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Equanimity for the Ambitious

I am a studio owner, and I wonder how to balance being an owner, being a leader to my other instructors, and staying fresh and intuitive as a teacher. This is in addition to being a good wife and mother! My own practice has been put aside for about two years now because I work and teach so much. —Anita

Maty Ezraty's reply:

Dear Anita,

You are asking me a question I understand all too well. For 16 years, I ran my own yoga school, and your challenges are ones I faced. One of the most important lessons in yoga is restraint, or yama. You have to create control and set boundaries, or the business will consume you.

Since yoga practice is my passion, I chose to practice at a specific time each day. I created my life and work around these hours of practice. I did not teach or pick up the phone during these hours. I also created a class at my school that I personally liked attending at that time. For the days that my home practice was hard to get to, I could go to the school and take that class.

To keep my practice fresh, I created a workshop schedule and invited more senior teachers to come and teach workshops. This gave me an opportunity to spend quality time with other teachers in my school, creating a sense of community. Yoga also teaches us the importance of practice, abhasa and sadhana. In showing your teachers your dedication to your practice by being at workshops and keeping up your practice, you will lead by example.

On the administrative side, I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring people who can relieve you of certain day-to-day jobs, and giving them the space to do it. No one will do the job the way you do, but if you step back and give people a chance, you will find others who can do the job and you will, in turn, have a life and a more sustainable business. This is yoga, too.

Maty Ezraty is co-creator of the first two Yoga Works yoga studios in Santa Monica, California. A former YJ asana columnist, she travels around the world leading teacher trainings, workshops, and yoga retreats.

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