How it All Started...
In 2002, I worked for a New York City book publisher doing a job I hated. I drank seven nights a week, abused drugs, and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day. For food, it was pizza and takeout—anything quick and easy to keep me going.
No one consciously decides to destroy their health, but over the years, that’s exactly what happened. I was bloated and flabby, unable to sleep without alcohol. My eyes were red and puffy, and I couldn’t get excited about anything in life. I had so much potential, so many opportunities, but when you’re sick and numb to the world, everything feels impossible.
A friend dragged me to a yoga studio where I suffered through one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. I was sweating and dizzy, unable to do even the most basic of postures. I was the youngest person there, but I moved and felt like I was 90 years old. I couldn’t bend forward, sit cross-legged on the floor, or even balance in tree pose.
Looking at myself in the mirror, I remember thinking, “How did I let myself go?”
I hated that first class so much, yet I knew it was exactly what I needed, so I kept going. People assume yoga classes are meant to be wonderful, peaceful experience from day one—but that is not true. A good class should be the most challenging hour of your day. When you push yourself on the mat, real-life problems become lighter and more manageable.
Hard yoga = easy life.
For the next 380 days, I practiced every single day. While traveling, I used audio or video recordings. In new cities, I would go to any studio I could find. When my teacher told me to take a day off to rest, I ignored the advice and found another class across town. The same way I had previously obsessed over things that were destructive to my health—drugs and alcohol—I now found a positive obsession that fueled my growth.
Within the first six weeks, I lost 41 pounds (18 kg) and had to replace my entire wardrobe. I quit drinking and smoking altogether; and most importantly, I found a renewed passion for life. I remember walking around New York, still dripping with sweat from class, with a big, stupid grin on my face as if I unlocked a special secret.
My life was changing.
Within six months, I quit my job and moved to Thailand. Within a year, I was teaching full time to packed classes in Bangkok, and later, in Hong Kong. I opened my first studio in 2006 and began training teachers that same year. To date, I have taught more than 30,000 students and trained more than 13,400 teachers who work in 41 different countries. I love my life and my work, and I’m in better health mentally and physically than I was in my early 20s.
And now it’s your turn…
I’m not sure where you are in life right now, but I’m guessing you’re in a time of transition—or preparing for one. Maybe your job is unfulfilling, maybe you don’t like where you live, or maybe you need to follow your passion for once instead of following along with the rest of your peers.
What is your big idea?
Yoga can be your livelihood, your passion, and your ticket to freedom. I’m the quintessential yoga bum, and yoga has allowed me to live an incredible life around the world. I now have the good fortune to help thousands of my graduates do the same.
Our graduates are studio owners, published authors, social media influencers, trainers, health coaches, public speakers, and local leaders in their communities. They work in studios, gyms, and sports facilities. We have grads teaching in their homes, working with professional athletes, and so much more.
The Yoga Teachers College was built on practice, sweat, and struggle. It’s the physical manifestation of everything I care about in life, and my greatest hope is that some of my passion for this practice and lifestyle rubs off on you when you join me in training.
Nothing worth doing in life is easy; movement is more powerful than meditation; and practice is everything.
Founder & Director
Yoga Teachers College