Job change decision no sweat
DAILY GRIND Raewyn Clark has gone from the heated environment of a corporate law firm to a hot new career as a Bikram yoga teacher. She talks to reporter Jess Lee about stretching herself, and her body, to new limits.
It was itchy feet that led mother-of-two Raewyn Clark to pull them out from under a desk and firmly plant them on a yoga mat.
‘‘I needed a change. I felt like I was on a path that wasn’t necessarily me at the time – the corporate life with the big firms and demanding hours.’’
A friend introduced her to Bikram yoga classes and it wasn’t long before she was hooked.
But it was a big leap from enjoying the workout to throwing in the towel at work and travelling to Palm Desert to train to become a qualified teacher.
Bikram yoga involves 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in a room heated to 40 degrees for 90 minutes.
‘‘It is a more intense form of yoga,’’ Ms Clark says.
The heat adds a significant extra challenge but practitioners can see results faster thanks to more flexible muscles allowing them to go deeper into postures.
Ms Clark had found herself swept along on a path after finishing law school, from work as a summer clerk and law clerk to becoming a corporate lawyer for a large firm.
‘‘You lose sight of what you want and don’t stop to question it because that’s just the perceived wisdom, that if you can get a job with those big firms then why wouldn’t you.’’
So in 2009, Ms Clark left her job to attend the nineweek training course with the founder of hot yoga, Bikram Choudhury, in California.
All Bikram yoga teachers must attend the course to become qualified.
She then went travelling before finally settling in Auckland and beginning teaching at Ponsonby’s EastWest Bikram Yoga studio.
There were a few raised eyebrows at her law firm but generally everyone was supportive of her decision, she says.
Classes are filled with everyone from high-powered chief executives, to students and parents.
She can’t imagine now having two young children and not practising yoga herself, she says.
‘‘You have the sleepless nights, the crazy days but I often feel like if I can just practise my yoga whatever happens I am going to be able to handle it.’’
But she wouldn’t change a thing about her journey to the point she’s at now.
‘‘I am truer to my values and who I really am as a person and that was all part of my journey to get there,’’ she says.
‘‘I wouldn’t say that was wrong for me – that was what I did then, this is what I do now and who knows what I’ll do in the future.’’
New direction: Raewyn Clark gave up a high-powered career to become a Bikram yoga teacher.