HOW CAN I MAKE AN IMPACT ON THE WORLD THROUGH YOGA?
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.
WHY DO I WANT TO BECOME A YOGA TEACHER?
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.
MOST INSPIRING TEACHER
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.
YOGA TEACHER TRAINING
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
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