Quitting my job to work for myself was scary... but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
For most of my professional career, I worked in a high-end fashion house retail environment. With commission based sales and a comfortable salary, I can't deny that I loved certain aspects of my job. It led me to working as a fashion stylist for photoshoots, music videos…you name it! However, amidst the sparkle and the glamor, I felt a lack of meaning and fulfillment.
I was initially attracted to working with clothing as a method of self expression in hopes of appearing strong and respected. I discovered there was a lot of power in external beauty and I quickly became obsessed with it. At the time, is was very chic to have stick straight hair, so I flat-ironed my curls and wore low-rise diesel jeans. To paint a better picture, this was the late 90’s and early 2000’s - some may say one of the worst moments in fashion history. Thankfully, my style matured and changed.
Throughout college, I had worked retail for extra money. As I graduated in 2008 during the financial crisis, the economy's decline lead me to working in retail again. Rather than landing a position that would make my parents proud, my retail job introduced me to the first stylist I would assist and my career working in wardrobe began.
I loved the craft of styling and being on set. Luckily, the stylist I was assisting was incredibly kind, and in fact, we are still in contact today! But this was only my first experience, and the more high-end the jobs became, and the more expensive the merchandise was, the more pressure piled up. I began to feel creatively stifled as I worked with corporate clients just to pay the bills.
Shortly thereafter, I had reached a plateau and was no longer growing. I was partying too much, staying up too late and wearing questionably uncomfortable footwear. However this stagnation was where I found my practice of yoga again. I had lived with a yoga teacher, who was also a fellow shop-girl/stylist moving towards becoming a full time teacher, and she did eventually make the shift!
My parents are also yogis, so I had done yoga in the past, but I was just a kid and I totally didn’t get it. I saw it more as a bunch of smelly hippie guys trying to massage my mom. Gross! But my roommate’s practice was different. She taught Vinyasa yoga, and it felt fun, free flowing and intuitive. I quickly found that I could grow in this format as she randomly told me I should become a yoga instructor. When she expressed the idea, a light bulb went off.
I saved up, quit my job, started studying yoga more and discovered where I wanted to do my training. This lead me to White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. Fast forward, and here I am today - a full-time yoga teacher. Sure, I still pick up a styling gig from time to time, and I love it.
I do not take this kind of work for granted. Clothing is a great way to work on yourself and your confidence from the outside in. There’s a reason why it is called retail therapy, after-all. However I find yoga that works from the inside out, and it is an honor to share. I love all kinds of yoga now, but Vinyasa was what originally opened my mind to becoming less judgmental and diving deeper into my world perspective. I am happy to conclude that today, I do practice with my mom at that same yoga center with many of those yogis from my past, but now, I totally get it.
By Zoe Wirth
Join Zoe on an adventure of your own to the magical beaches of Mexico from April 12th to 16th. Step out of your comfort zone and into Pure Bliss!