This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara
Before our call I always give her a headsup.
I’m writing you almost high on some of those natural chemicals the body makes, when it’s happy. And I didn’t see my lover the past few weeks, so it’s not from sex or other physical affection. And actually, if you had asked me ten days ago, I would have said you caught me at the worst time of my life.
I would have shown you the aggressive red marker my agenda, my notebook AND my diary, crossing out entire pages and using the biggest capitals imaginable:
NO MORE YOGA!!
NO MORE BUSINESS!!
As I was wondering how the hell I had let it come to this, again. Why had I stuck my hand out to reach for yoga, only to be burned again?
And the burn seemed to get worse every time, but apparently I needed yet another round of getting burned!
The only thing I knew for sure, as I symbolically crossed out the days and yoga plans from my journals – because I wanted an external representation of this “thing” stealing time from my life, over and over. I wanted to destroy something because “it” (identifying as being a yoga teacher) was destroying my life!- the only thing I was sure of, was that I was never going to get burned again.
Yet here I am!
Glowing like a newborn mom, and it would be impossible to knock me from cloud nine!
I have a perfect understanding of how I will become a yoga professional again, and that business coaching and yoga will be part of what I do forever and always.
Although I m keeping most of it under the wraps for now, also because I can feel it is still changing and I don’t want other people to interfere with its development, I would like to analyze what makes this time different.
And how small mistakes led to big problems!
Regardless of how dramatic it felt at the time and regardless of how SURE I was of myself that the problem with teaching yoga was coded into the dna of the yoga-industry, that it was a sociocultural flaw, or – this was my favorite one- it was a sexual thing.
That it was just impossible to teach yoga in a society where people were so reluctant to give into (or unable to organize) what their body craved at the most visceral level.
But I no longer believe any of that matters, not to the extend I thought it did.
Sure, I can see how those things heavily influenced my first yoga career getting stuck, and my inability to grow as a studio. I can see how it always resulted in feeling exposed making yoga videos.
But those aspects of the world we are living in, are merely indicators of where to put up some healthy boundaries.
And absolutely not a reason to quit teaching yoga.
And then there were the high costs of having a Dutch business. In particular if you do not want to use your home address for registration, you need to rent a place where your business is registered.
Even when that is a flexible working spot, and you’re never there, you re still looking at € 150 a month, just for an address.
Plus costs of insurance, and a mandatory business bank account because the Netherlands has made it practically impossible to do business without a business bank account. This easily adds up to € 200 a month for a business that only exists on paper.
So it’s not like I think I was wrong, after going through various cycles of frustration for five years.
It’s just that I see how it never meant I was not meant to be a yoga teacher. And it surely was never a reason to get emotional about any of it, and take it out on stationary!
All it ever meant, was that I needed to see being a yoga teacher as a business. And not as an extension of me being a yoga practitioner.
Nor should I see being a yoga teacher as having anything to do with being a writer, a YouTuber, or even with me being * insert my real name* .
I got burned when I started thinking about yoga as a way to make my living, because I wasn’t seeing it professionally.
A mix up that was totally understandable since yoga was/is also something I liked to teach low-key. To friends, for example.
And despite the pages with the red markers, and deciding I was never going to make yoga videos again; I do like/ liked the idea of making YouTube yoga videos.
Now that I’ve calmed down, I can see that of course yoga will be be a part of my already existing YouTube channels.
When I got hurt, was when I thought those YouTube videos, were part of a bigger yoga-plan, or bigger yoga business.
Now I see those yoga videos as hobby. As something I like to do.
That has absolutely nothing to do with having a business as a yoga teacher.
After five years of frustration and three pages with red markers, I can see teaching yoga is absolutely perfect as a purely professional career.
Providing it is setup in a clean way.
And that this yoga business has the potential to support my writing, and my other art.
In the past three weeks, I have claimed my identity as an artist, writer and a speaker – and this includes being on YouTube.
But I have rejected all the business models I came across to monetize your blog and so on.
I knew I would never be happy making money like that. In such an artificial, add-on way.
And even making money publishing my own books, or finding a publisher to work with, ultimately didn’t appeal to me the way it should have.
Before I committed to decades of desk-work.
All in all, the organic, authentic and real business models that I saw myself having access to as an artist and writer, were uncertain, time-consuming, strenuous, and not particularly profitable!
One week after Red Marker Gate, where I vowed to throw out yoga and having a business, I saw light at the end of the tunnel.
And the path of a professional career teaching yoga, miraculously unfolded as if it had always been there.
It was so clear that it was strange I had missed it, all that time.
But I still thought that for my creative expressions, yoga and business were cancelled as topics. That I would never write or speak of it again, as a creative. Only when I had my professional hat on.
But yesterday, that changed.
Now that I understood how to separate my professional yoga teaching from what I did as a creative;
Yoga could return in my creative work as well.
Just that I was never going to sell in-person work, through my existing YouTube channels or through the blogs I have as a writer.
The biggest lesson, the most important characteristic of this new blueprint, is that because I am a writer and a creative first, I need to setup a service business as a separate entity.
My public, artistic self, will never have professional offerings. Professional offerings will be reserved to my business outlets, and only be visible and accessible, for that audience.
What I learned is that internet at large, but YouTube and social media in particular, have made the consumer market for services a rocky road.
If you are a service provider that uses them, you are getting in front of people who in another day and age, would have to have been inside of a new age shop or an organic supermarket, browse through the flyers, and then select yours.
If you’re very visible on the internet at large, but in particular when you’re on YouTube or social media, you need to setup your yoga business in a new way.
And I have chosen mine.
The mistake I made as a yoga teacher was to combine social media and YouTube with the intimacy of fixed weekly group classes.
I had used modern media to be visible publicly, but my classes were still taught as if it was 1999. Except now everyone could come through that door.
My 20th century business model, had collapsed under the force of 21th century media.
Or more importantly;
An unexamined life is not worth living
Subscribe to this blog for my letters to Sara, and my 1997 diary.
The subscription button is on this page, most likely on the top right.
My diaries are available at LULU
New books will be added.
The best way to receive updates on when these books are ready,
is to subscribe to this blog.
Button on this page, probably on the top right.
Or follow my Facebook page
/ Twitter: @LSHarteveld