You Inspire Me!


By: Keya Nkonoki / July 24, 2015

I learned something that first day of class that has stayed with me throughout my 12 years of yoga teaching.  Being a teacher is not about me.

I never planned to be a yoga teacher.  I had a “what I wanna be when I grow up” conversation with one of my favorite teacher’s, Krishna Kaur (founder of Yoga for Youth). Krishna is a mover and shaker, so just one week later, with her support, I was sitting in pregnancy yoga teacher training with my then six-month-old baby!

The first yoga class I taught was in Camp Scott Juvenile Detention Center with the Yoga for Youth program.  It was a super far drive, and I was still breastfeeding, so I asked my friend Lori-Ann to ride with me and watch my baby in the parking lot, while I taught the yoga class.  I was so scared.  I still felt like a kid myself.  What did I know? Ironically, I was more scared of failing as a teacher, than I was of the harsh environment I was about to step into.

I had six handwritten pages, front and back, ripped from one of those long, yellow legal pads.  After fumbling through the first page, I put the notes to the side and just had a real conversation with them.  Instead of telling them so much about my story, I asked good questions and listened to them with real interest.  They were so excited to be heard.  It was the perfect energy to begin our yoga sequence!  I learned something that first day of class that has stayed with me throughout my 12 years of yoga teaching.  Being a teacher is not about me.  It’s all about my students.  The more I listened, the more my students would inspire me to keep digging for more and more yoga wisdom to share.  The more I showed up for them, the more I had to show up for myself on my mat.  I want to thank each and every person who has ever shown up for my classes over the years.  Because of you, I am continuously inspired to push myself to practice, practice, practice in order to facilitate rich, transformative classroom experiences.

Please take a peek at this 3 minute video highlighting the wonderful work being done with underserved youth here in Los Angeles!  There are clips of my classes and interviews with my students at Thomas Riley Highschool (located in Watts).  This is a class I’ve been lucky to teach for more than 3 years now, thanks to generous donations from people like you!  These donations help us to continue offering youth yoga classes where they are needed most.  If you would like to contribute, click here

I hope to see you this weekend on your mat! If you are taking yoga classes with me now, or have in the past, and felt inspired, please take a few moments to write me a yelp review here. We appreciate you!

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