Vocation: Yoga Instructor (www.caseylmnop.com)
Location: Seattle WA
1. What do you currently do now and how did you end up here? Any pit stops along the way and did those pit stops help you get to the career and woman you are now?
I am a yoga teacher. How did I end up here? Holy shit, who knows, but more importantly I'm really glad I did. And lucky, I guess. I told myself through college that I wanted to be a dentist. I worked moderately hard trying to achieve the impossible basically. Pit-stops along the way were mostly just me wanting to live more and have more fun, which made it so that I didn't get a 4.0 or an very good DAT score and I didn't get accepted anywhere. But let me back up for a second...I was encouraged to take yoga in the off-season (college volleyball) in 2001. My college only had yoga for dancers so a team mate and I enrolled and were basically the class clowns because we were definitely not dancers. In the end, the experience was cool enough to not write yoga off entirely. I did yoga occasionally for a few years and then more regularly once volleyball was over; eventually a teacher recommended that I go to a studio and get more serious about it. Seriously, I walked into that first studio class and fell in love with yoga completely. I decided, while I did my dental school apps, to take teacher training. It wasn't a fall-back. It wasn't my secret plan all along, it just happened to evolve into the thing that I actually wanted to do while my grad school desire i realized had slowly faded.
Moving from Orange County to Seattle 6 years ago, right at the beginning of my teaching career was a challenge but probably did me a lot of favors in the long run. I had to work hard and hustle and prove myself. I really had to hone my craft. I had to figure out what I wanted to say and teach and offer instead of just repeating what I had been told to teach. Now, I sit here and I know that I have SO MUCH still to learn, but I also know that I am good at this. I love teaching yoga.
2. What are your current gaps, barriers, facilitators, or motivators? Any of those in particular that helped you along the way?
My current barriers are myself mostly. I get overwhelmed and complacent. I have a hard time with social media and promotion for my professional career and when it comes to sales, my skin crawls. Sales in this biz, to me, feels like forcing people to do the stuff that I come to on my own, from my own evolution and I don't want to rush other peoples growth. Teacher trainings, retreats, workshops...these are things that generate revenue, just like any other business yoga is trying to make money and it can be distasteful. So I have to sort that out. I am still working to do it my way without compromising the fact that I do need to make money off of this.
3. What is your ideal state / dream state of being as a woman in your career and a woman in this world? How will you get there?
My ideal/dream state in my career is to be considered a good teacher, a teacher of teachers, not a famous yogi or someone that can do all the tricks but doesn't know how to teach other people. Every time I teach a class I want to be able to say "I wish I could've taken that class". My complacency stops me from learning more. I need to take more time off for my own development. I need to keep learning from people who know more than me. Mostly, I just need to keep being a student.
4. What common misconceptions do you find about your field, your life, about women in general?
The sex appeal and innuendo. Being a yoga teacher doesn't mean you're a slut. It also doesn't mean you're not. Sometimes it feels like teachers are held to a higher standard than other people. I get drunk, I make bad decisions, I am sometimes dishonest and careless. I;m human. The thing with yoga is that you stop hiding all that stuff from yourself. Self-discovery and self-care become more of a priority so I feel like I have evolved into a better person, but not a perfect one, fair from it.
It's funny, when I've been teaching all day I look like shit and smell terribly and am dehydrated and hungry. It's not a pretty picture. There's also this idea that any house-wife or cute blonde could be a yoga teacher. The most common feedback I get from people in teacher training is that they had no idea how hard it was to teach. Well duh. It's like public speaking, physical conditioning, orchestrating, and choreographing on the spot.
5. Any advice or tips & tricks you want to give to a younger you? Whether it be how to apt hunt on craigslist to getting your shoes cobbled to getting a work mentor etc
When you figure out the things you don't like about yourself, don't beat yourself up, just get to work on changing those things. At the same time, figure out what you love about yourself, what makes you you and highlight those and keep them around. People shuffle through your life, it's up to you to put in work to keep people around that are worth it. If you feel like someone is important, tell them. Don't assume people know how you feel about them. Don't be afraid of confrontation or drama. Don't cry when you talk, but when you do, make your words more powerful than your tears. Wear more lipstick. Don't convince yourself to be plain, be bold. Dress in the weird things that you're drawn to.
BONUS QUESTION: What should lead your life: passion or pragmatism? (general thoughts, could be a convergence, could be one or the other!)
I feel like my answer to the BONUS BONUS can fit here to.
BONUS BONUS QUESTION: What are you most proud of?
I'm proud that being a better person has been the central focus of my life for 7 or 8 years. Sure, I'm a yoga teacher, but regardless of what your job is, self-discovery can be your driving force. In yoga, there are 8 limbs, kind of like a guide book. One of them is svadhyaya, which translates to "one's own reading" and "self-study". I feel like all things come down to this. It's my focus, or at least I try my best for it to be. I'm human. ;)