How This Contest Can Help Me Make A Dream Come True


I want to become a yoga teacher because I truly wish to be the difference that I would like to see in the world. And I plan to do so by starting with my own community in a small town in Virginia. There are already many great yoga teachers here, but most are doing their own thing by teaching classes in gyms, church basements, dojos and even bookstores. I want to help create a yoga home in the heart of town. I so miss my community in California and want to see the same sort of thriving yoga environment here. I think bringing visibility to yoga and making it more readily available through opening a studio is one of the best gifts I could give myself, the teachers, and our town.


To make this yoga studio dream happen—and to truly be part of it—I want to be able to contribute as a teacher. I most appreciate classes given by teachers who mix a wide variety of what they have learned, customize it and personalize it to their own unique style. Someday—after a lot more learning—I would like to do the same. I would like to make asanas, pranayama and meditation inviting to learn, challenging students to hold poses, link their breath to their movement and, hopefully, use it all to deepen connection, meditation and appreciation.


That’s easy: Erich Schiffman. While living in Los Angeles, I had the great and humbling benefit of learning yoga from world-renowned (and excellent but not world-renowned) teachers at the Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, CA. Erich Schiffmann was my true inspiration and most regular source of “yoga bliss.” He may not be able to pick me out of a crowd, but I consider him my Teacher. After four years of his classes, including a phenomenal workshop, he never ceased to convey yoga to us in a way that was accessible but deeply spiritual.

I always left feeling a bone-deep calm and an alertness and peaceful gratitude for having been reconnected. (What Erich calls “going online” with the Universe.) Entering his class felt like being invited to his personal meditation session and, through asanas and gut-level teaching, he brought us along with him. I plan on taking more of his trainings in the future and am so excited about it. Like Erich, though, I would like to learn from a variety of teachers and be exposed to a variety of yoga styles and practices.


So many of the yoga certification programs look fantastic and I spent a lot of time looking at all of them. For reasons both personal and practical, the Yandara Yoga Institute’s 18-day program in Bali seems like the best fit. I love the message of heart-centered teaching, I think it’s cool that the founder is from Virginia (not far from where I live now) and, as someone who works full-time, the compressed timeframe is pretty ideal. And that it’s in Bali…well? Not too shabby, right? Both the August 3-21 and the September 3-21 dates work very well. Either would be fantastic. Thank you for hosting this contest, thanks to the schools who are participating, and thanks to any readers who vote for me!


2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Emily Smith

If you liked this article and want them to win a free yoga teacher training, then make sure to vote for her 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. Patrick says:

    Good luck Emily – Fred Vegas needs you!

    I shared the post on facebook. Hope it helps.

    Patrick M.

  2. Courtney says:

    You would make a fantastic yoga instructor Emily!!!!!!!! Hope you get it so Fredericksburg can have a great yoga class near by!!!!

  3. Susan Oetker says:

    Go, Emily O, go! I hope you win!!

  4. Nicole Brzeski says:

    Emily is by far one of the most caring and giving and gentlest women I know. By becoming a teacher, she can share these wonderful qualities with even more people. Good luck, Emily!

  5. Emy Monroe says:

    I hope you get the scholarship! The community you envision sounds awesome!

  6. Melissa says:

    Good luck. I know you will be a wonderful instructor.

  7. Kathleen Shea says:

    Emily, you are natural teacher and trainer and I know you will make an amazing, inspiring yoga instructor! Having seen you in action doing trainings while working together at UCLA- as well as being your adoring friend for several years while you provided creative, caring feedback to me on any number of personal and professional issues-makes me absolutely certain that you have the strong, compassionate, and motivational character to become the kind of yoga teacher that helps people renew their commitment to better health and wellness. You are excellent at gently guiding people along the path to becoming their best selves and are a source of strength, support, kindness, and understanding to everyone you come into contact with. I can’t think of anyone who would be better suited to this, and I can’t wait to take a class from you!

  8. Aletha says:

    Go Emily! You deserve this, girl! Good luck! :)

  9. Michelle Omalley says:

    Emily you would be a wonderful teacher- good luck!

  10. Bernard Sietman says:

    Sign me up!

  11. JK says:

    Go Emily GO! As a active participant in the LA yoga world, I know how much you gotta be starving for GREAT classes in VA. Hope you win!

  12. Mikel says:

    I have complete faith that you will be great (already are great).

  13. Amy says:

    Good luck, Emily! You will make a great teacher! Best wishes, Amy

  14. Erika Mitchell says:

    If I could vote more than once, I would. Good Luck Em!!!!

  15. Katy E. says:

    Hope you get the change to make your dream come true!

  16. Sarah says:

    Yayyyy Emily!! Good luck and I hope you win

  17. Chrissy Nixon says:

    Emily would be an awesome yoga teacher!! You can do it :)

  18. Laureen Richard says:

    LOVE YOU EMILY! This is your true calling and know you would be a wonderful teacher. xoxo Lo

  19. Dominic says:

    Emily deserves a full ride, nothing less. She would be a great teacher.

  20. Nicole Finn says:

    Yay Emily! You would be an awesome yoga teacher!!

  21. Mike Oetker says:

    This sounds awesome, Emily!

  22. Heather Okland says:

    Rock the Yoga, Emily!! Good luck

  23. KK says:

    People in the yoga community will be the fortunate ones if they have Emily for an instructor. Because of her many fine qualities and yoga skills, she will inspire her students beyond their comprehension.

  24. Russ says:

    You can count on all three of my votes for you. You’d be a great addition to the yoga world.

  25. Jennifer Ross says:

    Emily would be the best yoga instructor ever!

  26. madelyn says:

    go Emily!

  27. Eryca says:

    Go Emily!

  28. Karen says:

    I need a good Yoga Teacher! Go Emily!

  29. Jon Perkins says:

    Good Luck!

  30. elizabeth says:

    Go Emily!!

  31. Davis says:

    Best of luck!

  32. Kristen Wilcox says:

    YAY! Follow your dreams and I know you WILL be a force for good change in our world. (Not that you aren’t already:) Good luck!

  33. jenn says:

    Emily, this is perfect for you! Good luck! :)

  34. Eliza says:

    I’d love for you to win this Emily, best of luck!

  35. Camille Leon says:

    Every town should have it’s own yoga studio and, Emily, you’re the perfect person to open one in your community in VA!

  36. Vinita Karatsu says:

    I would love to have you as my Yoga teacher! Good luck!

  37. Sara Baird says:

    Any yoga student would be so lucky to have you as their teacher! Good luck with this journey and I’m sending lots of love!

  38. Melissa Mata says:

    Awesome, good luck. I need some flexibility.

  39. Barbara Kevorkian says:

    Good luck Emily! Another way for you to bring your light to others.

  40. Sarah says:

    did ya win yet??

  41. Megan Durham says:

    Great idea, Emily! Good luck! Can I teach Tai Chi at your yoga studio?

  42. Elaine says:

    Good luck Emily – always follow your dreams!

  43. Erin says:

    Go Emily! You can do it!

  44. Susan Rogers says:

    You got my vote!

  45. Michael L. Smith says:

    Good luck, Em — hope you win!

  46. Colleen Hopkins says:

    Emily Smith for yoga instructor in Fredericksburg! You’d be perfect!!

  47. Nhuly says:

    Yoga training to become a teacher for Emily! I hope you get it.

  48. Dennis Andrejewski says:

    Wishing this for you!!

  49. barbartist says:

    Emily you sound ready. I hope u win! barbara

  50. barbartist says:

    goGoGo Emily!

  51. Michelle Murfree says:

    Proud of you, Emily and finding your calling ROCKS!! I believe in you!!

  52. Russ says:

    This may not count but I’m voting anyway. And what’s a tweeter?

  53. Nancy Smith says:

    This will be perfect for you and all you’ll teach.

  54. Ernesto Hinojos says:

    Dear Emily: You are such a fantastic training and work so well with all types of people you deserve this opportunity. Developing your skills and becoming a yoga instructor will finally bring yoga to Fredericksburg and LA when you decide to return. I can hope you are selected because you bring such humor and fun to any training you do. I had a great time having dinner with you in D.C. and catching up. Anyway hope you are selected but if not keep following your dream. Fondly, Ernesto!

  55. Daniel Takeshi Krause says:

    Emily needs to win so that she can teach Timmy and Shorty to do downward facing dog! I mean, they’re both pretty low to the ground already anyway so they might as well look.

  56. Matt Burlin says:

    I believe in you E!

  57. Julie Mandese says:

    You have all of my VOTES Emily!!! I truly hope you win this contest…even more, I hope to see you in the near future introducing Yoga to this area. I will be one of your clients…that is for sure.

  58. Tommy Hughes says:

    Dear Em – What a Renaissance woman you are! You can do it all. What a merry Christmas.

  59. Jennifer says:

    Go, Emily!! You rock:)

  60. Cyndi says:

    You are amazing Emily and I hope you get this opportunity!

  61. Kae Bieber says:

    Go Emily!!! Absolutely awesome!

  62. Lora Zimmerman says:

    Love this! Good luck!!

  63. Hayley Downs says:

    Good luck, Emily!

  64. Darcie says:

    Good luck Emily!!

  65. Stephen Richard says:

    Go Em! This is perfect for you.

  66. Karen Garman says:

    Wishing you all the best from the “left coast”. Follow your bliss, Emily!!

  67. Claudine says:

    Emily o. Smith is a yoga master

  68. Beth Koprowski says:

    You would be an amazing yoga instructor. Namaste.

  69. Anne Peterson says:

    Go for it Emily, you will be a great yoga master, I can see it now!

  70. Christina says:

    Emily, you’d be a great yoga teacher!

  71. mike says:

    We’re pulling for you, Emily. I can’t imagine a better way for you to make the world around you a better place.

  72. Heather says:

    I’m so proud of you for following this dream! Best of luck

  73. Lindsay Barker says:

    Emily’s a great and inspiring teacher in all that she does! Good luck!

  74. Lesli says:

    good luck you would make a fab teacher!

  75. jillayne says:

    You’re an inspiration!! Just what we all need in a local yogi! Go get ’em!

  76. Trish says:

    Good luck Emily!

  77. jason says:

    Namaste Emily. Best of luck as you go forward, maybe you can teach me dragonfly pose someday!

  78. Bobbi S. says:

    Good luck Emily!

  79. Esta Georgia says:

    Emily would make a fantastic yoga instructor! Namaste

  80. Joshannie says:

    Goooo Emilyo! I am typing this from plow pose.

  81. Anjali says:

    Good luck em! Please remind me often and I will vote. Xoxo

  82. Wynne Fender says:

    Good Luck Emily!! This would be perfect for you! Love you lots!

  83. Anna Cuomo says:

    Hope you win. good luck!!

  84. Amber says:

    Good luck, Emily!

  85. emilyo says:

    Thanks, everyone!!! So nice! (And, Sergio, I guess this counts as my vote for me. :) Thanks again!

  86. DJ Garcia says:

    This would be perfect for you – Namaste!

  87. Juana says:

    Good luck, Emily!

  88. Rosemary says:

    you deserve this!

  89. John Rogers says:

    Best of luck to you, Emily. I hope you are well.

  90. Krista says:

    Go Emily Go! Good Luck-

  91. Michael says:

    Good luck!

  92. Shawn Gardner says:

    Emily Smith is by far the BEST!!!!

  93. Carl says:

    Emily is in it to win it!

  94. Sarah says:

    Good luck Emily!!!

  95. Janell Hubble says:

    Emily rules!!!

  96. Thilys says:

    Good luck

  97. Beatrice Aidin says:

    Go Go Go Emily O!!!

  98. Julie Simpson Soares says:

    Good luck Emily!

  99. amy cook says:

    go Emily!

  100. Adrien Cotton says:

    If I could vote 1,000,000 times, I would for Emily. Heart felt and honest to the core, you are. Good luck. Let us know when we can send some financial planners and stock brokers in Fredericksberg to you for yoga.

  101. Kym Hodge says:

    Good Luck Emily!!!

  102. Tara says:

    You will be an amazing yoga teacher!!!

  103. ChrisO says:

    A vote for Emily is a vote for making the world a better and more peaceful place.

  104. Heather Dodge says:

    Best of luck to you Emily! I genuinely hope this works out for you! Your desire to succeed and to do what makes you happy and fulfilled is such an inspiration!

  105. Kim Krause says:

    Sending good thoughts into the universe for you, Emily! I hope you win, go to Bali (just don’t forget to come back!) and realize your dream!

  106. Laurie says:

    Of course! This makes perfect sense. Good luck Em!

  107. Mickey says:

    voting for you, Emily O. Smith! You rock, woman. I hope you win this!!!! You deserve all good things!

  108. Matt says:

    Good Luck – sending positive thoughts your way!

  109. shanni1luv says:

    Good luck my gentle Scorpio!

  110. Michelle says:

    Emily!! I admire you so much for going after your passion. Best wishes, my fingers are crossed for you!!

  111. Isabel Milan says:

    Good luck Emily!!! Best wishes to you always!

  112. Annette says:

    Emily, good luck! We do not know each other… you are a friend of my niece, Amber. Hope all goes well for you.

  113. Alex Suchman says:

    Good luck Emily! You would be amazing at this.

  114. Jen Hopkins says:

    Good luck, Emily!!!!

  115. Cynthia Boardman says:

    Emily is highly intelligent, wonderfully warm and thoroughly dedicated to yoga. She will make an excellent instructor. I hope you will grant her this opportunity. She is the type of person to make good on the opportunities that she is able to secure for herself through her own merit, intelligence and hard work. If you grant her this scholarship she will follow through on her vision of bringing quality yoga instruction and a home for yoga practitioners to her area. A vote for Emily is a vote for all those in Emily’s community who crave a center for yoga practitioners to meet and practice and receive quality yoga instruction…and also a vote for future yoga devotees. Please allow Emily to bring this gift to her town.

  116. Elisa says:

    You would be a wonderful yoga instructor! Good luck Emily!

  117. DAVID SMITH says:

    Emily I couldn’t think of a better yoga teacher! Best of luck

  118. Joshannie says:

    If I could have Emily as a teacher, I might actually get off my pizza-eating ass for 90 minutes, and that’s saying something! Go Emilyo!

  119. Annie says:

    I cannot imagine a better choice for this opportunity. Seattle is pulling for you, Emilyo!

  120. Tracy says:

    This is wonderful! I hope that you win!

  121. DIXIE says:

    Emily is the best teacher!

  122. anne says:

    yayy go emily!

  123. Jennifer says:

    Emily must win!!!

  124. LA says:

    Go Emily!!! You rock!

  125. Anj says:

    Good luck! You’ll be an amazing yoga instructor!

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