Monthly Archives: September 2012

Heath Insurance in Yoga – Michael Joel Hall


Yoga teacher Michael Joel Hall was beaten in what was probably a hate crime a month after he lost his apartment to a fire. He had not renewed his private health insurance after a trip abroad and could not afford several thousand dollars for medical expenses.

Yoga studios and teachers throughout Washington, DC held donation classes in order to help pay the hospital bills, and raised the full amount and then some.

It’s touching to hear how people came together for this cause, to help someone in the yoga community who needed it.

It’s extremely sad to me that this did not raise debate about health insurance. The title of this Washington Post article, Yoga teacher recovers, but attack highlights job’s health-care issues, implies that it will address the topic and completely fails to do anything but summarize a series of events (albeit a series with a heartwarming end).

I’m not a yoga teacher, but I have worked jobs as an independent contractor with no health insurance provided. I’ve taken out my own private insurance and have similarly been tempted to let it lapse. It’s expensive and I worry that even if I do need it, my plan won’t pay. There have been times when I might have liked to go to a doctor, but couldn’t afford to take time off work or pay the deductible … in part because I was paying more than a hundred dollars a month for the insurance.

What if you are similarly wrongly hurt, but you are not a high profile yoga teacher? What if you are hurt in a less dramatic way? What if the money isn’t raised? It’s ironic that health insurance is most likely not provided to most teachers in a health-related field such as yoga. It shouldn’t be up to yoga teachers and students to come up with an action plan to cover teachers or others, but the topic could at least be raised.


On Quitting


As someone who has had a lot of jobs, I have also quit a lot of jobs. Among other things. I’m actually pretty good at quitting.

I believe that sometimes walking away – from a person, place, or job – really is the right thing to do. Sometimes it just feels good to tell someone off and know you’ll never have to deal with them again, even if it hurts you a little in the long term.

Recently I quit a part-time job at the front desk of a yoga studio, somewhat unexpectedly and dramatically. I don’t know that they way it all unfolded was exactly ideal, but the owner was widely known as a “crazy asshole”. I was not alone in my frustration dealing with him. When I gave my two weeks’ notice verbally, he told me I could leave right then, which on reflection, turned out to be a great gift. I didn’t have to suffer through two more weeks, or wake up super early ever again!  As a result, however, I did not have a chance to say good-bye to several co-workers and clients. I emailed a handful of people to do so, including one yoga teacher I respect a lot. Read the rest of this entry



Some people are meant to do one job. Some people find a career that brings meaning to their life.

I am not one of those people. At least, I hope I’m not, because I sure haven’t found that job.

I have been an English teacher, in the United States and abroad. I have worked in retail. I have worked for non-profits. I have been a dog walker, a sign placer, and a telephone interviewer. I have earned income writing, blogging, and proofreading. I have served coffee and food. I have a Master’s degree. I have worked at McDonald’s.

None of these things has brought meaning to my life. I loved what I studied in grad school and I’m glad I’ve lived abroad … but I’m not An English Teacher or a Writer or Anything Else.

I’ve lived and worked in countries with tremendous unemployment. Countries where people used to study what their parents or someone else made them, and now work in whatever job they can find. They don’t have the expectation that e a job should bring meaning to your life. Read the rest of this entry

Yoga withdrawal?


Not yet.

I’ve definitely noticed changes in my thoughts, but I guess I’m not in desperate need for four to six ninety minute heated classes, or not as desperate need as I’d thought.
I do miss my studio and having a regular place to go. I notice the lack of clear instruction elsewhere. Clear instructions may not be an essential part of yoga, but when I can hear what the pose is and do it, I can be in my practice in a way I cannot when I need to crane my neck to watch someone.

I notice that students aren’t really the same.  One of the irritations I had at my studio was the owner going on about community. Fifty people paying money and getting in a room to move around and breathe is not community. I still think that, but there is something to be said for a studio where people talk to each other occasionally, where the room is not always silent.

Yoga Hiatus


I’m on hiatus from my regular yoga studio.

There are different reasons for this, but the most pressing are financial. On my way to a yoga class I don’t usually attend, I got a ticket from a traffic camera that I do not even fully understand. I probably turned right on a red light when it was forbidden, or turned right when it was allowed but didn’t stop. I’ve contested tickets before by mail successfully. But it’s time consuming, I don’t want to go back and risk another ticket, and I’m worried I’ll fail and the amount will increase.

The ticket cost $5 more than a month of unlimited yoga.

I needed a break, though. Ninety-minute classes across town, four to six days a week do fill up my calendar. I’m not independently wealthy either, even without tickets. Most significantly, though, I started to question my reasons for going to class.
Read the rest of this entry