Why I Quit My Toxic Law Job To Teach Yoga
“You must change your life.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
At my first yoga class in my high school library in 2002, I discovered yoga as a way to both exercise and relax. Yoga went on to accompany me through college in South Carolina and Alabama, graduate school in Illinois and New York City, and my law practice in Chicago.
Through life's challenges (divorce and illness) and triumphs (launching a law firm and completing two graduate degrees), yoga was a constant companion, though I didn't always know it. Yoga was always there, but I was not truly present in the practice, nor did I really consider teaching.
I've learned throughout the years that yoga is the practice of uniting breath, thought, and movement, to achieve balance and confidence and in the mind, body, and spirit. It ignites power and energy through the myriad combination of stretches, core activation, and deep breathing — releasing tension and increasing physical energy, strength, and focus. So to me, yoga means finding the balance between strength and flexibility — seems like a paradox, but that’s life!
And while being a lawyer was intellectually challenging, after three years of practice I longed for a more creative, emotionally fulfilling career. (Spoiler alert: being a tax litigator in downtown Chicago was actually not fun or rewarding.) As I grew increasingly cranky, I began to brainstorm alternatives. What was a young woman like me to do? Go back to school? AGAIN??
So as I pondered away, I found myself returning to yoga. I decided to try hot yoga for something new, since I was already familiar with all the basic asanas. How tough could it really be? But as I flowed between beginner and advanced poses in a room heated to 90 degrees, I truly thought I was going to die. Unwilling to admit defeat however, I pressed on. I sweat profusely, wobbled and even fell.
Then somehow, I became entranced (almost addicted!) to how I began to feel during and after class. I had forgotten just how wonderful yoga made me feel, and also saw how happy (albeit sweaty) all the students and teachers were. How could they not be? Yoga is the exact opposite of law practice: where the latter is a toxic completion, the former is a peaceful empowerment.
That's when I had my revelation: “Later” is RIGHT NOW!
And now that I feel healthier and happier, I want to help others do the same. Deciding to turn my daydream of teaching yoga into a reality, I completed teacher training this past summer and launched a mobile yoga business. I could not be more excited about empowering others to find the same strength, flexibility, and peace on their mats.
Are you daydreaming about making a career change? What do you need to do make your dream a reality? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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