My yoga journey started five years ago when I was still working for Lexus, in the corporate world in Manila. The main reason why I got into yoga was to complement my triathlon training. Eventually, I fell in love with the practice and found myself going to yoga everyday and sometimes even twice a day. I would even sneak in practice in Urban Ashram Yoga during my lunch breaks. After two years of practice, I decided to quit my job and do the teacher training program
This was definitely one of the better decisions I made because it didn’t just train me on how to be a yoga teacher, it actually trained me more for life.
After teacher training, it took me a year before I started teaching. I initially thought that teaching was not for me since I had classmates that were teaching classes way ahead of me. And whenever I tried teaching, I just didn’t do a good job. It was definitely a humbling experience because all along, even before starting my teacher training, I already had that vision in my mind that I would immediately be teaching yoga classes, and I would be teaching them well. Obviously, that didn’t happen. This was when I realized that teaching yoga was not easy. And with the thought that maybe I had my hopes up too high about yoga, I went back and got another job in the corporate world, but, to no surprise, that did not last.
It was after multiple failures in figuring out what I wanted to do that I realized that I was drawn to yoga for a reason. So, again, I pursued this passion and finally found different avenues to share what I love. It was definitely a struggle at the start, but it’s a process that I had to trust. And more importantly, I just really had to put the work in. I still hadn’t gained my confidence in teaching. There were so many times that I would feel bad after class thinking I should have done a better job. But I reminded myself to set my ego aside, that I should foremost put the work, heart, passion and effort in, and eventually good things will follow.
When I started teaching, I didn’t think I could earn from yoga. One of the driving forces for my move from the corporate world to teaching yoga was that I just wanted to share what I love (and because I never think I fit into a corporate job). I would teach dirt-cheap or free classes anywhere I could. I told myself that this job could not be about the money; that every time I get to teach, it is an avenue to improve my skills by learning from the students and, at the same time, to connect with people. I was focused on the idea was that I could do what I love as a profession, and I was grateful that I could share the gift of yoga with pure intentions to whoever was open to it.
When I started teaching, I was teaching only two to four classes per week. Later on, as I gained more experience and met more people, I was teaching three to five classes a day. Feeling so fortunate, I told myself I had to give back to yoga for all that it has given to me. So I set up a community yoga class in the village where I lived. I conducted an entirely free karma class every week for the next months. It was my way of sharing and expressing my gratitude for the practice.
As my journey went on, I found an opportunity to teach in Lombok after being introduced by my student from Treehouse Yoga to Ashtari Yoga. I was invited to teach two classes in February 2017, and later on I got invited to teach for a month on April. Eventually, I was offered a one-year contract to teach in Lombok, which I accepted and which is where I am at now.
At this point, I do not know what’s next in my journey. But I am kept centered by my trust in yoga – that wherever the practice takes me, that is where I will go. The saying that, “we practice yoga not to be better at it but to be better in life” has never rang as true as in my life now. As long as I put in the hard work, I will reap the rewards. Nothing in life is given, everything is earned. And at the end of the day, I am simply grateful for this opportunity. If I have one prayer in my daily life, it is a prayer of gratitude. I am grateful for this life, for this opportunity, for this practice, and for everyone around me.
The best part about all this is that my journey is just beginning. I hope to see you on the mat, wherever and whenever that may be. Namaste, light and love.
Alvin Gomez recently moved to Lombok, Indonesia where he teaches yoga.