This year I decided to share my annual reflections and plans on my blog. Sharing personal things publicly has always been a challenge for me from the beginning. Yet whenever I start sharing things from personal experience, more people seem to connect to it and get value from it.

So in this article I intend to:

  • Reflect on what went well and not so well in the main areas of my life regarding practicing and teaching Yoga. What did I achieve and am happy about in the different areas of my life. What didn’t go so well this year? Things I personally planned differently. Things that I failed with and which became lessons instead of success stories.
  • Share my experience and give ideas how you can intentionally create awareness of where you are and where you are going
  • Hold myself accountable by sharing publicly what I intend to do in the upcoming months, Projects that I want to happen, the direction I want my life to move to.

So let’s start with

2015

It has been an amazing year with a lot of new things happening in all parts of my life.

About Life

On a private note, I became a father in December for the first time and love my new life with my partner Sandra and our son. Sandra and I had a exciting year of happily expecting and I am glad that we get to share a beautiful life, inspiring each other on a daily basis.

Ashtanga Yogis call parenthood jokingly the 7th series (as there are 6 series in Ashtanga Yoga), as it is more challenging and at the same time incomparably more beautiful than anything else.

The discipline of daily practice, keeping up with one’s many dear habits and rituals has gotten a completely new quality and requires a lot of surrender and letting go of strict ideas and expectations about how a day (or night) is going to evolve. Yet I couldn’t possibly be happier and even if everything else had gone wrong last year, I would still be happy with just having a happy child. and getting to spend time with him.

In general I can say that each year since I started teaching Yoga full time, my ability to combine my private life, my teaching, my practice, my purpose and my goals has improved immensely. I keep striving to be the best, most authentic version of myself in each part of my life.

Questions for you:

What went great in 2015? What was your favorite, what your least favorite moment? Were you able to align your life, your goals, your practice, teaching and private life with each other? What activities would you like to not include in the future, which ones do you want more of?

About Practice

Practice-wise, I was able to continue my studies with my teachers and really feel my practice getting stronger and deeper from week to week, month to month and year to year.

Practice on the Island of Hvar, Croatia, photocredit: sandra db

Having a relationship with one’s own practice is really just like riding the waves of life, sometimes great, sometimes not so great, but always worth experiencing it. I did hurt my knee outside of practice and wasn’t able to do any pose that requires the knee to be bend more than 45 degrees, yet with consistent and mindful practice, that condition improved until I am now almost fully recovered.

Ashtanga always stay the same, a daily breathing meditation in movement, sometimes light, sometimes rough, sometimes lazy. And I intend to keep my practice strong and regular. I can already see now how especially my pranayama practice is giving me plenty of extra energy, especially if the night was short

Also the idea of becoming a father had an impact on my practice, on one side making me stronger and more confident, yet bringing out unhealed issues and fears showing up  for example in my shoulders. But all these issues went away after a couple of days and what stayed was the confidence and the certainty that most of these issues of the body will pass rather quickly.

Questions for you:

How much did you enjoy your practice last year? What changed over the course of the last months? Did you have major break throughs or setbacks? What did you learn through practice about yourself, your life or your body? Did you get to study with your teachers and what did you learn? Has the practice improved your life or made it worse?

About Teaching

Reaching more people was one of my goals and I was happy to teach a couple of traveling workshops and visited various schools to share the practice of Yoga, taught my first retreat in India with my partner Sandra, continued to build a Mysore-practice community and taught teaching intensives.

Especially building a community of dedicated students is an amazing thing to do and watch happening. I realize more and more how building a community is so powerful in many ways, and I want to make it one of my main themes of 2016.

… and my website

2015-07-18_1358
Interview with Paul Dallaghan @Samahita, Thailand

I continued to write articles on this website (17 articles in 2015),  wrote articles for various other Yoga-websites and was interviewed for the Meditation-Freedom-Podcast. To get over my discomfort to be in front of a camera, I interviewed my teacher Paul Dallaghan in Thailand and created a short online video course (get access to it by signing up for my newsletter below this article). I also ran my coaching program “Create your perfect Yoga Teacher Life”.

Yet my plans where bigger.

I totally failed in my plan to write an article every week (including the guest posts on other websites I managed to write about twice a month).

My workshops and Coaching programs were a success, yet I felt I could have done a much better job promoting them and sharing the benefits of these programs.

Also, the coaching program was not designed to fit most peoples busy schedule which I found out when talking to many people that were interested yet didn’t sign up. (I designed the program to be a 6-week intensive – yet the feedback I got was to make it longer to allow more time to work on the program.

As always failures are not the end of it, rather they are lessons so that we can succeed next time – or the time after that.

Questions for you:

Did you you teach in a way that you feel good about in the last year? Did your number of students grow and what impact did you have on them? Did you try something new in your teaching and what did you learn along the way? In what ways are you grateful to your students? Which format of teaching suited you best and which new formats do you want to try out to spread you message?

Now let’s get into

2016

Taking the success and lessons of the past as inspiration and keep walking on my path, I have a couple of projects lined up for the upcoming months.

January to March

After many requests from TT-students to write an adjustment manual, finally it’s happening. As I don’t think it’s possible to nicely explain how to adjust in a book, Sandra and I will do a video course. We are in the middle of creating it and I will share more info about it soon.

Adjusting in Mysore, photocredit: sandra db
Adjusting in Mysore, photocredit: sandra db

Also I will be traveling and teaching a couple of Ashtanga workshops in various European cities.

I will also resume writing more regularly for my blog, even though  I will take it easy with my schedule.

April to June

Another round of my Coaching Program “Create your perfect Yoga teacher life” will start in April. I am upgrading and rearranging the content at the moment to make it even better than last year. It will be going on throughout most of 2016 and focus on creating amazing results and a great community of dedicated and successful Yoga teachers.

I am glad to be hosting a couple of amazing teachers from April on throughout the year at Gaia Yoga in Zagreb.

July to December/January 2017

During the summer I want to create some new content (apart from articles) for startteachingyoga.com, including a short ebook. What it will be about I will announce soon.

At the end of the year I am looking forward to practice with my teacher in Thailand again.

Also I am super excited to be teaching my first Yoga Retreat @Samahita Yoga Thailand in January 2017. If you are a Yoga teacher and would love the idea of starting 2017 with inspiration and thrive to make 2017 one of your most successful years ever, stay tuned for more info coming soon.

Conclusion:

2015 was amazing, 2016 is going to be even more amazing.

I am curious and excited how the projects I have put on plate are going to unfold and look forward to share them with you over the upcoming months.

As always, it is a privilege to share my path with you. I hope that my work in 2016 will continue to give you ideas, inspiration and tools to live with awareness, share you gifts, be the most authentic version of yourself and continue on your path of practicing and teaching yoga.

Thank you for reading.


Tom Richter
Tom Richter

Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, passionate Yoga teacher, healthy-living enthusiast, Yoga Teacher Coach