When I was in college I was that hopeless adolescent who had no idea what direction to go in. I had a friend who knew since she was in grade school that she wanted to be a teacher. I, on the other hand, wanted to be a teacher, a writer, a lawyer, a fitness instructor, a psychotherapist, a photographer and so many other things I couldn’t even list them all here.
My college offered a free course on finding your path so I signed up! They gave us all these tests to determine what your dream job might be. “If you had these two magazines to choose from, which would you pick: Better Homes and Gardens or Rolling Stone?” One of the tests I took gave me a list of the best jobs for me starting with the best job and going down to the worst fit. The number one slot? Pastor.
If you know me at all, you are probably confused or laughing right now. Not only am I not a religious person but I love sleeping in on Sundays. Grape juice stains, sensitive knees and my habit of non-conformity makes church hard for me. And incense makes me sneeze. Oh and my Aunt always insisted that we wear dresses to church when I was a kid and now I can’t enter a religious institution without bare knees or I feel like I’ve broken the law. Did I mention I hate dresses? And dress shoes? And really all the clothes appropriate for the church setting? All that to say, Pastor does NOT appear to be my dream job.
I immediately disregarded that test and forged ahead. I kept playing around with my career interests, learning and adjusting like I do in a yoga pose (what if I put my hand here? here?) I tried massage therapy (working with my hands), education (working with kids), social work (working with the community), customer service (working with clients), and training (working with employees). Each job taught me something new, gave me some insight into where my path would take me but none felt exactly right.
Then I opened The Yoga Casa and I got to blend all my career quests into one big life changing business. I was simultaneously creating a community, teaching yoga, handling customers, working with my hands and training staff. It was everything all rolled in to one.
Although I must say, the biggest and best part of my job is creating community. It was one of the things I outlined in the very first plans I made for the studio. I wanted a place where people felt welcome but also I knew that I wanted to help combat the global pandemic of ALONE. I wrote about it in one of my first blog posts and it continues to be a driving force for the studio.
I love planning events for our students. I love how students show up regularly to class so they can chat (oh and do yoga too). Did you know we’ve found people new jobs through our yoga community? We’ve connected people to new volunteer opportunities, found babysitters and created long term friendships. We have our own Facebook page, our own book club and our own favorite coffee shop.
I’ve learned over the years that I have to be consistent with holding space for people to get to know each other. I have to help students feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
I’ve learned that it’s best if students see each other at least once a week. I’ve learned to check in on people when they haven’t come to class. I’ve followed my heart and reached out if a student experiences a death in the family, an accident, or even a tough day. We’ve created classes that have ritual, repetition and resonate with student’s spiritual side. We’ve held pot lucks, book clubs and celebrated weddings, birthdays and anniversaries together. We have become an inviting community where newcomers are always welcome. We have learned the value of bowing to one another and greeting each other with love.
The irony of it all? I woke up one day and realized, in a lot of ways, I’ve become a pastor.
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between. Shout out to Tiffany Stewart for help with the writing.