follow an old passion – find a new path

One Woman’s Story: From Business Writing to Yoga

Getting certified three years ago as a Kripalu yoga teacher marked the happy conclusion of a year long search for my next career. After more than 12 years as a “pen for hire,” I had been feeling burned out and wanting a change. While still engaged in my former business, I began reading about complementary health modalities such as yoga, meditation and tai chi. After exploring a number of ideas, it became clear to me that I now wanted to work with people by helping them to better health and better lives. I began to envision a complete change in my career.

I had already begun taking a weekly yoga class and it felt like a home-coming to me. Although I had practiced yoga on and off over the years, now my body responded to the challenge as my spirits lifted. I felt more focused, centered, whole. I began to notice that yoga was relieving many of my menopausal symptoms. I was sleeping better after a yoga class, and my digestion also improved. A daily practice of between 20 and 60 minutes soon became as routine to me as brushing my teeth.

One day, in the middle of a posture series, the light bulb went on: why not work at what I already loved doing; why not become a professional yoga teacher. Why not share my own personal experience of better physical health, a calmer mind, with others?

Once I began to think seriously about training as a yoga teacher, things just started to fall into place. The timing of the next 200 hour training was perfect. I applied, was accepted into the program and had my bag packed. Then, I got cold feet.

What if I couldn’t manage the physical challenge of 3 hours of yoga practice, plus posture clinics every day? How would I adjust to living in a Spartan environment – the center is a former Jesuit monastery, the rooms tiny with shared bathrooms. Could I handle the discipline of lights out at 9 and “sadhana” at dawn, no days off for the first two weeks?

Ultimately, the experience was the best thing that could have happened to me. Studying yoga with over 60 students in such a setting was truly simple living, yet rich in so many unexpected ways. I was communicating in a different way with people. My natural shyness started to abate. I was finding it easier to show my feelings, even my tears. Performance anxiety from which I have suffered most of my life lessened. I got through my practice teaching sessions not perfectly, but with a sense of humor.

As soon as I got home, I put our living and dining room furniture into storage, printed business cards and began recruiting students for small group classes at home. At the moment, I keep my practice quite small so I can enjoy being a grandmother and putting time into a website business I co-founded with my husband. Being a yoga teacher is part of my personal yoga practice. It is who I have become.


Stepping Stones: Integrating Mind and Body

Marika’s journey is continuous. There is an ebb and flow from the internal to the external, from thoughtful introspection to dealing with the realities of her life. As Marika moved toward greater self-awareness, she:

*Recognized that she felt burnt out in her writing career

*Realized that she wanted to make a change

*Understood the need to explore her personal values

*Focused on what she loved in life

*Identified her purpose and set her goals

*Researched and compiled more information about her options

*Translated her passion into meaningful work by helping others.

As she continued on her journey toward fulfillment, she:

*Identified and acknowledged her anxiety

*Pushed through her fears and persevered

*Committed time and energy to train as a yoga instructor

*Completed the practical steps necessary to set up her practice

*Established a balance within her life between family and work

*Created a harmony within herself by integrating her mind and body.

The steps Marika used to move through her transition helped her begin a new career. She discovered her core identity and created strength and balance in her life. Her introspection and hard work led her to acknowledge, “It is who I have become.”


Recommended Resources: Websites to Explore

(1) “Composing a Life,” by Mary Catherine Bateson, is a very readable and intimate book. Through studying five fascinating, accomplished women, including herself, the author finds a basic core identity that expands and modifies as we experience our lives.

(2) can help you locate teachers, training programs and schools. It also offers excellent articles on yoga by well-known experts.

(3) was developed by Marika and her husband, Howard. This website is rich in information for those experiencing mid-life transitions. You can enjoy reading stories of women and men who have reinvented their own retirement and also explore the many valuable articles and resources. **************************************************************

Our Invitation to You

Do you have your own transition story? We invite you to share it with our readers for the benefit of women who themselves may be dealing with similar changes. The skills you used may be Stepping Stones for others. If you are interested, please e-mail us. HerMentorCenter, 2001