When I lived in Philadelphia, I used to go to Philly Power Yoga several times a week. The studio owner, Steve Gold, was quite a character, in a good way. Sometimes I would take his class, sometimes I would see him working at the reception. Based on his chill demeanor, it was easy to imagine that he wore the same outfit in all circumstances, possibly even out in the street in the winter: sleeveless shirt, shorts, flip-flops (except no flip-flops inside the yoga room).
Steve would tell stories as he taught. One of them was how he used to be a banker, and how the Banker Steve would enjoy getting new fancy cars, wearing nice suits and such. But then he got into yoga (I forget the details how/why), his materialistic attitudes changed, and he decided to make yoga his profession. The inspirational point of the story was, presumably, that yoga changes you so much that you become an entirely different person.
While I could see the point and agree with it, the illustrative story itself always bothered me. Look, here we have Steve teaching 20 -30 students at a time. If the message is effective, would most of them get all liberated and become yoga instructors? And then inspire their own yoga instructors, so multiply that by 30? Who’d be left doing the banking then? What if I want to be a statistician whose life is untangled by yoga? How do I set myself free and stay in the world? Tell me that story.
Even as I look forward to taking a break, to travel and study yoga a lot, for a few months, it would be a loss to never again experience the other magic. The magic of finding and solving problems, discovering and exposing patterns, building displays of information out of the chaos of data. Not to mention, while I have enjoyed teaching yoga to friends and acquaintances, and could likely do a good enough job in a public class with minimal practice, one can’t throw a rock in San Francisco without hitting at least a mediocre vinyasa yoga instructor*. How many of them have the other gifts that I have? Who would I serve by competing?
Having said that, we do have an unmet need for restorative yoga, yoga Nidra, and yoga for women here. Hmm. I suppose we’ll see how I feel about all this after the training. For now though, I don’t want to be a full time yoga instructor.
*Please don’t throw rocks at people, vinyasa yoga instructors or not: that’s not nice.