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Teacher Feature: Carrie Hopperstad

Let’s face it: the path of being a leader can sometimes be as lonely as it is rewarding.

It doesn’t matter who/what you’re leading—your yoga class, your family, your business, yourself—paving your own path can be draining. Presenting Teacher Feature, our intimate interview series designed to re-fill your inspiration tank and remind you you’re not going it alone. 

Up first: Baptiste Certified Teacher, lululemon Ambassador, mother, and all-around amazing human Carrie Hopperstad talks leaving Corporate America, handling yoga-teacher burnout, and how there are no coincidences. 

BAPTISTE YOGA: Tell us what you’re up to right now.Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.28.37 AM CARRIE HOPPERSTAD: I teach 10 to 12 classes a week at three different studios in the Seattle area. I also am a wife and mom to three boys, who are 5-, 10- and 12-years-old.

BY: Sounds like you have a lot going on. CH: I used to work as a television producer. I was working long hours, sometimes overnight, to have two weeks off a year and barely see my kids. I wasn’t sleeping. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. Now I’m much more in control of my schedule.

BY: How did you make that shift? CH: I went to Level One in 2010. I had been practicing Baptiste Yoga exclusively for about five years. I was still in TV news and started to put the principles I learned at training into my producing work. Like, standing in my True North and having intention with my words. It was incredibly effective. A few months after, Baron visited Seattle for Foundations in Action. I signed up. On the second day, I was next to the person who would change my life, Jack Boken.

BY: Happy Jack! We love him. CH: Yeah! He’d just done his Level One. He had a full-time job at the time and already signed up for Level Two. He told me he was going to quit. He’d just made that choice. That night I signed up for Level Two and committed to quitting my job before it started. I gave my notice and my last day of work was the day before Level Two began. 

BY: Whoa.  CH: Totally. My roommates at training all happened to be from Seattle. We’d never met. The day after I got back from program I taught my first class at 6AM and they all came and took it. BY: None of that sounds like chance. CH: Definitely not.

BY: Did you have any fear around giving all that up to teach Baptiste Yoga full time? CH: I was petrified. My identity was so wrapped up in the title of Producer. It took a while to drop. People thought I was crazy. I struggled with that. My father told me I was being irresponsible to society. Now he’s proud of me. [My husband and I] had just bought a house on two salaries. I just told myself I could go back to TV or freelance or find another job, if I needed to.

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.32.43 AMBY: “Leap and the net will appear,” they say. CH: And it’s so true. Once I got on the schedule at one studio, I thought “Ok, I’m in.” And then all of these other studios started calling me. I was a “yes” to everything.

BY: Do you experience burnout from teaching full time? CH: Teaching is as a practice in itself. When it starts to feel like a chore, I take a close look at my recent practice. Chances are I haven't been to class in a couple of days, and then I make it a priority. I try to practice every day, but sometimes—especially on days when I teach several classes—it’s practically impossible. So I can really feel it when I haven't taken time to practice. I have so much respect for people with a dedicated at-home practice because I can't seem to focus that long. After about 20 minutes I am looking to see who has texted me or what's new on Facebook! That's something I am working on. I am also discovering how important it is to be present in my own practice and to listen carefully to my body and overall experience as a source of inspiration for my teaching. 

BY: What would you tell teachers or anyone who want to create similar changes? CH: Be willing to hustle. Get your name out there. Market yourself. Baptiste Teachers are really good teachers. I had this amazing set of tools for teaching right after training. Also, the Baptiste community is incredibly supportive of everyone reaching their goals. When you start to feel the pull of needing to teach, the closer you get to the fear the closer you get to the decision. The more intense the fear is the more intense the reward is. 

BY: What’s next for you? CH: It’s in my goals to open a Baptiste Cornerstone Studio and contribute to the growth of Baptiste Yoga north of Seattle. I’m also passionate about teaching new teachers. And I plan to continue relentlessly spreading the word of Baptiste Yoga and getting as many people to do it.

BY: And you will.

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Carrie, you bring very special gifts to those of us you lead through practice. You’re inspiring in so many ways! Thanks from a grateful yogi.

AJ in Seattle on April 24, 2015

Thank you for this! I am wrestling in my life with making the decision to leave my corporate job, and just last week, I was talking to someone and they said this. “Leap and the net will appear” So when I saw the same thing in this article, my heart skipped a beat, I teared up a little and almost fell out of my seat! My heart is still racing….could it be a sign?

Ratona on April 24, 2015

Carrie I went to level 1 with you and I remember you talking about your job- You inspire me!!!

Natalie St. Hilaire on April 24, 2015

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