to get here and I have to say, strength is definitely at the top of that list. Yet, I don’t necessarily mean the physical aspect of strength (even though that IS there). It takes a lot of emotional and spiritual strength to show up every week and teach.

Sometimes I don’t feel like teaching! Some days I wonder what the heck I’m doing. Being a yoga teacher is no joke. Being a yoga teacher in the Bay Area is no joke. It takes a lot of discipline–and a lot of self-love–to teach… for me, anyways. Yoga teachers, like massage therapists and artists in the area, are a dime a dozen (you know, I also do bodywork and am a trained artist). It is a hard market to step into, yet I feel like I am really offering something special, unique, and true to my heart. It has been a long road to having a daily practice and getting in touch with my inner teacher hasn’t been a piece of cake. Knowing I have something to offer feels really vulnerable, yet I am doing it. This is vulnerable work. I’m acknowledging that. Go, me!

There are a lot of assumptions that get “put on me” and a lot of odd/surprised looks when I say that “Yes, I teach yoga.” Many of my students look like me, some are bigger, some are smaller. There is more diversity in all it’s flavors–be it race, size, age, gender–than most yoga classes I’ve been to. This makes me happy. This means I’m doing something right!

I’m now entering my second year of teaching. I taught my first class in November of 2016. Last February, I started teaching a regular weekly class. I am now teaching three to four times a week. It’s been humbling to say the least. It’s a small, but consistently growing community. I love my students dearly, and it is a HUGE reason I keep going on. I learn so much from them every day. I also encourage them to try other teachers, other studios, and other modalities. We learn so much from different kinds of teachers. Luckily, many of them come back.

It’s also been interesting for me that a lot of people think I’m doing amazingly well! I mean, yes I feel good about how this first year went, but it’s not like I’m selling out at every class and people are emailing me every day with new opportunities. I am renting my own spaces, doing my own marketing, and have another part-time job I juggle. I am still finding my footing in the Bay Area. Although every once in a while I teach to one or two students, I have not had one “no show” for any of my yoga classes yet! As of this week, I have taught over 130 classes, and I am proud of that.

I wasn’t sure if I would write a blog, but I think it’s important for me to do. Even if only a handful of people read this, I know I did it. I did it with love. I did it to share a little piece of me, to find a little inner peace, to create a little more outer peace in the world. That is why I teach yoga. Even on days I don’t feel like teaching, I ALWAYS leave happier. Every. Single. Time. I leave a little lighter and knowing that I am making a difference in people’s lives. Thanks for reading about this Curvy Yogi, me: Angela of Big Yoga Life. I chose the name Big Yoga Life since it’s not just about being big, and it’s not just about yoga. It’s about having a BIG LIFE. Embracing all that you have to offer from as much mindfulness as possible, from as much LOVE as possible. 

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