12 years ago by

Bethany is my yoga teacher. She’s the one whose classes I’ve loved so much that I haven’t stopped going since I moved to New York.

I love her classes because, on top of giving me arms of steel (well, it’s been at least a month since I’ve gone so the steel is starting to soften a little), she does amazing things for my head. I’m even trying to put together a private class just for me and my friends (Wouldn’t that be cool to do once a week?).

Yeah, a lot of my favorite yoga teachers have pretty great stories (Like did you know Tim, my friend and translator who has worked with me for 5 years, is a yoga teacher in Seattle now?), because it’s not the kind of job you get unless you really want it.

So here’s Bethany’s journey to becoming my favorite yoga teacher!

What exactly is your job?
I am first and foremost a yoga instructor. That’s my number one love and my passion.

I am also a coordinator for three different Crunch clubs in New York City. I manage the instructors, scheduling, anything fitness related. I also do hiring or help with some of the hiring, particularly the yoga instructors.

Then, I also work for SoulCycle. I am the only original standing instructor there.

You were a dancer before right? How did yoga come into the picture?
Yes, I was originally dancing with a ballet company in Philadelphia, in addition to working a couple of other jobs. I had a rehearsal that was cancelled but it was one of those days where I showed up and was really ready to go. The woman that worked at reception suggested a yoga studio around the corner.

The class instructor just totally kicked my ass and I thought, “Oh this is great!” After that, I was there almost daily.

When did you know you wanted to start teaching yoga?
About six months in, the owner of that studio asked me if I wanted to do a training program–it was one-on-one for three months. I thought it’d be a great complement to what I did and then I could teach classes on the side. But it just ended up becoming what I really loved.

I was working as a marketing director in New York and I would teach in the morning and I would teach during lunchtime, and I would teach after work. I had two full-time jobs because I wanted to teach so much and then eventually I became a coordinator.

There are so many types of yoga out there, I’ve tried a lot and yours is my favorite. It’s very physical, but not repetitive and pretty fun! What’s it called and why is it your favorite?
The Baptiste method is all about physicalness in practice, possibility–in your practice but also just in your life, as well as empowerment. It’s the combination of the driving force of the philosophy of it, the structure from which we go from; so there’s an outline but it’s not so strict.

For me I want some movement, I want to channel some energy and I need to move a little bit before I can be still. Also and the heat your body generates is just awesome–it’s awesome for your body. Concentration-wise, I can’t be anywhere else except in that room. There’s no option. So it really lets you dial in.

Yoga isn’t supposed to be about competition—but sometimes you can feel the competition in the room. How do you fight that in your classes? Do you yourself fight to not be competitive?
Competition is supposed to be a healthy thing. But it ends up bringing down people in a way that is not healthy. So it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you–we all have that thought. But in recognizing the fact that this is you and that’s just your ego and having a sense of humor about it. When you’re in it you can just kind of notice it, but as you notice it, you can step away from it.

What’s the process like to become a yoga teacher?
It depends on what kind of method you are going for. Most programs are two hundred or five hundred hours and they are structured very differently – some are all day long, in the summer and during the weekends.

What’s an average salary for a yoga teacher?
There is a huge variety and scale in what you get paid. Some people get paid per head, for example, if there’s a minimum in a studio, you’ll get $25 for showing up and you get $3 per head for everybody over a certain number.

And there are people that are paid a base rate. I would say that a starting rate in the city is between $40 and $50 in a studio or lower depending on where you are. But that’s just New York, other cities like LA, I think it’s 50 times harder there.

What do you think is unique to your teaching style?
I am not afraid to challenge people, but in a healthy way. You’re going to get a little boot camp with me but you are not going to get the sergeant yelling at you. You’re going to get the fire in your practice.

So what is an average day like for you?
There is no typical day, except I’m definitely sweating at some point.

I typically do yoga practice in the morning because if I don’t do something in the morning it gets lost in the shuffle. Then I’m usually teaching a yoga class, having a yoga private or heading to soul cycle.

In the middle of my day I come back home and am taking my dog out and working on the computer, whether it’s responding to e-mails or going through blogs or looking for music for classes.

I also have a lot of PR, there’s always something in the mix! Depending on the day, I may teach classes in the evening too.

What kind of music do you like for your classes?
I rarely play music in yoga, only towards the end. My favorite composer to use for savasana is Danny Wright, an amazing pianist.

For SoulCycle: everything! Electroinic, pop, remixes, mashups, rap, rock and more…

What do you enjoy the most about your job?
To have such a tangible effect, a positive effect on my students’ lives, for me is a really beautiful thing.

And what do you find the most challenging?
There’s two things: one is that I am always on call, there’s never a day off. So I constantly have my Blackberry and that I don’t find that to be very healthy.

And the second thing is because I’m teaching classes and 60 people might be waiting on me, I have to be everywhere on time. So I have to really plan out my schedule. I try to stay as Zen about it as possible, but when I take a few days off I really try to schedule absolutely nothing.

Do you have a funny story about something that’s happened in class?
I’ve had a massive fire alarm going off in the middle of a class. I just told everyone, “Okay, we are going to go into child’s pose with hands around our ears,” and we were all meditating!

I’ve read that yoga can actually slow your metabolism and make it more difficult to burn calories. What’s your opinion on this?
I think that’s crazy talk. You are stretching your whole body out. I mean, yes, if you are sitting on a mountaintop and just meditated all the time. But I don’t really know anyone who does that…

Would you recommend doing yoga alone or combined with another form of exercise?
The type of yoga that I do is very well rounded and can provide a lot. I do think that it’s nice to have some cardio, whether you love to run, or you love to cycle, you want to dance. Whatever that is for you. But it depends on the style of yoga you practice.

How do you know what type of workout is right for you?
You really have to try it out. I tell people to give it three tries; three tries with different people and see what speaks to you.

You’re also involved with SoulCycle. Can you tell me about how that began?
I was headhunted. I was teaching a class and some students had crossover with another instructor–one of the original instructors. There weren’t a lot of spin teachers that were teaching yoga on the bike, it was more straightforward spinning. And for me, I see the bike as a mat, and there’s a great soundtrack.

So what’s your typical workout?
The more I can do yoga, the better. I ride in my own classes so I don’t need any more cardio. And then I may dance sometimes.

Do you have any tips for staying healthy?
I don’t think that people drink enough water in general.

And then listening to what your body actually requires. I think your body really tells you most of the time when you’re hungry. When you’re not hungry and you are searching for food, that’s just boredom. And then, also, what you need to eat, your body craves. If you get into a good cycle that’s great, but if you get in a bad cycle it just continues to feed itself.

Also, a healthy tip is making yourself a priority.

You also travel a good bit. What do you recommend for exercising on the road?
There are so many podcasts out there now, and most of them are great, and all of us have either a computer or an iPod or an iPad where you can just download something.

Do you have any books on fitness or healthy living you would recommend?
Yes! Journey into Power by Baron Baptiste, 40 Days to a Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, not to be confused with Art of War!

What about your yoga essentials?
· I need a yoga block. I don’t have a specific brand of block but it has to be a wide enough block because, otherwise, I will go a little deeper than I need to.

· For mats, I really like sticky mats. I love JADE’s mats. And then with sticky mats I need Yogitoes which is an overlay that you can just throw right in the wash.

· Ultima electrolyte powder.

· I have to have a bandana when I practice because I sweat.

· Lululemon makes incredible stuff. I love their shorts and their y tank and y bra. I also like the Nike Pro Combat pants—they come right below the knee and they’re very thin.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My mom told me girls can do anything.

Lots of people say that yoga has changed their lives. How spiritual are you? Do you think spirituality is necessary to do yoga?
I am very spiritual. I think that everybody has energy that is present and beautiful in a lot of ways.

And I think it’s incredibly important in practice. However, there is a difference between bringing spirituality to the practice and preaching to people. I don’t preach. I don’t force like that. I am just asking a question.

Any advice for aspiring yogis?
Listen to your students’ voice. Because when you stop doing that, you are not a teacher.

What’s your dream for the future? Have you ever dreamed of creating your own type of yoga?
I don’t feel any need to reinvent yoga. But I am making yoga an even bigger part of my world and ensuring that what I do will reach the greatest number of people that it possibly can.

Check out the other career posts:

Career: Chioma Nnadi, Fashion Writer, Vogue
Career : Wes Del Val, Publisher, powerHouse Books
Career Girl: Caroline Issa, Publisher & Fashion Director, Tank
Career Girl: Erin McKenna, Owner, BabyCakes Bakery
Career Girl: Mathilde Thomas, Founder, Caudalie
Career Girl: Preia Narendra, Press Director, 3.1 Phillip Lim


Add yours
  • Superbe photo et interview très intéressante ! Ça donne envie de s’y mettre !

  • Quel beau parcours ! Elle a enfin trouvé la voie de la sérénités avec son job. Belle photo !

  • I do yoga once in a while, but I find that it’s not the most effective thing for me to keep a nicely toned body, I find that pilates combined with some sort of cardio more effective? Or maybe you need to do yoga regularly for several months before getting visible results?

    Wandering Minds fashion

  • Merci pour cette interview qui me rend tellement nostalgique. Depuis que je suis à Paris le yoga est passé à la trappe alors que je pratiquais plusieurs fois par semaine. Paris est vraiment une ville difficile pour le sport en général. pffff. mais qu’est-ce que ça me manque!

  • Carole, à Paris, je te recommande le TriniYoga :
    Beau studio intimiste, profs TRES chouettes et grande amplitude horaire.

  • Belle interview. Merci de nous faire découvrir le boulot de prof de yoga ! C’est pas souvent :)

  • Great picture…it looks so relaxing! I would try yoga one day….

  • Très jolie interview comme toujours ! Désireuse de commencer le yoga à la rentrée, j’espère qu’il m’inspirera autant que Bethany ! En tout cas, elle donne envie de s’y mettre ^^

  • Un très beau métier narré de façon très vivante. J’aime beaucoup me pencher sur des parcours intéressants comme le sien, touchants à nombre de domaines.
    Merci pour cette interview très sympa. Comme dit ‘Pose Mag’ plus haut, ça donne en effet envie de s’y mettre !
    PS. Des séances particulières entre copines : bonne idée !!!

  • Thank you for a really interesting interview – and for covering so many topics with Bethany! Yoga is such a personal experience; everyone has their own journey that’s brought them to the practice, and that’s reflected in what your body – and mind – can and can’t (or won’t) do. It’s always great to hear about someone’s journey.

    To Elisa, above, for what it’s worth – speaking only from my experience (after about 11 years practice) – the more you practice, and the better your technique in that practice (so, being aware of your alignment, working consciously with your breath), the more physical and mental benefits you’re going to feel. For me, a mix works (I also do some cardio and weights), but as Bethany says in her interview it depends on the style of yoga – a more dynamic style, practiced regularly (frequently) will absolutely improve muscle tone. Yoga isn’t a ‘fast fix’ though – it’s not like hitting the gym hard for a few months where you see results. And pilates will give you AMAZING tone. Give yoga time though, stick with it, find a teacher who you really gel with, and you might be amazed by the changes – physically, mentally, emotionally.. :)

  • Yoga is the BEST exercise! Cardio is wonderful for losing weight, but nothing can tone you and give you control like Yoga.

  • Thanks for this Garance! It has really helped me in many ways!

  • My yoga instructors are some of my favourite people. A lovely profile, thanks for sharing.

    ~Natasha Fatah~

  • Un interview très complet et qui donne envie de commencer le yoga!

    Théa Unknown

  • Très intéressante cette interview comme toujours !!!
    Merci Garance !!!

  • What a great interview! I’m not surprised she was a dancer – yoga and dance are so in sync with their provided mental and physical stimulation. My friend and I just began attending Antigravity yoga classes together, and many of the moves are based on principles of ballet.

    Having a positive, but constructive yoga instructor is so important. I can see why you attend classes with her – she seems to provided the class with a wonderful composition.

  • some absolutely wonderful advice. thank you! interesting to hear someone elses point of view on things and about a completely different occupation.

  • c’était super ! je sais pas si on a l’équivalent de son yoga à Paris ? et sinon, c’est quoi un bloc ? elle parle de ça dans les accessoires préférés.

  • I love love love this! As a new yogi, this is great and inspiring.

    I especially love this quote, “And then, also, what you need to eat, your body craves.”

    It is so true!

  • Yay for Baptiste and yay for yoga. Been practicing for 10 years and was just certified this year and a huge fan of yours, all my favorite things coming together in one!

  • What a wise girl she is… great interview and hopefully just the inspiration I need to get going… :) xv

  • I’ve tried two methods, and haven’t found the perfect one for me yet (i live in Rio). I don’t like routine, so I need a teacher who knows how to inovate! :)

  • J’ai déjà voulu enseigner le yoga. Lire cet article me donne envie de suivre des cours plus régulièrement car c’est l’activité physique que j’aime le plus!!

  • i should restart doing yoga after reading this …

  • Cet article est très intéressant , merci Garance :)

  • Une interview très intéressante. Je trouve ça toujours très galvanisant de lire les expériences de personnes qui se sont trouvées professionnellement parlant (et peut-être aussi personnellement). Je fais du yoga de manière pas très régulière..depuis 3 ans et j’adore la manière dont mon corps et mon esprit se détendent. En ce moment je fais plusieurs salutations au soleil tous les matins, ça me fait tellement de bien que je me vois mal arrêter à nouveau.
    J’ai hâte de lire d’autres entrevues, à chaque fois c’est génial !

  • Plusieurs années que je lis ce blog et pour uen fois je me lance :)
    Article qui me parle.. Oui car j’etais justement entrain de faire le tour du net pour (enfin!) me decider à me mettre au yoga!
    Merci pour tous ces merveilleux articles, et ces superbes photos.
    Bonne continuation

  • Beautiful photo! I’ve been seriously thinking about starting yoga lately.

  • WHAATTT?! TIM IS IN SEATTLE? My town!!! I must find him. … I haven’t gotten back into yoga in a while… hmmmmmm

  • I try to do yoga as often as possible at my local gym. The classes vary which keeps it interesting but lately i’ve enjoyed Kundalini. Seems to work on the core similar to Pilates & focuses more on the breath.

    For chic yoga wear look under Garbe at

  • Thanks for this, Garance. I needed it.

  • interessant tout ça! En France le yoga à l’air moins répandu qu’aux USA, je ne sais pas si ça vient de notre mentalité ou du peu de connaissance qu’on en a, mais j’aimerais trouver plusieurs cours autour de chez moi! (non je ne vie pas à Paris)

  • If you’re ever bored in Denver, you should come to a yoga class with me! I think you’d love my instructor. It’s a great workout, a balance between pure exercise, spirituality, and humor, with random music (she’s been known to play Creedence, Adele, Sting!). She was a former buyer in NYC, and her vibe seems very similar to your fave instructor. Namaste.

  • Superbe article! C’est toujours sympa d’en savoir un peu plus :)


  • What a great interview! Sometimes the jobs you feature feel a bit… disconnected from most people’s everyday reality (don’t get me wrong, I love peering vicariously into all kinds of people’s lives!), but this interview was especially wonderful because it was relate-able, at least to me. Thanks Garance!

  • les grands esprits se rencontrent : Emily, ITG, en parle aussi aujourd’hui !

  • “On doit toujours pouvoir me joindre, je n’ai jamais un jour de repos. Donc mon Blackberry est tout le temps avec moi et je ne trouve pas ça très sain.”

    alors là… pourquoi elle ne peut pas couper le téléphone…? on peut pas vivre avec le tel toujours en marche! alors… moi je ne pourrais pas. les dimanches sont sacrés

  • She’s so peaceful. I don’t think I could ever master yoga (this is coming from doing it on and off for several years), I like the cardio rush and the hate/love relationship with it.
    (PS: I’ve never heard yoga could slow your metabolism! I need to confirm that’s wrong before I go near a yoga class again haha)
    Lovely nonetheless
    The Lovelorn

  • Ok, convaincue, je minscrit à un cours de yoga dès la rentrée ! Merci Garance. Je vais devoir trouver le cours qui me corresponde, c ‘est cool

  • I´ve never tried yoga before (I did pilates for two years, but I know it´s soo much different) and now I want to try it so hard!!!! Think Im going tommorow! Thank you for this interview, I found it really inspirating :)

  • It’s funny, I did yoga for a couple of years and although I thought my teachers were lovely (I worked with a half dozen) I found yoga incredibly boring! (I know, there’s something wrong with me! I don’t think I was meant to be still in that way.) But that brings me to my second point. For many years I was a national-level distance runner and I travelled around to races around the world. From that intense experience with the body I came to exactly the same conclusion as Bethany did about eating. I also believe that the body is intuitive about what it needs and that once you get into the rhythm with that (and out of any cycles of emotional or boredom eating), the body will do marvellous things. Neat article about someone who followed their passion!

  • she looks like kate hudson

  • tres bon l’entretien, moi aussi j’ai subi mon experience yoguistique, je ne faisais aucune autre chose .j’etais tres angoissee, et le yoga m’a tellement aide!, mais yoga (pas au niveau prof), moi seule ou dans un studio, mais plus tard, j`ai commence a me rendre compte que je devais faire quelque chose en plus (je pratiquais ashtanga) parce que avec ca seulement il me manquais de l’air si je voulais arreter un bus…ou qqchose d’autre, en plus si tu voulais manger de plus quelques we, tu etais foutue!

    maintentant phase II: je cours (tous les jours)….et je veux dire que ca me relax beaucoup “me despeja la mente”-c’est incroyable meme plus que le yoga parce que je le fais autour d’un lac, et la nature me apaise (c’est comme un spa ou mieux), mais les os/articulations-ah mon epaule- commencent a me douler…En plus, le yoga , je ne sais pas par quelle miracle m’avait fait plus haute et stylisee comme plus “legere”
    J’ai toujours ete mince mais tres musculeuse-dont je n’aime pas) et courir tout les jours n’a pas ameliorer cet issue tout le contraire, alors c’est mon humble opinion faire un petit peu du tout et changer les activités. (une obsedee de l’image qui habite le pays le plus obsede, tu a parle des USA mais tu devrais habiter Baires pour quelques mois)

  • I love yoga. I makes my mind free and light. I wish all 24 hours per day were in the yoga mode!

  • Voilà deux mois et demi que je ne pratique plus l’ashtanga yoga à cause d’une opération du poignet… Je croise les doigts pour pouvoir reprendre vite… ça me manque tellement.

  • Hi Garance

    I jhave to say I really love the career girl series and was just thinking yestreday how you haven’t done one of those posts in a while and here you, reading my mind. My teacher in Hong Kong also teaches Baptiste Yoga and I recently did the forty day revolution with her which was really cool, it inspired me to be more kind to myself and taught me to deal with too much work and stress…

    Keep these career posts coming! I like how you venture outside the fashion world here. What would be cool is to also have a slide show with a few photos of these career girls. To see more of their day – to – day.

    Oh and I love the hello world campaign that you did! :)

  • Super post! Je suis prof de yoga, moi-même, et je peux dire que c’est vrai qu’on s’y retrouve un jour, comme ça, sans trop bien savoir pourquoi. Moi aussi, j’avais une toute autre carrière professionelle (stressante et pas fullfilling). Maintenant il y a 2 ans que j’enseigne et ma vie a fait un tour de 180º.
    Si jamais tu n’es sur Barcelone et que tu as besoin de ton cours de yoga, n’hésite pas!!
    Merci Garance! Ton blog fait dejà partie de mon p’tit-déj.

  • Love to learn new things about Yoga in here. Might really give this a try.

  • Vraiment très intéressant ça donne envie de se mettre au yoga !

  • I love yoga (I do hatha), I was a swimmer and I love long muscles and to be challenged and this is just on spot. I also feel I sleep so much better and am zen most of the times!
    And, as she said, always try more than once with different people!

    maria ana

  • Je ne sais pas si c’est cet article qui m’a fait faire ça, mais ce matin, je me suis levée à 7h, je suis allée courir, et j’ai fais du yoga au bord de la Loire. Et ça fait du bien, un bien fou !
    Le yoga en extérieur a quelque chose de plus; communion avec la nature peut-être ?

    En tout cas ça me donne envie de m’y mettre plus assidûment, le yoga contribue indéniablement au bien-être aussi bien psychique que physique. Ce que fait cette fille est admirable !

    on Couleur Spleen.

  • I do a lot of yoga…Did a Baptiste workshop once and found it very aggressive. Not my cup of tea…

  • Really enjoyed this post Garance (and Bethany!)

    I haven’t done any yoga in a long while now, as I’ve been doing military style fitness classes. Like a circuit based boot camp, outdoors. You’ve reminded me to take a few classes and stretch out more. Yoga is so good for the mind.

    Thanks! xo

  • This career post is my absolute favorite, her soul really speaks out in your writing. Thank you so much for asking her questions that revealed so much more, you ask questions that your readers are wondering as well. I am impressed with your ability to become friends with the people you encounter in life whom we otherwise would discount or label them as “just my yoga teacher” through this interview, I have learned a little and am inspired a lot.

    * bookmarked*

  • Electrolyte=Électrolyte Les ions sont autant négatif que positif comme dans toutes les solutions… Aussi non, il aurait des réactions chimiques au moment d’ouvrir la bouteille!

  • Help !
    Cherche cours de yoga à Levallois. Après des années de danse classique, barre au sol… J’ai envi de commencer le yoga ! Est ce quelqu’un connaît un bon cours à Levallois ?
    Le yoga dont parle Garance me tente bien… Il faut que j’essaie !

  • Loving this, but I must ask – where did she get her hat/toque?

  • La danse mène toujours à une recherche poussée en ce qui concerne le corps.
    Elle nous porte dans beaucoup de directions dont le yoga

    j aime beaucoup la reaction en face de l alerte au feu , c est drole
    c est vrai que la posture de l enfant est parfaitement sécurisante !

  • One of my favorite Career spotlights so far! And good motivation to make more time for yoga :)

  • J’aimerai beaucoup que tu interview une danseuse étoile ! ça me fascine la carrière d’une danseuse!

    Pourquoi pas ?

  • whoah this weblog is excellent i like studying your posts.
    Stay up the good work! You recognize, a lot of people are looking around for this information, you
    could help them greatly.

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