|10 Question Interview with Rabi Hartley
We checked in with Rabi Hartley, founder of Good Omens Yoga, in NYC to get her thoughts on how she has managed to build a successful yoga practice, how she has managed to keep sane, and how she has shifted her focus to serve others during the Covid-19 health crisis.
What started out as a passion project for this full time highschool english teacher - get certified as a yoga instructor by one of the toughest instructor training programs in New York City - turned into a fully fledged business teaching private and studio classes around the city.
How? It takes more than physical prowess to turn a passion for yoga and teaching into a business like Good Omens Yoga. It takes faith in yourself, confidence in your capacity to keep improving, and a mind for scheduling. A lot of scheduling, as it turns out.
1 - What led you to this stage
I'm just an incurable teacher. It turns out that I really Like to learn a lot and once I know something I can’t help but share it with other people. I went into this thinking I was just going to learn a lot for myself, and instead found out that I really liked teaching it as well. I just can’t help myself from teaching other people new things.
2 - What was the question you were trying to answer?
I don’t know if there was a question I was trying to answer, but I enjoy helping people feel at home and comfortable in their bodies. I know that yoga is one of the things that helped me feel physically and emotionally really good and I’m just excited to be able to help other people discover that.
3 - What has changed since you decided to start your own thing?
I do a lot more yoga! I was also already pretty good at managing my time, but I have had to become a scheduling mastermind. The more things I put on my plate, the more schedules I have to have.
4 - What are some habits you think are invaluable to your success?
I am a very ’routines’ based person. I do really well with routines, steps, rules, so especially when I was starting out, one of the things I would do all the time was make a rule for myself about how many classes I had to watch or attend a week so that I could go learn from other people. The information is out there. I am certainly not making up new things, it is 5000 years old and there are plenty of really great people to learn from. So I think recognizing all of the really great resources that are out there and having the routine and discipline to sit down and say ’this is what I am going to do’ every week or every day, even before I had things like a brand name or a website was extremely helpful, so that when the next 'thing' presented itself I was ready for it.
5 - What does your best day vs your worst day look like?
Teaching yoga is great, so the best days are when I am getting to teach and getting to learn. I am in another certification program right now which I am really enjoying. I just love being a student and going to be around people who are really motivated and really want to be there and are super invested in what we are doing.
It is also great to teach. There are days where Im just not feeling it or where I am too tired and Im just in my own head about something before I start, and I always come away from teaching happy and more energized. Im just excited that I got to teach people and that it worked for them.
The worst days are when I have to be everything at once and when I get home a half hour after I should’ve been in bed and I haven’t eaten or sat down for more than 10 minutes in the last 16 hours.
6 - How do you stay on top of everything?
It's a combination. When I wake up, my brain basically just downloads all the places I need to start. I start early. Im good at taking breaks and I’m good at recognizing when my brain is working efficiently and when it is not. So for me it is a lot of todo lists and schedules. I have about 3 different calendars, a daily list, and a 530 start in the morning. I also try to plan ahead for as many different possibilities as I can because I know that something will always come up, so doing something early and ahead of time when I have a down moment is what makes the hectics parts run.
7 - What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
Really I think it's helping people feel good. I have never been in a place where people are so appreciative. As an actual teacher, but also when I’m just assisting someone else’s class, people come up and say thank you and smile at you and I think there are very few places where someone just comes up with a giant smile and is really excited to see you and just says thank you for the work that you are doing and that is incredible!
For myself, yoga is really rewarding and humbling at the same time. There are changes and accomplishments that you might notice that will literally make no difference to someone else but you know that they happened. Whether that is going a half inch deeper into a pose, or just noticing that you’re breathing differently into a certain space there are lots of things I find rewarding about it personally as well.
8 - What advice would you give to someone trying to follow in your footsteps?
That if you are waiting to be ready, you’re never going to be. Sometimes you just have to lay the groundwork and say ’that will be good enough to start’ and recognize that you will learn the additional pieces that you think will make you good or great as you go. With creative things in particular I have been working on saying ‘Yes!’ no matter how terrifying it might be. You’re never going to feel ready or confident or like the expert. That just doesn’t happen. So I think that it has been very helpful to realize that things are not going to be perfect, but they will be good and that I can get better. There are always going to be things to learn from, just lay the ground work so when the opportunity comes, you can just say ‘Ok’!
9 - How do you handle adversity and doubt?
This is a really new skill for me. I really like learning, so there is a lot that is terrifying about not knowing something or not being the expert, but I also know how quickly I have picked up everything that has led me to this point. I trust that I will get better and I am easy on myself for the fact that it is not perfect. When people are turning up to something like a yoga class, they just want to feel good and if you’ve done that, you’ve done a good thing. Everyone is rooting for you and cheering for you and on your side. So I take lots of deep breaths, I practice a lot, and I try to be really over prepared but sometimes I still don’t feel ready for it. At a certain point though, I just have to let everything go and tell myself that where I am is ok.
10 - Whats next for you?
I guess what’s ‘next’ is what I’ve actually just started! Ive just begun a charity series that is free and donation based yoga. Because I'm also lucky enough to have a stable income myself, 100% of the money raised is going to organizations that are at work in our current health crisis. That has been a pivot both in how I am providing yoga services, in that I am doing it at home instead of in a studio, and I am doing it online instead of in person. While I was previously getting paid for this, right now I think there are more important things to focus on for me.
If you'd like to find out more about Good Omens Yoga, you visit them online at www.goodomensyoga.com or by following them on instagram at @goodomensyoga