Basic Info

Name:
Kevin Bigger
Contributor Status:
Native AdVert
Initial Contribution Date:
03/06/2019

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Health, Wellness and Fitness
Personal Career Headline:
Yoga Instructor

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

I started practicing yoga in my late teens, immediately after a period of massive (less than healthy) weight loss, and just before I (finally) came out of the closet.  As I struggled to adapt to a new physical and emotional reality, yoga provided a pathway to organize the chaos.  Over the past fourteen years of study, the practice has continued to be my saving grace.

I completed my RYT-200 training with Boston’s Radiant Yoga School (Chanel Luck and Bonnie Argo).  In New York City, I’ve been whipped into proper shape by Schuyler Grant and all of the rad teachers at Kula Yoga Project and am currently studying with Nikki Costello in pursuit of my RYT-500 certification.  I teach in the hopes that my offering affords my students the same benefits and opportunities for growth that I’ve received from my teachers.

Native AdMission Statement (AKA Personal Brand Pitch):

I teach yoga classes that help people connect to something deeper within themselves. I teach because my teachers gave me everything. I see it as my duty to pass on the learnings to others in need. I teach in the hope that my offering affords my students the same gifts I have received.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

My Goal of the Day: I don’t set goals. I try to stay in the present. Goals leave you disappointed in the end.

My Thought of the Day: Connect to what is happening now and you won’t be anxious about what is happening later.

My Action of the Day: Put my students in action.

My Deed of the Day: Helped an old friend get a new job.

My Tip of the Day: It’ll take a long time and people will walk all over you for years. But if you are a nice person, you will eventually be rewarded. Be patient, don’t grasp, surrender to the flow.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The diversity of human beings who call New York home. We come from all over the world, we all look different and have our own unique jobs and views. But we all coexist in a relatively small amount of space and our proximity to one another allows for a potent exchange of views that enriches the lives of everyone who lives here.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I very rarely go out for breakfast and typically have a small meal at home (golden mylk oats or yogurt and granola, something like that).

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM –  Depends on the day. I might be sleeping, I might be getting up to work out, I might be on the subway heading to work with a client.

10:00 AM –  Sometimes I’m teaching, sometimes I’m working out, sometimes I’m practicing yoga at home… I have seven different schedules based on the day of the week.

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

At 12:00 most days I’m taking a yoga class or teaching a class. I eat lunch around 2 or 3, usually something small that I brought from home. Sometimes I spoil myself with a salad from Sweetgreen.

7:00 PM –  Five days a week I’ll be teaching at 7:00 PM. The other two days I’m off, usually hanging out with my boyfriend figuring out what to have for dinner and what to watch on TV.

11:00 PM –  In bed at home, hanging out with my man, getting ready to sleep.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Wine most of the time (a glass or two…) but if I had a rough day then it’s going to be straight whiskey. A Negroni if I’m feeling fancy.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Most used app is probably the NY Times. Favorite Instagram account is a tie between all of my favorite drag queens (don’t make me choose!)

What should everyone try at least once?

Something that terrifies them.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Big cities where I don’t speak the language… I’ve had amazing days lost wandering around Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Shanghai, Medellin, etc

NativeAdVice

How did you get into the industry?

It was an accident. I always loved yoga and had practiced for years. But I moved to NYC to work on Broadway (a show I was involved with in Boston transferred in 2008). Then I ended up with a pesky bedbug infestation in 2010 and, in the depth of my misery, my teacher from Boston called and asked me if I wanted to come back to Boston to do a teacher training. I said yes. I started teaching as soon as I finished, just part-time until the summer of 2014. Then, I took a leap of faith five years ago, gave up all my other jobs and became a full-time teacher. I still work in theater every now and then, but teaching yoga is my greatest joy.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Don’t quit your day job when you start teaching – it takes years of hustling and putting in your time before anyone is going to take you seriously and offer you enough classes to earn a living wage. The thing is, the market is completely oversaturated. And you don’t really learn enough in your first 200-Hour Teacher Training to actually set yourself apart. So you need to find a senior teacher or two that you love and spend a lot of time studying with them. Get your head inside the way they teach and figure out why you love it. Ask them to mentor you. There’s no need to collect a ton of certifications. Just spend a couple years studying with someone who really knows what they are doing and you will learn from them over time. The way yoga was meant to be studied.

Any emerging industry trends?

Vinyasa Yoga peaked as a fitness trend a couple years ago. Now it’s all about “Yoga AND…” Yoga + Pilates, Yoga + Weightlifting, AcroYoga, Aerial Yoga, SUP Yoga, Goat Yoga, Hip Hop Yoga, etc. If you love traditional yoga, it’s going to be hard to make a living. So you better really, really love it. If you can find one of these new fusion techniques to teach, it might be an easy way to jumpstart your career.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

They leave somehow better than they arrived. Maybe that’s more relaxed, but it’s not necessary. Maybe they released something that needed to let go. Maybe they just feel better about themselves. My teaching strives to impact the nervous system more than the physical body, so honestly I’m just trying to chill a bunch of Type A New Yorkers out so that they can actually get enough rest to stay healthy.

How do you motivate others?

I put people in their bodies. I ask them to feel things. When you actually feel your feet on the ground, you feel stable. When you feel stable you feel able to accomplish things. It’s all very simple, in the end. We live our lives trying not to feel. Yoga forces us to feel what’s actually happening. For instance, when you realize that you feel sad every day, you eventually get motivated to get yourself a therapist and unpack why. That’s a personal example, by the way. After 6 months of crying every time I practiced yoga, I was finally motivated enough to change something.

NativeAdVantage:

What are my aspirations? 

I ultimately just want to help other people feel better about their lives, in some small way. Yoga saved me from some dark shit in my late teens and I’m forever grateful for the teachers that pulled me up and helped me become the man I am today. That I can make money and support myself in the process is of course a bonus. One day, I’d like to be able to work fewer hours and consolidate my offerings to spend more time with my family and the people that I love.

My Biggest Success?

Learning to stand up for myself and demand to all my employers that I was 33 years old and deserved 2 days off a week for the first time in my adult life.

My Most Challenging Moment?

Three weeks after my father suddenly died very unexpectedly, I had to fly to Tokyo and lead three weeks of trainings in a city I had never visited and where I had only two friends. I also speak no Japanese. I’ve never been more lost and alone. And yet, the trainings gave me a reason to get out of bed and keep going, even when I had absolutely no desire to do so. I came out of it much stronger and learned a lot about myself in the process.

My Motto?

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

May I be led from that which is false towards the Truth

May I be led from Darkness towards Light

May I be led from Fear (or death) towards Peace (or immortality)

Let there be peace in the three dimensions (Body, Mind, Spirit)

My Favorite People/Role Models? 

My favorite person? My boyfriend.

Runners up – My mom and (sometimes) my older brother, but honestly I think I prefer my sister-in-law…

Role Models… These yoga teachers all have had a massive impact on my life:

Chanel Luck, Roberto Lim, Nikki Costello, Schuyler Grant, Alex Auder, Erin Dudley, Nevine Michaan, Ana Forrest and Derek Cook.

but my forever Role Model has always been and will always be my father. He grew up with little, raised mostly by his mother after his father died when he was a little boy. He worked his ass off for my brother and I, paid our way through college (Boston University and Syracuse – neither are cheap!) and loved my mother with his whole heart from the day they met in 1975 until he died in 2018. There has never been a greater man on this planet, in my opinion. I miss him every day.

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