The Right Kind of Tough

“Tori, can you demonstrate Triangle for the rest of the class?” she asked. And, I felt a glow of pride at the request.

Yoga over the past three years had become my refuge – helping me recover from my eating disorder, releasing the constant stress and pressure from working towards my career goals as a professional actress, and helping me to become stronger in ways I hadn’t even known I was weak.

The other dozen or so students in class turned toward my mat and I stepped into position. READ MORE

Every yoga instructor I know has popped onto the virtual yoga class scene in the last couple of months due to studio closures from COVID-19. For many of us, this is a new venture and not something that comes easily, but is born out of necessity. And, what I love most about this trend, is I see a ton of instructors waking up to the idea that they are in control of their own business. To this I say, “Hell, yeah!” READ MORE

I think I was seriously overwhelmed for the first five years as a yoga teacher. Deciding to put my acting career on the back burner and pay attention to what was truly giving me joy was a big life defining moment for me. I knew I was supposed to teach. I knew it would change my life. But there was also so much I did not know or could even predict happening that took place once I returned home and found myself leading classes. READ MORE

Patience is one of the virtues you must develop if you take up a regular yoga asana practice. Of course, if you practice yoga you must eventually give up forcing the outcome of a posture, or goal of a posture, at some point. You learn to allow the body to unfold at its own pace and time. This can take years to develop. READ MORE

Please don’t worry. I’ve made this mistake, too. It happened mainly in the beginning of my career as a yoga instructor. And I honestly didn’t know I was making it.

What I did, was assume I knew the whole story. You see a student day after day, year after year. You know their occupation, their friends, their kids, or at least their kids’ names, their dating or marital status… you name it, you know it. But, you don’t. READ MORE

The time has absolutely flown by since I first ventured out to yoga teacher training. It has been filled with one class after another – a constant stream of red-faced, sweaty students striving to do their best. There have been mishaps and adventures as I found my voice as an instructor and within the ranks of teachers that surround me day after day. There have been times I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and times that I thought that there must be something else. READ MORE

No, I’m not going to write about that tank top I’m dying to get my hands on at Lululemon or those hot yoga shorts that are just screaming my name.  This is a different kind of wish list.  This post is about the wishes I have for my students.

I love my students. I really do, it’s not something that yoga teachers are just supposed to say. It’s honestly a privilege to witness their practice as it develops and fun to get to know them as people outside of the studio. READ MORE

Teaching yoga has taught me more about my Self than any other profession prior to it could even come close to – what an adventure!  It is a constant learning process – a building up and stripping away of what is no longer needed, learning to lead by example – to live the life I urge others to pursue. The list goes on and on. READ MORE

My favorite student is not one that came to my class and knew everything right off the bat. They did not have a smug smile as they stepped on their mat, thinking, “I am going to rock this class, people!”

Instead, they looked nervous and intimidated. In fact, they wondered what in the heck they just signed up for.


Never stop learning. This is HUGE guys. I see people graduate from their Teacher Training and think, “Wow, I’m good go,” and NEVER do any continuing education. You go to college for at least four years, but you expect a career in a couple of weeks or maybe a few months? It doesn’t work that way. Teacher Training is your first step. Then get around teachers that inspire you. Travel out to see them if you have to. Take masterclasses, CE classes, workshops, find a teacher that provides mentorship, and maybe even go to another training. READ MORE

Myth #1: Being a yoga teacher is a great hobby or side gig.

I am a professional yoga instructor. This is not a hobby, or even a job. This is my career.

Myth #2: Yoga teachers know everything about yoga.

I know a lot about yoga, but I will always have more to learn. It’s impossible to say you know everything about yoga...  READ MORE

They do not prepare you at any teacher training for some of the awkward situations you find yourself in once you have become a yoga teacher. Instead, it’s tons of yoga, anatomy, lectures on yoga philosophy, and everything you would come to expect when preparing to become an instructor.

But honestly, they should take you aside and let you know that there will be moments when you think, “How in the heck did I get into this situation?” or, “Why did that person feel they could say that to me?” that you could never have guessed at when you first begin to lead class. READ MORE