Occupation: Yoga teacher and Owner of three yoga studios
Employer: Self / Yoga District
Interests: yoga, yoga activism, live music, bad poetry, helping people, making a difference with whatever skills i can muster, eco-conscious living, warm socks, sunny beaches, designing fun flyers, quantum physics
Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi
What's your job?
This job takes a little bit of everything—patience, organization, love, passion, humility, sweat and tears. “I'm a glorified scheduling secretary, coordinating yoga volunteers and yoga teachers and students,” says Chehrazi. Everyone plays a major role in helping the studio run and thrive. Volunteers assist to sign students in to classes, maintaining clean and well functioning studios, and promoting special events and classes in exchange for free yoga. Teachers hone their craft for a stipend and are able to use the studios for private clients (which can be the major source of income for yoga teachers). “Students come in, pay $10 or less for a class that brings them a little peace, a little sweat, a little sanity, or whatever it is they need,” says Chehrazi. “So aside from trying to make sure all that happens, I just sign my name on multiple contracts and leases to take financial responsibility for everything, which is no problem since I'm not really into money and would rather spend it on this project than buying another pair of shoes I don't need.”
It’s obvious that Chehrazi is not in this line of work for the big bucks. She is going against the tide of $20 yoga classes in luxurious studios, celebrity yoga workshops and designer spandex attire. “I think park of my job and way of life is to live simply,” she says. In addition to running the studio, she will be starting programs to give classes in homeless shelters, as well as providing yoga for people recovering from addiction, at-risk youth, and prison inmates. She also runs a teacher training program.
In order to make this possible, she has found a group of dedicated teachers and volunteers—as well as generous and understanding landlords. “Landlords are happy because yoga studios don't cause problems for neighbors and we take good care of their property,” says Chehrazi.
How do you spend a work day?
Chehrazi’s day usually includes some yoga and meditation to maintain her own practice. She also deals with the less esoteric tasks of reading through emails, coordinating workshops, creating new projects, and addressing any student issues or problem accounts.
Since the studios are her responsibility, Chehrazi has to step in if a substitute instructor cannot be found, if students have any issues with the classes, or any other matters come up. She also assists with teaching when necessary.
How did you find this job?
It took hutspa to take Chehrazi from volunteer to yoga studio owner. She was volunteering at a studio where she found the teacher had trouble running regular classes while maintaining his own teacher training program. She suggested that he allow her to take over the studio and run the classes. “Then my friend and I renovated the space, teachers came to teach, everyone chipping in with cleaning and administration, Jenny Johnson helped manage, Joey Gabisan and I also add some sweat blood tears into the mix, renovating their properties into clean wide open bright spaces.”
Chehrazi’s best advice: “If you don't see an opportunity before you, make one. You don't need to have a plan to act. You don't need a job to work. If you want to open a cafe, go out and do it. If you want to open a yoga studio, do it. If you want to teach, do it. The only thing that is stopping you is yourself. And you'll find that once you start, the momentum will carry you- it's like a snowball rolling down a snowy mountain. You won't be able to stop once you get it going.”
What's the best part of the job?
The physical and emotional benefits of yoga, its unique lifestyle and sense of community drive Chehrazi’s work. One of her favorite parts of the job: “Seeing people affected by yoga, when they smile after class with that rejuvenated look in their eyes, and in the middle of class people get that look of strength and awareness.”
The studio has created a strong base of friends and coworkers. “Another favorite is when all the teachers get together,” says Chehrazi. “It's pretty rare because they pretty much all have other jobs, but being together with other people into the yoga lifestyle is a pretty wonderful thing.”
The worst part?
Running a business comes with having to deal with the inflow and outflow of money, paying taxes, administration and endless multi-tasking.
What special skills are required?
“You have to want to live yoga,” says Chehrazi. “You have to teach yoga, and you have to be in touch with your personality -- my mentor told me teaching is 90% personality and 10% knowledge. You need to help form a community of like-minded people that support the mission, supporting you and each other in the journey. You have to trust people and yourself.”
Any lingo or jobspeak that you can share?
Namaste- light in me sees the light in you. Shanti- peace.
Find out more about the yoga lifestyle.