After a long and successful career in Publishing, you decided to “rewire” in your 50’s and devote yourself to being a full-time C-IAYT Yoga Therapist. Tell us why you decided to step into this new second career?
I got laid off from my last corporate job in publishing/media when a new department head came in, which happens a lot more often than anyone wants to admit. While I did love my career, I really saw this as an opportunity. I knew I wanted to be a Yoga Therapist. I had been practicing yoga and taking various teacher trainings for greater understanding for years. I had applied my own yoga practice to help myself heal from some injuries and, in the back of my mind, I always had the thought of helping others do the same. And, let’s face it, the publishing world was extremely fast-paced and stressful and I was not living my most healthful life. Becoming a Yoga Therapist was a way to bring wellness to myself as well as to others. And, I saw it as something I could continue to evolve as I got older. I have many older clients and I am proving to them, and to myself, that it is never too late to change, to feel better, and to make a difference in how we live our lives.
Describe what your week is like now versus when you were in a more traditional work environment. Pros/Cons?
Both careers involve tailoring programs to the specific needs of clients. My typical week now is as busy as it was in the past, but it is far less stressful and there usually is not as much multi-tasking. I work at my own pace and not on someone else’s deadline. In fact, when I am with a client, I am completely focused on them the entire time. I am caring for their body, mind and spirit and I take that very seriously. Each day is different and always very rewarding. I have a variety of class styles, a range of one-on-ones to groups and a varying number of sessions. Once I have assessed a client and created a personal plan to achieve their goals, I can usually create their sessions each week without too much additional research. I usually plan most of my classes on one day during the week, that way I can make minor adjustments as I go along. However, as a Yoga Therapist I also need to make sure I take care of myself in order to take care of my clients. It truly is putting your oxygen mask on first.
I’m more active now than I was in my previous work environment, which involved sitting most of the time, attending many meetings, taking phone calls and much more persistent stresses. It was generally a much less healthy environment and I’m able to recognize this now. However, I do miss my colleagues, and having the consistency of a corporate work environment.
How long were you thinking about making the move before you actually did? What advice would you give people who want to pivot into an entirely new kind of career at midlife?
As I mentioned, I had been taking yoga teacher trainings for 10 years for my own enjoyment. During those trainings, I began to realize not only that I had a passion for teaching but that I wanted to go deeper and become a Yoga Therapist and truly impact people’s lives. When I fully committed, it took me two more years of education and study to become a certified Yoga Therapist from Prema Yoga Institute and the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). Now, whether someone just needs to breathe more, is recovering from an injury, has an illness or is stressed, anxious or depressed, I combine anatomy, physiology, breath work, and various yoga disciplines along with meditation to help them find balance in their own life.
The advice I would give anyone wanting to pivot is to think about what their passions are and follow them. Nothing about making a pivot is easy so you might as well love what you do and enjoy yourself. Maya Angelou said: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”