"Is there ever the right time to make a change? There will always be reasons to not do something, which can just hold us back."
By Isabella Ford
Interview from 2016
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A-Levels: Textiles, Psychology
BTEC Foundation: Art and Design
Reading College of Art and Design
Degree: Fashion Design
Yoga Alliance 200 hour teaching qualification
Birthlight 3-day training course
SMART (Stretch, move and relax together)
Pre-production Assistant - Thurston Trading Ltd
Sales/Account Manager - Olly London
Freelance Production Assistant - Olly London and Isabelle Fraysse
Sales Executive - Gorlond Corporation
Recruitment Consultant - Success Appointments Plc
Yoga teacher - Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Power, Hot
How did you find your university experience - what societies were you a part of?
I attended a fashion college and loved it. It was completely full on, so it was impossible to not immerse yourself. You had to commit 24/7 and I got a huge amount of satisfaction from working hard and it reflecting in my degree result.
It was a small college, close-knit and friendly, but there were not any societies to be a part of. We were all too busy! We were literally in from morning to afternoon every day and then working on projects every evening and weekend.
I traveled from home so I didn't get to enjoy the living away from home experience; I'm a bit of a homebody really so didn't feel like I had missed out.
While pregnant, you discovered your love for yoga - can you tell us a little more about this transition? Was there an exact moment where you realised you wanted to pursue this professionally?
There was an exact moment actually. I worked in fashion recruitment and I remember meeting my boss to discuss my return and working hours. I had requested a four-day week which was accepted and I remember going home and feeling deflated. I had got what I had asked for, so why wasn't I happy? And I remembered a friend saying to me she didn't want someone else bringing up her child and I realised neither did I.
Working in London and commuting to and from Surrey was not going to allow me the luxury of working and bringing up my daughter. That's when I decided teaching yoga was going to offer me the best of both worlds.
My teacher at the time had also made the same transition a few years back and was incredibly encouraging. I wanted to work as I enjoy having a career and also financially I needed to work which, for many mums these days having to work for financial reasons, means there is often little choice about our working life.
I still feel very lucky that I was able to re-vamp my career totally, but I couldn't have done it without the support of my partner at the time.
What does a typical week look like for you? How does it compare to life in the fashion industry?
A typical week is doing the school run, which I love being able to do, with classes most days starting at 9.30am. I teach between three to five classes a day which means three days a week my daughter is in after-school club.
When I worked in fashion, my day would start on the train about 7.30am and I'd often get home past 8pm. As I worked in recruitment, I would often be emailing through the evening, taking telephone interviews and also working sometimes on weekends. It was manic and not really feasible once I'd had a child, nor did I want my time taken up in such an intrusive way. But at the time it served a purpose and you only get out what you put in, especially in a business such as that.
My life now is still crazy busy as, alongside teaching and being a mum, I need to plan classes and squeeze in my own practice. When you're teaching about 18 classes a week, it doesn't leave much time for anything else. I wouldn't have it any other way, although I do recognise teaching that amount could have a detrimental effect on my body over time, but when you're self-employed it's impossible to turn work down.
A major change in career is a daunting prospect, but it seems to be fairly common with the women we have interviewed. How would you advise someone who is thinking of making a change?
My advice might not suit everyone because I just went for it. I didn't sit down and think of the pros and cons, I made the decision and was on the course within a couple of months.
I think sometimes we can procrastinate which never gets us anywhere and if I had thought about it too much, I might not have done it.
Having the emotional and financial support does help massively when making such a big decision. I knew it would take time to build classes but I also knew that paying the mortgage wasn't down to me. If you're someone who is moving from a breadwinner position then I think the decision-making would need more serious thought.
However, is there ever the right time to make a change? There will always be reasons to not do something, which can just hold us back.
Do you have any tips for a young woman thinking of getting into yoga, both as a practice or as a job?
My tip would be to find the right class and teacher for you as this can make a huge difference to the experience. If you attend a class and you're not keen, don't be put off! There's so many options these days and I truly believe there is a style and teacher to suit everyone.
I appreciate some may have limited options due to location, but there is also plenty of online options these days too. The only thing about practising online is that you don't have a teacher adjusting you and checking to make sure you're practising safely.
In terms of teaching yoga, I would advise that you prepare yourself for it to take a year or so to build classes and also know that finding gyms/studios that aren't already saturated with teachers can take time.
I would advise doing it around a full-time job in the beginning if you are responsible for all the bills etc. Plus, you could always offer lunchtime classes within the business if that's feasible.
Do you consider yourself a feminist? If not, why?
I wouldn't call myself an ardent feminist, so you won't find me on any protest marches, but I absolutely, passionately believe that woman should have equal rights to men, of course.
What is the one piece of advice you have picked up over your professional life that you would like to pass on?
You must believe in yourself, trust in what will be and don't be scared to fail. We can learn so much when things don't go to plan and what is important is what we do with that information and how it drives us forward.