Why I Became A Yoga Teacher

There are people and places in the world that will teach you anything you want, provided you pay them money. And when you do, that’s exactly what you get. I’m not one of those people, and I wanted to do something different. In April 2011, I took up yoga, and haven’t looked back.

When I was a kid, when I was home from school each afternoon, and I’d be going on with whatever I was doing, I would be thinking about why I had to go to these stupid meetings these politicians, and these stupid groups of people, and why they wanted everyone around them to believe whatever they believed, and how the system would be set up so that it would be too easy to control all the people.

And one day it wasn’t any longer a phase, and I said to myself, “If I’m going to stay in this rut, if I don’t change my point of view, then I might as well give up everything and try and make the world a better place.”

One day I saw an incredible book on the shelves of Amazon called, An Atheist’s Guide to the Universe , by Richard Dawkins . I know that Richard Dawkins was a controversial figure, but for the amount of money I spend on books every year, I never go into it to buy my own opinions. This book, though – it showed me that there are people in the world who are not only educated, but who are also passionate. And I remember my first lesson about creationism; I remember Richard Dawkins explaining to me that the universe we see is the result of an accident in the big bang. I don’t believe in evolution, and it was something new and exciting for me that I couldn’t believe. I know that evolution has been proven to be correct. But my understanding didn’t get as strong, so, to me, it was still an assumption. And at the same time, I also didn’t see it that way. I had this misconception of evolution, where I knew that everything was natural, that everything was created by God.

So I came to India, to the ancient city of Yoga. This was a place that I was very much into. I don’t mean that I was doing any self-realization for the first time, but I was more focused on the concept of the mind and the body, and what the mind has been doing and what it is that we could be doing . I wanted to do yoga because it was so much more than just physical exercise. It was like I had been reading about it for decades, but I had never personally done it before.

What struck me about the teachings was that they didn’t care what you believed as long as you did it. They didn’t care if you were Catholic or Hindu, Buddhist or Jewish, or atheist or anything else. They just cared that you did it in some sort of relationship with God.

My first teacher at the time was a man by the name of Ram Dass. He was a well-known Indian personality, a man who had written a bunch of books and books of poetry about India. And he had an incredible impact on me. And he also made a huge impact on a book called Yoga Sutras of Patanjali . That book, which I read around the same time that I first started yoga, was the foundation. It’s a treatise on yoga for people who believe in the concept of a personal God. There’s also these descriptions of the seven kasas , or poses, of yoga, and the importance of the breath is discussed.

So it’s just something new to me; I don’t know if I would have studied yoga at all had it not been for Ram Dass. So all that knowledge was very appealing, and at first I was kind of skeptical. When I had my first lesson, it was my first experience with a woman who was doing a practice.