“What do you do?”
As Americans, we mindlessly ask and answer that question. Our go to answer is to state our profession or career. Is that really how you want to define who you are though? Is your job all that you do?
Pursuing my passion came on the coattails of being asked this question one too many times and having to answer with something that didn’t feel aligned with who I truly am. My job didn’t explain my passions, the things that excite me, or the legacy I’d like to leave on my world. So, I took some steps to change that.
Initially practicing yoga was a hobby and a means of dealing with debilitating back pain. As I fell deeper into the practice, yoga became a lifestyle and I felt its profound influence on my emotions, outlook, energy levels, and interactions. Yet I felt called to do something more about this gift I’d discovered, so I decided to get certified to teach. Now, I’m even more in touch with the ways I can use the teachings of yoga to serve a greater purpose and community and, in that, I have found a passion worth pursuing.
When I enrolled in my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program, I wasn’t sure where it would take me, but I had hopes of it leading to freedom. My 9-5 cubicle job seemed to rule my life with golden handcuffs complete with financial security, status, and an easily understood response to “What do you do?” Yet, I committed to nights and weekends of study for 7 months with this glimmer of hope that I would kick the status quo to start teaching yoga, leave the cubicle, and travel the world.
How often do we sabotage ourselves from following our passion? I’d bet our most uttered excuse is money. We don’t have enough of it to start or we are afraid that following our passion is synonymous with going poor. Why do following a dream and making money need to be mutually exclusive? In finding my true passion, I discovered that it’s possible to actively honor it without needing to completely drop the rest of my responsibilities.
A passion driven life is all about taking mindful and consistent actions that resonate with your True Self, the part of you that feels good when you do something in line with your heart and sick when you move against it.
I don’t make a lot of money teaching yoga. In fact, I think I spend more money on trainings, workshops, and visiting new studios than I currently earn in a year. Yet, I couldn’t be more happy, as I live a lifestyle filled with awesome things. Making money isn’t the purpose of me teaching yoga and I want to do it anyway. It feeds my soul and fulfills a higher purpose in ways that a swanky apartment and fancy clothes can’t. Following my passion means doing what feels good to me, not living up to the expectations of society.
The truth is, I still work my 9-5 job. But when someone asks me “What do you do?” I proudly say “I teach yoga and inspire people to follow their dreams.” People talk to me and can see that I’m living a life I love because I feed my soul with things that truly matter to me.
Following our dreams usually doesn’t happen with a bang – we have to work for it and have patience as we take mindful steps towards what feels intuitively good. For me, following my passion has meant teaching yoga on nights and weekends, investing in studying with teachers and healers I respect, and surrounding myself with the communities that I thrive in. I always try to align my passion and my intentions with my actions.
With these intentional actions, I am now at a place where my passion and purpose become clearer each day. I’ve enrolled in another yoga teacher training, this time with an important service aspect. Over the next 5 months, I am fundraising $5,000 to build a primary school in Haiti. It’s my small and tangible step towards living a life of purpose driven service, inspiring people to follow their own dreams, and giving back to those who haven’t yet found the path towards their freedom. I believe that by consistently following my heart’s calling, my contribution in life can extend beyond the yoga classes I teach and out through the world.
Here’s to hoping you all find that Passion within yourselves – a vibration that pulses through every bit of your being and reminds you YOU ARE ALIVE and your personal journey is absolutely beautiful.
Gina is a Yoga Instructor at The Yoga Garden in Philadelphia, aspiring Healer, and just an all around Yogi-Extraordinaire. She blogs about her journey with Yoga, as well as providing inspiration and insight to help others seek enlightenment in themselves and their lives. Connect with her at her blog, as well as her various social media platforms: