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The Yoga Teacher’s Journey: 7 Personal Reflections and Stories

The yoga teacher journey. Not one is the same but in a sense all towards the same goal. Enlightenment through the physical and spiritual practice of yoga. Over the years we have loved hearing your stories and we hope to continue learning from our yoga family. 

In honor of International Yoga Day, we asked teachers in our community (partners, Instagram followers, contributors) to share their yoga teacher journey with us. Yes, we are a yoga insurance company ultimately hoping that all yoga teachers protect their career but we are also here as a resource for connection, support, and career protection.  

Please enjoy the stories written by yoga teachers in their own voice. If you feel so inspired to connect with us or one of the teachers below, we have included links and information on how to get in touch. Namaste. 

7 Yoga Teacher Journeys

Stacie Dooreck

Founder of Sunlight Yoga

I was blessed to be raised vegetarian (yogic diet) because my father studied with the yogis before I was born and learned about ahimsa (nonviolence in eating). As I started my own hatha yoga asana practice in high school, it immediately started to reduce neck pain, anxiety & depression, and give me a sense of deep peace I never felt before.

As I started to meditate I connected to my Inner Self and soul, beyond the thoughts in the mind, deep within, in ways words can not describe. As I continued to learn and teach yoga (as of 1995 I got certified to teach by Sivananda Ashrams then many others since), I feel it is my dharma (sacred mission) to share the benefits and gifts of Yoga with others, as I have done ever since and will do as long as I am alive. 

Once I benefited myself, I feel I must share yoga now... serve humanity and the animals. This includes teaching yoga teachers how to teach Chair Yoga, so everyone can enjoy it.

I was so blessed to be with my father in India the first International Yoga Day in 2016. Here are photos of the Yoga Day sequence we took in our Delhi hotel while the prime minister taught it to 40,000 pope in one class, near by at the capital.

Yoga IS for everyone! Yoga is one of the great gifts India has brought to the world.

Jaime Brown

Yoga Teacher & Wellness Advocate. Connect With Jaime On Instagram 

I did yoga for the very first time at Rutgers University as a first-year student in 2009. I noticed free classes at the campus gym and called my aunt (the only yogi I knew at the time) to see if she thought it would be a good idea. See, I have always had a lot of energy, so naturally she thought this would be a great way to channel it. She bought me a yoga mat, so I could truly commit and look the part.

12 years later and yoga has been a consistent part of my life, along with other important factors and markers like family and education.

As expected, yoga has helped me channel my energy into positivity and elevated ambition. I always have a pose or posture I can improve on. When I feel good about those, my breathing can always be adjusted or enhanced. When I feel good about both of those aspects, I can rely on yoga for community. The benefits are truly limitless.

Namaste truly captures how I understand and experience yoga. I will forever be both a teacher and a student. I am constantly teaching and learning from myself, while simultaneously teaching and learning from others. With complete clarity about yoga being a journey, I love the idea of teaching and being taught, starting over and improving.

With yoga being such a constant in my life, it is my most consistent form of wellness. Yoga has impacted my life by ensuring I am well - physiologically, physically, and mentally. For the past decade and many more decades to come, I have committed to myself through yoga and look forward to continuously enjoying the benefits of our healthy relationship.

Patrick Franco 

Yoga Director at YogaRenew

I never thought I’d be a yoga teacher, because I was the quiet, introspective type.  It was during my junior year of college that I found myself seeking something more out of life. I randomly signed up for yoga to fulfill my PE credit and right then on the mat, I said to myself, ‘This is what I need to be doing for the rest of my life.’  I loved that I found a hybrid between the physical and spiritual self and began practicing as much as I could on a student budget.  

One day, one of my yoga teachers pulled me aside after class and encouraged me to explore teacher training.  “You have the ability to share this with people,” she said.  I never thought about teaching, but decided to pursue a 200-hour training to deepen my knowledge for my own personal growth.  I realized that once I was part of a community of like-minded people, I felt comfortable being myself and was able to open up enough to lead classes.  

Fast forward to today, I’ve been teaching yoga for 15 years, owned two local studios in Hoboken, NJ, have taught 50 teacher trainings and lead countless retreats worldwide. I’m proud to be the Yoga Director of YogaRenew and am passionate about teaching our online community all over the world. 

Angela Williams-Jones

Director of Human Resources, Lead Teacher Trainer Manager at My Vinyasa Practice

*written in third person. 

Angela,  E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500, YACEP is a genuinely nurturing soul with a deep love of networking, connecting, assisting & elevating people to lead their best lives and embrace their highest self. Angela is also an empath & intuitive healer thriving on sharing her gifts and knowledge.

Her passions lie in making the practice of yoga accessible to everyone and providing guidance, encouragement and personal strength to those she encounters and is thrilled to be the Director of Human Resources & Lead Teacher Trainer Manager for My Vinyasa Practice.

Angela's journeys have taken her through a series of events that may be a challenge for many, but became a wonderful life altering and empowering experience for her. At one point, she found herself to be morbidly obese. Always with a big heart and smile, it was at this time she made a conscious decision to lose weight and live a better and more active lifestyle.

After 18 months of solid dedication, Angela shed an excess of over two hundred and forty-five pounds and began to seek activities that would not only tone her body, but enrich and balance her mind. It was then Angela discovered yoga. It became an intricate part of her lifestyle and made her realize her solid 18 year corporate career as a Human Resources Professional was just a portion of what she was destined to do.

Inspired by her very first yoga teacher, she obtained her first of four 200 hour Hatha Yoga Certifications and began to teach yoga full time well over a decade ago. Because she has such a deeply rooted passion to keep learning and growing, she went on to become a Reiki Master/Trainer, a Level I & Level II Kundalini Teacher, delving into many additional trainings and modalities and discovered the incredible yoga home of My Vinyasa Practice early on during the pandemic, while obtaining her 300 hour certification.

A quote from Angela:

“As a teacher and a student, I can attest that the values, principles and teachings at MVP truly encompass Affordability, Accessibility and Authenticity in every aspect that you could imagine. MVP provides ongoing peer support, scholarships, weekend lectures, thousands of hours of ongoing content and always seeks to create and initiate solutions by having conscious conversations that are pertinent to our current state of society and emanate radical belonging with their Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. With this, my soul shines here, where I amongst all others are valued, honored and respected.”

Michelle Finerty

Founder of Vibrance Yoga LLC. You can email Michelle at:

I fell in love with yoga 21 years ago due to the calming and balancing nature it brought to my life. After many years of practicing yoga, meditation, and exploring the history and spirituality of yoga, I decided to complete my teacher training in Vinyasa (Flow) Yoga in 2007 and I currently teach Gentle Vinyasa, Yin, Prenatal, and Children’s Yoga.

I love teaching yoga. I love getting to know the people who attend my classes regularly and watching people blossom as they tune in to their body, breath, and mind.

There are still many moments where I get a little nervous before starting a class. Putting yourself in the forefront is risky. To this day, I take my seat at the front of the room and take a deep breath before I start talking because people are genuinely listening. It's gratifying, it's intimidating...will my words help people? Will they stimulate growth? Will they sound the way I want them to?

I'm on my yoga teacher journey to make a difference with my actions on and off the yoga mat and I truly believe that starts with the smallest step of reaching out to others. Every word, smile, and recognition of another soul opens the channel of positive, heart opening communication that can be passed on and change the person at a moment at a time.

Yely Staley

Bilingual Yoga + Meditation Teacher and Founder

My name is Yely Staley, I am a Venezuelan born American citizen (fluent in English and Spanish), former yoga studio owner, and certified yoga teacher with 600+ hours of yoga training, registered with Yoga Alliance with E-RYT 500H and YACEP certifications in Vinyasa Yoga, Functional Yin Yoga, Meditation and Yoga Anatomy. 

In January 2004 I went to a beginner’s Yoga class in Chicago as a New Year’s Resolution, and since then, I have adapted this discipline as a conscious lifestyle. Yoga as an ancient philosophy, it is a discipline that when practiced regularly, or better yet embraced as a lifestyle, provides the tools for self-study, enhancing our conscious awareness about the multidimensions of our human condition, our own existence, our connection and relationship with ourselves and everything around us

Through practices of self-observation and meditation, we’re able to awaken the gratitude and appreciation for the complexities of life itself.

So after more than a decade of experience in yoga and meditation, I decided to leave behind my profession as a lawyer, and followed the desire of my heart, and became a certified yoga and meditation teacher in 2016. 

On January 2020, after selling my yoga studio in California, I relocated to Florida and decided to expand my yoga business online “” to continue sharing and teaching others around the world about how yoga helps among many things, to reduce stress and anxiety by living more mindfully in the present moment and to increase our ability to develop self-compassion improving our relationship with the Self. 

My regular yoga and meditation practice has helped me immensely to recognize the importance of daily mindful self-care practices, and that’s why I am passionate about my mission of helping busy people find their inner balance through mindful daily self-care practices, so they can prevent burnouts and instead feel good with themselves.

Michelle Dalbec

Founder of The Thread Yoga Collective

I’ve been teaching yoga for over 18 years now and I love it. I love offering the practices that give people the tools to transform their lives. One of the ways that I love sharing the practices the most is being a teacher trainer.

I love being a part of community of people who’s work is to offer these tools to everyone. In the sharing of these practices teachers of yoga send out a ripple that creates an awakening that is all about learning to live in a way that harmonizes all the aspects of the self and takes that self out into the world to live in harmony with one's community. 

I cannot think of a better or more fulfilling way to live my life than to give these gifts that offer people ways to live their lives to the fullest.

Now it's time for all of you to celebrate and reflect on your yoga teacher journey. Check out our blog with 3 Things You Can Do to Celebrate World Yoga Day

Lizzy Prindle
Lizzy has been practicing yoga for over four years. She found her practice as her collegiate swimming career was ending; looking for a new hobby she began taking yoga classes and never looked back. She has carried her yogi mindset into her role as beYogi’s brand manager. Working alongside many teachers, studio owners, and yoga brands she has helped expand beYogi’s all-inclusive yoga insurance policy into an education-based membership offering much more than coverage.
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