5 years ago I was depleted and nearing the end of my wits. I was recovering from a health issue, sleeping poorly, teaching too much, and not in the habit of prioritizing myself. To be a yoga teacher and make a living in NYC, one has to give much time, heart, and energy. I gave to the extent I lacked the endurance to care for myself at the day’s end, and it became clear to me I was too exhausted to be of service to my students. I had to learn to create stronger emotional boundaries and to listen to my need for solitude, rest, and nourishment.
Now, I make sure I have at least one day off a week and try to finish my chores beforehand so I can be as free as possible. I read—currently, Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit and Angle of Ascent by Robert Hayden—write, walk in Riverside Park, and cook. Recently, I bought an Ayurveda cookbook to learn some new recipes. I listen to Missy Elliot and dance. I nap with my cat Lucy. It feels restorative to be on my own for a day.
I’m lucky to have generous family and friends who live in gorgeous, rural places, and, when possible, I travel and enjoy good company and open air. My body relaxes almost instantly in nature, and I experience a connection between my body, mind, and surroundings that is powerful and somewhat magical to me. The combination of companionship and natural beauty refills my well, and I feel my most compassionate, resilient, creative self. I realize my tendency to place the needs of others before my own, and, while I don’t want to lose this quality, I have learned it must be tempered with reflection, self-respect, and care so my candle stays well-lit. To balance work, learning, joy, and rest while prioritizing time with loved ones as well as solitude allows me to live a healthy life and show up fully for my students.