How Jeremy Falk Turned Off Autopilot and Reinspired His Yoga Teaching - Yoga Journal

Live Be Yoga: How I Turned Off Autopilot and Reinspired My Yoga Teaching

Often, when we find a teacher or a class we love, we stick to it. Here, Jeremy Falk makes the case for finding inspiration everywhere—even when we encounter styles we don't aspire to.
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Jeremy Falk teaches yoga at Love Story Yoga

After four months on the road, Live Be Yoga ambassador Jeremy Falk plays the harmonium as he begins to teach a homecoming class next to friend and musician Nate Levin at Love Story Yoga in San Francisco.

Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and so much more—all to illuminate what's in store for the future of yoga. Want more stories from Live Be Yoga? Follow the tour and get the latest stories @livebeyoga on Instagram and Facebook

One of the greatest benefits I’ve received from yoga is the ability to gracefully navigate discomfort. But if there’s one killer of inspiration, it’s getting too comfortable. Before I embarked on the tour, I was a full-time yoga teacher, and having a set teaching schedule provided the stability I craved. Over time I was able to free up the right hours to practice regularly with a few of my own teachers.

But this routine ultimately stifled my creativity. I stopped taking random classes from new teachers because I knew what I liked and whom I wanted to learn from. Let’s face it, when you step into an unknown yoga class, it’s a gamble for what you’re going to get. 

What I have come to find out is that, with the right mindset, it’s a gamble you’re never going to lose.

When I gave up my hard-earned studio classes and private clients to hit the road for six months as a Live Be Yoga ambassador for Yoga Journal, it was also a monumental gamble. But I knew the chance to travel the States as a student and blogger was exactly what I needed to step back and reignite my inspiration and career in yoga.

And yet, four months into the tour, when my tour manager suggested I teach a special homecoming class at my studio, Love Story Yoga, upon returning to San Francisco, I was nervous! It felt as if my few humble years of experience had vaporized.

Jeremy Falk teaches at Love Story Yoga

At the front of his homecoming class at Love Story Yoga in San Francisco, LBY ambassador Jeremy Falk discovers that the classes he loves, and those didn't care for, have the power to reinvigorate a yoga teacher.

This made me realize the level of autopilot from which I had been comfortably operating before I left. Thankfully, that autopilot was pretty shaken up as the Live Be Yoga tour had me dropping into new cities every week and experiencing yoga outside of my bubble.

There were so many different teaching styles I resonated with. I found a deeper understanding of mindfulness in the way Cyndi Lee cued students to bring awareness to the moment their hands touched the mat, and the subtle way Kelley Carboni-Woods seemed to gift us breaths in a pose instead of telling us how many to take.

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I was reminded how deeply soul-stirring it is when humble teachers like Govind Das and Radha sing out passionately from their hearts without caution. I was brought to solid conviction when Stewart Gilchrist reminded us that rigorous asana is more than a workout; it’s what allows us to continue being of service to the world instead of depending on it.

All of this reignited why I love to teach.

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And there were classes I wouldn’t be dragged back to kicking and screaming. There were teachers that delivered sound alignment and asana but in a tone of bone-dry boredom. There were classes that blasted loud pop music, where the instructor shouted at us to breathe, and where the teacher paid more attention to managing the flow of their playlist than to the students. There were the teachers that rambled on incoherently about their personal lives, and those that treated Savasana as an impatient afterthought.

All of this reignited what was important for me to teach.

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None of this is to say that there are right or wrong things to do, but all of them fed into my experience teaching at Love Story that evening. They reaffirmed the value in going outside of my comfort zone for inspiration, because we never lose! 

There is value in finding something new that we love, and there is value in being reminded of how we don’t want to show up. The net result reaffirms our strength, purpose, and clarity.

Jeremy Falk teaches yoga at Love Story Yoga

Jeremy Falk offers an adjustment to a student at his homecoming class at his San Francisco-based studio, Love Story Yoga.

That’s because, as teachers, we have an incredibly unique opportunity to hone our craft simply by participating in it ourselves. How many other professionals can just waltz into someone else’s office, just to observe how they’re operating for a day?

I’m not suggesting that anyone embarks on a judgmental streak or spies on yoga studios and teachers. I’m simply encouraging any teacher that feels stuck to break from what they know they love, and jump into unknown.

I am constantly humbled by the guru mantra, which reminds us to see the teacher in all things. When we are reminded of this opportunity, it’s a beautiful way to become unstuck.

And this is exactly what happened when my fingers struck the first chord on my harmonium that night at my homecoming class. It’s exactly what happened as I rose to the floor and began the class with confidence, authenticity, and certainty in what I wanted to deliver and share. 

I felt reinvigorated, honored, and humbled to be at the front of the room instead of merely clocking in. And my friends and students told me it was the most impactful class I had ever taught.

Special Namaste to our friends at Weleda, whose incredible lineup of organic beauty and skincare products keep us looking as fresh and inspired on the outside as the practice we cultivate on the inside.