I Decided to Stop Teaching Yoga

The past three years of my life has always been about going all out #YOGA4LAYF and I am proud to say I’ve accomplished the things I wanted to do in that list.

Went to teacher training YUP

Have a daily practice YUP

Find a place to teach in YUP

But something happened along the way. I discovered the rabbit hole that is Ashtanga. It was like an entrance to another dimension hidden under the floor panel which had a carpet over it and was covered by a heavy oak coffee table.

After discovering it there was no turning your back on a gaping hole in the middle of the floor that might lead to somewhere awesome.

I’ve met two very influential teachers in the past two years that showed me how wonderful the practice was. I learned to be patient and to believe that I could do everything – given time and dedication.

After leaving Jakarta armed with a confident sense in my practice, I thought I could be independent enough for self-study and work on teaching at the same time. Since moving to Singapore, a new job, a new schedule – despite everything being more accessible – threw me off center and I eventually hid behind those as excuses for not practicing nor teaching.

When I finally taught, I was happy for a while but there was something not right. I initially thought maybe it was because it wasn’t the #YOGA4LAYF setting. After attending Sharath’s conference in Bali – I listened to the little voice in the back of my head.

Not over Ubud but obviously over my mochi face. 😎

A photo posted by Sheena Siao (@sheenasiao) on

Was so happy to see friends from Jakarta in Ubud. Practicing again with them made me really happy and had helped me rethink things.

Making the Decision

I realised this after teacher training and only truly acknowledged it after attending Sharath’s conference in Bali. Having a teacher is one of the most wonderful aspects of the practice. You lay your trust down completely so that he/she can challenge you is the best way possible and I came to admit – as flexible as I am, I am not ready for that. I am more hungry to learn.

So while in the conference, I decided to stop teaching and emailed my studio. I had my last class last Sunday and as sad as it was to see students progressing and letting them go – it wasn’t fair to both them and me if I continue to do what I was doing.

There were other factors of course, like my work and some commitments but those are just the logical, boring stuff. The truth was that I wanted this for me.

It wasn’t force-fitting to the acceptable excuse that it was extra income but just something I did that make me happy. I was in a situation where I would distort my practice to cater to a different style for work, and then do my practice when I can. In hindsight, I remember writing that out as a fear when I was preparing to move to Singapore.

The Effect in My Practice After

It was so difficult after being inconsistently present both physically and mentally but at the same time, I was so so happy. I couldn’t explain it but everything just felt right. And instead of having notes in the back of my head for the class I teach, it was more about repeating a pose to experiment.

I realised it was the same mindset I had when I was in Jakarta which was the height of my practice. A teacher in Bali and I were talking about it and he said it was the honeymoon phase. Where you’re so wired in a daily practice that it’s the only thing you can talk about it.

I couldn’t be more overjoyed about having a second honeymoon phase in Ashtanga. It felt like a warm hug being there yesterday.

What’s Next?

I am not sure, really. I thought about placing a “for now” in the title [I decided to stop teaching yoga for now] but I don’t even know if I’m really going back to teach full-time and if it’s something I want.

The near future is me practicing consistently and getting that rhythm back.

The most is that I’ll be helping a friend out who has a bad case of scoliosis. The goal was that I’ll be her yoga buddy and help her with her momentum to go to the shala as frequently as I do. If there would be questions on the practice, I’d be happy to share my thoughts and that’d be it for now.

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