Yoga Health Coaching is a 15 month training to take your career to the next level. You’ll learn how to be an outstanding Yoga Health Coach, and accelerate the wellness path of your clients. You’ll learn how to get your clients or patients better results faster.
In this Coach of the Month interview, Cate chats with Suzanne Lynch about her personal evolution path from yogi to Catholic chaplain to yoga studio owner and finally to yoga health coach.
Suzanne began studying Iyengar yoga in her 20s, but found herself struggling mentally and emotionally. She began meditating and describes the experience as going from seeing her life in black and white to seeing it in color. Meditation improved her family life, and she eventually found her way back to yoga.
She studied Anusara yoga and opened a yoga studio after working as a Catholic chaplain after the World Trade Center bombings. She ran the studio for 11 years and closed the studio right before starting Yoga Health Coaching.
Cate recalls talking to Suzanne about the community building she had done at her studio, her love for the deeper student, and the frustrations that went with studio ownership. She encouraged Suzanne to start the business course so that she could utilize a different business model that included more depth and less frustration. Suzanne had already been teaching some shorter online courses, but she needed a better model. There’s a different set of skills that goes with teaching online, and Suzanne had to learn and grow into those. She now enjoys connecting with people in this way, and the payoff has been a creative, life-enhancing schedule.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
Why you don’t have to be a tech genius to take your business online.
Why taking your business online doesn’t mean sacrificing the human connection.
How the habits of Body Thrive obliterate overwhelm for both coaches and clients.
1:00 – Suzanne began studying Iyengar yoga in her 20s, but found herself struggling mentally and emotionally. She began meditating and describes the experience as going from seeing her life in black and white to seeing it in color. Meditation improved her family life, and she eventually found her way back to yoga.
5:05 – Suzanne met Cate in 2005 at an Ayurveda workshop Cate was teaching. That was her first introduction to Ayurveda. She studied Anusara yoga and opened a yoga studio after working as a Catholic chaplain after the World Trade Center bombings. She ran the studio for 11 years and closed the studio right before starting Yoga Health Coaching.
9:30 – Cate recalls talking to Suzanne about the community building she had done at her studio, her love for the deeper student, and the frustrations that went with studio ownership. She encouraged Suzanne to start the business course so that she could utilize a different business model that included more depth and less frustration. Suzanne had already been teaching some shorter online courses, but she needed a better model. There’s a different set of skills that goes with teaching online, and Suzanne had to learn and grow into those. She now enjoys connecting with people in this way, and the payoff has been a creative, life-enhancing schedule.
13:00 – The habits of Body Thrive create more harmony throughout one’s life. Even though Suzanne’s husband’s work is extremely stressful, their practice of the habits has enhanced their relationship created a sense of ease in their lives.
17:30 – Initially, learning the technology necessary for taking her business online created a sense of overwhelm for Suzanne. She now knows that overwhelm is a choice. Despite a series of family illnesses, she felt she was able to surrender and calmly be available to the crisis at hand. Consequently, she felt she was able to be of better service.
24:00 – Suzanne’s clients have seen similar shifts towards ease as opposed to overwhelm.
25:45 – It takes about a year to automate the habits. Changing from a 10 week program to an annual ticket takes the pressure off course members and gives them time to work through personal resistance as well as issues in relationships.
31:20 – The integrity of thrive is stronger than apathy. If one person in a family is practicing the habits, the rest of the family will likely follow suit eventually.
33:45 – Suzanne is currently excited about transitioning her business model to the annual ticket. She is working on building her online presence so that it will be easier for her future clients to find her.
“Yoga has this detoxification process. And it loosens energy in many ways, and it loosens karma to process. It loosens stuck patterns.” — Cate Stillman
“I love that I work from home. I make my schedule. I can create a very supportive, life-enhancing schedule. . . . And then I can connect with people. . . . I’m so much happier!” — Suzanne Lynch
“We start to realize that our habits are not our own. Our habits are communal.” — Cate Stillman
“I’m in the time of life when I’m actually a valuable teacher.” — Suzanne Lynch
Suzanne has been helping people get out of pain, and live happier, healthier lives for over 25 years. She has a special talent and affinity for habit evolution and deep listening. Suzanne loves helping clients feel better than they have in years.
Suzanne has been a meditator for 30 years, and was certified by the NACC as a Catholic Chaplain in 2001. She worked for the Red Cross after The Trade Center bombings, as well as in hospitals, and in Hospice. She’s a long time student of yoga and started back in 1989. Suzanne lives in Saratoga with her husband, Bruce and her dog Argos. She is a mother of two grown children. Connect with Suzanne on her FB page and get more info on Suzanne’s website.
I’ll do it myself. I don’t need any help.These were my childhood mantras. Embracing life’s challenges solo was my MO. Oh the challenges of a 6-year old… tying shoes, picking out clothes, doing math homework..I chuckle and secretly long for those challenges. What’s strange though is I’m not an introvert. I’m a Supporter, Star, Deal Maker, according to my Wealth Dynamics Entrepreneur Profile. This means I’m relationship oriented. I shine in the spotlight. I am good at negotiating.I readily offer support to others. But as my childhood mantras suggest, apparently I’m not so good at asking for support. I have a tendency to contract and isolate when I enter unfamiliar territory. Does this happen to you? As an aspiring solopreneur, I’m adventuring into foreign territory all the time. Every direction points towards growth. Do I want to forge ahead in a contracted, isolated state or would I benefit by expanding and reaching out for support?
I’ve run the experiment.
The results: Trying to launch my wellness career alone sucks! In business, going at it solo is a dead-end path.You’re a wellness leader. You care about helping others. Are you having the impact you desire? If so, great, forge ahead. If you want to enjoy exponential growth, read on. You’ll see why going at it alone is a fixed, dead-end approach and be inspired to transform your mindset and nurture your potential in a dynamic group of growth-minded wellness leaders.
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
– Lau Tzu.
While growth is one of my highest values, I have a tremendous fear of failure. I don’t want to expose myself in the early stages of development. I don’t have enough information yet. I can’t possibly have an impact if I’m not an expert. People will see me as a fraud. Instead of asking others to support my growth, I contract, isolate, and drown my desires in fear. I shut down the growth path from the get go. Sound familiar? What I realize now is that although I value growth, my mindset around growth has been fixed. There was only one way to grow and it was on my own. After all isn’t that what solopreneur means?
Which Mindset are you operating from?
“Your mindset is the view you adopt about yourself.” Psychologist Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success cracked open my mind about how I had been viewing myself as I contemplated my dreams.
Your mindset profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.
– Carol Dweck.
Dweck describes 2 mindsets fixed and growth: “The fixed mindset makes you concerned with how you’ll be judged; the growth mindset makes you concerned with improving.” I was approaching my business dreams armored with fear of judgement and failure.
According to Dweck, we can have different mindsets about different parts of ourselves. You may have a growth mindset when it comes to your intelligence, believing that your intelligence is malleable, while you may believe your personality traits are fixed. My stubborn, “I’ll do it alone” approach is a fixed mindset that I’ve clung to for too long.
Isolation is a self-sabotaging behavior that feels like a contraction around the heart. Growth is not possible in a contracted, isolated state. Not only was my fixed mindset closing off my heart, my head hurt. Trying to build a website, blog, learn about marketing, do my own accounting, were all foreign to me. I may have looked at a few websites trying to figure out how to assemble these pieces on my own. But did I ask for help? Heck no!
Is fear of failure holding you back?
I didn’t want to risk being judged. I would see feedback as criticism rather than support. Intolerance to criticism, mistakes and setbacks is classic fixed mindset according to Dweck. In my contracted state, I couldn’t see that the work I desired to do, pursuing my passion, required a group. Late in 2016, my mind cracked open. I couldn’t take the mind-numbing pain any longer. One day after many years of following Cate Stillman on Yoga Healer podcasts and blogs, I decided….ENOUGH! I reached out. I was ready to admit I needed help. I became a member of the Yoga Health Coaching community. Joining the YHC community has been the smartest decision I’ve ever made. Why did I wait so long? Before joining the Yoga Health Coaching community, I had a fixed mindset about growth. I was going to grow my business on my own. I was going to do it my way. I didn’t want to seek out help for fear of failure and judgement. I needed to shift my mindset. If I wanted to inspire others to grow, I needed to adopt a growth mindset. And I needed a community to shift my mindset from my isolated fixed way of doing things to a dynamic, growth-oriented approach.
This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.
– Carol Dweck.
The last part of that quote is life enhancing…help from others.
Our community has a growth mindset.
How do we support a growth mindset? We have rules. No, these rules aren’t about right and wrong. The Ground Rules for Dynamic Groups of Yoga Health Coaching are about cultivating our unique abilities to inspire growth through dynamic group engagement. The intro to our “rules” reads: All members of your dynamic group are on a growth path and their pace on this path accelerates in an engaging and supportive environment. As each member “pays forward” their attention and commitment to the group, the group gives back exponential value to each member. Higher levels of growth and development only happen when we surrender to and commit within a dynamic group and stop trying to evolve alone. BAM! That’s a growth mindset! Together we Engage our Edges and Nurture Identity Evolution and we Reach Out When We Tweak Out (3 of my favorite rules). We connect through private Facebook forums, weekly coaching calls, mentorship, bi-annual retreats, mastermind groups and more. “Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? People in a growth mindset don’t just seek challenge, they thrive on it. The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch.”, Carol Dweck. So again, I ask you: Are you having the impact you desire? If not you may want to check your fixed mindset at the door and try on something new…a growth mindset. Stop wandering aimlessly. You can change your mindset and it’s much more adaptable in community. Nurture your passion in community. You need a community to thrive. Welcome to our Tribe! Open arms, hearts and minds await you. Check out Yoga Health Coaching and accelerate your growth. “
We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.
In this Spotlight Edition of the Yoga Health Coaching podcast, Grace Edison hosts Yoga Health Coach in Training Alec Hurley. Alec teaches yoga in San Diego and is the founder of Higher Self Wellness.
Before Alec began YHC, he was working as a professional chef and noticed his interpersonal relationships and intrapersonal connections fading away. He stepped deeper into his yoga practice and found Yogahealer through the podcast. After listening to the podcast for a couple of years, he decided to join YHC.
When transitioning from the job that he was trained for into yoga health coaching, Alec, like many YHC members, encountered fear and self doubt. He still works through some of that on a daily basis. Through his keystone habits, Start the Day Right and Sitting in Silence, Alec practices being present with himself so that he can grow into this new role and allow space for intuitive guidance.
As one of the few men in YHC, Alec sees the cultivation and balance of feminine and masculine qualities, or yin and yang, as the key to bringing more harmony into our culture. Alec cites Gay Hendricks’s book The Big Leap as one of the biggest influences on his ability to shift his identity and live a life more in alignment with his values.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
How Yoga Health Coaching can allow you to live a life more in alignment with your values.
How Yoga Health Coaching provides opportunities for personal growth as well as support for working through growing edges.
Why your gender is irrelevant to your ability to coach the habits of Body Thrive.
4:00 – Alec took his time getting his pilot program off the ground. He wanted to explore his own relationship with the 10 habits of Body Thrive so that he could embody the habits and teach them from an deep, authentic place. Alec’s keystone habits are start the day right and sitting in silence, both of which have helped him cultivate deep presence within himself.
5:45 – Fear and self doubt were the two biggest obstacles Alec had to overcome in order to teach his pilot. Alec credits his keystone habit, sitting in silence, with his ability to be fully present and grow into this new role while allowing space for intuitive guidance. Reading Gay Hendricks’s book The Big Leap influenced his ability to shift his identity and live a life more in alignment with his values.
8:50 – Alec is one of the few men in YHC. He was introduced to the “feminine” practice of deep listening at a young age, and so was able to recognize that practice as a key component of coaching women. He sees the cultivation and balance of both feminine and masculine qualities, or yin and yang, as the key to bringing more harmony into our culture.
12:30 – Free talks have been a growing edge for Alec, as they are for many yoga health coaches. He uses them to explore his voice and share his understanding of the topics. He pushes himself even further out of his comfort zone by live streaming his free talks.
16:11 – What surprised Alec most about YHC is how open and collaborative the community is. Members are willing to share what is working and what is not working and help each other navigate their growing edges.
18:22 – Alec renamed his program after an insight about the art of connection. His unique approach to teaching the habits supports both physical and spiritual evolution and comes from his deeper connection to his higher self.
“Sometimes we can shift our identity, but those close to us are a little behind. . . . They’re used to that person who fit into the box that we created for ourselves or that they created for us.” — Grace Edison
“I think it’s very powerful. I mean, there needs to be a balance of this masculinity as well as this femininity of being able to just listen and receive deeply what the other person has that they need to express. In my short experience so far as a coach, that’s been the most powerful lesson.” — Alec Hurley
“Culturally, there’s so much . . . there’s a lot of stuff that’s out of balance. And it takes cultivation of both of these qualities, the yin and the yang, the masculine and the feminine. It takes cultivation and an understanding and a balance of both of those qualities to bring more harmony to our culture.” — Alec Hurley
“This is the missing link in the law of attraction: getting the food body, the physical body, in alignment with the earth rhythms so that the negative inner dialogue starts to be reduced and the desires are more easily heard.” — Grace Edison
Alec Hurley is a yoga teacher in the San Diego area and a life long surfer. He is the founder of Higher Self Wellness and an avid practitioner of ancient wisdom and spiritual practices which he infuses into his public yoga classes and group program “The Art of Connection”. He is professionally trained as a Chef and incorporates the ancient wisdom of “food as medicine” into his culinary creations. Currently enrolled in the Yoga Health Coaching program, Alec is adding the practices of personal and planetary alignment into his modern healthy lifestyle toolkit to help shift the collective into deeper states of connection. You can download a Free guided meditation here to get a deeper sense of what he is all about.
Perhaps it is unique, but I prefer to use my clothing as a unit of measure. I gauge my weight on my ability to pull up, button, zip or snap. This is my standard unit of measure as I transition into a new season. As spring approaches, I pat my winter belly on a job well done; I look at my yoga pants from last spring, knowing that my sweats will soon retire to the back of my drawer. In Ayurveda, transitioning into a new season is called ritucharya. This is the opportunity nature gives us to asses and engage in seasonal house cleaning, internal and external.
I bring my spring yoga wear forward and contemplate whether I could begin my ritual. With courage, I step forward, one leg at a time, gradually pulling my pants up toward my waist. As this international unit of measure never lies, I accept the results. The next phase of my ritual is to seriously reflect on my internal house cleaning. Cleanse or detox? It can be confusing.
Seasons are marked by junctures which are moments of opportunity for wellness evolution. Seasonal cleansing or biannual detox extends your life by taking out your inner trash.
While the terms are often used interchangeably, some authors distinguish between cleanse and detox. A cleanse is a simplified diet. You may begin by eating more fruits and vegetables, changing habits of when, where and what you eat, and cutting back on winter foods that offer sweet and salty tastes. The intention of a detox is focused and aimed at your digestive system (liver, kidney and gall bladder) to change the metabolic process inside your body to remove toxins through elimination.
Serious cleansing or detoxing is not for the faint of heart. It takes preparation and offers self-reflection as to your current body’s status. It is important to be clear as to what you are trying to accomplish. Both a cleanse and a detox will help eliminate excess waist/waste (pardon the pun ) But are your more concerned about weight or the side effects of excess ama? Ama is undigested food or emotions; the junk in your trunk. It can manifest as bloating, gas, skin irritations, decreased energy level, moodiness, constipation, and joint stiffness. Both a cleanse and detox will hunt down alma.
I decided to go for the gold, detox. My first attempt at detoxing lasted about 6 hours before my rebellious sugar fairy broke her chains and announced her presence. Once I gave in (she is really temperamental) I had a choice to make: quit or modify. I decided to modify my diet and expectations. I focused on eating more fruits and vegetables, cut back on caffeine, sugar and alcohol, for the remainder of the course. This put me in the cleanse category. A good first step for me.
My second attempt was aimed at detoxing: eliminating the big three: sugar, caffeine and alcohol. I lasted 3 days (hurrah!). This was a great accomplishment! I had identified my kryptonite from trial one and put strategies (meal planning, food/drink substitutions) in place. I woke up feeling more alert, no bloating, less joint stiffness and actually noted no 3:00 pm food cravings at work! Proof that I had decreased the amount of ama in my body. I felt glorious, however , sharing my experience with others may not have been the way to go. As I sought out kindred spirits by way of co-workers, swim buddies, or folks in the vegetable aisle, the majority responded with “Why would anybody want to do that?”
Hence the argument for support. Authors agree that if you are a newbie at this, please seek a guide. A guided cleanse or detox will offer support as to targeting your goals, identify the needs of your kitchen, clarity on foods, fruits and vegetables your body needs, knowing what to expect from your body, how to communicate with your family, and how to ease in and out. Guides come in many forms, you may work with a healthcare professional, health coach, or enroll in an established detox program.
As to which is better, cleanse or detox, I think that is an individual call. For me, starting with a cleanse provided the opportunity to reflect and gradually ease into a more comprehensive detox. With a detoxing, I have been the most successful when enrolling in an established program, like Yogahealer, which offers education and guided support. I work full time and I have learned how to adapt my kitchen, shop, pre-plan meals and communicate with others in my household as to what my intentions are during this time. I understand what is realistic with my work and life schedule. I am happy to say that for the last two years my unit of measure has kept me healthy, aware of my internal health and in my yoga pants!
From an unhappy marriage, addiction, and a cancer diagnosis, to health, happiness and a growing business, Lael shares her breakthrough moments, and the habits she’s harnessed to thrive in her life and business.
Eighteen months after the birth of her twins, Lael was close to burnout and harboring resentment in her marriage. She and her husband started couples therapy where Lael was forced to confront her own addictions. A couple of years after saving her marriage and overcoming her addictions, and at a time when life seemed good, she received a cancer diagnosis. During treatment, Lael was forced to slow down, and her time spent in contemplation became the turning point in her life.
Lael was introduced to yoga in college but it wasn’t until her cancer diagnosis that she recognized the spiritual benefits of the practice and started waking up to her own life. She started yoga teacher training. During teacher training, Lael found Yogidetox and Yoga Health Coaching, and she now feels like she is following her dharma. With each round of Body Thrive, Lael feels like she’s peeling back more and more layers, and now, as a coach, she gets to see it all from another perspective. Connection with her higher power keeps her effective, efficient, and inspired.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
How the habits of Body Thrive lay the groundwork for deep transformation.
How burnout, addiction, and resentment can masquerade as highly functional.
Why you don’t need to be (and probably shouldn’t be) perfect to be a good coach.
1:00 – Yoga health coaches are able to show up in a really honest way and share their struggles with each other and with the people they coach.
2:00 – Lael has been a therapist in private practice for 11 years. She has faced burnout, addiction and disease, and has overcome them all.
9:00 – Despite appearing as though she was doing all the “right things” and functioning at a very high level, Lael was missing the deep self care she needed. She deepened her yoga practice, started yoga teacher training, and found yoga health coaching.
14:15 – Lael is now running her first yoga health coaching group. She feels as though she has awakened to her own life. Through health coaching, she is able to share and to be real with her clients in a way that she couldn’t in a clinical setting. She feels she can now help people in a practical way.
19:45 – For lasting habit change, kaizen (small, incremental steps toward great change) is Lael’s top tip.
24:00 – Scheduling in down time, time to connect with her higher power, keeps Lael effective, efficient, and inspired.
“Sometimes our desire to be with other people is a distraction from our own stuff.” — Lael Peterson
“I was doing all the right things, . . . but it wasn’t that deep self care. It wasn’t about slowing down at all. It was very busy. It wasn’t about really listening to my true desire. . . . It was doing what was in front of me and what I was good at. . . . And I wasn’t unhappy, but it wasn’t sustainable.” — Lael Peterson
“I didn’t want to be one way in my personal life and one way with my clients. I wanted to take everything that I was learning in my personal life and bring it to people.” — Lael Peterson
“I want to be real with people. . . I want to help people in a real, practical way. And I feel like health coaching and what I learned in Body Thrive is perfect for people. It’s exactly what they need to know.” — Lael Peterson
“It’s incredible to hear that coming from a therapist’s perspective, because I very much felt the same way: No matter what the issue is, start with the habits of Body Thrive, and then see what flushes out.” — Carly Banks
“How could you have any clarity about what’s actually driving you crazy, when you’re so out of rhythm; you’re so out of sync?” — Lael Peterson
“I am only as effective or as efficient or inspired as I am connected. . . . It’s really, really important for me to be connected to my higher power, and the way I do that is by getting away from my regular life.” — Lael Peterson
Lael is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, yogi and yoga teacher. She’s a recovering addict, cancer survivor, spiritual seeker, and nature lover. She’s also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been providing support, education and therapy for the past 15 years. Lael offers individual therapy as well as yoga health coaching. Her personal life experience combined with her professional expertise and her innate passion to help people live better lives forms the basis of her practice. Her approach is create an atmosphere of safety and acceptance where her clients can dig deep and get real. Connect with lael on her FB page Lael Petersen and her website .
The experience of yoga goes deeper than stretching the hamstrings. And practitioners develop a consistent practice they will begin to notice shifts. This is due to the effects that yoga has on opening the physical body by bringing greater sensitivity to the subtle layers. Each layer allows us to experience something unique but first lets begin with what sensation is.
The language of sensation
Our body speaks to us through the language of sensation. This is the language of tiny impulses expressed in many forms through all of the layers of the body. And just like any other language, it takes time to learn and our understanding deepens over time. The Yoga classroom is where I began to learn this language and feel the sensations of my body. Through learning this language yoga has become my personal sanctuary. My place to create deeper states of wellness through attention and focus to all the layers of my body.
Kosha means sheaths or layers of our body in yoga philosophy. They range from dense to subtle and are interconnected without any real separation. Together, the koshas form a treasure map for the journey of self-discovery. You will notice as we go through the koshas the influence one has to to the next and the power of a consistent yoga practice.
The Annamaya Kosha – Physical/food layer
There are many routes to the yoga practice but in the west most enter through the physical exercises known as asana practice. This layer makes up our physical physical body ( bones, muscles, organs, etc.) This is the layer directly influenced by the physical practice of yoga. Here is where we deepen our understanding of the more physical sensation through yoga asana practice. Feeling your feet on the floor and touching the sky above you. When grounded in this kosha, physical awareness is opened and you will find your posture naturally aligns.
The Pranamaya Kosha – Energy layer
This layer is also affected by the physical practice and related to the breath, the nervous system and your inner world. The breath is used to unblock stagnation in the whole system, and believe me, we all have it. The breath directly affects the nervous system. Think fast shallow breathing and its correlation to anxiety and fear. Now think of how a slow, deep and rhythmic breathing pattern soothes your whole being. When breathing practices (pranayama) are regular, deeper connection and control of the nervous system is achieved.
The Manomaya Kosha – Mental/emotional layer
This is where the impacts of your yoga practice can be reflected almost immediately. When physical exercise and controlled breath are combined (the previous two layers) balance and flow are restored to this layer fairly quickly. Ever feel calm and content right after a yoga class? This kosha is related to our sense of self, our mind and our relational capacity. The manomaya kosha is an easy place to get stuck and accumulate stagnation. Do you know someone who is all in their head? The practice of Japa yoga or repeating affirmations directly affects this layer by untying the tethers of the mind which so easily get wound up. When balance is cultivated here, our senses begin to shift inward and the internal language of our mind is understood.
The Vijnanamaya Kosha – Intuitive/wisdom layer
Consistency is your ally. This Kosha is the seat of our intuition, or our higher connection. After months or years of regular practice you will notice things begin to shift. As the layers become more subtle our awareness expands and the language of our body goes beyond the five main senses. This layer opens up when the previous three are active with a regular yoga practice to help keep them clean and flowing.
The Anandamaya Kosha – Bliss layer
Oooommmmmm. This most subtle layer is our seat of bliss. The center most kosha yet its the most expansive in its experience. Regular meditation helps connect with this layer and to maintain these expansive qualities. Think interconnectedness and vastness for the sensations coming through here.
Compassion, awareness and curiosity
As we practice yoga and meditation our old stored emotions, habits, experiences and just plain old stuff comes up. When it does come up, inviting a sense of compassion is key. Presencing this is what the practice of yoga is designed to do. Imagine looking back after decades of practice and having the mental clarity to learn the deeper lessons of the choices made earlier in life. After all, yoga is a powerful way to learn the language of sensation so get curious about what it is saying.
As wellness pros, we sometimes find ourselves thinking we are in a limited market, that there are only a certain number of people looking for the services we’re offering, and if someone else is offering the “same” services, our market is even more limited. In this Changemaker Challenge conversation, Cate and Grace discuss how competition can be a asset to our careers.
Knowing there are others in our market doing a little (or a lot) better than we are lets us know what is possible. It also forces us recognize what sets us apart so that we can capitalize on our unique strengths. Collaborating with competitors allows us to create something that didn’t exist before, something that benefits everyone involved, including our clients and/or students.
We all have the capacity to create. When we recognize and optimize our unique strengths, competition becomes a means to our success. When you merge competition, creativity, and innovation, the possibilities are limitless. When you orient from that place, you start to understand your own value, and you’ll find there’s more than enough work for you to do.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
How you can generate your own market by combining your creativity with the issues you truly care about.
How authentic connection and collaboration with competitors benefits everyone.
1:00 – Some of us love competition. It gives us a way of “keeping score” and helping us to perform better. Knowing there is someone out there doing a little bit better (or a lot better) than we are lets us know what is possible. It forces us to see where our unique strengths are and what sets us apart, and we can use that to grow our business.
8:00 – Collaboration with our competitors makes it possible to create something within the pro healer market that didn’t exist before.
12:00 – When you combine your creativity with issues you genuinely care about, you’re generating a niche; you’re generating your own market.
17:00 – Even in small communities, what might seem like competition can actually be transformed into mesh relationships that benefit everyone: business owners, clients, and the community as whole.
21:00 – Collaboration must include authentic connection in order to be a successful two-way street.
23:00 – Your ability to connect and collaborate with other pro healers who offer things you don’t offer adds value and depth to your services.
25:00 – We all have the capacity to create. When we recognize and optimize our unique strengths, competition becomes a means to our success. When you merge competition, creativity, and innovation, the possibilities are limitless. When you orient from that place, you start to understand your own value, and you’ll find there’s more than enough work for you to do.
32:00 – If we continually show up and provide value, it allows people to mature in their own way, sometimes elsewhere, and then come back to you.
34:00 – In order to figure out what value you offer, combine your expertise with your personality strengths, and track your interests.
Your Favorite Quotes
“If anyone follows any kind of competitive sports, you’ll hear sportscasters talk about the assets and the weaknesses on each team. And it’s not that the team’s not aware of their own assets and weaknesses; it’s everybody’s really aware of who’s going to leverage what. And if we bring that into our careers as wellness pros, we can also see that.” — Cate Stillman
“Human beings are inherently creative. We can’t not create.” — Cate Stillman
“Those of us who have been damaged in our labeling, and we label ourselves as an uncreative person, you’re just out of touch with your own humanity.” — Cate Stillman
“We are creative. We are designed to thrive. We are designed to connect. And that’s always going to be emergent.” — Cate Stillman
“More than anything, for me, collaborating is fun!” – Grace Edison
“One of the things you’ll start to realize, if you haven’t already, in pro healers, is that everyone’s making it up. If someone has a platform, they built that. If someone has a unique offering, they created that. We all have this creative capacity.” — Cate Stillman
For those in search of a yoga teacher, your search might be over! Start your search by looking inside. One of my teachers, Paul Muller Ortega, says the teacher shows up on the inside before the physical manifestation shows up in your life. Once the teacher appears, there is a feeling of deep recognition. It’s as if you have known this person for many life times.
I searched for many years before finding the right yoga teacher. After trial and error, I found a great fit in the Anusara Yoga Community. Although John Friend, the founder, left in 2012, the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga continues to grow and thrive with 900 licensed well trained teachers still carrying on the amazing tradition of this yoga path all over the world.
This year as I celebrate my 27th anniversary of teaching yoga, I notice my teaching has shifted dramatically over the years. What I understood to be the gold standard for a successful yoga teacher in 1991 is radically different from how I see it now.
I was a former power yoga vinyasa teacher, who taught a very athletic form of hatha yoga in NYC gyms in the early 90’s. My teaching felt like an extension of my former career as an aerobics instructor. Students wanted a sweaty strong class, yet the class had no contemplation, meditation or opportunity to go inside. My classes had an external focus because I wasn’t meditating yet, hadn’t studied yoga philosophy or met my main teacher. My interest was in creating an atmosphere with movement, music and a lightness of spirit. I had not yet learned the value of deep inner work of self inquiry.
Each Class Takes us on a Journey
Now life is so different. I have been invited to teach and train Anusara yoga teachers internationally in NYC, China, Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and Japan. The yoga sages say that when you go inside, you discover life’s true purpose, or Swadharma. This inner work and exploration taught in Anusara Yoga has added a new dimension to my instruction and a depth to my classes. I always bring my self -inquiry into the classroom. I teach what I need to learn that day. Now each class I teach is a journey within to discover why we are here.
Stay in Alignment
Anusara yoga teachers help us focus on healthy inner and outer alignment. We align our intention and the physical body. There is an emphasis on experiencing a pulsation between engaging muscles and expanding energetically, that brings balance and ease into the pose. We are neither over or under efforting. The knowledge and application of good alignment and the weaving of yoga teachings throughout the class turns the experience of yoga from a fitness regime to an uplifting journey to your own sweet essential Self. This inner journey is transformative and life changing. I am beyond grateful for the amazing gift of Anusara Yoga to me and for my students all over the world.
It’s All Fun and Games Until the Chit hits the Fan!
When you connect to your very own wisdom body by realizing the purpose of yoga, you relax into life and let go of the struggle. The purpose of yoga according to the non-dual philosophy at the heart of Anusara yoga is to recognize your own infinite/divine nature.
(Chit) By recognizing your own essence as a part of everything in the universe, you begin to understand that the totality of who you are includes the dance and celebration ( Ananda) of both the dark and light aspects of life. There is a freedom in knowing everything is here to awaken us.
You may still experience great obstacles and challenges, yet even these no longer stop you in your tracks or derail your health and well being. In fact you begin to cultivate an attitude of “bring it on!” Anusara Yoga seems to help people develop a way of meeting life’s challenges with humor and grace instead of dread and and fear. This inner work prepares you for life’s real challenges (health issues, illnesses, injuries, job loss, transitions, divorce, death..) A fun vinyasa class is a good sweaty workout but will not be of great support when the @##$% hits the fan!
Look around to see what popular yoga teachers are doing these days. Do you notice many are power vinyasa yoga instructors? There is nothing wrong with this style of yoga, but it seems to appeal to the athlete/yogi who is not interested in going inside. It is possible to experience a flow practice and also to do the self inquiry work that leads to inner transformation. By aligning your intention, every class with your highest ideals, Anusara yoga helps the student find their Swadharma (their true path).
There are stages of a yogi’s development. When a yoga student is new at the practice they tend to focus on the physical. The spiritual aspects seem intimidating, foreign, weird or affected. After practicing for a while the student begins to simmer and cook in the “Shakti” or energy of the practice and naturally starts to explore the more subtle realms like Pranayama, Chanting, meditation, karma yoga, or Seva (selfless service). So wherever you are right now is perfect! I will never forget the friend who brought me to my first class. I hated the chanting but loved the way I felt in Savasana!! That was Bliss ( Ananda). And there were no drugs involved!! I couldn’t wait to get back and try it again!
Glass of Wine Yoga Has its Shortcomings
Yoga can easily turn into a palliative healing modality that makes you feel good till the next yoga class. That kind of yoga is like a nice glass of wine. It takes the edge off of a stressful day. I am interested in going much deeper. By incorporating the yoga teachings in classes we are able to take yoga off the mat and into our lives. The contemplation like for instance, Saucha, (purification of the body and mind and our environment) can result in your life becoming more efficient more organized. You will clear up misunderstandings in relationships, and clean up your diet. All these shifts leads to more vibrant and clear energy.
Let me tell you about Lucy, a retired nurse in her early 70s who took my Anusara yoga class at World Yoga Center. Her IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) ruled her life. She was exhausted, depressed, irritable and isolated. One of the ways I help people off the mat is through my Yoga Health Coaching course, The Body Evolves which Lucy signed up for. Lucy’s IBS went into remission after taking the course. I was thrilled at the way she transformed in the program. Her IBS went into remission. She changed the way she digests food. Not only that her personality changed, she became more positive and outgoing. She began to feel more uplifted and lighter. She was so grateful to have discovered this healing path. She took small steps. She quit snacking between meals and ate her last meal of the day around 6:00 pm. This calmed down her digestive system allowing it to rest between meals. She ate miso soup for breakfast. Fermented food really helped her gut health.
Lucy now spends time in nature every day filled with gratitude for this life. I am so grateful I doing a daily practice of Anusara yoga. I was able to guide her and I wonder, had I not evolved as a teacher, could I have helped Lucy get to where she is today?
Take Yoga off the Mat and Integrate Yoga Teachings into Your Life and Your Relationships.
Taking yoga off the mat and into every aspect of your life has been my passion since meeting my teacher, Cate Stillman. Cate is an Ayurvedic practitioner and a trained Anusara Yoga Teacher. Her course, Body Thrive, based on the teachings of Ayurveda has given yoga a whole new perspective for me and many others. By seeing yoga on the mat as a place to focus your attention on what you want to create off the mat brings yoga into every aspect of your life. ( how you think, how you relate to other people in your life, how you feed yourself, how much rest you get, how you nourish your spirit )
An Example of Healing Off the Mat
An example of yoga off the mat happened when I injured my leg in September, 2016 in a horrible bike accident. I had to use the subtle practices of pranayama, meditation and chanting. I couldn’t do asana for 4 months while I was in the initial phases of my healing. I used the 10 habits I learned from Cate Stillman in her Body Thrive course to heal my body. I connected to my community who reached out with food, love and prayer. I was constantly cared for by body workers,students and friends. I put myself on the Dinacharya ( daily rhythm) of regular meal times, bed times and waking times. Little by little my bones knitted back together and I recovered my ability to walk, ride my bike and do asana again. It was nothing short of a miracle. My yoga became my healing journey. Everything in my day was yoga. My meals, my bath, getting dressed, walking to the bathroom with my walker and brace. It was a living breathing mindfulness practice. I have never practiced so diligently without doing asana! I discovered that yoga off the mat was life changing for me and for everyone who showed up to do selfless service by cooking, shopping, cleaning or helping me take a bath. It was an amazing way to see how to incorporate yoga into every aspect of your life.
By incorporating the teachings of Ayurveda and the yoga scriptures in yoga classes, workshops and teacher trainings, I and many yoga teacher/health coaches in Cate’s Community are able to train teachers and yoga students into bringing yoga into every aspect of their lives. This means how they relate with more compassion and sensitivity to their own bodies and to others in their lives.
Many of us wait for the weekends or vacation to really enjoy and celebrate life. There is so much hidden potential in each of us lying dormant. Yoga that connects you to your essence empowers you to grow into your fullest potential and bring yoga even into your workplace as an opportunity to practice the teachings.
When teachers use groovy music, essential oils, fast paced vinyasa practice, serenade their students in savasana, they are providing entertainment for their students instead of an internal experience. The dharma of teaching yoga is for the teacher to get out of the way and allow the practices of asana , meditation and pranayama to lead the students into an internal experience.
BTW There is nothing wrong with needing to escape stressful situations in your life by taking a hot bath, a yoga class, a dance class, go for a run, see a movie that makes you LOL!!
What I am proposing is that the real juice of yoga is experienced through the deep self exploration, inner work that is done on the yoga mat and in meditation. You get to see your mind as wonderful and interesting companion on your path. It is a part of who you are. Your mind can drive you crazy, can comfort you, can solve many problems, can create a symphony, a book a play, a ballet. It can also bring you into a deep dark place that feels like a prison.
Do the Inner Work
The inner work frees you from the prison of your own mind into the vast boundless presence at the core of your being. This inner state is called Ananda. It means Bliss!! There is nothing better than bliss. Why settle for fun when you could have Bliss?
I became a health coach in Cate’s community 3 years ago leading my signature course, The Body Evolves, based on Cate’s course Body Thrive and have worked with over 60 people integrating the 10 healthy habits into my life and into the lives of my students. Miracles are happening.
Find an Anusara yoga class in your area by going to this link.
If you are looking for yoga teacher/health coach go to this link.
Around the fire on talent show night at the Rapid City Fall Yogahealer Retreat, Cate said, “A lot wellness coaches and yoga teachers are just waiting around to be discovered.” She chuckled and confirmed that they’re not going to be, unless they do something about it. I laughed, too, though I’ve long been one of those coaches, one of those teachers.
In My Dream
I am discovered. I speak with large groups of women eager to experience me lead them in loving self-care practices. I’m confident, calm and funny. The women trust me, even though they’re a little nervous about what might happen when they show up for themselves. We sit in a circle and share our confessions of self-love. Intimacy comes quickly, and desire to speak only honesty builds in the room. My work launches thousands of women into flourishing lives they love, leaves me feeling oh so purposeful, fills my emotional cup, and my bank account, too.
After most Yoga classes I teach, a student offers me deep gratitude. Frequently before we practice, one exclaims that this is her favorite class, and I am her favorite teacher. I quietly wish this was all it took. I’ve thought, “surely, if this is the response I get when I teach, someone will discover me and I’ll be recruited for something big and I won’t have to worry anymore!”
The morning before the retreat campfire, I wrote in my notebook, with arrows pointing to the words on either side,
“You’ve gotta crown yourself. “You’ve gotta ask, ‘who do I need to become next?’”
I doodled words like Power and captured phrases like “give all you’ve got to become someone you’ve never been before.”
When Cate asked for folks to share their biggest takeaway, I said, “I can crown myself!” She asked me where my crown was.
During a lunch break, I fancied a crown out of paper and markers. I colored it with green and pink designs. After lunch, Cate took a look at my crown and challenged me.“What are you crowning yourself?”
Well, I hadn’t thought about that. I didn’t given myself a title.
Sometimes our a-ha’s don’t end with “A-HA!” Simply recognizing it is past due for me to step out of teaching exclusively in a humble yoga studio in a small community if I wanted to land a big gig, wasn’t enough. I needed a plan, a new way of being, a name for myself.
Throughout the retreat I practiced stepping up. My tendency is to shy away from the spotlight and play a comfortable supportive role when someone else is brave. I shared with the group that my goal for the week, was to allow myself to be brave, even if someone else was already doing so. I had to follow through.
Flashback to Playing Small
I spent ages 8 to 32 playing small. Before then, I was the fearless leader of every neighborhood kids’ play and creative game in the cul-de-sac.
I was tall. Really tall. Much of elementary and middle school I towered a head over my classmates. The only boy taller than me at the time became my lifelong crush. Other boys started calling me Jolly Green Giant. I wanted so badly to be accepted. Those years are rife with memories of being left out–girls I wanted as friends wouldn’t let me play with them on the playground. Playing small meant managing my desire to be attractive with my fear that if I was noticed I’d be unwanted or teased.
When I tried to play big, I lost. I ran for student council, tried out for musicals, and nominated myself for captain of the swim team. I wanted to prove I was more than tall. I was smart, and qualified to lead. Not being selected for any of those, I started to think I wouldn’t be, ever. I had this sense that I was beautiful, but no one could see it. And if no one could see it, it didn’t benefit me in the slightest. I downplayed my gifts, I felt unattractive, untalented, undesirable.
In college, my strong passion for social justice led me to leave school to volunteer as an AmeriCorps VISTA. I was 21, andit was grade school drama all over again. My boss was unkind. I quickly recognized that it wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough, rather she was somehow jealous of me. This didn’t boost my ego; it crushed me. I feared losing my job and connections. I returned to campus, lacking confidence to be a front runner, afraid I’d get in the way. Studying community organizing, I learned to lead from the back.
Invited To Shine
As I transitioned from managing organizations to launching a wellness career, I received quiet accolades for creating safe spaces, cracking jokes in classes and providing effective coaching. My hope for being discovered surfaced — I dreamed that someone would come to my class, sweep me off my feet and hire me to lead yoga retreats across the globe. I would buy my Bed & Breakfast and never question again if I’d end up on my parents’ couch. As if I needed an invitation to shine.
Soon, several experiences brought me back to feeling left-out on the playground. Yoga business owners said things to me that made it clear they were worried I would somehow outshine them. Instead of stepping up, I backed off, found other, more isolated ways to teach.
Before the Fall 2017 Yoga Healer Retreat in Rapid City, we were asked to complete a few personality tests. I love these tests and while sipping chai in a Billings, MT café, I committed $100 to Wealth Dynamics.
The results came in, and told me I am a Star seconded by supporter and creator.
Accepting that I am a star is a journey. I am clear that I no longer need to hide; it won’t serve my big dreams. Playing small felt safe when I was made fun of for my height, when someone with power threatened to take mine away, or when I wasn’t selected to lead.
Flash Forward to Today
In November, 2017, I launched the Fearless Self-Love, podcast, which now has 14 episodes on itunes. I started the show because I believe that loving ourselves is the most selfless thing we can do. When we prioritize our own needs, we show up more fully for others. I wanted to create a place to highlight stories of self-love discovery and it’s life-saving impacts. And, I too, wanted to shine. It’s my favorite (albeit unpaid) part of my job!
Outside of coaching, I co-host the monthly Flathead Poetry Slam. I hold the mic. And dig every minute of it. When nothing’s scheduled, I’m dancing the night away, perhaps in a polka-dotted romper to a hip-hop DJ, or learning to two-step at a local country bar.
In these up front, attention-grabbing scenarios, I feel alive, purposeful, and connected. Giving myself permission to thrive in the limelight takes courage. It also gives my example of vulnerability a chance to encourage others to step up and be who they are, too.
My world now is play and starlight, freedom and standing (or dancing) in my power. I am not trying to be discovered. Instead I am developing my own platforms to shine.
Putting myself out there, booking as many networking tea dates as possible with the badasses of Montana, and on the phone with folks all over, whose stories I long to share on my podcast is fun and inspiring. Wow. How cool that stepping into my native genius actually seems to be the missing link!
Are you a star playing small and shining only in dimly lit rooms hoping to be discovered?
Would being discovered make you rich in dolla dolla bills or deep, meaningful love? What will you crown yourself?
I’m crowning myself Courage Queen.
Not the Self-Love Queen, I’m not ready for that. I’m still in line, interviewing gurus, teaching what I am still learning. Courage I can do, am doing. I need courage to get me to self-love, to play big and listen well. It’s courageous not try to prove myself. To let instead of wish. To be instead of jockey. Queens aren’t know-it-alls. They have a royal court. And I am relying on mine to keep me honest, playful and brave. Thank you in advance.
Crowning myself gives me the freedom to step into the development of my own future, without waiting for someone to see me.
Here I am! This is the year to do what scares me.
Pause to think about how you would feel if you were discovered.
Where would you be? What would you wear? Who would you be with?
What needs would this meet?
What’s one small step you can take to get there?
In order to get there quickly, who would you have to be?
In this Changemaker Challenge episode, Carly Banks chats with Yoga Health Coach Paula Pister about the evolution of her habits and her career. As a yoga teacher, actor, and mother of two with a husband who’s on the road a lot, Paula was struggling to make it all flow. She felt overwhelmed, stuck, resentful, and angry. Then the bottom dropped out with the loss of her dad, and with him, the loss of engagement in conversations surrounding growth, self-reflection and introspection.
Paula found Yogahealer and went through Yogidetox with Cate. It piqued her interest in yoga health coaching, and she started YHC in 2016. Despite feeling like a fish out of water, Paula started to see a different path for herself, one that was better for both her and her family. Through YHC, Paula regained the connection with mindfulness and spirituality that she had lost with her dad.
In YHC, Paula learned numerous tools to help her structure her busy life. By dialing in her morning and evening routines, and architecting her day to put her self-care first, Paula has found the flow. She is proud to be gifting her children with a strong foundation of self-care. She now offers programs to other creatives in Los Angeles, with a deep, personal understanding of the need for structure in the lives of those who wear many hats.
What you’ll get out of tuning in:
How to focus and amplify your creativity through structure and self care.
Why working on your self is crucial to the success of your career.
What you can do reduce overwhelm and increase flow in your life and in your career.
2:30 – Often wellness pros, and people in general are just running around in a state of overwhelm, trying to juggle career and family and trying get things done with no real plan and no set schedule.
6:30 – When loss occurs in the midst of daily overwhelm, it can cause us to re-evaluate our current path and find a new, better way of living.
10:40 – For yoga teachers, work is often disjointed and time consuming, and the income isn’t enough. By contrast, yoga health coaching provides a structure that leverages your time so that effort and income start to align.
12:15 – Learning the ten habits of Body Thrive and structuring your day around them allows you to prioritize and fine tune your to-do list, while allowing time for creativity and expansion that creates a sense of ease and reduces stress and overwhelm.
17:15 – Taking care of yourself teaches your kids healthy self-care habits.
20:30 – The Awake Living course expands on YHC, teaching scheduling integrity and finding routines that work for you and your family.
“It’s loving for ourselves. We’re taking care of ourselves when we’re not putting ourselves deliberately in those situations where the stress response is triggered.” — Paula Pister
“Now I see a different path for myself. And it’s healthier for my family.” — Paula Pister
“We’re still a work in progress, but at least we’re working on it.” — Carly Banks
“Your story is a gift to others, and your transformation is knowledge for others. And by not sharing that, you’re really doing the world a disservice.” — Carly Banks
Yoga Health Coach Paula Pister-Eliott began acting as a teenager in Vancouver, BC. When her heart spoke, she listened and moved to New York city to further pursue her career in acting. While living in New York in her twenties, Paula found yoga and met her husband. After 9/11 she and her husband moved to LA where she continued to teach yoga, and act. Along the way she became a mom. The sudden and unexpected death of her father brought everything to a screeching halt. Now coping with the loss of her father who had been an inspiring and motivating force in her life, Paula went looking for something. The loss ultimately led her to profound personal transformation and a discovery of “solid ground” in hot habits of Body Thrive and Yoga Health Coaching. Now Paula mentors other coaches and embraces daily habits that enable her to live a fuller, more connected life. Paula uses what she’s learned to structure family time and her schedule as well.
Her story inspires professional healers to follow their heart’s calling. Paula did this over and over throughout her life. She now coaches actors, musicians and artists in the habits of Body Thrive. In her words, “Artists are the most courageous people. You have to lay your heart out on the line.”