‘I need my energy to be in the right place for [work] to feel enjoyable'

What do you do?
Yoga Teacher and Operations Manager

Would you describe what you do as creative? If so, how?
Yes, in part. Yoga teaching definitely has an element of creativity in terms of planning classes, teaching themes etc, as well as adapting classes on the spot in response to class needs. And it involves quite a bit of copy writing.

For the Operations Manager position: yes, as I’m problem solving a lot of the time, and I have to do space design and refurbishment for the sites we manage. I also design internal processes, including facilitation plans, recruitment methods etc.

In a couple of sentences, can you describe your daily routine?
Difficult as my week involves different things! But the following is a typical weekday: wake up; some combination of yoga, cardio or other bodywork; meditation; yoga teaching or heading straight to the office; working in the office 4 out of 5 days, or working at home and doing a combination of teaching and yoga administration work; going home from work; perhaps some additional exercise; making dinner if my partner is not doing it; reading, doing a restorative yoga practice or watching TV; writing in my journal; sleeping.

What do you read/see/listen to to inspire yourself?
I'm inspired by loads of yoga material at the moment, reading lots of the philosophy stuff and listening to various yoga-related podcasts. Podcasts-wise I also regularly listen to the Guilty Feminist which inspires me in life and in activism a lot!

Who inspires you, and why?
Deborah Frances White (Guilty Feminist creator and podcast host) opened my eyes about intersectionality and how to be more aware of others needs and journey in the world.

J. Brown (podcaster/yoga teacher) because he has a questioning approach to the yoga industry and helps me think outside the box from a values and ethics-oriented place.

Matthew Remski (writer/yogateacher) because of his bravery to speak up about uncomfortable subjects in the yoga community.

Where and when do you find you work best?
In the morning, at home.

On a daily basis, how do you set yourself up to succeed?
Meditation! Also by delving more into the teachings of yoga I am much more connected to how I want to conduct myself, live my life and contribute to the world. Being tuned into those things on a daily basis is helping me succeed, I think.

What motivates you to do your yoga practice and your operations manager work?
My Operations Manager role is for a non-profit business in the sustainable food sector. It is another area of the world that I am passionate about and so the combination of these two fields is for the love of them!

I also enjoy my Ops Manager role because it involves a balance of working within a team, managing people, and providing leadership for the organisation. I guess there are some parallels there with yoga teaching, in terms of leading and being in community.

You say that you work best at home in the mornings. What constitutes as your ‘creative infrastructure’ to be able to work so effectively at that time?
I don’t have a lot of flexibility with my home working space, it’s just using the dining table/sofa/floor. But I do like to keep a fairly tidy flat so I find it difficult to focus if the room is a mess. I will tidy and little and put things away before I get to work usually.

I’m definitely better after coffee and breakfast too.

I like to use a calendar to chunk my work into different tasks and I allocate them a time slot so I am encouraged to just focus on one thing at a time.

Balancing two jobs must be difficult, especially going from yoga planning at home or teaching in a studio to your office-based work. What do you do to ‘save’ your creativity for later? How do you ensure that you have the energy to be ‘creative’ in your yoga practice, for example, when you’ve just come from the office/a tiring day at work?

Yes, it is tricky for sure! I don’t have any special tips for saving my energy for later – I’m kind of the opposite; I try to do my creative tasks when I feel in the zone even if it’s not the time they need to be used. E.g. if I get inspiration for social media or newsletter posts I will try and write it down when I have that inspiration, then will come back to it another time when I’m ready to use it.

I don’t do so well with trying to force myself to do creative tasks – e.g. if I’m tired or if I’ve had a full day at the office. Unless it’s a really strict deadline or super important work, I will just leave it for another time. I know that I need my energy to be in the right place for it to feel enjoyable and I always feel better about doing creative work if it’s coming from an enjoyable place.

I do use meditation to stimulate my creativity though so that’s also why mornings are generally better for me to work in, as I have a little more of a clear head after meditation. And I also get inspiration when I’m doing my meditation sometimes – it’s another great benefit from having a meditation practice.

Sarah teaches yoga in London and is running a Yoga Retreat on The Art of Living Mindfully in France this July - click here to find out more.