Finding the Work I Love by NGY Teacher Leslie Ratekin

A few years ago, you might not have been able to imagine me rolling on the floor, giggling with a group of children practicing Yoga. I worked for the University of Phoenix for seven years. I had a comfortable paycheck, full benefits, and a 9-6 Monday through Friday schedule. It was repetitive and safe, but it wasn’t fulfilling. My work was definitely not what I loved.

In October 2015, an old friend from Omaha suggested that I attend a Next Generation Yoga Teacher Training. “It’s so much more fun than teaching adults!” She was absolutely right. I fell in love with the NGY style, and began to imagine a new full time job for myself teaching Yoga to kids.


Eight months later, I started to go for my dream. I took on teaching as many NGY classes as I could. I completed another NGY Training. And I quickly confirmed how much I loved sharing Yoga with kids.

Finally I made the huge decision to quit my job and take the plunge into entrepreneurship. I started Jodi Komitor’s The Biz of Kids Yoga Mastermind, created a business plan, and did everything I could to work hard. Opportunities flooded in! I brought the first NGY program to an elementary school in North Park, San Diego. The sessions filled up and even had a lottery for a waiting list! I received lots of positive feedback from parents, including: “Thanks for helping my child find her thing!” I loved seeing how Yoga changed children’s lives and how they could use Yoga tools off the mat.

While I found joy in my daily work, I was also challenged by the reality of entrepreneurship. Previously, I had a consistent paycheck since I was a teenager. Now I really learned the meaning of “time is money.” I had expected my business to grow quickly, and now understood that developing a successful business, when you are self employed, takes time.

I continue to find so much joy in bringing Yoga to kids, and I am still grateful that I took the leap. My Kids Yoga business is growing, slowly, and that’s okay. I continue to work on my business and I am still inspired by every NGY class that I teach. Even with these challenges, I get to enjoy my work every single day. That makes all the difference.

Leslie Ratekin
NGY Teacher
San Diego, CA
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Leslie began her yoga journey in 2007 as a way to a healthier lifestyle. She completed her 200 hour Registered Yoga teacher (RYT) training through Spirit of Yoga in August of 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. She relocated to San Diego, California in March 2014. Leslie has completed the Next Generation Yoga Teacher Trainings for 2-7 yr. olds, 8-13 yr. olds and the Advanced Teacher Training.

Leslie currently teaches Next Generation Yoga classes in elementary schools and pairs her Yoga business with substitute teaching for special education.

1 Comment
  1. Ellen Liberto 4 years ago

    I’m so glad you followed your heart and have found such joy in teaching yoga. ? Ellen

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