What is your primary career and what do you do, how long have you been doing it?
I think I can best speak about my experiences as a full-time law student, as I just graduated from Richardson Law School this past December. I have only recently begun working as a legal intern at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (“HART”) (since August 2017) so this last part-time semester was particularly hectic. My job is currently in the Procurement and Contracts department and consists of legal research to assist in contract negotiation, as well as document drafting and review. The second half of the internship will be spent in the Department of Planning, Permitting and Right of Way (“ROW”), and as described, I’ll be doing a lot of the same functions but dealing with primarily land use agreements. My duties vary by day and my focus is just to get as much applicable experience as I can prior to taking the Bar Exam in July.
Teaching is certainly the primary joy of my life. I’ve been teaching since 2012, about five and a half years, of which two were full-time. Right now I teach two Power Vinyasa classes a week at the donation-based studio, Power Yoga Hawaii on 510 Piikoi St.
– Friday mornings at 9:30am
– Monday nights at 6:40pm,
with an occasional yoga event or private class as time permits.
What are the benefits of teaching yoga in addition to having a full-time career?
Teaching is my chance to be artistically creative, and to be surrounded by happy, loving people. It’s like a sunny break in the clouds and there are days where I’ve felt lost and confused and teaching a class and seeing students’ faces lifted my spirits. It’s also a great way to maintain relationships and friendships as it requires you to show up on a weekly basis and be accountable to the people you care about that exist outside of your career. Personally, teaching is part of my identity. I feel like it’s an important ingredient in my life and my happiness, so I prioritize it.
Teaching yoga requires energy – a lot of it… and I would recommend for people who have full-time careers to be very aware of the right amount of classes to teach in order to maintain balance. It’s easy to get burnt out expending too much energy, and it’s also important to save some time for personal practice. I don’t think there are any negatives as long as you keep the number of classes you teach to be reasonable to suit your specific work and lifestyle. I’ve definitely been guilty of trying to teach too many classes. Currently, my internship offers flexible hours and I work on average 25-30 hours a week, so I am able to maintain the classes that I offer. As time passes and I focus more on my career I will have to constantly reassess to make sure I have the right balance. I hope to be able to continue to teach but only time will tell.
What recommendation can you give to other future yoga teachers who don’t want to give up their primary job to teach yoga?
Some of this I answered above, but to expand on the idea of maintaining balance in your life – design a teaching schedule that fits you is really key. Offer a class that’s conducive to your work schedule, so you’re not scrambling to make it work. When I was in law school I used to leave on my lunch break to teach class, and then rush back to make it hungry and breathless in time for lecture – that’s how badly I wanted to teach, but I don’t recommend that, it wasn’t sustainable and I eventually gave up my lunchtime yoga class. Right now, the studio that I teach at is really great because I show up to teach the class and then leave right after. Working at some studios will require you to sell packages and merchandise and respond to administrative emails, but when you’re busy it’s important to streamline your day to cut out the noise. If teaching yoga ever becomes a hassle, it’s time to reconsider and rebalance, or refocus on your personal practice.
How has being a yoga teacher helped you in your career?
Growing up I was really shy. My parents were immigrants and when I was really young I was teased for being different (I grew up in Connecticut where there is a small Asian population – unlike Hawaii) so I would describe myself to be an introvert. In order to practice yoga, you can be really introverted and focus on yourself, but in order to teach – you have to find your voice and connect with others. Public speaking, or even private meetings can be intimidating, but I give credit to teaching in that I’m willing to put myself out there so others can hear what I have to say.
Is there anything you would like to add?
It’s all about balance! And I’m just trying to find it too 🙂