Here’s How to Turn Your Yoga Obsession Into a Legit Career

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How many times have you dreamed about ditching your “real” job to turn your yoga obsession into a career? No judgement—there’s a lot to love about a job that promises a to deliver a zen lifestyle, a killer body, and superhuman flexibility, but transforming a passion into something that pays the bills can be scary—and risky.

Perhaps you want to start small by giving private, one-on-one lessons in the evenings, or maybe you dream about opening your own studio one day, writing books about the practice, or even designing your own yoga activewear line. Whatever your ambition, there are women out there who’ve been there, done that, and are turning their yoga addiction into dollar signs. We spoke to three such yogis, to find out how they become successful authors, studio owners, Instagram sensations, and designers, so listen up—and take notes.

Lauren Imparato: Author, I.AM.YOU founder, and yoga teacher.

I Am You Founder LaurenPhoto: Jan Cain/I.AM.YOU

Describe an average day at work.
Every day involves teaching yoga, training new teachers, writing for my blog, a media outlet or a chapter of my upcoming book, Retox, business development, making a new playlist, some social media, seeing nutrition clients, and who knows what else! The beauty of running such a dynamic business and brand is that you never know what life is going to throw you, or what you get inspired to run after.

What qualifications do you have?
I firmly believe in studying your field and becoming the most qualified you can before entering in to it. Education and knowledge will separate you from the crowded sea and more importantly, make you the best you you can be. I personally have two separate Advanced Yoga Teaching Certifications and an Advanced Certificate in Yoga Anatomy. I graduated from nutrition school and apprenticed with a Chinese medicine doctor, and then studied the Sakya tradition of Tibetan yoga philosophy my business is based on. I graduated from Princeton in Romance Languages and Literatures and have certificates in wine as well, which come in handy for the “Detox to Retox” wine tasting and events we have at I.AM.YOU.

How did you come to be doing your current job?
After graduating from Princeton I went straight to work on the fixed income trading floor of of Morgan Stanley—I loved it. I also started doing yoga daily, reading every possible yoga book, studying, and loving it. At the same time my colleagues on the trading floor and friends across all walks of life were asking me for advice on what to eat, how to feel better, how to manage stress and more. I became obsessed with helping everyone, teaching free yoga classes in my apartment every Saturday morning, and offering informal nutrition and wellness advice during the week.

Then in April 2009 I realized that there was not a lens for wellness that spoke to people who want to be healthy but were not willing to sacrifice their career, social or personal life to do so. So I quit to start I Am You.

What’s the best part about your job?
Helping people. There is nothing better than getting an email, social media message or hug from someone that you have somehow helped overcome a challenge or inspired to be the best version of themselves.

And the worst?
When you run your own business and have decided to build it from the ground up on your own, as I have, with pure hard work, cold calling, word of mouth and hustle, you have to be willing to wear not just many hats, but all hats. Being occasionally overwhelmed is probably the worst element of working for yourself!

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow a similar career to yours?
I share the ultimate secret in my upcoming book, Retox, but for starters dream, and then educate yourself, make a detailed plan, and then make the leap. Above all, work hard. Far too often people come to me for business coaching advice ready to quit their job, but with no real idea of what they want to do, or how they are going to do it. You just need to set yourself up for it, and be willing to get a bit sweaty in the process.

Kate Kendall: Instagram star and Flow Athletic co-founder

kate kendall Heres How to Turn Your Yoga Obsession Into a Legit CareerPhoto: Lara Messenger/Flow Athletic

Describe an average day at work.

I love my morning ritual, which has me waking at 6 a.m., practicing yoga and meditation for 60—75mins, drinking loads of water, having a coffee, and smoothie. I then move onto showering and getting ready for the day, and checking emails. It’s then into the studio at Flow Athletic where I get to hang with my awesome team, do one on-one-lessons with my yogi teachers, and catch ups with the other cofounder. I spend the afternoon doing interviews or working on a current project. I usually get some down time at home in the afternoon to meditate, chill, and read, and then it’s back to the studio for evening classes, which are my favorite.

What qualifications do you have?
I completed my 200 hour training in Goa, India, and after that I’ve received extensive training with various teachers including Twee Merrigan, Eoin Finn, and Les Levanthal.

How did you come to be doing your current job?
I got into yoga because of vanity, truth be told. I heard it would be good way to ease me back into fitness, and I also wasn’t in a great place mentally but after my first class I remember walking home and for the first time in years of being on anti-depressants, I felt a flicker of something. Feeling was something I wasn’t really used to, or had numbed out to. I kept going and before I knew it a month passed of me practicing regularly and I was off my anti-depressants.

What’s the best part about your job?
Seeing how people feel when they leave the studio—generally in a more calm and relaxed state of being, and watching people do things they never thought possible.

And the worst?
Early starts.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow a similar career to yours?
It’s really simple to do what you love yet we often complicate things by putting “would” and “should” all over ourselves, and giving ourselves excuses to stay small.

Yvette Charlton: Yoga activewear designer and La Vie Boheme founder.

Yvette CharltonPhoto: La Vie Boheme Yoga

Describe an average day at work.
A typical workday for me can start at any given hour of the day. We manufacture overseas so there are times that I’m getting instant messages in the early hours of the morning. I’m an early riser, so for the most part I’m answering emails regarding manufacturing, shipping, development, customer service, and ecommerce at any given time. I try and get most of it done by 2 p.m., and my afternoon is usually a little lighter than the mornings.

What qualifications do you have?
Well aside from being self employed since the age of 22, I also studied at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. I’ve always been involved in the fashion industry in some way or another and most of my friends are as well.

How did you come to be doing this job?
The idea behind La Vie Boheme Yoga came from our love of yoga and our love of fashion. Michaela (my cofounder) and I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years now and the yoga mats available to us at the time were boring. Yoga is such a personal and beautiful practice, why not create a yoga mat that enhances that practice? With our many trips and countries we’ve visited together, we had more than enough inspiration to start discussing what our first collection should look like.

What’s the best part about your job?
The best part about my job is that it doesn’t ever feel like a job—I don’t ever feel like I’m working. I feel stressed, overwhelmed, tired sometimes, but always grateful and excited for a new day of building and growing our company. It’s just one of the most rewarding projects I’ve been a part of.

And the worst?
When there are deadlines to meet and ship schedules to meet and things beyond my control prevent us from staying on schedule.

What advice would you give to anyone else wanting to follow a career similar to yours?
I would encourage anybody that has an idea or a product they think is unlike any other to pursue that relentlessly. The hardest part of our growth would definitely be sourcing and finding the right suppliers to work with—it takes months of research and trials to find the right people to work with. This is the part that requires persistence, the art of negotiating, and a relentless heart.

MORE: The Best Yoga Sequences to Score a Supermodel Body

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