It hit me around age 40—the realization that what I did with my days had to change.
This came as a big surprise to many, as I held a cushy management job at a posh downtown athletic/social club with a slew of perks (20 percent off all spa services, hello!). But the voice in my head was getting louder by the minute: “is this really what you want to be doing with your time, day in and day out?”
At age 40, the battle between mind and body got bigger and badder. The mind said, “Stay! You’ve worked hard to get this job!” The body cried, “Move! Before your desk chair swallows your soul!”
Ants in the Pants
Just ask my parents—I was wired with more energy than most tots. Ask them about the busted springs on my rocking horse. Or the scribbled note on my second grade report card: “your daughter has ants in her pants.” Or the open sores on my palms from too much monkey bar time at recess.
Still, like many fellow ants-in-her-pants types, I ignored my natural inclinations and followed the conventional career route and landed in, horror of all horrors, a desk chair.
I’d always been active—running marathons, bicycling to hell and back, even teaching aerobics on the side—but never considered making my passion for fitness a full-time career. With a hard-earned Bachelor’s degree, years spent climbing the corporate ladder, and others applauding me along the way, I never considered following my passion.
I mean, who does that?
But a series of life changes (some welcomed, some not) landed me face down on the yoga mat, and after a while, I simply couldn’t get off. It was too rewarding. Through a series of twists and turns over the past four years, I’ve managed to trade in my desk chair for a hardwood floor teaching yoga full-time.
Sure, there have been trade-offs (a decent paycheck, for starters), but I can think of six solid reasons I had to make the change and teach yoga full-time, and how you can improvise if you’re still in corporate land.
1. I Needed to Get Off My Ass-ana
My bum is much happier moving about the room than confined to a chair.
What you can do: I have one friend who swapped her ergo-chair for one of those big balance balls you find in a gym. Every time I passed her office, she was bouncing with joy as she fired off another email.
2. I Needed to Connect with People
I get to touch people now without fear of landing in HR danger zone. Massaging a stiff neck in Savasana, gently guiding a ribcage into a deeper rotation, for example. Humans need to be touched, and some are never held or touched outside their yoga class.
What you can do: Gather some office mates and teach a class off-site. Or attend a yoga assisting workshop together. Local studios offer them up pretty regularly, and they are usually open to both students and teachers.
3. I Needed to Speak from the Heart
Much better than regurgitating a rehearsed script in front of a podium with a PowerPoint clicker in my left hand.
What you can do: Resist the temptation to email your officemate one door over and GO VISIT THEM. Ask them about their interests outside of work, family, etc. This kind of conversation from the heart needn’t be limited to the yoga studio.
4. I Needed to Set My Feet Free
Joy! Barefoot feels so much better than feet wedged into a pair of restrictive designer pumps.
What you can do: Doubtful the boss will welcome bare feet or Nike Frees, but there are a lots of cute and comfortable work shoes that weren’t around when I first started working. Skip the spikes and visit your local Walking Company. Why add bunion surgery to your life’s checklist?
5. I Now Get to Meet Executives as They Are, Not as They Have to Be
Many of my students in the corporate world love that they can show emotion—whether it’s frustration in a toppling Tree Pose, tears in Savasana, or belly-busting laughter in a goofy Happy Baby—without fear of being judged.
What You Can Do: Simply remember that the ‘corporate bigwigs’ are humans too, with many of the same challenges as the rest of us. Ditch the envy and embrace compassion.
6. I Get to Wear Super Cute Tights
Occasionally I miss the hard-to-pronounce Euro labels and beautifully tailored dresses, but not the price tags or inability to go into Hanumanasana without a major fashion malfunction. My adoring nieces treasure the hand-me-downs from me for their first internships, and I smile knowing these corporate duds are enjoying a second life.
What you can do: Enjoy the labels while you can afford them! And slip on your favorite tights outside the office.
Which items here resonate with you? Share your comments and experiences with us here at DOYOUYOGA!