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From the Studio to the Big Stage: 5 Yoga Teachers’ Success Stories

These 5 yoga teachers launched the careers of their dreams in tiny studios (and even one tour bus), and went on to accomplish truly amazing things.

Everyone has to start somewhere. These five yoga teachers launched the careers of their dreams in tiny studios (and even one tour bus), and went on to accomplish truly amazing things. For example, Alison McCue, who will teach her Bob Marley Flow class as well as a marketing workshop at Yoga Journal LIVE! in New York City this week, had only two students when she started out in 2009. Read on and be inspired!

Alison McCue

Alison McCue

Vinyasa yoga teacher and chief marketing officer for Powerflow Yoga’s 10 locations throughout New Jersey

Where She Started

McCue started teaching—just two students—at Garden State Yoga in 2009, where she was lead teacher, co-owner, studio manager, sole marketer, and more. Within five years, GSY grew to three studios, and Powerflow Yoga bought it in 2014.

Next Big Gig

McCue will lead a marketing workshop at Yoga Journal LIVE! in New York City on April 23, and on April 26, she’ll teach her signature Bob Marley Flow — a fun power vinyasa class that’s all about music, merriment, and relaxation.

3 Tips for Success

1. Be honest. Integrity is huge. Work, speak, and interact with integrity from day one. You will never burn a bridge.

2. You have to communicate. Not by text. Not by email. Most of the time, you have to pick up the phone or sit down with people. I believe in clear communication.

3. Have fun. Love it. Live it. If you say something, you’re doing it.

See also5 Questions to Test Your Integrity 

Patrick Harrington

Vinyasa yoga teacher and owner of four Kindness Yoga studios in Denver

Where He Started

Harrington started teaching in 2001 at Denver’s Yoga Energi (now Kindness Yoga) to 12-15 students. Now he averages 20 per class at his Kindness Yoga studios.

Next Big Gig

Harrington will teach at Yoga Rocks the Park in Denver on May 31, Yoga Day at Coors Field on August 15, and upcoming retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica.

3 Tips for Success

1. Pause. For many years, I lived life at full speed with my head down and in constant action. In the last 5 years, I have slowed down and made time to do yoga, meditate, and spend time with family and friends. These days, I get more done with less effort. Prioritize yourself, and your students will prioritize you as well.

2. Get your plan, your attitude, and your finances in order early on in your process. I have watched myself struggle the most when these three pieces were not attended to.

3. Go all in. Do not hedge, dive!

See alsoTake Control of Your Time and Money in 2015

Justin Kaliszewski

Teacher and founder of Outlaw Yoga in Denver

Where He Started

Kaliszewski started teaching five years ago atCorePower Yoga in Littleton, Colorado, to about 30 students per class.

Next Big Gig

Kaliszewski of Outlaw Yoga will be teaching his bold and edgy yoga classes all over the country this year, including venues in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, and Wyoming. He tours regularly and attracts groups as large as 500.

3 Tips for Success

1. Don’t try to make it big. I never set out to accomplish anything in yoga — I just loved yoga. I show up to teach my best class every class, whether it’s 5 students or 500.

2. If you wouldn’t do it for free, don’t do it at all. Seriously.

3. No matter who you think you are, I challenge you to fearlessly follow your passion no matter where it takes you. Believe the love for what you do will fuel you through the lean times and propel you to the best of times. Remember that falling is not the same as failing.

See alsoElena Brower’s 4-Step Practice to Define Your Dream

Lora McCarville

Lora McCarville

Vinyasa yoga and meditation teacher, founder and director of Yoga Rocks the Park Omaha

Where She Started

McCarville started teaching in 2009, at Life Time Fitness in Arizona. “In the beginning, I got 2 students, max, and I taught as if I was teaching a sold-out show. Last night, my class sold out! If I have 2 students or 500, I want each one to know they are not alone, that they belong, and together, we are a community,” she says.

Next Big Gig

McCarville will be teaching at Yoga Rocks the Park Omaha, as well as the Arise Music Festival in Loveland, Colorado, this August. She also teaches meditation to schools, the medical community, and Fortune 500 companies, and will lead 200-hour and 500-hour yoga teacher trainings around the country for Lotus House of Yoga in Omaha, Nebraska.

3 Tips for Success

1. Stay authentic.

2. Invest in people.

3. Practice yoga and meditation.

See alsoPatanjali Never Said Practice Is Optional

Tory Schaefer

Vinyasa yoga teacher and National Program Director for LifePower Yoga, the yoga studios inside Life Time Fitness Club locations across the country.

Where He Started

Schaefer started teaching 18 years ago, when he was touring the country as an actor. His coworkers who knew that he practiced (with a Rodney Yee DVD) asked him to teach them some yoga after those long bus rides. First, he had 5 to 10 students and now, 35 to 105.

Next Big Gig

Schaefer of LifePower Yoga is excited to be part of the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley, California, July 16–19. He’ll also present at multiple EMPOWER! fitness conferences this year all over North America.

3 Tips for Success

1. Share what you love. By sharing your most cherished gifts and lifting others up, you will make yourself better.

2. Practice and accept falling. Like a child starting to walk, only through falling do we learn to pick ourselves up with a clearer vision of where the next step can lead us.

3. Be brave enough to ask for what you want. Dreams are just dreams if only visualized within yourself. Take action and enjoy the journey. It’s not easy, but you are worth it.

See also Be Your Own Life Coach: 7 Ways to Live Your Dream