I hated my desk job. Every minute felt like a freaking eternity when I sat behind that desk, and I would plot daily escapes to go to the gym, run, or do yoga. Finally, I quit. Goodbye corporate world!
And hello, newfound anxiety about my blank slate future.
I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew it wouldn’t be finance in a corporate environment. Too bad I couldn’t identify myself as having many other options, but I thought I might as well use the time to do something I really wanted–to take a Yoga Teacher Training Course.
Spoiler alert! It changed my life. I enrolled in the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training at the Yoga Ranch in upstate New York, and my mind was blown. Finally, a yoga system that taught a holistic approach to yoga, not just the postures. We learned yogic breathing, philosophy, meditation, and much more. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I had real tools that I could use to conquer my nerve-wracking anxiety of returning home without a career plan.
After the monthlong intensive yoga training ended, I returned home to Chicago, fearing and dreading the possibility I may have to go back to working in finance in a corporate environment. But even though I didn’t see any other option for myself, I knew the universe must have something better for me. So I waited.
I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I knew to keep myself from going insane with worry, I had to keep up my yoga practice. So despite my “unknowingness” for everything else in my life, I stuck with the one thing I knew was working for me–yoga.
Every morning I woke up and meditated. I’d then job hunt for a couple hours, and go to the Sivananda Yoga Center for the 10:30am class. It was there I practiced pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (postures). I did this for three to four months every day, setting an intention to be patient for what the universe was bringing me next.
And no, yoga did not make me infinitely calm and patient. But it did make me moreso. Despite all the fear I had about the future, yoga kept me calm enough to trust that the right timing would come when I’d know what to do. The yoga and meditation practice made me more clear-headed. Without that clarity, I might have operated out of fear instead of my innate trust to take the risk.
Eventually, the practice paid off. About three months later, it occurred to me that I could start my own business. And I did! I started a strategy and marketing consulting and digital analytics business, which was right up my alley. I ran it for about three years, right up until I partnered with friends to start The Yoga Summit.
Then life started getting really awesome. The Yoga Summit combined all my skill sets with my ultimate passion–yoga. Now I have my true dream job, where I get to interview brilliant and renowned yoga leaders, as well as run things from the business point of view. Best of all, my job has meaning. Just as yoga changed my life for the better, I can use my own skill sets to spread yoga through The Yoga Summit online, to change the lives of people who need it.
In my view, even if your career path has nothing to do with yoga, yoga can help you find it. Practicing yoga gives you the clarity of vision, strength of will, and courage to carry it out. I went from desk job to dream job–and I chalk it up to yoga and my teachers.
Will I ever go back to my old job? Nama-stay right here in my dream life! 😉
Nicole Vahlkamp is a Sivananda Yoga Teacher and co-founder of The Yoga Summit, a free, transformative, online event launching in January 2017.