Embrace Karma Rather Than Running From It

Embrace Karma

Yoga instructor generally isn’t on the career tests the school guidance department provides as teens are considering future careers, so it’s common to find wildly divergent paths to teaching when even a few yogis and yoginis are gathered. Talking to just a handful makes it clear there is no one right path to yoga.

Starting Young

California instructor Jim Coughlin has been walking down the path for longer than most. He was only 10 when he first tried Iyengar yoga in 1967, not long after B.K.S. Iyengar first brought his style of yoga to the West.

“My dad brought home a book called “Light on Yoga” – first edition – by B.K.S. Iyengar,” Coughlin said. “He showed me how to do a headstand (Sirsasana) – I loved it and never looked back. I knew then that I was a good yoga – and that this was my passion.”

Yet he didn’t start teaching until decades later, after his wife opened a studio in 2002.

“Since we were “working” together, I decided to jump in and start teaching,” he said. “I have a way of explaining things that people understand – I use metaphors, humor analogies and an intricate knowledge of the human body as a result of study and practice.”

Discovering at a Turning Point

New York instructor Hillary Rubin first started taking yoga not long after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996. She found the practice calmed and centered her as she was going through the upheaval of the illness. As she continued to practice, she found yoga helped alleviate her symptoms — she is now symptom-free and medication-free.

“For me, yoga helped me harness my mind, body and spirit into the fierce warrior I needed to be to overcome the fear and darkness of my initial diagnosis,” Rubin said. “Yoga provided a foundation that made me more confident and eager to seek more information and options for healing. Every time I learned something new about diet, exercise, meditation, self-help and healing alternatives, I became stronger, eventually seeing my diagnosis as a blessing, not a curse.”

Since then, she has started teaching Anusara yoga, speaking and podcasting to share her message as widely as possible.

Connecting Pieces of the Self

Lorton, Va., instructor and YogaFit master trainer Suzie Celantano first discovered yoga after several years of acting, dancing and teaching group fitness.

“Then in 2003, I started to connect to mind/body disciplines, and all of these seemingly divergent paths -- as teacher (of theatre;) artist, fitness teacher, spiritual seeker, philanthropist, merged with my discovery of further depths in yoga and Pilates,” she said.

As she continued teaching, Celantano took more and more training and found herself appreciating yoga more and more. She was an adjunct theater instructor for several universities and planned to get her PhD and find a tenure-track position. She described yoga during this time as her “side gig” — until the morning she woke up and realized she was living her dream of teaching and mentoring other teachers.

“Moral of the story — if it wasn't apparent, is to NOT be so caught up in the vision of a goal's particulars, that you fail to see that it can morph into something different ... dare I say more,” Celantano said. “The universe always gives us more than we ask for. The challenge is to savor it.”

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