Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Normally, I try to write something that is both deeply personal to me and could be universally applicable. Today, I am writing to share why I have made the decision to stop traveling and once again be a locally based yoga teacher. Change is never easy, that is certainly a true statement for me. But even if it isn't easy, sometimes we get a feeling, deep down inside that it is time to change. And even though we'd rather not, we know we have to listen. That is exactly what's happened to me. This decision to step back from travel has not been an easy one, but it feels just right. Because I have been hosted by so many people, over so many years, because so many of you have traveled to be part of my teacher training's, workshops and in-depth study programs, because so many of you read my newsletter's and will wonder what went into my decision to stop traveling, I've decided to post this on my blog.
For me as I'm sure for many of you, 2012 was an extraordinarily painful, challenging and tumultuous year. As I write this sentence, I can see some of you cringing, thinking to yourselves, "Oh no, do we have to go back over that?" I hope you'll indulge me and keep reading.
Witnessing the revelations of John's misconduct was one of the most bizarre and devastating experiences I've ever had. Discovering that John was not the person I thought he was; watching how he behaved after the revelations surfaced; witnessing the dissolution of the community that I had been part of and helped to grow for 15 years; watching friends turn against friends; watching the circular firing squad on facebook; experiencing long time students choose to no longer speak with me because of their assumption that I had somehow been "in the know"; and watching the entire dissolution of Anusara Incorporated has been an unimaginable loss for me.
As many of you know, I was a student of John's since before there ever was an Anusara. So, to have been part of the organization before it even existed, to have been someone who sponsored John 2-3 times a year since before he ever got famous, to have helped promote Anusara inc., from a fledgling organization to one that ultimately grew to have over 600,000 students world wide, and then to see it collapse into nothing, has been truly unbelievable. As you can well understand, this has led me to do a lot of soul searching.
When I began my yoga journey in 1986, I devoted myself first to being a student. When I began teaching, I started small with just a class or two. As those class sizes grew, I added more classes. After some time, I began hosting my teachers. As those events expanded, I started hosting more workshops. As those grew, I found myself being invited to teach workshops at other people's studios. As those grew, I found myself traveling so much that I could not keep up with my local classes. As that happened, I decided to close my local center and focus on traveling. Becoming a traveling teacher was a role that I grew into naturally and gracefully. In the last 8 years, I have devoted myself to traveling full time. With a husband and a daughter at home, this has not been without challenges. But, the trajectory that I was on felt right, and brought me tremendous joy.
While my daughter was still young, the traveling schedule worked pretty well for my family because it allowed me to be home during the week. Traveling on weekends allowed me to feel that I was connected to something much greater. Everywhere I went, I was welcomed with love. Hearts and minds expanded and every event felt like a profoundly transformative experience.
More recently, however, it has become very apparent that the traveling schedule no longer works for our family. My daughter has commitments of her own now. My husband has taken on exciting and enormous work commitments. And my hearts commitment to being a traveling teacher changed as the Anusara that I knew and was a part of dissolved. I know many of my friends have "re-made themselves" as independents. But one of the things I loved the most about Anusara was the feeling that I was serving and part of a world wide network of practicioners devoted to a similar vision and mission.
In recent years, I've also witnessed the yoga market become saturated with Anusara and non-Anusara Immersions, 200 hour, 300 hour and 500 hour RYT's. We have Wanderlust's Galore, and yoga workshops and online classes and webinars are plentiful with well- trained yoga teachers everywhere. I've been so fortunate to have been part of this amazing expansion. I can remember back in 1987 when I decided to start teaching, no one had heard of Yoga and there certainly was no glory in our path. When people would ask me what I did for a living, and I answered that I taught Yoga, a very common response was, "You can make a living at that?" Or "you sell yogurt??"
Because the "yoga market" is now so saturated, oftentimes student's don't register for workshops and programs until the last minute. The unpredictability of hosting a workshop is stressful for the local sponsors and for the traveling teacher. As a traveling teacher who has to arrange child- care for every event, I often need to decide by Tuesday or Wednesday if there is sufficient registration to run the event. So many times I have found myself canceling a class or two of a weekend, only to find out by Friday that we would have gotten up to 20 more people had we just held the door open.
The combination of all of this has led me to the inevitable conclusion that it is time for me to make a change. I have been so blessed to have been hosted by so many of you, over so many years. I have been welcomed into your homes, into your local communities, into your lives and it has been an exquisite honor for me to have lived such an incredible life and to have shared so much beauty with so many students across the globe. To each and every one of you I say Thank You, from the bottom of my heart. I still see your faces, your smiles, your eyes, your hearts and will carry the memory of such great times with me into the next chapter of my life.
For all these aforementioned reasons, however, I have decided that it is time for me to re-invest in my local community. I am writing to let you know that after my November 1-3, commitment to teach at Shri Fest in Toronto, Canada, I will primarily be a locally based yoga teacher again. I will still be available to fulfill workshop commitments in April 2014 in the US, and Europe. I will still be available if you'd like to bring me in as a guest teacher at your 200, 300 or 500 hour training. We can negotiate a flat fee for this kind of teaching which makes the arrangement more predictable for all. I will still be available for therapeutic privates or consultations which can be arranged over the phone any time. I will still be sending out newsletters with current musings' on yoga related topics. And it will take me a short while to set up shop locally. Once I get my Amherst teaching schedule in order, I"ll be sending more information out about it.
I am excited about these changes because it means I get to be home more often and be a full time mom and partner. These changes will allow me to enjoy the horizontal expansion of living in my local community. These changes will also allow me to participate more fully in Yoga Hope's Trauma Informed Teacher Training because my schedule won't be packed with conflicts. And, I will have time to pursue higher education, something I've thought about for a long time, but haven't had the flexibility to be able to do while maintaining such a busy teaching schedule.
I look forward to hearing how you have made sense of the changes in Anusara and how the ending of one chapter has perhaps helped you to open a new chapter. What new choices have you made that are allowing your heart to flourish and your life to expand in ways that are deeply meaningful to you? I look forward to finding new ways and new places to connect. I hope you'll keep in touch. Send me an email or give me a call.
In the meantime, I send you all my love.