I Didn’t Mean To Become A Yoga Teacher…
I didn’t intend to become a yoga teacher. I was 26 years old ambitious, accomplished, but I lacked direction. I found myself asking those questions that plague us all at one point or another, “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” I really needed to figure out what to do with my life, and more importantly at that time, I needed to make money. A teaching opportunity fell in my lap when a business owner of a health clinic asked me to start teaching yoga in his space.
By the end of that first class, I knew I had found my calling. Having always loved teaching others and seeing the light of true understanding go on, teaching yoga came easily to me. Teaching that one impromptu class led me on the journey to my eventual yoga teacher training, and ultimately changed the course of my life.
Here’s how it happened…
It all started with Bryan Kest. My first class with him, and every class after left me truly inspired. I stepped off my mat thinking, “I got it!!” Bryan Kest has the innate ability to bring life to the yoga mat and to take you beyond a yoga practice and into a practice for life skills. To me, he was the yoga version of Tony Robbins and for years I had wanted to be the next Tony Robbins. I realized Bryan’s stage was his yoga studio and his audience was the yoga practitioners on mats. He was a genius and I loved it1 During his classes, I was inspired and felt I had returned home.
Shortly after meeting Bryan, my friend, colleague and mentor, Wade Morissette, asked me what my practice was. Not exactly clear about what he meant, I simply told him, “I just get on my mat and do whatever I’m told.” His next words changed my life: “Aaron, you need a practice.” Wade was a serious devotee of Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga, which he shared with me. Over the next few years, I became a serious zealot of the practice, which provided a structure and worked me through a full set of positions, and would wake up an hour and a half early just to complete it every day.
After a couple of years, I decided to take a weeklong yoga teacher training with David Swenson. David’s simple approach to teaching was simple. He was explained prana yama “Like sticking your finger in an electric socket. Without preparation, the experience is electrifying.” To this day, he remains in the deepest chambers of my heart. I am forever grateful for learning how to make yoga accessible to everyone.
Finding My True Calling
Then in 2001, while living in New York City, I found my true teacher, Guruji. I walked into my first class with him thinking I knew everything and was astounded that I was even there. I was full of arrogance and truly believed he had nothing new to teach me. Despite that, something unknown drew me in.
By the second day with Guruji I knew that he was to be my teacher and I registered for his yoga teacher training. Even though my head was swollen in thinking I was such a great yogi, Rod’s knowledge of yoga was refreshing, unique and far surpassed anyone I had ever met. It was through Guruji I developed a deep devotional practice that cultivated who I am as a teacher today.
After years of being a teacher, and participating in various yoga teacher trainings, I am still amazed at how vast the undiscovered world of yoga really is. The world of yoga and its infinite possibilities grows every single day.
I still hold immense gratitude to all of my teachers and the trainings I have participated in. They have shaped me profoundly and my life has continued to evolve and change because of them.