Welcome to my blog, So You Think You Can Yoga?® First, a bit about myself. I am a professional ballet dancer and registered yoga instructor from Los Angeles, CA. Now a bit about this blog. So You Think You Can Yoga?® is a unique potpourri of yoga, philosophy, anatomy, movement, dance and seemingly everyday experiences derived from my life as a movement professional. So You Think You Can Yoga?® is an evolution of one yogic thought, event or experience into the next. I hope you will join me as I embark on this yogic journey...who knows where we might end up!
|Politics of Yoga...Yea Buddy!|
|Written by Susy Vishmid|
|Friday, 30 March 2012 03:46|
Don't think for a second that yoga instructors are some ethereal form of human. We are just regular people engaging in regular people behavior. The yoga industry is booming here in the Yoga Mecca we know and love as Los Angeles. Warning: Yoga instructor (Me) is about to get judgemental, but only for a few paragraphs.
A surplus of yoga instructors pervades our tinsel-town, many of which have no business teaching and molding bodies in the first place. If you add up all these variable you get something very "unyogic" : COMPETITION. Competition is good just like Darwin said because it eliminates the weak and the talentless from the strong and talented. We are not all created equal in all respects. Some people are better than others at certain things. A yoga instructor who relies only their yoga teacher-training education program and their passion for could be a good instructor. However, when a lifetime dedicated to training for a career in professional dance, athletics, sportsmedicine, etc... is coupled with a yoga teacher-training education program the end result is a first-class instructor! Any regular Joe can sign up for yoga teacher-training courses, pay the money, and take the classes. It's not rocket science. What is a science is having a solid understanding of how to apply movement principles into action, and who better to teach these principles than people who move FOR A LIVING! I call these people, myself included, Movement Specialists.
What boggles my mind is that I have been teaching yoga for over four years now and have danced professionally for about 15 years. I spent my entire childhood and adolescence training and perfecting each move, each part of my body for a career in professional ballet. I know exactly how much pressure to exert on this or that muscle to achieve just enough tension on the bone to get the leg or the arm to move a specific way. Equally as important I have the tools to articulate this knowledge to my students. So why is it that people who are far less experienced actually land the same teaching jobs I’m pursuing? I have many examples but this one is my most recent experience. Here goes…
I did some major due diligence at a local yoga studio in Playa Vista. I established a relationship with the owner, met with her, and kept in touch with her for the course of several months with the hope that she would contact me once she was ready to hire more instructors. The owner of this Playa Vista yoga studio informed me that she had several instructors leaving soon, one due to pregnancy and another for unknown reasons. The owner was especially pleased when we discussed my ability to teach more advanced classes since she was looking to add advanced classes to the schedule. I thought I was in good shape here! It was a sure thing. This process began just before Thanksgiving 2011. We kept in touch through early February 2012 at which point the owner told me they currently don't need new instructors. In late March, almost two months later, I learned that this Playa Vista yoga studio owner recently hired a new instructor… someone I know! I immediately reached out to the owner and brought it to her attention. Our communication went something like this:
I do have quite a stack!! However, the teacher I just brought on contacted me in 2010 when we first opened and has kept in contact since. However, I saw you on the Raska site and do have you in my mind when something arrises and fits. (yes, the typo was originally in her reply).
At this point I chose to let it go. However, this is just another instance of the ruthless “politics of yoga” that I cope with daily. How the heck did this Playa Vista yoga studio owner know that I work at RaKsa? Was she doing some of her own due diligence by keeping tabs on her direct competition?
It's not easy to walk into a yoga studio to teach and be all "Zen" when your brain throbs from having to navigate through a forest of incompetent studio owners, managers, and other yoga instructors. Often I am left to clean up the mess created by the previous yoga instructor. For example, when a student has a bad habit that compromises their physical alignment and places them at risk for injury I have to wonder who taught them to practice that way. Or better yet, who is it that didn’t teach this person how to do it correctly... because I sure as hell can! Everyone wants to be a yoga instructor in this town, but not everyone has the talent and the know-how to do it with flying colors.