Live, Love, Serve, Teach Yoga

teach yoga“We show up, burn brightly in the moment

Live passionately: hold nothing back

And when the moment is over

And our work is done,

We step back, and let go.”

~ Rolf Gates

My yoga journey began in 1998, in my late twenties. Wow! What a different person I was then. Yoga has given me a richness in life I never could’ve imagined. In my growth and maturation, I see that yoga is not a means to an end but a path of deeper understanding. Because of yoga I have a unique understanding of my mind, spirit, body and breath – and the connection among them. I KNOW I would not be the person I am today without my yogic journey.

For years I primarily studied with one teacher until I embarked upon teacher training in 2006. Living in a small town, in a primarily rural region in Ohio, yoga classes are S – P – A – R – S – E. These days I drive 40 minutes to an hour to attend class weekly which allows me to connect with other yogis. My kula or “community of heart” is there, at church, and in connection with other yoga teachers and practitioners I’ve met through my website. It saddens me that I don’t have a local yoga community. It’s occurred to me that its up to me to MAKE one! Want to know how I plan to do that? I’m about to tell you  . . .

While I am eternally grateful for my initial yoga teacher training, my focus and the style of yoga I enjoy most has changed dramatically. I’ve fallen in love with movement and flow. It mirrors life. LIFE IS FLOW and I’m riding the wave of transformation.

Vinyasa speaks to my heart and soul. Our minds regularly get the best of us and unless we can somehow take our attention into other areas, into the body, into flow; we are slaves to it. Vinyasa, like no other yoga practice, provides this for me. I find joy, freedom, and the experience of something greater each time I attend a well-sequenced vinyasa class. My breath is exhilarating. My mind is more clear. I am more in tune with my purpose and path. Literally I feel more tuned in to God after clearing the pathways in my brain the way a good vinyasa sequence does.

On top of flow, in my opinion it’s important to impart in class the other aspects of yoga besides asana that are healing. Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates has been a regular companion in both my own practice as well as a wonderful teaching resource to help students gain this valuable perspective in a powerful way. The teachings are accessible to all living in the human form.

Three years ago, I left regular full-time employment to pursue a “career” in yoga. I did well developing classes and gathering a small following. I taught in homes, small organizations, churches and hospitals; but the places I enjoyed most were those places that needed it most. I found purpose teaching to populations that were searching for hope and had difficulty finding it in their lives. Some of the people I taught had a hard time looking at themselves, though this examination was exactly what was necessary to grow. I taught at a local drug and alcohol recovery center and found myself wanting more, as well as envisioning working with other populations that could benefit.

These days I work full-time for a technology company. My main focus and love is writing and I’m fortunate enough to work primarily from home. For this reason I have more time to focus on the things that are important to me. As I grow older, I see that time is getting shorter and that the time to GIVE is now.

As my intro probably eluded, I’ve chosen a training with Rolf Gates. He is amazing and inspiring. His purpose and work aligns with my own values and I believe I can learn and grow from his mentoring and personal experience. I’m currently experiencing extreme growth in life and I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by like-minded people who understand that there shouldn’t be divides in secular and spiritual life. All is one and to live this way makes sense – at home, during work and in all other places in the world and in life.

Rolf Gates’ own bio says this: “As the descendant of six generations of ministers, he gained an understanding of service and dedication at a very early age.” I did not grow up in the church or with giving as the focus, but have found this to be extremely important and the overwhelming message of my purpose in adult life. Over the last six months, this message has been as clear as an FM station speaking clearly to me. The message appears daily with the people I meet, the things I read, the situations I find myself in.

I plan to use this yoga instructor certification to help me hone my practical teaching skills as well as focus my efforts on that which is called of me – SERVICE.

I will use the training to grow as a person, as a yogi, and as a spiritual being. I will focus on service and giving by developing yoga outreach programs targeting all populations that can benefit from the healing I know yoga provides. I’d like to work more (and regularly) with addiction and recovery individuals, cancer patients, the elderly, domestic violence victims and more. I’m thankful for this opportunity to learn and grow, which will give me the push to give even more than I thought possible. I see infinite possibilities. I’m ever grateful. I promise to use this gift for the greater good of all. I’ll do it regardless. It’s that important.

2012 Yoga Scholarship Essay

By: Heather Church

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. Tammy Morse says:

    I found the artical very inspirational, almost brought tears to my eyes. It is beautifully written. Makes me want to join your class Heather! What a beautiful person you have become!

  2. Tania Neater says:

    To all of you that will be reading these essays and deciding who deserves the Teacher Training Scholarship I am here to tell you that Heather does.
    I met Heather in a Yoga class at a University where she entered the room radiating love and acceptance. There wasn’t a moment of awkward feelings of less than or body image issues. The way that she communicates yoga to her students is so beautiful. I am a resident in the community that Heather speaks of in her essay and a scholarship for teacher training in order for her to help us develop a Yoga Community would be valuable to everyone here. Addiction, poverty, lack of community, etc. These are only a few things that a yoga community could help our town with.
    I hope that you will strongly consider Heather and her selfless heart for the scholarship.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Beautifully written

  4. Shelley Lowther says:

    Community is good! I am starting a teacher training program in my community to train more vinyasas teachers to help grow my small yoga community and it is hard work, but a calling. Heather you are an inspirational writer and yogi. With your passion and desire to give you will light it up! Sending you energy and good vibes to get that scholarship for teacher training!

  5. Jennifer Strong says:

    What a journey for you. I am blessed to have you in my life!

  6. David LIvely says:

    Great article.

    Thanks Heather!

  7. J says:

    Im voting for Heather,

  8. Priscilla says:

    Awesome essay!!

  9. Linda Hollingsworth says:

    Heather was my first Yoga instructor. Because she made it such a wonderful experience I am still practicing today. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this scholarship.

  10. Kristin Ankrom says:

    Beautiful, H. Taking this talent you have and using it to help others…amazing!

  11. Victor Miller says:

    Heather you are an inspiration to all of the people your life touches.

  12. allison gibbs says:

    Love the article!

  13. Nikki Bell says:

    You will always have my vote Heather!!!

  14. Emma says:

    I hope you win!

  15. Laurie says:

    I love reading your post. I started reading them when I noticed them on my daughters post. You are very inspiring, real and a your words are beautiful. keep living in peace and wellness :)

  16. Rachelle says:

    This is a vote for Live, Love, Serve, Teach Yoga

  17. Jacquie Moku says:

    A very inspiring yoga journey. :)

  18. Paloma says:

    Focused and passionate. Would love to take a class from you one day!

  19. Angila Jordan says:

    Lovely essay. Yes there needs to be more yoga practice in rural areas and incorporated in school gym classes. Breathing and stretching are the basis for all physical activities and should be taught to our children before going on to football, basketball etc. I’ve been trying to get myself back into daily practice, or my aching back is telling me to. We used to get together a night or 2 a week and practice years ago. Would love it if Heather had her own studio out here in the sticks.

  20. Shelley Lowther says:

    Vinyasa also speaks to my heart, which is causing me to purse a third 200-hour certification in this style. You are inspirational and amazing, yoga friend, and you deserve the chance to spread your light to the world!

  21. Cinda Sharb says:

    Heather believes passionately in Yoga and always encourages others to try it.
    This is a very good article and would like very much to give Heather a vote.
    Thank you

  22. Anna says:

    Excellent! Heather has my vote!

  23. Susan Mc. says:

    Here’s my vote just for you !

  24. Lo @ Y is for Yogini says:

    Heather is a beautiful spirit + my vote is for her! 😀

  25. Dana says:

    Heather, you were born to teach… and you will so enjoy your 200 with Rolf! He’s amazing. I was lucky enough to finish my 500 in June with him. All the best to you… keep showing up and burning brightly! Namaste!

    Dana in RVA

  26. Brandy Anne says:

    Dedication to a practice shows great character. many blessings on your path- Namaste’,Brandy

  27. Claudia Goldman says:

    Beautiful essay, Heather ! I hope to be lucky enough to take your class one day..namaste

  28. maggie crosse says:

    I’m voting for you Heather…great stuff…authentic and touching..

  29. Laura says:

    Way to go Heather–pay it forward.

  30. Shannon says:

    Very inspiring! Thank you and good luck :)

  31. Mom says:

    Heather has another of my votes for a well written essay.

  32. Bonnie Phillips says:

    Good luck Heather…I am in 500 hr teacher training w know exactly how you feel. Your essay is inspiring.

  33. Rolf Gates says:

    Well done Heather! You have my Vote : )

  34. allison gibbs says:

    Go Heather!

  35. Tracy Galloway says:

    Well said, and best wishes!

  36. Polly says:

    Beautiful, inspiring article Heather :) you have my vote! xx

  37. Thais says:

    Beautiful words. Beautiful soul. So honored to know you <3

  38. pamela says:

    Beautiful essay heather and so inspiring! I am moving to a rural community soon and I may have to start my own yoga tribe there! I am in a teacher training with Rolf now and it’s the best thing to ever happen to me. I will vote for you as much as I can. xoxo

  39. Lisa says:

    Great essay, you have my vote and my hope that you receive what you need and want!

  40. Erin :: EAT.PRAY.MOVE Yoga says:

    Lovely! the best to you heather :)

  41. Kendra Smith says:

    I find this very inspiring! I have also been reading Rolf’s Meditations from the Mat and I am loving it! My mat is my refuge in this very hectic life. My 3 children love to practice as well. I have found it very beneficial :) Good luck!! Namaste

  42. Josh says:


  43. Tom says:

    Nice! Time is now!

  44. Jody O'Dell says:

    Very inspiring Heather! I can relate with what you say as giving and service have become very important in my life as well. I hope you win this training! Good luck!

  45. MegP4 says:

    Beautiful. Good luck!

  46. Judy Churchfield says:

    Wonderful article, Heather! Your words are as beautiful as you.

  47. Maria @downwarddog says:

    Heather – I do feel lucky that I live in a part of Ohio that has a fantastic yoga community. I’m sending out good wishes that you win – because I know you will serve with all your heart! Good luck!

  48. Ashley Lynn says:

    beautiful and inspiring! best of luck heather!!

  49. Lorin says:


  50. Raffy says:

    Love it!

  51. Lisa says:

    Beautifully written and so poignant, just like you. Good luck!!

  52. Kim Jeffers says:

    Heather, I am not familiar with Rolf, but after reading your essay I am definitely going to do some research. Namaste

  53. Wylie says:

    Beautiful essay and inspiring message. I do hope you achieve your goal of certification, because I know that people will be blessed by your ministry.

  54. christine s says:

    you always put your words in to action. you have my vote.

  55. Crystal Echols says:

    Beautiful essay Heather. You definitely have my vote!! :)

  56. Megan Bell says:

    Way to go and follow your dream!

  57. James Morse says:

    Awesome essay!!!

  58. allison gibbs says:

    Love article

  59. Cindy Brewer says:

    Good luck Heather. Although I don’t know you I am originally from Zanesville and still stay in touch with the folks there. Like you, I have found my life’s calling in sharing yoga. What a lot of people don’t realize is how expensive it is to get credentialed. I finally got my RYT this past summer and plan to pursue my 500 hours after I have decompressed from the studies of the 200. Good luck to you in attaining your scholarship.


  60. Michele...:) says:

    I still have the “Namaste” picture and “Yoga Throughout the Day” picture that you made for me and they are proudly placed on my desk at work. Your essay was beautifully written and I am so proud of you for having the courage and strength to follow your heart…you are an inspiration…peace~

  61. Jessica says:

    Good luck!

  62. Cherie Nicholson says:

    Very inspiring

  63. Cherie Nicholson says:

    very inspirimg

  64. Audra says:

    Go Heather! I am right there with you, I felt like I was reading a story from myself. Here is to your next training.


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