How I Plan To Change the World By Becoming A Certified Yoga Instructor

yoga instructorI have been practicing yoga for the past four years at Urban Body Studios in Atlanta, GA and in my home. At the time I started doing yoga in 2007, I was in anxiety over-drive.  I had nasal surgery in 2006 and have never been able to breath quite right since that time.  After a year of visiting every specialist under the sun, they all told me nothing was wrong with me.  I was advised for health reasons by several of my doctors that yoga would relieve my anxiety attacks and lower the effects of stress on my body.  I was told that many of my health problems were caused only by stress and that there were no physical problems with my body.  Stress overload had created erratically very high blood pressure spikes, heart palpitations, sweats and total lack of energy.

Hence, the need to control my breathing and state-of-mind!  Yoga was the answer.

I have thought about becoming a yoga teacher for the past two years but haven’t signed up due to financial reasons.  I’m an adjunct economics instructor at a few local universities in the greater Atlanta area.  However, as an adjunct, I get classes canceled often as most universities use the LIFO system of assigning courses.  Working part-time at various colleges allows me more personal freedom and less stress than my previous corporate career.

Teaching mid-day allows me the freedom to practice yoga most mornings.  Yoga has taught me how to calm my breathing and consciously control the breath.  By doing this, I am able to control any anxiety and eliminate it before it begins affecting my body.  Yoga has also taught me how to make my mind still and focus on the present, rather than being focused on the past or pre-occupied by all the things that could or could not occur in the future.  It is for these reasons, controlled breathing and stillness and focused presence of the mind and body that I have continued to practice yoga.

After my illness, I had gained 25 pounds.  Beginning  yoga in an overweight body was much harder than in a thin body.  I easily tired at first and couldn’t keep many of the poses held for the required time suggested.  I was plain clumsy compared with many of the hard-core yogis who stood straight, lean and tall.  Through the years, I found that if I wanted my yoga practice to be more meaningful, I had to change the way I ate food.  Rather than sugary snacks, I began to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into my diet.  Focusing on now meant that I cared about what I put into my body, for if I drank coffee, the calming effects of yoga were gone.  So coffee was eliminated from my diet.  Water replaced it.

As I began to do more yoga in the studio, I came to learn that many of the regular students ate very healthy meals.  I began doing research into nutrition and starting eating more nuts, more vegetables, eliminated red meats and soda.  I drank more water, ate more fruits and vegetables, and began to bake my own bread to eliminate all of the preservatives that come from store-bought bread.  As my diet improved, my yoga improved.  As my yoga improved, my anxiety disappeared.  My energy level came back to higher levels than I’ve had since childhood.  I could once again do headstands and backbends in the middle of a park!  The flexibility of youth was restored.  And the 25 pounds came off and more!

I began to discuss the benefits of my yoga practice with many of my friends.  We would go to a local park and practice in the middle of a grassy area on blankets.  Many of them would tire, as I had, when I just began.  They would complement me on how amazing it was that I could do a headstand, a handstand and a backbend at age 51 without any props.  But my mind is now still and I can focus and control my thoughts and my body’s actions.  I encourage them to practice continually to understand what it means to “do” yoga.

I certainly couldn’t have achieved any level of satisfaction in my yoga practice if it were not for the patience and guidance of my yoga instructor, Robert Joiner.  As I listen to his calming voice while the class does the various asanas, I can only aspire to be as good a yoga teacher as he has achieved.  I’ve only practiced with about 10 or so instructors, but he clearly challenges every student to do their best and to continue to practice yoga more in the studio and at home.  He is the epitomy of what I strive for when I teach yoga—practice, practice, practice and the wisdom of the actions will be more clear.  He is constantly striving to learn more about how the body works mechanically by studying various martial arts and studying human physiology.  He incorporates this knowledge back into the classroom and corrects students so they don’t injure themselves.

I find myself continually wanting to read more and more about yoga, besides my daily practice.  Yoga has helped me overcome many of my health problems.  I believe that it can help millions of people achieve better satisfaction with their lives.  I want to help others enjoy many of the spiritual, psychological and physical benefits that I have benefitted from during my practice.

I have researched many times on the Internet various yoga training schools.  While studying in India or Bali, like in Eat, Love and Pray is only a dream, my reality exists in the greater Atlanta area.  I was thrilled to learn that there is a studio in Cartersville where I could take my yoga certification if I win this contest and am accepted.  I was even more pleased to see they have a full-time 6 week summer schedule, as this fits perfectly around my college teaching schedule.  Cartersville is not far from the Etowah Indian Mounds, a magical place that sits high above the river.  I can’t think of a better place to get in touch with oneself and practice yoga.

As a business person with over 30 years corporate and consulting experience, I plan to make an impact on the world with yoga by getting children and seniors more involved, and also business people.  Children today are grossly overweight and don’t exercise enough.  Most K-12 schools have dropped gym.  Children need to have yoga classes brought into the schools as an after-school activity or as a health elective, tied in with nutrition and healthy lifestyles.  I would also like to offer yoga to seniors at senior community centers and health care facilities.  Practicing yoga makes one feel in control of one’s life.  In the closing years of life, many seniors due to their failing  bodies, feel they lack this control.  While many exercises from yoga may be beyond the scope of many elderly, many would benefit from any exercise and feeling of self control.  Lastly, I’d like to introduce yoga practice into the office gym.  Rather than a sweaty workout, why not travel to various offices and teach yoga relaxation techniques.

Rather than the 20 minutes coffee break, offer a yoga class with a ice-cold water refreshment.  With many health care plans providing incentives for exercise, why not train workers to enjoy a yoga class rather than an alcoholic drink at the end of the day to calm one’s spirit.  Yoga is a win-win for all!

2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Dianne Fishel

If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for him by leaving a comment (scroll all the way to the bottom), and sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter. Each comment, Facebook, and Twitter share counts as one vote and you can do all three!

Are you interested in becoming a yoga teacher? Then visit our Yoga School Directory to find the right teacher training. Or, visit our Yoga Retreats page to explore beautiful yoga vacations from around the world.

Join the Conversation

  1. Natasha Fishel says:

    I vote for my loving owner, Dianne Fishel, to win the Yoga Scholarship contest. After she comes home from yoga in the morning, she is relaxed and calm and loves to give me a nice slow massage.
    I purr aloud and feel great. More yoga for her! Meow!
    Natasha the cat

    • Robyn Bragg says:

      I vote for Diana Fischel, she is an awesome person and she will be a wonderful yoga teacher….just wish I lived closer Robyn Bragg

    • Sherri Shapiro says:

      I vote for Diane Fishel!

    • Michael Brown says:

      I can certainally appreciate Dianne’s efforts to pursue options that will empower her to take contol of her having better health. As a former college student of Dianne’s, I’m sure the same dedication and commitment she has towards her role as a Professor will also be an asset to her rols as a Yoga instructor and a tremendous benefit to those who will be fortunate enough to be in her Yoga classes! Dianne you have my vote…

  2. MaryBeth Clapper says:

    Dianne would be a great instructor! I would definitely take her class.

  3. Jonathan P. Mahoney says:

    As a former colleague of Dianne’s, I know that she will be 100% devoted to anything she puts her mind to. If that is yoga, then I see no reason why she should not be selected for a free yoga instructor training, especially if she intends on getting more overweight children involved with yoga.

    Best of luck!

  4. Anita Winje says:

    Bravo Dianne!
    Having seen the results of your practice at Urban Body, I can think of no one more qualified and deserving than you to win this scholarship. Good Luck!

  5. Amy Hartman says:


    By reading your essay it has really intrigued ne to be more involved with yoga. I always shyed away from it, thinking aerobics was the total answer.

    Thank you for a totally enjoyable essay. You have clearly explained the benefits of yoga and what you could bring. You are a clear winner!


  6. Kathryn Campbell says:

    I would like to vote for Diane Fishel to become a yoga instructor.

  7. Lorryn says:

    I found Dianne’s story fascinating, and the impact that yoga has had on her health and life inspirational. I think her plan for using her yoga teaching certification to work with children, seniors, and corporate offices to make great sense – and could have a tremendous impact on these 3 demographics who could all benefit from her teaching.
    Dianne is a very thoughtful and dedicated person who puts 100% into her activities. I believe she will make a wonderful yoga teacher and think she is a worthy candidate for this program.

  8. Mary says:

    Diane’s article is very touching. I take yoga with her and I know what she means about our instructor Robert. If she aspires to be like him, I am totally for her and appreciate this article of her’s immensely.

  9. Elyse says:

    Diane would make a great yoga instructor.

  10. mary pick says:

    Dianne is not only and experienced instructor, but also a fine athlete. She is a marathoner and has turned her life around to maintain health. Let’s let her turn around and insire someone else.

  11. Shirley Hartman says:

    Even though as a parent ,I might be considered biased,I tried to read her essay as an unbiased bystander.I have seen the great improvement in her health,and combined with running,in her physical appearance
    Her ability to teach,her knowledge and enthusiasm, will make her a great teacher. She has my vote.

  12. Dianne Fishel says:

    I would love to win this yoga contest and continue to take my yoga to the next level. I’d love to train others, both young and old, to learn to stregthen themselves in mind and body through yoga.

    Namaste. I vote for me to win, even though it’s selfish.

    I will definitely pursue the training if I win and go on to be a great instructor like Robert Joiner, my yoga instructor.

  13. Debbie Vaughn says:

    Dianne is the best! She deserves to win.

  14. Teddi Kalb says:

    Dianne Fishel is one of the most patient and level-headed woman I have come to meet. Just through that alone combined with her determination, I know she would make a great yoga instructor. She’s got my vote!

  15. L.L. Shapiro says:

    As someone who has known her all her life, but was not aware of her interest in yoga, I must say that I am truly impressed. Personally, I have had no previous interest in yoga, but after reading Dianne’s essay, I intend to do some additional research on the subject. In any event, I know that Dianne will make a great trainer if given the opportunity. One of her greatest assets has always been a willingness to immerse herself in whatever she begins and always sees it through to the end. I know she will do the same with this endeavor!

  16. Arlene Shapiro says:

    It is easy to vote for Dianne, knowing that whatever she sets out to do, will be done.

  17. Caryn Gartner says:

    I’m sure Diane would be the most fantastic yoga instructor and I would love to learn from her. She has achieved personal success through her own experiences and she has the patience and compassion that will translate to all her students. You go, girl!!!

  18. Sue says:

    As a teacher of yoga teachers, Diane is the student I would be honored to teach. And what a beautiful attitude for a future teacher.

    • Dianne Fishel says:

      Hello Sue,
      Thank you for voting for me. I will come to your studio in Cartersville and definitely take some classes from you.

  19. Marcia Friedman says:

    Wonderful essay – doesn’t surprise me – maybe it’s not too late for me.YOU WILL BE A GREAT Y0GA TEACHER. My votes for you.

  20. Maureen says:

    I vote for Dianne- she would be great!

  21. Michael Fishel says:

    I vote for Dianne! Over the seven years that I’ve known her, the metamorphosis that has occurred since she began practicing yoga is impressive. The benefits of yoga are so apparent in the change to her posture, energy, breathing, and ability to eliminate the effects of stress. Her attitude has become so much more positive since beginning yoga. I believe she would make an excellent yoga instructor as she would always be there for her students, and would never stop training to improve her own technique.

  22. Andrea Cleveland says:

    Dianne is an incredible person – I’ve known her her entire life and I truly believe that her dedication to Yoga will transform itself to everyone she teaches. I think she will make a fabulous teacher

  23. Lisa Hoxie says:

    I vote for Dianne! Her essay really says it all, but I’ll add my own little snippet. On one of Dianne’s previous visits to Colorado the two of us talked about the benefits of yoga. Like Dianne, I turned to yoga in a very stressful time in my life as a way to help heal my mind and body. During her visit she encouraged the two of us to do yoga together, on our own. This was different for me, as I was used to class instruction from the local rec center. I’ll never forget the two of us going outside to the lush greenspace area by the house one morning and having our own class. It was a beautiful and sunny morning, and an incredibly peaceful venue for yoga. Thanks, Dianne. Namaste.

  24. Pat Ryan says:

    I vote for Dianne. The ability to overcome the obstacles in her life and go from an non-runners to a marathon runner leads me to believe she will succeed in this endeavor also. She has a demonstrated ability to persevere.

  25. Mary Anne Walser says:

    Dianne is a wonderful person and I can’t imagine a better yoga teacher! Yay, Dianne!!!

  26. Kayron says:

    Great article Dianne! I vote for you!!

  27. Digby says:

    Awesome blog post Dianne. You get my vote.

  28. Gryphon says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  29. Susan Puckett says:

    Dianne would be a fabulous yoga instructor. Besides being dedicated to her own fitness she is generous and caring in helping those around her. I vote for Dianne!

  30. Paige Stanley says:

    I vote for Dianne! What a great commitment.

  31. mary says:

    good luck Dianne!Yoga has changed my life as well!

  32. Gail Stansell says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  33. PYR says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel.

  34. CP says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  35. Robert Wildes says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel.

  36. Michael Kalb says:

    Way to go D! Best of luck and success as I know that you have the passion and dedication to do this. You go girl!!!

  37. Robin Cohen says:

    Wow! Great article! I vote for Dianne Fishel. She would make an amazing yoga teacher! Her passion about yoga and to help others is very obvious!

  38. Brandi Jacobi says:

    I vote for Dianne! She’d be fabulous

  39. Timothy Williamson says:

    I vote for Dianne to win!

  40. Ann Snyder Benator says:

    I’m inspired and vote for Dianne!!

  41. Lisa Hoxie says:

    I vote for Dianne Fischel!

  42. Cameron Hoxie says:

    I vote for Dianne.

  43. Collin Hoxie says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  44. Ann says:

    I vote for Diane to win!

  45. Julia harmon says:

    I definitely think Dianne should Win. She’d make an, amazing instructor!

  46. Richard LeBer says:

    Loved the essay! Diane would be a great yoga instructor. I vote for her.

  47. Bettye Rainwater says:

    I vote for Dianne Fischel.

  48. Valerie Shapiro says:

    Dianne Fishel is a very special person to everyone who knows her. She a very understanding and competant person.Anyone would be lucky to have her as a yoga Instructer. I voted for Dianne Fishel

  49. Patricia S. says:


  50. Lori S. says:

    Great essay! I vote for Dianne Fischel. She will be a wonderful yoga teacher.

  51. Shelly says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  52. Barb Fishel says:

    I think Dianne will make a great yoga instructor.

  53. Juanita Motley says:

    Sounds like you have some great ideas and I already know you are tuned into health and nutrition issues.Great essay. Hope you receive the scholarship. You would make good use of it. Good Luck!

  54. AndyShapiro says:

    Dianne Fishel is a warm and compassionate person with other.I vote for Dianne Fishel

  55. charlie Gregory says:

    I vote for Diane to win.

  56. charlie Gregory says:

    i vote for Diane to win

  57. Generosa Kagaruki says:

    Great essay Dianne. You have my vote, I’m sure you’ll be a great instructor. Love your ideas.

  58. Anne Fayssoux says:

    Dianne would be great! She has my vote.

  59. Susan Brands says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel!!!!

  60. Londa says:

    I vote for Dianne.
    It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

  61. Gisela Schmidt says:

    Dianne has the sensitivity and dedication to be a good yoga teacher. I vote for Dianne!

  62. Daniel says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  63. Gabi Huiber says:

    Yes, give Dianne a scholarship.

  64. Betty Brass says:

    My vote is for Dianne. She has been a go-getter since she was a little girl. It is also about time that someone thought about the senior community. I just wish we didn’t live so far away so that she could form a yoga class in my senior community. Way to go Dianne! Love you.

  65. Leonard Brass says:

    Dianne gets my vote! Thinking about doing something like this for the senior community is just terrific. She will make a wonderful instructor.

  66. Joe Shu says:

    I vote for Dianne to win.

  67. Howard M Brass says:

    I definitely vote for Dianne to win. She will do great!!

  68. Dianese Howard says:

    I vote for Dianne

  69. Randi S says:

    Di is the best! Anything she does–she excels at. She should win–hands doggy down!

  70. Shelby K says:

    What my mom said! Any friend of hers has to be a winner!

  71. Betty Brass says:

    Way to go Dianne! You have my vote.

  72. Martha B. says:

    I vote for Dianne. You are the sweetest!

  73. Trish Taylor says:

    I vote for Dianne.

  74. Cindi Burgess says:

    I vote for Dianne. Great Essay.

  75. Steve says:

    I vote for Dianne.

  76. Jared Brass says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  77. Susan McClure says:

    Inspiring essay. I vote for Dianne.

  78. Harriet Weil says:

    I vote for Dianne. Great essay, and a great person

  79. Shelly Holmes says:

    I vote for Dianne. Excellent essay. I hope you win this, you deserve it.

  80. AndyShapiro says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel because she is a compassionate and caring person and deals well with others.

  81. Jermain C. Williamson says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel to win. Ms Fishel is going to immediately elevate any educational institution that she becomes a part of. Her genuine nature and compassion coupled with her intellect make her an obvious choice for this as well as any scholarly selection.

  82. Stefan Thomas says:

    Go for it Dianne….and then you have to come and see us and teach me!

  83. Robin says:

    Good for you ! I know yoga has been an enormous help for me too !

  84. LARRY KAGAN says:

    I’ve known Dianne since very early childhood,and to know her, is to know that she will accomplish anything she sets out to do, and will do it better than just well. She’s very special.
    Add my vote!!!

  85. Joshua Conley says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel to win a scholarship because she is an amazing teacher whose devotion through extensive work truly shows her support for her students.

  86. Antoine Boyd says:

    I vote for Dianne to win. Good work and best wishes!

  87. Dian Deimler says:

    Dianne is dedicated and hard working! Of course she should win!

  88. Al Olszewski says:

    I vote for Dianne to win. She would be a great yoga teacher and guide for its practice.

  89. Kimberly Fox says:

    I vote for Diane to Win! She is hard working and deserves to WIN!

  90. Jean says:

    I vote for Dianne to win. She can bring yoga to the great outdoors.

  91. Carolyn Christ says:

    I vote for Dianne. I think she’d be a wonderful instructor.

  92. Chris Sutphin says:

    I am excited for you and applaud your dreams( and want some baked goods)!

  93. Angela says:

    I cast my vote for Diane, She deserves to win,

  94. CeCe Maxwell says:

    Dianne’s willingness, openness and evident kindness seem to be excellent prerequisites for a teacher of yoga. I enthusiastically vote for Dianne.

  95. Marianne ScharboDehaan says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel to win. She will be a marvelous enthusiastic ypoga teacher.


  96. Crystal S. Rupert says:

    I vote for Dianne to win.

  97. Jim Fraser says:

    There isn’t anything that Diane can’t do. She is a real winner!!!

  98. Lynn Telis says:

    I think Diane would be a great teacher.I was inspired just by reading her essay and learning how it has improved her health and life. I might even give it a try!

  99. barbara brown says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel to win!

  100. JOHN GAMBER says:

    Dianne is one fine person. She talkes about her nasal surgery and I know how she suffered and yet still a pleasant person to be around.
    She has my vote for sure!!!

  101. Kristen says:

    I vote for Dianne to win!

  102. JACKIE GAMBER says:


  103. matt says:

    Dianne has my vote, she’s dependable, organized, and already has the “zen” aura which anyone could benefit from.

  104. Sherry Kemp says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel.

  105. Aminat Gbajabiamila says:

    Having worked quite closely and enjoyed various quality interactive moments with Dianne – at work and play; I continue to be impressed by her soaring spirit and total dedication to whatever she’s committed to. I must say, she puts her story quite mildly knowing what I recall of those pre and post surgery days.
    Dianne: I look forward to your success and your first Yoga class in Lagos, Nigeria… You have my vote!

  106. Michael Fishel says:

    Another vote for Dianne!

  107. Trish OConnell says:

    Dianne is an awesome person with an infectious spirit. She will use this opportunity to its fullest potential. I vote for Dianne.

  108. Joesph Van Loo says:

    Go Dianne.

  109. Joseph Zappulla says:

    I vote for Dianne, she was very commited as an economics professor and I see the passion she brings to Yoga and know she will help many, many people to have a better quality of life. If I lived closer I would also welcome the opportunity to become one of her students. Best of luck!

  110. Robin Cohen says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel to win! She will be awesome. She has a lot of passion about Yoga!

  111. Lesli Ginsberg says:

    I want my cousin Dianne to win the scholarship!!!!!

  112. Eliezer Ginsberg says:

    I vote for Dianne!

  113. Dawn says:

    yoga is such a great way to balance your running

  114. Sharon Samuel says:

    Diane will make an excellent yoga instructor! She inspires excellence. As a former student I really appreciated Diane’s spirit and passion for teaching. It is my pleasure to support Diane in any of her endeavors.

  115. Rodney Samuel says:

    I vote Diane! If my wife supports her so do I.

  116. Sharon Samuel says:

    I vote Dianne! I have had the pleasure of being a student in one of her classes. She will bring the same zeal and passion to yoga as she does with teaching and running. I support Dianne in her endeavors, she is a great person, teacher and inspiration.

  117. Debbie vaughn says:

    My vote is for Dianne!

  118. Joyce Scheibel says:

    Go Diane! The world will be a better place with Diane leading others to that sacred space we all share. Om shanti! You go girl!

  119. Andrea Anase says:

    I vote is for Dianne. Thank you for sharing your story.

  120. Matthew Christ says:

    My vote is for Dianne. Keep on impacting the world, Dianne! You are a natural at teaching!

  121. Wendy Middleman Williams says:

    I wholeheartedly give my vote to Dianne! Speaking from similar Yogic experiences, and having just renewed my RYT200 at age 51, I can only imagine how impactful Dianne will be on her students. Peace :)

  122. Cheryl Brown says:

    I vote for Dianne Fishel. Good Luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *