we certainly live in a society that moves quickly.
this then causes anxiety and often times a false sense of urgency, as our corporate culture spills into our everyday lives. the all or nothing thinking, combined with the need to succeed, perform, and advance may apply in our career, but shouldn’t effect our relationships and feelings of self worth. yet it does. work is usually the necessary evil of our days, but does it have to be? does it need to feel monotonous, soul-sucking and just plain shitty?
i’ve noticed that terms like “work-life balance”, “finding your passion”, “discovering your truth”, and similar have become more commonplace. they are often times greeted with a dramatic eye roll from the corporate-crazed people who see no exit. maybe they like the stressful rat race, or have convinced themselves that they do. but they just don’t get it.
as a society we discuss the idea of freedom, we admire anyone who risks his or her steady pay and security to chase the dream, but we can’t seem to pull ourselves from the cubicle.
I used to roll my eyes too. when I’d picture “those people”, as in the risk takers who leave the mundane 9-5, I pictured dread locked hippies who skate through life with nothing but wanderlust in their hearts and a toothbrush in their bag.
I got a degree from a University. therefore, I must use it, right? first we apply to positions, go on a bunch of anxiety provoking interviews, and feel immediately relieved (and terrified) when we get the call that we were accepted, deemed worthy of this organizations time, and told to report for our first day of duty Monday morning.
perhaps you’re recent grad still navigating (and questioning) the field of work you’ve chosen, or you’re a seasoned employee with so much responsibility attached to your job title you haven’t been able to pencil in the time to question at all.
do you identify with this work-life balance confusion? Sara Divello did at one time, too.
now a best-selling author, speaker, and acclaimed yoga teacher, I’d say she’s clearly still made it. you know, by societal standards of success.
Sara Divello at The Nantucket Yoga Festival // photo: Thoughtfully Magazine
she’s done so on her own terms.
previously working a secure and well paying job in PR for corporate financial firms, Sara was stressed out, traveling constantly, and miserable.
but she was safe. if you consider the above description as a safe and healthy way to live, of course.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sara at the Nantucket Yoga Festival.
I remember when I purchased her book thinking to myself, “how do I ask her to sign it???”
A moment later she said – “Would you like me to sign it?”.
Me: “YES! I was wondering how I would ask you!”
Sara: “Same! I was wondering how I should offer to!”
what is the book about?
in Where in The Om Am I? Sara shares her experience in yoga teacher training and the “journey” (we both dislike that word) from structured corporate world to yoga shala.
she chronicles her odd exchanges with “yoga people” as well as the corporate crazies. a great deal of self discovery takes place.
like myself, Sara identifies as a more type A personality who is prone to anxiety. during the peak of her career she was plagued with insomnia, her romantic relationship felt distant, and she was forced to keep going and going while wearing a power suit and heels. she found solace in yoga classes whenever she could fit them into her schedule, and finally committed to a yoga teacher training. the truth began to unfold and she was led to her dharma (in yoga speak).
today, as a yoga teacher her goal is teach others the practice both on and off the mat. that’s my favorite thing I’ve learned about Sara. because the practice isn’t just about what you see on Instagram, guys. it transcends to every facet of life.
I asked Sara a couple of questions and she thoughtfully provided her answers….
enjoy the Q&A with Sara below.
k: did you feel that yoga pulled you away from the corporate world… or was it more that the corporate world pushed you out?
s: that’s a fabulous question! I think that when you’re not on your path (or “living your dharma” in yoga-speak), the universe will conspire to push, pull, and ultimately guide you toward it. Pay attention to “signs” or guideposts—tune in and be present to how you feel at work and in different situations and around different people in your life. If you feel unhappy or uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. And if you feel so happy and content, definitely don’t ignore it! Those are the guideposts.
k: what has been the most profound/inspiring part of being a yoga teacher?
s: when I see people make a definitive shift—whether it’s an awakening, a realization, decreasing their anxiety, becoming happier, whatever they’re looking for. A woman came up to me at Cape Cod’s Love Yoga Fest a few weeks ago and told me she had read my book and taken my workshop a year ago. Since that time, she was inspired to leave a toxic relationship, move to a new city, and get a new job. She said she’s thriving and that she carries my book with her everywhere as a lucky charm (she even had it in her backpack that day!). THAT is the most profound, amazing part of what I do.
k: what was the greatest lesson you learned as a STUDENT?
s: it’s about the practice, not about the politics surrounding it. the practice itself can transform, nourish and sustain you. some of the politics around it can drive you crazy—don’t let them. Stay focused on the practice.
k: I LOVED this “…I don’t have to adhere unbendingly to my usual routines. Everyday doesn’t have to be a grinding, unyielding race against time…it just feels like it does.”I can identify, (maybe it is our East Coast mentality) and I know many others can. how do you challenge this self talk and the urge to constantly be going, doing, succeeding, producing? has this gotten easier with time?
s: thank you! that’s one of my favorite moments/realizations as well! And I think you’re right—it’s an East Coast, overdoing, go-go-go mentality. we never shut down, we never turn off, and we are constantly told to strive for more. so to counterbalance that, I wrote and have started to weave this affirmation into my own practice and into my workshops and classes.
I ask people to take child’s pose, turn their palms to the sky, and say, “I’ve done enough. I have enough. I AM enough. Just as I am in this moment.”
k: I love the idea of making yoga more approachable to everyone, and I know you do, too. what’s one piece of advice to someone newly venturing into the “mysterious” world of yogis??
s: we’re barraged by a lot of images of skinny white girls doing super advanced poses—like that’s supposed to be “yoga.” geez—it’s totally understandable why it could be intimidating! you should know that my physical practice is really basic and humble—it doesn’t look “cool” and I’m totally fine with that. I don’t do any inversions, arm balances, or super advanced poses. it may be cool for some people, and that’s great, but what I’m really interested in is yoga OFF the mat. I’m interested in how yoga can be used as a therapeutic tool to get your body out of pain and into a state of comfort, how you can use it as a tool to create space in the chaos of the busyness of your everyday life, how you can then quiet your mind and create a place to come “home” to in that state of stillness, and in that place, how you can rejuvenate and nourish yourself.
I’m interested in carrying these tools off the mat and making “yoga” a daily practice in all the facets of life—in being calmer, happier, more peaceful, more creative.
I invite people to start to explore yoga in this broader definition as well and see if that feels more approachable or resonates with them. don’t bend yourself to someone else’s practice is, make it your own.
k: which was more intimating, becoming a yoga teacher or an author?? Or do they both feel intimidating in their own way?
s: another amazing question. this has been the best interview. thank you for your thoughtful, heartfelt questions. the answer is, they both feel vulnerable in their own way. I will never forget walking up to the front of the room when I first started teaching and feeling what felt like a thousand eyes on me (really it was probably 25-30) and this incredible fear of “They expect ME to lead them into this transformational place?!” <gulp> <panic>. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it well enough. I worried that they would think my sequence was stupid or inadequate.
I will also never forget how scary it felt to put my work out there for the world to read, wondering and worrying that people would think my book was stupid or terrible or badly written or pointless.
and I will face these fears again and again as I finish and put my next books out there, or develop and present new workshops. but in the end, I know that I can’t please everyone and that it’s not my job to try. my job (or dharma) is to do exactly what I’m doing.
and I can tell you that when you find your path and are living your dharma, there’s a deep-seated contentedness to your days. there is a deep-down rightness.
some people won’t like my books or workshops, and that’s totally OK. the people who resonate with me, will find me. I would offer the same to others: your people will find you, so stay focused on your dharma.
lastly, I think it’s also important to feel strong and steady within yourself. If you feel strong and steady inside, the fluctuations of how people perceive or receive you won’t impact you. you’re on your path and that’s joyfully, abundantly, perfectly enough.
she is totally cool, huh?!
I’ve had a few fantastic phone calls with Sara discussing projects we are both working on (she’s got a second book in the works, guys!), career, haters, and what it was like to publish a book and how it has opened incredible opportunities for her to connect to other men and women who can’t figure out where the OM they are.
what’s her book like? as cool as Sara! it’s first off, hilarious. it’s witty. real. inspiring. Where in the Om Am I hits a lot of marks.
and how often do we get the joy of lighthearted beach read that also encourages eye-opening self reflection and leaves you questioning your life, your future, and purpose?
but I’ll stop raving, it’s time you read it for yourself.
surprise! there’s a GIVEAWAY. get your own signed copy (without any awkward exchange) from Sara Divello! to enter, head to my IG page, follow Sara, and leave a comment tagging another yoga-loving friend who may need a boost of encouragement!
the winner will be announced Thursday evening, and I can’t wait to share this incredible gift from Sara with one of you.
want to meet Sara for yourself?? I’ll be connecting with her at the W.E.L.L Summit in NYC this October. I can not wait for a weekend of natural beauty, mindful living, entrepreneurship, and health.
for more information on the event, contact me! Sara and I have some ideas to put together a little somethin’ somethin’ for any Kalein It readers who join us!
all are welcome, no matter where in the Om they are.
**special thank you to Sara Divello for the photos and interview provided in this post. and for being such an inspiring new friend in my life, and supporter of this blog!