Cultivating a Community of Professional Peers with Linda Sparrowe
How can we, as yoga teachers, build and maintain a professional peer community? Whether it’s taking ownership of our yoga, overcoming isolation, or dealing with the competition we feel as yoga teachers – we have all faced these challenges. Linda Sparrow shares some of her insights about these difficult and uncomfortable topics.
Linda Sparrowe is a writer, editor, speaker and mentor in the holistic healing arena, who has over 20 years of experience. She is the former editor-in-chief of Yoga International and editor of Yoga Journal, as well as the author of several books and contributor to various online offerings in the yoga space. She teaches vinyasa yoga and yin yoga classes and workshops nationwide.
What does it take to cultivate a community of professional peers among yoga teachers? Shannon and Linda tackle some of the issues impacting our community of yoga professionals, including social media scolding in the yoga community, making yoga accessible through language, dealing with Impostor Syndrome and supporting others within the community.
If you believe that yoga is all about the connections you make, or if you’re struggling with the idea of building a community while keeping your voice, or if you’re feeling isolated as a yoga professional, this episode is just what you need to hear.
[2:40] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Linda Sparrowe.
[4:30] What first brought Linda to yoga?
[7:34] Yoga can help people feel more connected to themselves, even when they don’t set it as an intention for their practice.
[8:37] Linda often feels that she doesn’t know enough.
[9:27] Linda explains what drove her to discuss the 8 limbs in relation to the concept of having a community of professional peers.
[13:08] When the community engages in social media scolding, we are not honoring the teachings of yoga.
[15:16] Linda shares some examples of how we have deviated from the teachings of yoga.
[20:12] Linda explores the idea of sympathetic joy, and that feelings are not mutually exclusive.
[23:15] What is the difference between feelings and emotions?
[24:20] We don’t have a community that is predisposed to connect, and not judge.
[25:58] What would Linda suggest for yoga teachers to do to build that supportive community and get together?
“How can we come together, not to scold one another and have a whole set of rules…but how can we support each other even those people who have caused the suffering?” – Linda Sparrowe
[26:53] How does Linda address the concerns of yoga teachers who view each other as competition?
“In order to rise up, what’s happening is that we’re squashing other people down.” – Linda Sparrowe
[31:09] Why is fierce competition and lack of community so prevalent among yoga teachers?
[35:05] Shannon and Linda discuss their own struggles with wanting to push for their way of teaching.
[38:29] Yoga should never be about getting better – it’s about uncovering the beauty of your soul.
[41:51] Shannon voices her challenge in standing with what she believes in but at the same time not tearing others down or going against yoga principles. Linda shares some insights to this difficult question.
[49:53] How does Linda deal with situations where she disagrees with the teachings of other yoga teachers?
[50:59] How can we build community and still have a voice?
“You are stronger together than you would ever be by yourself.” – Linda Sparrowe
[53:54] Community in an unhealthy way looks like a cult. How can yoga teachers be mindful in the way they build community?
[58:49] What does Linda suggest for yoga teachers who are feeling isolated and that they’re not part of a community?
[1:02:47] What is the bigger picture of building a supportive peer community of yoga professionals?
[1:06:30] Shannon has a question for you – what can we do as yoga teachers? How can we build community?
- Linda Sparrowe
- Linda Sparrowe on Instagram
- Linda Sparrowe on Facebook
- Yoga International
- Yoga Journal
- Jill Minye
- Kira Sloane
- Angela Farmer
- The Yoga Conference and Show, Toronto March 2019
- Mama Nurture Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training – (Training is no longer being offered by Shannon Crow because she has niched down)
- Yoga for Pelvic Health Teacher Training, November 2019
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity
Thank u for this podcast and topic, Shannon and Linda. Creating community for my students and with fellow yoga teachers is important to me. I feel like I do this with my students but have shied away from this with yoga teachers in my area but this podcast gives me renewed energy to pursue community with fellow teachers. When I think of what has worked best for me in the workplace for team building, it has always involved having fun together in some way so for me I think this is the approach I’ll take.
Thank you for taking the time to comment Cathy. I am so excited that this podcast has given you some inspiration for connecting to your local yoga teacher community! Yes, what a fantastic idea — to bring fun in! Brilliant. Keep us posted on what you do.
This podcast touches on the real environment that yoga teachers deal with, the competition, the not feeling good enough, the star teachers, etc. I find that there are almost cast systems of who belongs to where and whether they went to India, etc or how many letters behind their name.
When the truth is many great teachers work full time, have children, busy lives and affect the little community class they do in the evening and know one knows their name. That to me, is the real yoga….
Oh, I love this Linda — that yoga teachers all over are teaching in their small communities. It reminds me of when my children were little and I was trying to explain who Bryan Adams was. I told them he was a famous singer. My son turned to me with so much wisdom and said, “Mom, there are no famous singers, just people who sing.”
What if we thought this when someone said something about a famous yoga teacher?
Congratulations on the 100th episode Shannon! I am so grateful for this podcast. Whenever I feel overwhelmed with the idea that I’m doing more business than yoga, I find so much support in your well thought out discussions. It allows me to learn new views on philosophy or physiology while editing my social media posts, find ways to make the business of being a teacher more efficient and gives me hope that eventually all this non-yoga business stuff will pay off.
I especially love the honesty of Linda and this episode. It’s so rare to hear the “darker” feelings associated with trying to build a yoga career addressed. It was so refreshing to hear someone talk about the duality of feeling happy for someone else’s success while acknowledging that it can mean an opportunity lost or a continuation of one’s financial or professional struggle. What a gift to hear someone speak to the full range of emotion, not just “light and love”. Thank you for all your work on this incredible resource.
P.S. Looking forward to meeting up at the Yoga Conference in TO.
This discussion resonated with me on a deep level. We ARE better together. All of the very wise statements made by Linda and Shannon helped to reinforce my current thinking about my yoga community. The honest way you both admitted to having very human reactions in certain situations made it relatable. I feel very supported as I navigate my way through some challenges in my life right now. And congrats on the 100th episode!
Shannon, this is my favourite episode of all. I love how honest and raw Linda is. Pulling no punches and delivering a message of acceptance.
Wow, I connected with this episode so much! Since graduating teacher training in 2016 I’ve struggled with finding a supportive community amongst yoga teachers. In my journey as a yoga teacher so far, I’ve been met with a lot of judgement and egotism.
I want to cultivate the community that I had in my teacher teacher training, supportive and open-minded. Tomorrow I’m launching my first workshop series with the hopes of building a community of yoga teachers. When Linda talked about building that “Sangha” I said to myself “YES” it’s not just me who thinks there needs a gap to be filled in this community. Lets start building that community!
Thank you so much Shannon for all your insights and thoughtful discussions. A friend of mine sent me a link to your podcast a month ago, and I’ve been listening ever since.
I’d love to share more about the progression of the teacher group here in California! If there are any other groups that have these same ideas of building community, can you please share with me? Thank you!