Stories

SEEKING A JOB, FINDING HER CLAN

Ali*, 23, needed to find a gig after graduating in New York City. Little did she know, she’d find the missing pieces in her life, too.

Teaching yoga was an accident in the making.

After I graduated from college in NYC, my anxiety really got the best of me. I was juggling a long-distance relationship, applying to traditional 9 to 5 jobs, trying to pursue fitness and take up other hobbies. I was having a hard time getting out of bed and committing to responsibilities. Plus, I had just been diagnosed with clinical depression. Everyone was telling me what to do, and I felt I wasn’t able to get myself together and do what others expected of me.

I needed a job, and my friend recommended I started teaching fitness at a yoga studio in Brooklyn. I was a dancer growing up, and I used to help teach classes at community centers. In fact, my first job was working at the reception desk of a hot yoga/pilates studio in Boston.

It ended up becoming the missing piece of community I never knew I needed.
The opportunity to become a yoga teacher just presented itself, and I decided to dive right into training. It was the most intensive two months I’ve ever had – I was training every Monday and Wednesday night, and every other weekend. I was also required to take four classes a week. I was really only able to swing this since I was working at the studio and got a discount on all of the classes.

In the course of the training, I was really able to reflect on my life and relationships. I reconnected to my body — both physical and emotionally. It brought me back to my past as a dancer. I also came to recognize the practice as my sanctuary in the city. It was really hard to make friends in the city but I forged meaningful relationships with my fellow teachers and students, who helped qualm my fears of not being able to support myself and realize my dreams without a traditional 9 to 5.

I was surrounded by people who were making a non-traditional lifestyle work. Some of my coworkers were living their best life working at three different studios, and others were starting their own sound-bath meditation business. It really helped having peers going through similar experiences. Everyone in their 20s hits their point of having no idea what they’re doing.

Teaching yoga gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning, and reminded myself I had purpose.

*Name changed to protect her privacy.

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