About Suzanne Dulin
YOU CAN MAKE A LIVING DOING WHAT YOU LOVE
If you are scared of not having yoga teaching work out as a career, and aren't sure where to turn next in your search to make a living as a teacher, I can help.I help yoga teachers and holistic health practitioners deepen their paths by helping them to uncover their own purpose.If you are a yoga teacher in Chattanooga, TN, or anywhere in the world, I'll help you create a business that can support you doing what you love- I help you create a UNIQUE business that combines all of your interests under one umbrella- I'll teach you everything you need to be authentic in your teaching, not copying what others are doing- I can help you discover the students you are meant to help
From my first experience with yoga when I was 20 years old, I knew that I was meant to be a serious yoga practitioner. For the past 30 years, I have studied with the best teachers: Erich Schiffmann, Donna Farhi, Helen Heffer, John Schumacher, and Bob Glickstein.
I am fortunate to know from such a young age that I wanted to dedicate myself to the art of teaching yoga.
BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO SUSTAIN A LIVING AT IT
I have fought a heart straining tug of war during my whole life between wanting to do what was in my heart (yoga), and having financial and emotional stability.
Like many yoga enthusiasts, for most of my teaching career I haven't made a living at it. To be honest, yoga was more of an expensive hobby than a viable vocation.
In the 2000's, I was a stay at home mother and a local yoga teacher in Wilmington, NC. I helped to found The Wilmington Yoga Center when it was just a cooperative running out of a dance studio. At the Yoga Center, I taught 7 classes a week - and I loved it.
However, I wasn't making enough to make a real contribution to my family. My heart sank when I finally gave up on my attempt to be a full time yogi. My beautiful, beloved home went into foreclosure. To make ends meet, I had no choice but to sacrifice it. Reduced to tears as I packed up the boxes, I resigned myself to doing work that paid my bills. I picked up more and more work designing websites. Eventually, I left teaching altogether. For the next 10 years, I returned to corporate work writing books and designing e-learning in engineering.
One advantage I had, though, is that I knew it wasn't only me that struggled.
For over 15 years, I moderated the Moving Into Stillness Discussion board, which is the largest and longest running discussion board dedicated to yoga. It's had more than 2 million hits.
Very few participants on the discussion board worked full time as yoga teachers. As moderator, I read posts from thousands of yoga teachers who also struggled to figure out how to make a living at yoga - feeling angry, incompetent, unsupported, and isolated. They blamed the Yoga Alliance for not creating a real teaching path. They felt like they were drowning in an oversaturated market with yoga studios on every corner.
Of the people I knew that taught full time, I didn't like how their careers seemed so fragile, compared to my work in corporate America. As someone who has always had a steady paycheck and health benefits, I want more than just to get by.
I am proud of taking care of my daughter. I like having health insurance. It's important to me that I know that I can take care of myself and my family.
Lots of yoga teachers have this problem of feeling torn between their sense of their true purpose being to teach yoga and the realities that this path makes it difficult to take care of yourself and your family. Some of this conflict comes from the tradition of yoga being taught by renunciates, people who have given up all their worldly possessions. Some of the struggle is that there is that there is no clear career path for yoga teachers, and no one talking about how you define a path that no one else is walking.
A few years ago I gave up on ever making a living doing what I love. I went to grad school to get my Masters in Engineering Management so that I could move up the corporate ladder.
But a funny thing happened. The program has a track for entrepreneurship. The head of the department, Dale Callahan, personally mentored me to start up a business that can sustain me - a business I love and that combines all of my skills in technology with all my skills in yoga. I studied very hard to understand how to start up a business that looks like no one else's business - and can make real money.
Now I coach yoga teachers on this important aspect of teaching.
It is possible to teach in a way that is authentic and make a living at it. It takes a lot of thought and effort, and a lot of courage.
But it's important, because when you have a viable business that sustains you, it means that you have a community around you that believes what you have to say is important.
It means that you are pushed to articulate your teaching clearly in order to help YOUR students.
It means you can pass on what you have learned to a new generation. One day your teachers will be gone, and you must be the one to carry on their teachings - and add your own insights to the yoga teaching tradition.
But mostly it means, you can live as your true, authentic self.
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