Fall/Winter Newsletter 2021: The Long Game

I’ve noticed myself shrugging on a sweatshirt in the mornings and evenings the last two weeks. I near my 8th year of being an Oregonian, and I have to confess I’m eager for pumpkins, orange leaves, and all of the magic that comes with fall. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be okay with winter in February, but every year that passes, there’s a little more space within welcoming the shifting seasons.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a yoga teacher in this modern time, studios recovering, in the age of Zoom. Recently, a yoga teacher friend and I were laughing about how hard it can be when we were starting out, how you’ve paid a sitter, driven 40 minutes one way, and arrive to just a few students in the class you’ve paid rent for. There are two lessons here: abundance vs. lack, and what it means to play the long game.

“How long have you taught yoga?” is a common question for a yoga teacher. Or, “How long have you practiced yoga?” I usually have to compare both of these with my sobriety and my son being born. I went to my first yoga class right before I got sober in 2008 and I completed my teacher training when my son was one. I remember someone telling me at one of my first auditions, “You’ll get burnt out as a yoga teacher, sooner or later, it will happen.” I remember being shocked at the time, thinking, me burnt out on this practice I’m obsessed with? Never.

I admit that in late 2019 I was disillusioned with what it meant to be a yoga teacher. I had just quit a studio that I really loved to work for, a studio that I felt, ‘made me’ a yoga teacher. I had up to 16 classes at one point per week in 2019, a pretty big class load for a fitness instructor. Then enter 2020, rife with surprises, the biggest being that I could branch out on my own more, teach Zoom classes (no rent nor babysitter to pay!), offer donation based out door classes that grew in numbers every week, and rented some space above a local clothing shop. I entered a new portal with teaching yoga and it was so good. It was also unexpected, teaching on someone’s property while the dog played with the goats during sunset wasn’t what I expected. It was better. Teaching 2 to 4 classes each week during a global pandemic felt like a blessing.

I had some yoga teacher friends who took a break in 2020, something I really respected. Slowly their classes and offerings are coming back and I love to see it. As farm yoga winds down for the summer and I decided to put a pause on Zoom, I am reflective on what it means to be a yoga teacher and where my intuition is leading me. I also started another part time gig and it would be very easy to just teach 1 class a week.

As scary as it is to say, this may be the case. I may be able to offer small group barn yoga sessions like I did last winter, but it’s not set in stone. I taught yoga right after teacher training and haven’t stopped since, and it’s strange to think I am going back to not having a lot of classes like I did before.

But also maybe it’s all supposed to be this way, a step out into the great unknown. I know I love teaching yoga, have so much to offer, and only want to teach in places I resonate with, I just don’t know how and where. It’s vulnerable and exciting. I’ll be updating my schedule on here after I finish writing this and the list will be short with a few maybes thrown in. Yesterday someone messaged me that she was interested in me teaching at her lavender farm next summer. Remembering what happened in 2020, maybe its going to be unexpected and BETTER. What’s your long game? What have you been soooo long suffering with? A person, a job, a kid, an ideal? I encourage you to continue, and be open to abundance you aren’t expecting.

Updates>>> I’m still teaching every Thursday at the Circuit in Tigard at 7pm. It’s a nice, “Foundations of Yoga,” class and I throw in some optional vinyasa here and there. The music is loud and amazing. I’ll maybe be offering some barn yoga sessions if you live close by to Canby/Oregon City/Wilsonville/Molalla, OR, they are usually $50 per six week classes on Wednesdays at 6pm. The pin remains in Zoom offerings for now, but if I start up again updates will be in your face on my social medias.

I don’t know how long I’ll teach yoga for. I don’t know what my yoga teaching future looks like. I don’t know if I care about how many classes I offer per week. I know I’ve been through some highs, lows, and in betweens, and for now I’m still here.

~Wishing the best to you and stay warm this winter.

Published by Liz Brower

I've practiced yoga since 2006, I stumbled into a class at my local gym. I didn't really "get" yoga, I wanted to do all of the poses to the max, I didn't focus on breathing, and I was very competitive. A year later I quit smoking and my mom purchased a three month unlimited to a local studio. I fell in love with yoga! Plus the metaphor was strong, my lungs began to repair, I could take really deep inhales without coughing! I later began to go to a free outdoor yoga classes in downtown Long Beach, CA that was also affiliated with a donation based studio. Yoga was fun, affordable, accessible, and outside! I loved it. I started practicing at home by myself. I started meditating. Right after I found the classes at the gym stopped drinking alchohol. My sobriety and yoga have intertwined ever since. They compliment each other amazingly and I am so grateful for them both. I stopped practicing yoga after getting pregnant and being caught up with the taking care of a newborn in 2013/2014. When he was 9 months old I realized that I really wanted to redirect myself back to yoga. I also had the seed planted in my mind while driving home from Christmas break, why don't you go do a yoga teacher training?! I started practicing yoga at a local studio and began scouring the internet for a teacher training program. I found Three Sisters Yoga, a lovely program, based out of NY & PDX. I was more than motivated to teach, I started teaching some free yoga in the summer of 2015 at a local park. I continued after that with an internship at the same studio I had signed back up with at the beginning of the year. I quit my day job. I hit the pavement, scouring for yoga gigs that would hire a newbie. I found a job and began to teach! Now I am navigating the great balance of being a single mom, a yoga teacher, and doing my best to trust my higher power with my future. I love to teach and practice vinyasa, but also know what it's like to be drawn to slower types of yoga due to injury or body type. I feel a special affinity for yoga new comers and like to teach practice at all different levels. Thank you for taking time to read a little more about me and I wish all of you the best in your own individual yoga practice. ~Namaste!

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