A few days ago Jacob and I met with the wonderful Amanda Serene Dozal, a dedicated yogini who runs Wild Mountain Yoga Studio here in Nevada City, CA. We talked a lot about the difference between teachers who teach a few classes “on the side” and those who really make it their full time job to serve their students every way they can. She was giving the example of her most popular teacher, Jai Dev Singh, an energetic and dedicated Kundalini Yoga teacher and Ayurveda practitioner. He doesn’t just show up to teach his classes, he offers classes, regular retreats, online courses, his wife Simrit Kaur and him organize powerful devotional concerts and are very involved in the community. All around a great example of someone offering a lot of different venues for his students to feel connected together as a tribe.
In my early twenties I taught Yoga in a community center that served a wide variety of people. I was young and rather inexperienced, yet many students liked my class and would come to me after class, asking if I taught somewhere else. I would blurt out some other class I taught in another studio, or another time slot I occupied at the community center. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t about ME, but about them, that I could be an anchor for them to form as a little tribe. In his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us author and thinker Seth Godin talks about a new way of seeing leadership as being the center of a tribe, whether it is for 10 students or ten million music fans “people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. (…) To build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.”
So our job as practitioners and teachers is not to look for customers for our products, it’s to seek out products (and services) for the tribe we are serving. Looking out for ways for them to feel connected and share the benefits of what we have to give. The leaders of tomorrow understand that, do you?
Suleyka Montpetit is the managing editor or Everyday Ayurveda.She has studied Yoga, Communications and Spiritual Paths for over 15 years and has been a Mover and a Shaker, writing, editing and website building.
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