Bliss Army Teacher Feature

Carrie Varela

Fire only burns as bright as there are flames to continue keeping it alive. Our Blissology Yoga Teacher’s Collective is burning bright and we are so excited to share the first of our Bliss Blogs on some of the amazing spirits and shining lights who are continuing to speak, connect and inspire their Bliss.

Name:
Carrie Varela

Where in the world you can find me! Town/Studio:
I teach weekly classes in Denver, CO at three amazing Denver yoga studios: The Freyja Project, Yoga Pod and Kindness. I lead international and national yoga retreats from the mountains of Colorado to the magical island of Bali, Indonesia. I can guide you through the experience of becoming a Reiki practitioner from beginner to Master level!

What originally drew me to yoga?
I took my first yoga class when I was 16 and I remember seeing my teacher touch his head to the floor in a wide legged forward fold. In that moment, something moved inside me. I knew that I wanted to become a yogi right then and there! I have been practicing yoga ever since. 🙂 

Blissology to me is…
A movement to inspire us to the one of highest teachings of yoga—bliss! Blissology’s dedication to community and nature encourages us to remember it is not just about our individual “I-ness” but “Us-ness”…what we can create as collective of people on fire for connecting to each other and the importance of honoring and revering our beautiful Earth!

My life mission is…
To learn and grow.

The most important thing yoga has taught me is…
Freedom in the body = freedom in the mind.

When I’m not on the yoga mat, I’m…
Chilling with my amazing partner, Jonathan Bloch and our kids Ella and Jai! We are always creating something: a new integrative medicine healing center, international and national retreats, workshops, re-designing our home as an AirBnB and trying to make a positive impact for the environment in our community and world. My favorite downtime activity is definitely working on a puzzle!

The cause/project I am most passionate about is…
Environmental sustainability. Just doing my part  to make the world a better place for the not only our generation but the generations after us. I am also very passionate about mental health!

I am learning to…
Be a mom!  I just had a baby four months ago. It has been a season of growth for me as I learn how to juggle motherhood, family life and a non-traditional career. A wonderful journey for sure.

What I want to teach others (through yoga) is to…
Since the name of my yoga business is Carrie Varela Healing Arts, I guess I mainly feel inspired to offer yoga as a healing practice. But not healing in a dull or boring way, but healing in a life-giving way! I am passionate about helping people find good energy. Good energy happens when we are in the flow, connected, inspired and filled with purpose. 🙂

Most inspiring yoga related experience:
Seems a little bit off topic but I think it was giving birth to my son Jai. My yoga practice prepared me so much for the whole journey from the learning how to practice in my body as pregnant, going through a safe and healthy delivery of our kiddo and healing my body with yoga post pregnancy. During the whole process, I experienced the magic of Shakti as the energy of creation inside of me. Holding my son in my arms during the first weeks of his life were some of the most blissful experiences of my life thus far. I am so grateful for this life!

Favorite yoga pose: 
Is it okay to say all of them? Haha. I just love yoga and I love vinyasa. Threading flows together in the most blissful ways is one of my favorite creative outlets. I guess if had to chose one pose right now it would probably be Natarajasana? They are all amazing though!

Best way to fuel up after yoga:
I am a big fan of Purium products. Purium is a full spectrum nutritional program with amazing certified organic non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan products—clean health for me and the environment. I know it doesn’t end there though. I am learning how to apply more of the wisdom of Ayurveda in my diet via counselling sessions with the one and only Insiya Rasiwala-Finn.

Yoga and music are…
When they are in sync with one another it feels like we are flying through the practice.  Yoga and good music is so fun. I love the experience of live music and yoga as well. I also recognize that at times music is a total mind distraction and it is also wonderfully soothing to do a practice without music.

I create community with Blissology by…
Getting to know my students names, including them in the process, encouraging them to see each other, not being afraid to make the practice light hearted and fun. I also love to incorporate nature in almost every class. Creating a circle of light for my students is a great skill that I love to use not necessarily every class but when it is right. 🙂 I am so wonderful blessed to be a part of the Blissology tribe!

I am most grateful for… 
Everything! Gratitude is the fuel of positivity in my life and I try to express it everyday. Top on my list is my beautiful family, yoga, Reiki, my community of friends and students who light me up. Truly, my superpower is Reiki and it inspires me to do all the things I do in life. I wouldn’t be where I am without it and it is my mission to share Reiki with the world.

What advice do you have for aspiring yoga teachers?
Look closely at the pay you are being offered to teach. If you are being offered $25/class that might seem like a lot from the outside but $25/class will rarely be enough to cover your expenses. Many studios still pay you around $4/mat. That variability of income is a money pit for a new teacher. Think about the time it takes to just make enough to earn back the investment you put into your YTT, Think about the time it actually takes to teach a 60-75 minute yoga class. I will likely include 20+ minutes of driving there and back, you must be 20 minutes early and stay 20 minutes (+/-) after. That is about a 2.5-3 hour commitment of your time to teach one class. If you use 2.5 hours of your time to teach one class at $25/class you will be making $10/hour. That is before taxes, gas, other car expenses, teaching insurance, yoga alliance fees and in the case for moms, childcare costs. You will be hard pressed to make a profit at all at $25/class (if not just lose $$).  So if you are trying to make additional income from teaching yoga make sure to think about these things. If you are trying to make a living from teaching yoga, you will need to teach a whole lot and it will almost always feel like you are losing financially… For most of us who teach yoga to make a living, the teaching yoga is one way to meet new potential clients and to invite them to participate in our other offerings (in my case Reiki, yoga teacher trainings, retreats but for others it could include massage, counselling, life/health coaching etc). Making $50k a year in yoga might seem like a lot but with all of the expenses rolled into teaching you will likely only take home about $15k in actual profit.  You will never get ahead financially at that rate. Hope that helps you!

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More about Carrie and how to connect with her on her Bliss Army teacher profile.