What makes a yoga teacher? Is there a specific body type and lifestyle associated with teaching? Is a teacher defined by set of mastered poses or brand-name gear? Erin Fahy shares that for a long time she actively didn’t see herself as a teacher because the image that is conjured in the West today suggests that a teacher fit into a very particular kind of look. Noticing the fallacy of this stereotype takes conscious effort. Erin’s journey to teaching took a bit of time and reflection on these assumptions [Erin is 6 feet tall], and now there is no question in anyone’s mind that Erin Fahy is an excellent yoga instructor.
Erin grew up in Pacific Palisades and was first introduced to yoga in a class she took in high school. Interested, she explored more classes at YogaWorks and became a regular practitioner. In order to deepen her practice, she pursued Yoga Teacher Training; through this, she found her mentor, Carmen Fitzgibbon, a very intense and precise teacher whose style has deeply influenced Erin’s own teaching. At the time, Erin had no intention of teaching yoga, as she was considering various career paths. She did, however, attend a yoga retreat in Delhi, India where, by chance, she stepped in to cover for a session that needed a teacher. After teaching that first class, an attendee suggested that she “give herself permission” to become the teacher that her students noticed in her. For the first time, she questioned the image she had been harboring in her mind about what a teacher should look or be like.
For the past five years, Erin has been dedicated to yoga teaching and it is clear that she enjoys both the teaching and the constant learning. “I learn from my students every day,” she says. “I have seen, especially in people who are getting older, how beneficial [yoga] can be – it can prevent injuries and surgeries… people genuinely want to learn!” It is that genuinely interested, curious outlook that fuels her desire to teach. Deep down, Erin has always known that her path was to help people and now she has found the best venue through which to make that a reality.
“Accepting that teaching yoga would become my career was an easy decision that took me a long time to make,” Erin shares. As people trickled out of her session last Tuesday, I heard them compliment her teaching, thanking her for her “relaxed demeanor” and her “fantastic approach.” She’s happy to see her students continuing their path in yoga and hopes that the Western image of a yoga practitioner – the young, nimble body, dressed in specific gear and choosing specific foods or lifestyles – does not deter anyone from pursuing their own personal practice.