Thursday, March 7, 2013

Earlier this year I chose to pass on a yoga class I had committed to. Before my contract was up. After teaching it for only a few weeks. It is to date the most challenging decision I have made in my yoga career. I am proud of my decision & am dedicating a blog post to my experience. 

Prior to this class I taught a 5pm hatha yoga class that also met twice a week. I had many no shows during the 5 months I taught the class. I confided in friends & colleagues. I heard advice from a few friends & colleagues on how to deal with no students showing up. I heard about bringing yoga books, practicing on my own during the time in order to hold space & intention for the class. What I infer from this advice is that my own investment & commitment of presence in the space & time set up for teaching a public class will eventually call in students to show up. I tried that a few times. Mostly I did restorative yoga because my heart was so crushed I did not have a lot of yang energy to offer. Truthfully, I felt ashamed, bummed out, confused & curious about this commitment, this relationship I found myself in due to my passion for yoga & my passion for sharing the gift of yoga as so many of my fabulous teachers have done with me. 

When I began teaching my new class at the beginning of this year a few friends came the first time & then there was no one (zero students) off & on with occasionally one or two people. I experienced a visceral caving in of my heart & all the richness within it I want to offer to others. I did not feel fairly compensated for my time. I felt like a failure. I remembered other advice I had been given - give everything to the one student who comes if there is only one person in attendance for a public class. I love that. In theory. Sometimes even in real time. However, the thing is - I really do it. And I did. I gave everything I had to offer to the privates I gave publicly for $3.50. It was fun. For a while. Then I began to feel I was not being compensated fairly for my time & the energy I was giving. I began to feel, well, masochistic & willingly staying in an unhealthy relationship.

A lot of fear came up for me when I thought about passing along this class. Especially before my contract was up. That is not characteristic of me. I love commitment; I love it so much, I watch out for myself because I have in the past stayed committed much too long, past the point of a relationship serving my heart. I was scared I would be judged harshly by the studio & other teachers. I was scared I would be fired from my other class at the studio. I was scared I would not be a 'real yoga teacher' since I would only be teaching one class per week. Choosing to pass on the class was a challenging decision though it quickly became a decision I absolutely had to make. My commitment to a public class with barely any attendance was crushing my heart, my passion for yoga & the brightness of my spirit. 

I did not pursue teaching yoga to become rich. I do, however, want to be paid for my time & the energetic, intellectual investment I have cultivated & woven. The devotional investment I have is a living commitment; it is an ever-evolving part of what I offer to the world & it is something I have been honing for many years. To offer this to others without fair compensation is draining & at times degrading. I have spoken with other teachers who seem bright (& surprisingly cheerful) about accepting no shows as a part of teaching yoga publicly. I do not feel bright or cheerful about committing to (often) showing up & spending time alone in an empty room - a scenario that is supposed to be a job & is not. I do not want to commit to showing up when others are not. I do not want to practice yoga for 90 minutes while also dealing with the genuine feeling of rejection & failure that comes up for me when nobody comes to my public classes. This does not serve my heart, my enthusiasm for yoga & the years of my dedicated study & effort. What I have to offer becomes sadly diminished if I stay in unhealthy professional relationships. I do not feel the least bit bright (or cheerful) about committing to a scenario as my experience describes. 

Since I passed along this class I have been offered a few other yoga related jobs that I am very happy about. All of which I am being paid well for. All of which feel amazing because I feel supported in the relationship. The exchange is different, it is fair. I made a choice to change my life & I will continue to choose relationships that serve me so I can fully & unabashedly serve others from my heart.

Image / Graphic Design by Leigh Aschoff

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Tantric Love Poem

Black is not Pink,
Orange is like Red,
Ganesha is nothing but Laksmi.

photograph by Omayari

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Where there is presence there is love. Be with your heart. Let it lead you to your truth. Listen deeply. Notice your presence here. Enjoy your presence here. Wed the earth, wed your heart. Breathe deeply into your lungs & heart. Receive. The earth & the heart are consistently near. Sync the rhythm of your heart with the rhythm of nature. Bare feet with heart beat.

© Leigh Aschoff

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Experience yoga in the privacy & comfort of your own home. Practice yoga in a safe, nurturing space with excellent guidance based on your needs. The path of yoga is yours to discover. Amplify your practice with privates. Go deeper into your heart, get lost in your breath & expand the consciousness of your body. 


For more information visit

Photograph & Flier design by Leigh Aschoff

Friday, August 31, 2012

The psyche knows how to heal, but it hurts. Sometimes the healing hurts more than the initial injury, but if you can survive it, you'll be stronger, because you've found a larger base. Every commitment is a narrowing, and when that commitment fails, you have to get back to a larger base and have the strength to hold it.

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called "the love of your fate." Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, "This is what I need." It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment - not discouragement - you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement on your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You'll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

                                                          The dark night of the soul
                                                          comes just before revelation.

                                                          When everything is lost,
                                                          and all seems darkness,
                                                          then comes the new life
                                                          and all that is needed.

Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion
Selected & Edited by Diane K. Osbon
pg. 38-39

Photo Credit: Leigh Aschoff