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Working 9 To 5 As…A Yogi

Nov 09, 2013

By Ashley Fairall

A day in the life of a North American yoga instructor is scarcely the same from one to the next. Yoga means different things to different people and it will manifest in various people’s lives. There are some yoga instructors who start their day off with mediation, an hours of physical practice and some kind of weird but delicious vegan-health-craze smoothie before blissfully floating off to teach eager and adoring students – and that’s great! That is not my story. With all of the trappings that come with living in this earthy world – bills, family, mortgages, friends, child support payments, and fulfilling passions other than yoga (*spoiler alert: Some of us like politics and kick-boxing!) – having the time, unconditional love, patience, energy and even the desire to be the perfect yogi can be a far stretch. In the words of my most cherished yoga teacher, Mirta Romberg, “[most of us] are not monks living in an ashram on a mountain top.”

I wear many hats throughout my day: Yogi, social worker, student, mother, drag-king, feminist, artist, friend, instigator and more! I am slowly chipping away at a degree in political science. I am involved in the many communities that intersect my life. And I am constantly looking for and creating space where my 2 passions, politics and yoga, can intersect in a healing capacity. My life is busy and fulfilling. Between the multiple jobs (yoga instructor and social worker = the 2 least likely jobs that will make you a millionaire) and causes (anything to do with the queer community, sexual health and/or consent politics get me going), the yoga workshops and university classes, and the many fantastic relationships in my life, I often find myself up at 4 or 5 a.m. and not hitting the pillow again until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Today, being Monday, I am leading 2 classes: One to a group of elementary school teachers and one as a co-facilitator for an oh-so-radical yoga jam later in the evening. I recently let go of teaching 5 6 a.m. classes a week, and revel in the extra hour of shuteye as I let myself sleep in until 5 a.m. I get up and set water to boil for tea, and take a quiet seat on my kitchen floor to check in with mind, body and spirit, asking for the universe for direction and guidance on how I can be of service today. When I am feeling grounded and my tea is ready, I retreat to my room for a mini half-hour yoga practice before suiting up in my running gear and squeezing in a 10 km run (I have another 10 km race coming up next weekend and am training for the Canadian Death Race in August) before I am out the door.

I’m not working at my social work job today, nor do I have school tonight, but I have meetings for the feminist club and the sexual health club that I am apart of at Grant MacEwan University. I also have a paper due at the end of the week and mid-term coming up (and this article to write), so I waste no time after my run to dive into another 15-miniute mini yoga practice, then suit up for the rest of my day. It’s cliché, but I am usually wearing clothes that can either function as both yoga and professional wear, or I am wearing yoga-ish gear under my professional gear – like a yogi super hero ready to spring into downward facing dog or half moon whenever the feeling strikes/moment allows (#sorrynotsorry).  I pack all the food I need for the day (being vegan, I find it easier to bring my own), put my schoolbooks, laptop, and planning book (the place I jot down ideas for yoga classes), in a backpack and head out the door. I discuss, instigate, sneak off for a 30 second meditation, practice, teach, learn and facilitate. I don’t get home until well after 9 p.m., blissfully exhausted from a day well spent.

Everyday, I realise I am blessed. I am grocery shopping. I am planning the Kickboxing and Yoga for Queers class my ex-partner and I are facilitating the following week. I am reflecting on how I could have been more yogic in a slightly hostile interaction between my landlord and myself last week. I am wondering how my daughter’s day at school was. I am thinking about when I am going to have time to practice tomorrow. I am considering which Yama to have as my theme for my practice and classes in November. I am spending 2 hours putting “GOT CONSENT?” stickers on 400 condoms. I am acknowledging my privilege as cis-gendered looking, able-bodied, white settler. I am humbled and awestruck by the blessings in my life. I am grateful that I have yoga. I am going to bed.

This was an awesome content share from our friends at Flurt!  You can download an issue here.

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