I Began to Truly Live Yoga When I Quit Teaching It
Yoga Journal|January - February 2022
Walking away from my practice actually drew me closer to it.
By Wolf Terry, Photography by Peshkova/Getting Images, Aluxum/Getty Images

ON MAY 30, 2020, I taught my last yoga asana class, via Zoom. For more than a year I had anticipated transitioning into full-time writing; the pandemic fast-tracked this change. My husband was a frontline worker required to physically go in to work. With no childcare options available and an inconsistent schedule at the studio where I taught, I found myself scrambling to teach classes independently at times that were convenient for our family’s new schedule. Within weeks, I was completely burned out from this new hustle in an already hustle-heavy field of work.

For years, I had entwined my entire identity around being a yogi. I learned Sanskrit, studied yoga asana and philosophy, and absorbed myself in bhakti (devotional) practices. But slowly, the processes that go hand-in-hand with being a yoga teacher in the West—promoting classes, workshops, and trainings online, hustling to teach 15–20 classes per week, and doing mini yoga photo shoots on vacation to rack up Instagram likes—had made a negative impact on my daily life. It had transformed my personal yoga practice into something I barely recognized. I began to realize that the attachment that I had made wasn’t to yoga—it was to a false perception of what I had come to believe yoga was.

Making the Pivot

I thought I was ready for a dramatic pivot, but making the change from being a yoga teacher to a writer disemboweled my very being. In the weeks that followed that final class, I found myself drifting.

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