Yoga Trade is stoked to introduce you to, yoga trade member, new yoga teacher, and Sunburnt and Salty blogger, Caitlin Lawson! She grew up in South Carolina, recently graduated college in Florida, and is now living in Puerto Rico with her boyfriend following her dream of teaching yoga and surfing. She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. Here are her inspiring words:
How has your teaching experience in Puerto Rico changed your life?
I’ve only been teaching in Puerto Rico for a very short time, but already my eyes have been opened up to a world full of possibilities. I’m currently teaching at La Paz Yoga & Pilates Studio in Rincόn, Puerto Rico, it’s one of the few yoga studios in town, and I’ve already met so many incredible people from a variety of backgrounds. Rincόn is a cool little town; it’s a melting pot of different people and cultures, yet it still has the essence of an authentic, Puerto Rican town. It’s really neat to see the diversity of people who walk into the studio and practice alongside one another – it’s inspiring. Teaching here has allowed me to really see the power that yoga has to offer: bringing people together, building a community of people who, without yoga, wouldn’t even know each other. Teaching is such a humbling, yet rewarding, experience. And while I am a “teacher,” I have learned through my teaching that I will forever be a student. I never thought I’d find a teaching job so quickly, but a month into living here I was offered a position at La Paz. I’d like to think that getting the job was fate, but either way, I’m so grateful to be sharing this incredible practice with others in such a beautiful town. It doesn’t even feel like a job to me. I feel like I’m really living the dream!
Would you recommend that other new yoga teachers travel and teach?
Absolutely! Traveling, even if it’s just from city to city, teaches you so much about how other people live. It also teaches you a lot about yourself. I think it’s easy for people to get stuck in one place – kind of like a comfort zone – but yoga and traveling, are all about stepping out of your comfort zone, and creating community along the way! Yoga, like surfing, is a beautiful way to bring people together. People may speak different languages or hold different beliefs, but can share the same passion for the practice of yoga, or the love of riding waves.
How do you feel about the idea of teaching yoga for “trade” or as a volunteer?
I think teaching yoga for trade, or as a volunteer, is a wonderful thing, especially for those of us yogis who yearn to travel! In my opinion, teaching yoga is more than a means to make money. It’s much deeper than that. As a yoga teacher, you are sharing your experience with this incredible practice and guiding others along their own, personal journey. Teaching yoga for trade is a powerful way to break down barriers and to connect with different people, different people that will most likely teach you a thing or two. With all of the violence and crime and negativity going on these days, I think teaching yoga for trade, or as a volunteer, is just what the world needs.
What does the “spirit” of yoga mean to you?
The spirit of yoga, to me, means presence. Staying present in every moment of my life. Not regretting my past or worrying about my future. Knowing that wherever I am at that place or time is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I used to think that yoga was just a physical practice, just about my time on my mat. But through consistent practice, and my 200-hour training, I’ve learned that yoga is much, much more than that. Yoga is how you live your day-to-day life. It’s about giving up the things that no longer serve you so you can really enjoy, and really experience, this short time we have together on the beautiful planet Earth.
Keep up with Caitlin on her motivational blog, Sunburnt and Salty.