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Hello dear ones,

This is a hard post for me to write.

Whew.

Deep breath.

Okay.

Starting in November, I’ll no longer be teaching yoga at Yoga Bywater (or anywhere.)

I’ve been a yoga teacher for 9 years now, and the decision to quit teaching is not one I’ve taken lightly. I’ve been exploring the idea for nearly a year now, toying with ways to teach differently or teach less in an effort to bring my work back into alignment. But none of those have quelled my anxiety about continuing to teach.

My classes at Yoga Bywater are being passed over to the loving care of Tracey Duncan (Tuesdays at 6pm) and Lisa Dunn (Sundays at 11am). I’ll be at the studio teaching my classes until the end of October, so come on through for one last class this month if you like. I’d love to see all y’all’s faces!

The answer as to why I’m quitting is complex and not succinctly summarized.

The first answer is that I’m quitting yoga in order to focus on other areas of my work. Writing, life coaching, and teaching courses have been on the back burner to varying degrees. I’m so very excited to be able to turn my energy more fully towards them. Know that I’m not going anywhere--I’ll keep writing blog posts and showing up on social media and this newsletter will continue to go out (in a new, revamped form!) And in fact, I hope to be showing up in all those spaces more than ever.

Another brutally honest piece of the puzzle of why I’m quitting is that I'm no longer making enough money for it to be financially sustainable. 

My once-thriving classes with 20+ students on a regular basis have shrunk to single digits in attendance. Though I’ve never been a yoga teacher solely for the money, I also can’t justify teaching classes where I make $15. Because capitalism. You might be wondering, Where did all my students go?

The yoga scene in New Orleans is wildly different from how it was in 2009, when I first started teaching. The abundance of studios around town, not to mention the multitude of options for cheap classes, are at least partially to blame. Yoga Bywater had the corner on the cheap yoga market for some years, but now there’s free yoga somewhere nearly every day of the week and most studios offer pay-what-you-can classes on their regular schedule. This is great for accessible yoga in general; not as great for my bank account. 

The Bywater neighborhood has changed: because of sky-high rent and Airbnb, fewer and fewer of my students actually live in the neighborhood where the studio is, and convenience is a major factor in what gets people to show up for class. My teaching has also changed: I’ve become less and less interested in teaching typical vinyasa flow classes, and the percentage of potential students who want to partake of my particular mash-up of functional movement, yoga and meditation is slim.

The longer answer about why I’m quitting is way, way more complicated.

I've been doing a lot of deep digging about what it means for me to be white and teaching yoga in the US in 2018. I’ll be publishing an essay next week that goes into greater detail about all of this, but the gist of it is that I've grown increasingly uncomfortable being a white person teaching yoga to other white people. Deciding to quit teaching has provided me with a profound sense of relief about this moral quandary I’ve been trying to parse for all my years teaching yoga. Stay tuned next week for a lot more thoughts about all of this.

For now, I’m profoundly grateful to you all, the web of connections we’ve woven over the past 9 years. Thank you for being alongside me as I’ve grown as a yoga teacher. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to hold space for you, to be in community with you.

I’ve got nothing but gratitude for y’all.

Much much much love,
Bear

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