Some of you know this about me, but others do not: I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. When I was young and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I unhesitatingly responded a mom and a teacher. In that order. At that age, I didn’t know what type of teacher, but I knew it was in my blood. My mom had wanted to be a teacher, so maybe I got it from her.

Fast forward to college. I still wanted to be a teacher. But, now, I knew it was an English professor. I didn’t want to “babysit.” I wanted to teach to people who really wanted to be there—we won’t go into how misguided I was with this thought process 😮 I finished my undergrad in English Lit and was working on my Masters and plotting out where I was going to pursue my PhD. Long story short, my mentor, Dr. Birenbaum, had a heart-to-heart with me and asked me if I REALLY wanted to teach. I was indignant, as only a 20-something could be. Of COURSE I wanted to teach! How dare he question my path!

He saw something in me. He saw my Type A personality. He saw how I would feel like I had failed if I put this “thing” out there and didn’t follow through. He saw that my heart and soul weren’t really in it. He saw that it was something I felt I SHOULD do. Dr. Birenbaum was a very wise mentor.

At a working dinner (that his lovely wife made for us), he began to tell me what being a college professor really entailed. All the mundane things that no one ever brings to the light of day: the long hours, the low wages, the need to be published, the old boys’ network. He laid it all out for me; and I listened. I finally heard him. After my indignation passed, I did some soul-searching and realized that I didn’t want to spend more years in school, going into debt for something that didn’t set my soul on fire. Half way through, I decided to drop out of the Masters Program (yes, I’m a Masters school drop out—still makes me cringe a little to share that), but it was the best decision I ever made. Thanks to Dr. Birenbaum, I am now the teacher I was always meant to be: a yoga teacher. I will, forever, be indebted to my wise mentor, who saw something I was too stubborn to see.

blue door is my heart and soul. It fills me with joy and purpose. Every morning I wake up energized and ready to conquer the world—or, at least, the yoga world. Being able to teach yoga students and yoga teachers through our Teacher Training programs is what I was meant to do. It sets my soul on fire.

If you were to go back in time and ask that little girl what she wants to be when she grows up, the answer would still be the same: a mom and a (yoga) teacher.