Career Change/Plot Twist


Exactly seven years ago, the hospital where I worked as a dance/movement therapist closed its doors. I found myself unemployed and very, very freaked out. I had a regular yoga practice at that point. I credit my practice for getting me through the intense work I did at that hospital and the upheaval of mass layoffs and then, months later, the announcement of closure due to bankruptcy. Two weeks after that announcement, which I heard on the 10 o’clock news, I found myself saying good-bye to the final patient as he was transferred. It would be a few more years before I officially said good-bye to what I thought would be my career for, well, the rest of my life.

After the hospital closed I went back to working as a dance/movement therapist at the hospital where I had been hired right out of graduate school and done my internships. Early in the film, Mr. Gaga, Ohad Naharin’s father, Eliav, says, “Life is full of tatters. Try to reattach them, it doesn’t work out.” I tried to reattach the tatters of my career as a dance/movement therapist, but it just didn’t work out. I was miserable.

In the summer of 2011, the yoga studio that had become my yoga home when I began graduate school offered its inaugural teacher training program. Teaching yoga was never on the list of careers I wanted to have. I didn’t even like yoga until the age of 25. Sometimes I still don’t like yoga that much. (I know, I’m not supposed to openly admit that.) And yet, I decided to do the teacher training. I started to think that I might actually want to teach yoga, what that would look like I had no clue. Six years later, teaching yoga is my full-time job. It’s challenging, it’s not nearly as glamorous or zen as most people believe it to be, and yet, I can’t envision myself doing anything else. Teaching yoga is one of the most fulfilling things I have done with my life thus far. And, had a small private hospital in Harlem not closed its doors at the start of what I thought was the beginning of my career, I do not think I would have found the path I am on. Plot twist indeed.


About DjunaPassman

I practice and teach yoga. I attempt to carry what I learn on my mat and through my students into the real world. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am grumpy and less than kind. I started life as a dancer, moved on to choreographing, worked as a dance/movement therapist, then realized the wonders of a regular yoga practice. I am a realist - whether the glass is half full or half empty you are bound to spill its contents if you are wearing white (this is why I wear black so often). I am not an expert on yoga, life, or anything else for that matter. I do my best to keep my mind and my heart open every day (some days are better than others).
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