Yoga in a transactional economy

“I practice because yoga is the most effective tool I’ve found for inner transformation. I teach because it’s the most authentic way that I can be of service.” – Pranidhi Varshney, The Business of Teaching Yoga (well worth the read!)

Yes. This is why I practice and teach yoga as well.

Yet, not living in a high-density area like LA, as the Pranidhi does, makes making a living by teaching yoga ever more difficult. While Middleburg, VA, where InBodied Living & Co. was based in the past, offered a unique atmosphere where enough individuals who could afford it were motivated to seek out the benefits of authentic practice through private sessions, the Ocala area empties of well-healed horse people once season ends in April. As it is, this area is low-wage, so even former Olympic riders charge just $85 for riding lessons, and yoga class packs can be bought for $10 per class. In such an atmosphere, making a living as a yoga teacher is not a viable option.

Thus, the time has come for IBL to evolve. Although we will continue to offer barn yoga as a service (and because it is Sylvia’s calling and love!), our donation-based classes are clearly not going to pay for the mortgage, farrier fees, or dog food. IBL & Co is refocusing on life coaching, and will offer sessions online via Skype and via telephone or Viber. We cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Author: Sylvia Vitazkova, PhD, CYT

Dr. Sylvia K. Vitazkova is a certified yoga teacher, life coach, horsewoman, and conservation biologist. Sylvia’s formal study of yoga began while she was an undergraduate at Cornell University, and intensified when she began to practice Ashtanga Yoga in 1997 while attending Columbia University for doctoral studies in biology. Sylvia soon realized that she wanted to help others experience the consciousness and transformation that her own practice fostered in her and began to teach in 1998, subsequently studying in Mysore, India, in 2002. Sylvia continues to evolve her practice by learning from senior teachers, the most influential of whom has been Barbara Benagh. Her teaching focus is on correct alignment, the joy of being fully present in one’s body, and the psychological and spiritual context within which the physical practice is embedded. Parallel to being a yoga teacher, Sylvia had a full-time career as a professor of Conservation Biology, having taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including a course she created on nature and spirituality, which brought her two areas of expertise together. She has conducted and published the results of her research on wildlife in the tropics, and has been involved in the creation of a number of conservation studies programs. Sylvia’s experience in mentoring students naturally led her to life coaching, in which she became certified through George Mason University in 2014. A lifelong connection with horses has been woven throughout these experiences, from her first pony while a child in Africa, to teaching at riding camp in the U.S., then Claremont Riding Academy in NYC, to the current and ongoing exploration of how yoga can be a tool for better and more connected riding. Sylvia now leads InBodied Living LLC, a wellbeing organization and consultancy, with her partner, James Houston. 

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