I took a spontaneous trip to Antigua, Guatemala last week and it was this kind of beautiful:
It started with a cool opportunity: My former biz coach Rebecca Tracey and I were chatting when she mentioned that she and a few other women entrepreneurs were getting a villa in Antigua and there was room for one more and did I want to go. Hells yes I want to go. So, I chatted with my partner about the idea (who was, of course, pumped for me to have a cool adventure), got my classes covered, found a cheap flight, packed two bags and then re-packed down to one reasonably-sized bag, and off I went.
It was a working vacation for everyone, spent in cafes with Guatemalan dark roast, brainstorming with smart women making their dream life a real thing, eating the BEST guacamole, and wrapping in the evenings with wine and “la bomba” – the super-hot hot tub in our courtyard – listening to the volcano rumble and swapping our Rogue One personal stories. Lots of laughs and learning and new friendships forged.
The main difference between people who are living their dream and people who aren’t is what each wakes up expecting. Every morning, we all got up and expected that we’d create the life we’d imagined for ourselves, and that it would work. And we did, and it did. That doesn’t mean we weren’t working through challenges, but we were also working to get where we wanted to be.
In yoga we call this kind of practice “vinyasa krama”: Not simply moving, but taking certain steps in a certain way, towards a certain goal. Moving with intention.
Over the years I’ve learned to trust that kind of intention-driven movement. It’s what’s made my life as kickass as it is. It takes vision, trust in one’s self, and the simple (not always easy) commitment to keep moving in the right direction. It works better if it’s responsive rather than rigid: I haven’t always known what my next move would be, and the flow of life is rarely linear, so I’ve learned to stay focused on where I want to end up and to just keep lining up my toes with the end goal.
“To climb a mountain (or a volcano if you’re in Guatemala), aim your feet in it’s direction, and keep putting one foot in front of the other until you arrive.”
This past weekend was the (G)rad Party for the 2016 Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) crew and it was a night – a year, really – of celebration and gratitude for the experience of a lifetime. Every year, this training produces great yoga teachers and changes people’s lives, and it’s inspiring as F for me to watch people show up at different stages to seize the opportunities this course creates.
Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training generates success because we do two key things:
My approach with this training is rooted in yoga’s philosophy of “Namaste”. Namaste is how you say “hello” or “goodbye” in India, but its origins come from a belief that we are all free, strong, capable beings at our core. When we greet someone with “namaste” we’re saying, “My strong, free self sees your strong, free self.” In this training, I see people as already free, strong, and capable, and my job is to greet them with a space and opportunities to practice living as such.
In other words, I wake up each day expecting that the people in my training will succeed at creating what they’re envisioning, and then we get on doing it. In the process, we develop what BKS Iyengar called a “deep-seated trust in oneself.” That, to me, is true yoga.
If you’ve been wanting to explore this kind of growth and change, check out Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training (YTT).
Lots of people take this training for personal interest. Come to strengthen your yoga practice and study the art of living with more freedom. Give yourself a new way to approach your life.
“I will never forget YTT. It has contributed to massive changes in my life.
You bridged this gap between my regular life to something beyond that.”
“Is this real life?! Biggest thank you to Asia … you have pushed me to break free of countless boundaries.
Thank you for being a bad ass yogi.”
“More and more every day I am grateful for the amazing teacher training you provided me.
Completely changed the way I view so much in my life.”
SEE WHAT MORE OF OUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINING GRADS HAVE TO SAY
This post is about Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, and how Pranalife Yoga ADVANCED Training is different.
I’m gonna get truthful on your ass right now: Being a career yoga instructor can be hard.
When yogis make the leap from finding peace and joy in yoga classes to becoming yoga teachers, it’s an exciting time of growth, change, and learning. Then, when they’re full of Sanskrit and handstands and ready to turn the yoga they love into a career, they dive in with hearts open … and often wind up feeling lost or overwhelmed. It happens to the best of us. Stumbling out of the gate is a part of launching just about any career, really. But it’s a remarkably common experience in our industry to take the leap – and instead of flying, end up flailing.
There are a few reasons for the flailing. Some people may love yoga but not enjoy teaching it (or they didn’t know the truth about being a yoga instructor). That’s fair, and they can go back to being a student with a deeply expanded relationship with yoga. Some people don’t like the idea of “commercializing” yoga (trading money for yoga experiences like classes, workshops, and trainings). That’s also fair, and an unsustainable business model. In that case, to regain happiness they’ll need to teach yoga as a hobby/passion/dharma, not a career. But a lot of times, people just don’t get the knowledge and support they need to be successful in this industry.
Standard 200hr-ish yoga teacher trainings don’t teach you how to launch anything beyond a basic yoga career. And some trainings barely do that. In fact, that oft-misleading advertising site Yoga Alliance (YA) suggests that basic yoga trainings spend “(a) maximum of five hours related to the business aspects of teaching yoga.” That right there is one of many reasons Pranalife Yoga doesn’t bother with YA membership. We assume that you’re getting certified so you can teach yoga; if not, then you’re probably taking training for your own interest so we’re not worried about you – keep on keepin’ on, yogi ;). If you want to teach yoga, thought, then you’ve got to teach yoga … to people … and if you’re not independently wealthy, you’ll probably need to make a few bucks doing so. And if you want to do this as your main gig, you’re gonna need a lot more than five hours of learning about the biz of yoga.
When you make the shift from yoga student to certified/career yoga teacher, you go from 100% of your time spent learning, loving, and maybe even living yoga to up to 80% of your time building “the business aspects of teaching yoga”. It seems imperative that more than 2.5% of your training be focused on such a major component of your teaching career success.
Now, if you’ve taken Pranalife Yoga BASIC Teacher Training, you’re already ahead of the game. In far more than five hours, you get insider advice from years of experience, you build a solid Yoga Portfolio, and you’re connected with business professionals to support your career success. If you’re happy to teach weekly classes, you’re set to succeed. You’re welcome. 😉
So why take advanced training? The most common reason is, ostensibly, to gather more knowledge. Generally, advanced yoga trainings expand on what’s taught in basic training (or what wasn’t) with more detail and insight. This can be an awesome continuing education. From years of being in the yoga community, I’ve also seen teachers take advanced YTT because they don’t feel confident about their current training, and/or they want more out of their careers than they’re getting.
If you’re teaching weekly yoga classes, your basic training got started and most advanced trainings will give you more material to keep those classes interesting over time.
If you want to do something other than teach weekly classes, or do something totally different with your yoga career, you’re going to need advanced training built specifically to help you succeed.
Teaching weekly yoga classes is awesome. I’ve been doing it for over a decade and I still love it. But there were LOTS of things I wanted to do with the freedom, time, and creative potential of this career, things that really turned it into a long-term, booming career I LOVE. There are SO many creative, bold, interesting, kickass ways you can grow your yoga career. But the truth is, there aren’t a lot of great resources to help you succeed at doing something outside weekly classes or studio ownership.
And that’s why Pranalife Yoga ADVANCED training exists: Because I saw yoga teachers long to create the life they want for themselves, but struggle to make it a reality. I have the experience and I LOVE working on these kinds of projects, so why not work with yogis to help them successfully build their own creative careers?
I didn’t want to put together another box to jam everyone into, though. Each person has a unique vision of what “success” looks like, and I wanted to support making *that* reality. So I designed an advanced training that wasn’t like anything else I’ve seen.
And now it’s available to you:
If you have the passion and hustle to build the life YOU want, and you want to build it with the best support available, then you’ve just hit the jackpot:
Pranalife Yoga’s ADVANCED training gives you the support to do EXACTLY what YOU want to do with your yoga career.
Think of this training as a Yoga Teacher Accelerator Centre: You have the freedom to design YOUR unique career goals. Then, you work towards them with smart strategies and professional support from people who are there to help you succeed.
Because your goals are unique, so is the design of your advanced training. If hitting your goals will take 50 hours, then that’s all you pay for. If you need 300 hours, then that’s exactly what you get. It’s not about an abstract requirement for completion – it’s about YOUR GOALS AND YOUR LIFE.
Then our ADVANCED training is your next step. Get your ass into this training and start moving in the right direction. BONUS: You don’t even have to get out of your PJs to apply:
So what is the life you’ve imagined? Is being a yoga instructor a good fit for you? That depends on your answer to this one question:
What do you value? …[Post summary: What’s to love/know about being a yoga instructor; a snapshot of the life of an instructor; how you can make money & how much money yoga instructors make; designing the yoga instructor lifestyle]
As a full-time yoga instructor for over a decade now, I can tell you my experience: I love my independence. I love to travel. I love constantly learning. I love being able to design and steer my career, the creativity of being an entrepreneur, having two-hour long lunches with friends almost anytime I like, constantly getting to build new courses, classes, workshops and whatever other creative venture I dream up. I love being a part of a community of teachers who want to be better people, and help others do the same. I love that what I do involves laughter, growth, fitness, stress-relief, and making people healthier and freer.
I couldn’t really care less about having a huge house or $800 shoes (though I have been known to indulge in the occasional killer coat). The Joneses’ Chasers and I don’t have much to talk about at any bizarre cocktail party where we might find ourselves thrown together. I haven’t invested in a lot of the things that tend to require a steep financial commitment and long-term consistency (marriages + mortgages + kids + brick-and-mortal businesses + etc.) so I’m able to stay light and mobile, prepare for the rough times and enjoy the good times as they come.
I also have a high tolerance for taking on the risks of running my own business: not having a paycheque show up every two weeks or a Project Manager to set out what I’m working on now and next. I don’t crave or need a regular routine (though I can design my life to have that if I wanted it) and I work well without a boss to make sure I’m on track (when I need an ass-kicking, I hire it or create something that forces me to deliver). I also have a partner who supports and enjoys the benefits of my choices without needing anything different from me.
What about you?
My description of my life might delight or deter you, and that’s based on what you value. Mine is also only one example of how you can design your lifestyle as a yoga instructor. Whatever your goals, you’ve got to get clear on what you value before choosing this – or any – career because it’s going to be how you spend a lot of your time and make your money. Better to go into it with eyes wide open. So let’s get real.
As a Certified Yoga Instructor, you’ll be paid in three ways:
It’s not exactly you rolling up to the curb in your new Ferrari but it ain’t too shabby, and in terms of money earned per time unit ($/hr), you can do pretty well. This also doesn’t take into account what you can make through myriad means like selling products, being an expert in fitness sectors, or creating courses/workshops/retreats/events. If you approach this career as a full-time gig, you can break into six figures. It’s not common, but it’s certainly doable if you’ve got the gusto and discipline.
Being a Yoga Instructor is a lifestyle choice that offers you simplicity, time and freedom. If you like the idea of having a lot of flexibility and the ability to control your work schedule, to hustle and chill when you want/need it, to travel/study/get the time you want with people you love, and to turn yoga surfing retreats into your new “conventions”, then you’re gonna love this gig.
You’re also gonna need to be self-driven, be able to handle the ups and downs of solo-/entrepreneurship, and know how to get what you want. With Pranalife Yoga, you have a support structure built in and our community of graduated, certified teachers is second to none; still, that push to get’r done has got to come from you. If the mantra, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” resonates with you, you’re very likely exactly where you should be right now. Keep reading.
With Pranalife Yoga training in particular, you’re able to design your lifestyle to include creativity, evolution, and independence. You can change what you teach without having to change your entire career.
Now that you’ve got an idea what being a Yoga Instructor looks like, you can decide whether it’s for you (because not everyone wants this kind of life – seems whack, I know, but it’s true). Whether it’s a part-time supplement or a full-time passion fulfillment, Pranalife Yoga will help you turn your vision into reality.
The latest version of Pranalife Yoga’s sell-out CORE: What is it Good For? workshop at Bikram Yoga KW was a smash hit!! From busting outdated myths about how to train a strong, healthy core to trying out new, creative ways to make your core functionally fit (think giant dowels!), it was a room full of ah-ha moments. So. Much. Fun.
I promised to upload my notes and a series of videos of the best moves you can do to create a strong, stable, adaptable core that’ll keep you moving freely for the long run. I promised – and I deliver. Below are my notes, and a series of YouTube videos featuring the lovely and talented Pranalife Yoga Certified Instructor Sarah Kraatz demo-ing the best moves for a powerful core:
You’ve got an idea, a vision, a pile of plans for how you want your life to be. You can feel the energy building in you, your desire taking shape. Amazing – that’s the creative force driving you to live the life you’ve always wanted.
When nature wants to take a pile of potential and make it into life, it starts with two simple little cells that CONNECT, become synergetic, and begin to create something that, over time, will grow into a self-sustaining, alive and powerful new thing.
When you first imagine your life teaching yoga, you may not have a perfectly clear image of what it will look like, where it’ll go, how it will develop. That’s okay – those things come with time, invested energy, and experience. Right now, all you need to do is CONNECT, start to bring that idea to life.
Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training is the resource you need to build your network, deepen your knowledge of yoga and teaching, and learn how to be the kick-ass yoga teacher you know you are. We’re passionate about being a foundation for your journey. There’s such freedom in teaching yoga for a living and so many ways you can take your career. Pranalife Yoga helps you identify how to successfully bring YOUR vision for your career to life.
I regularly meet with my Pranalife Yoga Instructors to talk about their success and challenges. At the heart of these conversations is a central question:
The answer to this question is the basis for every goal you’ll set as a teacher, and if you don’t know your answer, you’ll lack the clarity you need to be successful, however you define “success”. Whether you’re considering yoga teacher training (YTT) or you’re a teacher at a crossroads, here are a few good questions to help you get on with the business of loving what you do:
Ideally, the more you give in your career, the more you receive and vice versa. Unlike the chicken/egg conundrum, though, you should know which one comes first for you. If you’re in the yoga world mainly to receive, you can focus on what’s in it for YOU. If you’re in it to give – i.e. teach – then you need to focus on what’s in it for you AND the people who (want to) practice with you.
Are you, as master yoga teacher Rolf Gates phrases it, throwing a party people want to attend? If you’re struggling to feel successful as a teacher (especially if “success” includes financial abundance), ask yourself: are you creating experiences people aren’t resonating with, or are you chasing after what you think people want at the expense of doing something you enjoy or are even good at?
When you create experiences people want, that you’re good at delivering, and for which people are willing to pay you, then you’ve got a healthy energy flow – which is the basis of how I define success. We explore how to create these positive energy flow cycles as teachers in the Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training course; for a summary of the process, check out James Collins’ book Good to Great, the chapter on the Hedgehog Concept:
Here’s a tip for YTT applicants: If I catch even a whiff of “I hate my current job” or “I’m doing this to make money” in an application, I send those seekers elsewhere. These motivations are rarely strong enough for people to make it through the training, and their energy is disconnected from others who are there with a passion/purpose for yoga that goes beyond this just being a job.
Being a yoga teacher can move you out of a place where you’re unhappy, and be a source of income – but those should be effects, not goals. If your core motivation for teaching is rooted in scarcity or dissatisfaction, re-evaluate what you’re doing. Moving away from something instead of toward something has a nasty habit of taking you out of the frying pan only to plummet you into the fire. Being a yoga instructor might sometimes frustrate you, but at your core it should excite you, challenge you, feel meaningful to you.
When I did my Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Mary-Jo Fetterly and Jennifer Steed at Trinity Yoga, we did an exercise where everyone stood facing a wall except one person, who stood across the room and repeated the phrase, “I have something to say” until everyone at the wall had turned to face her/him. Each person would turn around when they “believed” the speaker.
Do you have something to say? In the heart of all great teachers is a message that matters – to the teacher and to the students. More than any other piece of advice I could give to yoga instructors who want to integrate purpose and passion, I would urge you to say what you need to say. Use yoga to connect with people through your shared experiences, fears, joys, hopes, loves. Because you do have something to say, and there are people who want and need to hear it, and there’s a vitality that comes from this kind of connection to others that fuels great success – in your work and in every aspect of your life.
Considering this amazing career? Take a look at Pranalife Yoga’s Teacher Training. The 2015 training begins May 23rd.
The word passion comes from the Latin root, Pati – which means to suffer or endure.
Suffering has a particular meaning in yoga, so let’s clarify that before we go further. Suffering happens when we wrap unskillful responses around life events. To sprint for 90 seconds, for example, is just a life event – a thing you do or do not do. You suffer when you try to avoid the sprint, tell yourself you can’t do it, hate it as you do it, or diss your time after you’ve done it. Suffering is also defining yourself by your sprint time or feeling like you’ve put on 10lbs after one day where you’ve missed doing it. It’s all the drama of aversion and attachment. In yoga, you reduce suffering by redirecting your attention: just getting the sprint done, focusing on technique and breath, learning something from the effort, cheering yourself on, feeling grateful for having a body that can sprint.
To “endure” hits the mark more clearly. Passion is born of our ability to remain with something patiently, to last no matter how difficult.
So … that sounds kind of horrid, really. Why be passionate? AKA, why practice things we have to “endure”?
Well, unless you’ve been unnaturally protected from the daily grind of reality, you know that life will spare you little when it comes to things you have to endure. Being human means being on an unpredictable, oft-difficult path with constant challenges. Even love can be anything from banal to almost unbearably painful. If you’re alive, you’ll need to have endurance. Passion is the practice and discipline of enduring well.
Who do you want to be?
When we start something, we’re often focused on the what: what we’re going to accomplish, what we’ll do to get there. But anyone who’s dedicated themselves to anything knows that you hit a point in the doing where you’ve got to be clear on who you want to be or what you want to do won’t matter. Thank you Rocky Balboa first for being one of movies’ most brilliant characters, but also for a few choice ways to express this idea:
I love the Rocky character so hard. He’s got so much heart:
ROCKY: It don’t matter if I lose … The only thing I wanna do is go the distance — that’s all. Nobody’s ever gone fifteen rounds with Creed. If I go them fifteen rounds, an’ that bell rings an’ I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know then I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.
“I’m gonna know.” Who do you want to be? Who do you want to know you are? The only way to know is to do. Passion turns an action into a habit, doing into being, “I do yoga” into “I am a yogi”. It’s integrating the will of your mind with the desire of your heart. Without passion you’ll find yourself constantly searching for something new to love, becoming discouraged when the love runs out, quitting when it gets hard, losing your focus, forgetting why you were interested in doing it to begin with – any of that sound familiar? That passion-less pattern right there is suffering.
With passion, you’ll come to that crux in the road and choose to practice patience and go deeper into what makes you uncomfortable. Passion isn’t some external goal to be reached or new treasure to be found; it’s a way of being that’s cultivated and protected.
Do you want to be passionate? Then stay when it gets uncomfortable, commit to being patient when the circumstance tries you, and put your heart into it. Passion makes it personal, and it makes you stronger. You’ll become what Nassim Taleb calls “antifragile”: Not only do you sustain challenges but you adapt, evolve, and get better.
The “This Girl Can” video is a fav of mine; it combines love and passion while demonstrating the difference between suffering and enduring. Stay with it, be stronger, and have an amazing time.
“What do I want to do with my life?” is a terrible question.
You’ll always feel like you don’t have enough information to answer it – because you don’t. Your entire life is way too long a trajectory, and hopefully you want to do A LOT of things, not all of which are connected to your job. When you ask yourself this question, your brain tends to give you that screen we used to see when the programming ended on tv (that’s right, kids, there was a time when the program would just *stop*).
Or for the younger crowd, it prompts your brain to give you the spinning beachball of death a l’Apple.
Try these questions instead:
“What excites me?” (thanks: Tim Ferriss) Break it down into doable steps. What excites you right now? What excites you to think about doing over the next year? How about five years from now? Don’t try to connect the dots, just imagine, let your brain expand and explore.
“What kind of person do I want to be?” (thanks: Marie Forleo) This gives you more of a moment-by-moment manual for living and de-emphasizes trying to control so much of what’s outside of your circle of influence; namely, the events of the future that all have to play nice with your plans for them to work out. Instead, get an idea of how you would BE in a number of different situations and see which ones seem to bring out/support your Best Self.
“How do I want to feel?” (thanks: Danielle LaPorte) This question is brilliant because it gets to the “why” behind the “what”. If you think you want to be a Yoga Teacher, this allows you to tap into *why* you want that. If you follow that rabbit down the hole you’ll likely find that you end with a feeling. You want to do what you want to do because you WANT. You have desires to fulfill. It’s not selfish; it’s your ‘destiny’ and the source of what drives you. Own your feelings and desires and let them work *with* your head.
Almost every time I feel confused, I’m asking questions that aren’t useful. Clarity comes from better questions. And don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit of practice before you know how to answer. Be patient and practice Santosa: Be content to start where you are, as who you are, and do what you’re able right now (thanks: Rolf Gates).
Try these on and let us know in the comments what kinds of insights you get!!
Every year Pranalife Yoga gives away two scholarships of $500 off our Yoga Teacher Training course. This is a big, exciting time when Pranalife gets heaps of excellent applications, and we get up to our elbows with the happyhard process of picking two winners from them. It brings us sheer glee to give a little boost to our future Pranalife Yoga Certified Instructors on their mission to fulfill their destiny.
The first of our two 2016 Pranalife Yoga Teacher Training winners is … Diana Vulic!!!
Congrats, Diana – you’re going to make a kickass addition to our training!!
Without further ado y’all, meet soon-to-be Pranalife Yoga Certified Instructor, Diana:
I want to become a Pranalife Yoga Certified Instructor to be able to share Yoga’s beautiful philosophy, and make more people crave the opportunity to challenge themselves. I am SO certain I want to do this.
Yoga has been putting me through a developmental journey that I am so grateful for. Becoming a Pranalife Yoga Certified Instructor is about being surrounded by people who love learning and challenging themselves, people who have similar goals, and becoming certified to help people with stress-relief and be healthy, both physically and mentally.