What is your true calling? Yoga teachers, shop keepers, even CEOs ask themselves this question regularly. Our featured yoga teacher, John McConnell, asked himself this question all the time until he hit the yoga mat. Now he is teaching yoga full time.
This is his Sva-dharma. Sva-dharma means literally “own dharma” and has been translated as “own duty,” “particular responsibilities,” and “right livelihood.”
For John, Sva-dharma is about impact. He was an environmental activist in Wyoming. Having owned an environmental store (like a mini Seventh Generation) in his home town, Laramie, John learned firsthand that being outraged and acting outrageously against deforestation and pollution in the once-pristine Wyoming countryside has little impact on producing good outcomes.
“So, when I moved to Vermont I played music and thought I might want to be a barista.” He explains that stimulating a community was his goal behind the real activism and music jobs and behind the as yet unrealized coffee making vocation. But the stimulation generated by caffeine – even that found in a really good soy double latte – is evanescent.
He found he could have greater, more meaningful and longer lasting impact on his community by doing something a little more peaceful than protesting. And he found the benefits of a regular yoga practice more health-giving than espresso.
He started studying and practicing Ashtanga yoga at Yoga Vermont with Kathy McNames and at Bristol Yoga with Christine Hoar. Later he looked into Anusara Yoga and studied in Vergennes with Caroline Connor. He loved it but wanted more, so he started studying with her teacher, Todd Norian. He loved it but wanted more, so he started to branch out and studied with John Friend, Darren Rhodes, Sarah Rose and others. His quest eventually brought him back to Todd Norian and he assisted many of Todd’s workshops and yoga teacher trainings. This year he’ll be teaching a yoga teacher training at the University of Vermont, where he has taught for-credit Yoga and Minfulness classes for two years.
John’s yoga classes usually have a great sound track and invariably uncover a little bit of the divine that resides, though often very well-hidden, within each of his students. I asked one of them why she attended John’s classes: “Whenever I want to feel good about myself, I got to John’s yoga class.” (Chiuho Duval)
John is an awesome yoga teacher…it’s his true calling.
John’s Weekly Drop-In Yoga Classes:
Mondays – 12-1 pm – Vinyasa I/II
Tuesdays – 5:45-7:15 pm – Vinyasa II
Wednesdays – 4:30-5:30 pm – Community Class, Level 1/2
Fridays – 7-8 am – Vinyasa I/II