I interviewed Keisha of the Driven Yogi, an online resource for newly certified yoga teachers. Keisha is an incredibly gifted yoga teacher with an ambitious drive to create and foster community. As a yoga teacher myself, I know the aches and pains of trying to get into studios to find work and teach classes and as a beginning teacher I really didn’t know where to start. Keisha has created an online space for newly certified teachers to get the help they need.
How did you first get into yoga?
I found yoga when I was in a high-visibility, high-stress career as a television news reporter. The pressure of the job, on top of covering countless murder, crime, and natural disaster stories took its toll on me mentally. I've always been an athlete and have used working out to deal with stress throughout my life, but during this time, even that wasn't working. I decided to try yoga because I hadn't done it before and I was open to trying anything new that could possible help with the stress I was dealing with. Surprise! After my first class I was hooked. Not only was I able to deal with my stressful job, but I was able to use the tools in yoga off of my mat to keep me calm, focused, and clear-headed throughout the day.
How long have you been teaching?
How would you describe your style?
My classes are...intense as one of my students put it the other day! But really, my classes are a mix of alignment paired with power vinyasa. But I will say, after my "intense" class there is always a great savasana paired with essential oils.
How did the Driven Yogi come to be?
It was on one of the last days of my YTT. I had asked the teacher if she knew of a program that new teachers can take to ease them into teaching, and she couldn't think of one. She told me people just go teach. But being at the level I was, I was no where near ready to lead a class. And, I would have preferred more training or a teacher to give me advice on the next steps I should take. We continued to have the discussion in class and one of my fellow teacher trainers said, "you should create one!" And thus, the seed was planted. I went home and did research to see if such a program existed anywhere, and I still couldn't find one. For the next two weeks I interviewed experienced yoga teachers and studio owners about the idea and they all agreed it was needed. Within three weeks I was working on a website, and within a month, The Driven Yogi was born!
What was the most frustrating thing for you as a beginning yoga teacher?
The nerves! Honestly, all of the nerves didn't go away fully until my first 6 months of teaching. Even after teaching for 1.5 years, there are still times I get nervous when I am teaching in new spaces.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a yoga teacher?
The students practicing this form of self-care. I seriously get so much joy with the fact that people show up to class to work on their mind and body health. In fact, I use this phrase and thank them for taking time out for themselves after every class. Many people don't put themselves first, and to do that for an hour is so huge.
How many classes do you teach a week?
I have a full-time job, so at this moment I only teach two yoga classes a week.
Do you have any other revenue besides just your teaching schedule?
Yep! I work full-time as a communications/marketing professional in the non-profit sector. I also teach pole dancing. I know, I know, I have a lot going on!
How do you balance teaching, self-care and your personal practice?
Self-care is the most important thing to me. Seriously. My family and friends tend to get annoyed about how often I ask them if they are taking care of themselves or taking a break from the things that are causing them stress or pain. Because I do sooo many things I have to make sure my mind and body are health. If not, everything could come crashing down, especially my teaching! So, how do I balance? I have a flexible schedule. For example, I have specific days I go to yoga classes, pole classes, days dedicated to working on The Driven Yogi, and days dedicated to hanging out with friends. However, if my mind and body aren't feeling doing any of those things on the scheduled day, I disconnect. I am very in tune with my body and if something is off, I listen to what it needs. Sometimes self-care is binge watching a TV show. And I'm here for it!
How do you think the Driven Yogi is helping the community?
After YTT it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and have no idea what to do after that last training day. That's where The Driven Yogi comes in. It picks up right where training ends and gives new teachers tangible steps they can take to stay on the path of becoming a paid yoga teacher. We recently created an after teacher training checklist for our members. It's been very popular and very helpful! To access, go to thedrivenyogi.com, click the purple tab, and it will be in your inbox!
How did Driven Yogi begin to reach a wider audience? How has social media played a role in that?
Instagram has been instrumental for our growth! I never thought we'd have over 13K followers, but social media is powerful if you are consistent with it! On top of having a strict posting schedule and making sure I engage with my audience, I also reach out to studios where I have relationships to help spread the word about The Driven Yogi and how it can be an asset for newly certified teachers. Honestly, it's all a lot of work but I love it!
Any advice for yogis and healers starting their own business that exists besides their classes and clientele?
As a communications and marketing professional, I'd say start with the message you want to convey and how your fonts, colors, and branding will help make you stand apart from your competitors. Always be authentic and don't try to emulate what you see others doing. From there, get your website up and running! You don't need to wait until it is perfect. I'm not going to lie, having a side business is extremely stressful and tiring, but it is so rewarding. Make sure you have people in your circle who understand what you are going through and who you can bounce ideas off of. And if you currently don't have those people, seek them out! There are creators everywhere.
For more info on Keisha + The Driven Yogi, you can check out her site or give her a follow on instagram.: