Why I Quit - Confessions of an Authentically Fake Yoga Teacher

I thought I knew something about getting out of your own way, but the truth is I’m just as lost as everyone else. I know a few tricks to keep myself sane and calm, and I can touch my toes and help other people touch their toes too, but like every other yoga teacher out there I’m no better than anyone else. In many ways, I’m probably a little worse.

But there are many far, far worse than me — and those people scare me. The list of scandals involving so-called gurus out there is sickening. Bikram Choudhury - founder of Bikram Yoga - was just arrested for rape. One of India’s most famous yoga gurus, yoga guru Ramdev, last year argued that anyone who didn’t chant a slogan promoting loyalty to India should be beheaded. Literally.

Different camps of yogis have gone to WAR with each other over the centuries in the name of a tradition designed to get people in touch with their selves so as to make them happier, healthier, and more whole. Why? Why! It doesn’t make any sense!

So I don’t want to be another guy who can put their foot behind their head, pat myself on the back for it, and say to my followers: My way is the right way. 

Because it's extraordinarily difficult to not put yourself above others once you think you’ve figured something out, and realized that people will pay to learn from you. 

This has been eating my soul since I started teaching yoga full time. How can I sell self-realization by selling an image of myself and not the real thing? If there is a way, it’s not the way I’ve been doing it.

I started teaching a few years ago and created a brand: Flow With Davis. I created a personality: funny yoga teacher who likes to push creative boundaries in the studio. I marketed the hell out of it: Instagram posts, website, soliciting likes on my facebook page. All that phony crap. 

I justified it because that’s the industry norm. If you want to make it as a yoga teacher, you’ve got to hustle. But the more you hustle the more you remove yourself from your true self. It’s a game I don’t want to play anymore.

The whole reason I arrived here in the first place was because I was tired of censoring my own voice. As a reporter on Capitol Hill, I had to bend to the editorial wills of my employer, hide my opinion for fear of alienating readers, cozy up with sources who I thought were scumbags, and say things I didn’t really believe in. 

At that point my yoga practice was just a practice, it wasn’t an income-earner. I thought that by transitioning to teaching yoga, I could finally be myself.

And then Flow With Davis happened. And with each post on Instagram, I felt worse and worse about it. Because it’s not me. Me is me, not that guy doing reverse warrior on a beach with the sun setting in the background as a photographer snaps 100 frames to make sure the final product can get the social media seal of approval. That guy is a fake.

Where does, that leave me? The possibilities are endless. Unlimited. And I have never in my life been more excited about that opportunity than right here, right NOW.