Hello World. I'm a Yoga Teacher.
Hello, world. I’m a yoga teacher and this is the “look how approachable I am” headshot that Andrew took for me this spring. At University of Washington I’m called a Mindfulness Instructor and that’s a title I’m pretty proud of. Professionally, I wear—and have worn—many different hats… I’m basically a hat collector at this point. But holding space for people to connect with themselves, find a little bit of inner peace, and feel like they have more tools to live a mindful life is work that feels good.
I’ve always felt most comfortable working behind the scenes, promoting others’ work and expertise. But I think in order to grow as a person, it’s worth putting myself out there in the way I encourage others to do every day.
From the moment I started practicing yoga regularly, I knew I wanted to teach. There seemed to be something so simple, sweet, and raw about working that closely with people. The practice helped me so much, so quickly, that I thought there was no more honorable service than sharing it with others. And if I’m being honest, I wanted to exude the same kind of energy and have a life like my teachers, who it seemed really had it all figured out (😂).
For some reason, when I actually started leading classes on a regular basis I was slow to identify as a yoga teacher. I was a writer who teaches a yoga class on the side, or someone who teaches in a university mindfulness program but has no idea how she got hired. Part of my hesitancy was fear and a lack of confidence. I have so much reverence for teachers who have put decades of work into their craft, and I didn’t want to seem disrespectful to anyone with more experience.
It’s also because I’ve often wondered if this yoga thing is worth it. Almost as quickly as I fell in love with the practice, I was exposed to its shadows: Sexual abuse by prominent teachers (including one I knew and liked), cultural appropriation, social injustice, an epidemic of yoga injuries, a scene that seemed to only value contortionist Instagram poses, and the list goes on (🤯).
But the thing is, I see the shadows, and yet I practice on.
My practice doesn’t always look like rolling out my mat. Sometimes it’s just taking a moment to look around on walks in my neighborhood and remember how lucky I am to see flowers every day. Sometimes it’s just doing the hard work of self-study so I can live more in alignment with who I am and be a slightly better person.
I see the shadows, and I’m grateful to have my eyes wide open, because it means I can take this practice and the parts I find relevant to modern life, and leave the rest behind. I can learn about movements and theories outside of the yoga world and integrate them into something that I think is worth sharing. And I can be proud to practice and teach yoga or something that resembles it.
So hello world, I’m a yoga teacher and this is my headshot.