Meet Amanda

IMG_2098.jpg

I moved to New York City in June of 2010, with nothing but a suitcase. I was a hometown girl with a dream to be in the big city, or it was more like I watched too much Sex and the City. I arrived with a job offer, and my friend let me stay on her couch in her 400 sq. ft. apartment in Sutton Place. I arrived on a Friday and started work that Monday as a receptionist at an Investment Bank in Midtown Manhattan. I was in awe… like, am I really here, am I really working at an Investment Bank in New York City?!

Then one day it came to a halt. My boss pulled me into a conference room and said they were doing layoffs, and I was the first to go. I started crying immediately as any girl would all alone in the big city. He managed to reassure me that everything would be OK and he would call me if anything came up. Now, here I was last week all rainbows and sunshine, to now standing in the pouring rain with no umbrella. I walked back to the place I was staying and thought to myself, well, back home it is. I sat in sadness for about two hours that day. I think I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s during that time. Then I thought... screw it, I will go get a job. I was bar-tending back home and knew that would be the way to go for quick cash. I was running on $100 at that point and I had eaten all the Ben & Jerry’s, so I didn’t have dinner for the night.

The next morning, I woke up, put together a quick resume at the local staples, and walked my little ass all over the city dropping off resumes. To my surprise, you need like legit training for them to hire you here. UGH! I did, however, walk into a cute Irish pub in union square, and they called me the next day! I thought, OMG, this is great! At least I can get some cash while looking for jobs. #winning

 

I started work the next day, and I worked all day and night. I managed to save money to get a place in Brooklyn with two roommates. The only problem was it was a good 40 minutes on the train from the pub. 3 AM on a subway into Brooklyn is not somewhere you want to be. I did this every day for two years. It put me in a very sad place, I cried a lot. No one ever knew as I am that girl who has to be strong for everyone else. My friends were great, the pub was great (to this day the people I met there are my best and closest friends), but I wasn’t in a good place. I would always think to myself… What the hell is the point of being in NYC to make no money and work at a bar 24/7?

 

At this point in my life I was the type of person that could dwell on the negative for a while but, I would snap out of it eventually. Then it happened….

 

I FOUND YOGA! I knew I had to do something and working out was always a good way to release emotions. I HATE the gym and I have no clue what I am doing and the only gym I could afford at that time was the one on the next block, where I could possibly get stabbed at any point in time (me being dramatic) So, I was, like, nah I’m good. I went on to Groupon and found a yoga studio in the Upper West Side that offered Bikram. It was a month unlimited for $39. I could afford that and go before work every day. At this point, I had never done yoga a day in my life, but I was, like, whatever… it’s a class and I could afford it.

DAY 1 of Bikram:

I got there and it was 1,000 degrees (me being dramatic), the studio was gross, and everyone was legit half an inch from each other. Like, what the hell did I get myself into? The next 90 minutes were absolute HELL. I almost threw up. I left there feeling physically awful, but I felt slight clarity in my mind. I went about my day but knew I had to go back to the gross class the next day and that is what I did. I went pretty much every day for 30 days, the 1st week, the 2nd week, the 3rd week. I still couldn’t get the hang of it. I couldn’t even touch my toes, let alone do half of the poses. My membership was finally up and I was, like, on to something else. Then I realized a couple days after not going, I mentally wasn’t feeling right. I realized those three weeks there I was very present in my mind and much happier with my situation. It wasn’t about the poses; it was about how I felt internally.

 

I then went back on to Groupon and found a different studio in Union Square that had bikram, which was perfect as that is where the pub was. This one wasn’t as bad; it was cleaner and nicer, but I still couldn’t get into the poses. Then that membership was over, and I went back again on to Groupon (I think at this point I was the number one customer) and found a place in the East Village. This one was intense. The teacher was like Bikram himself, I swear! He would wear a speedo and just scream at you to do the poses correctly. I was absolutely terrified of him, but I will say this, he started me on the path of the correct postures to help further my mental and physical health. Appreciate you, crazy yoga teacher!

IMG_2378.jpg

I went on jumping from one studio to another as I couldn’t really afford the full memberships. During this time, I felt more enlightened, I worried a lot less, I was happy with my life, I was present, and I could do some cool poses as party tricks for my friends. Yoga was actually changing my life and I didn’t even know it. That is when everything hit at once. I got a job offer at a doctor’s office for the most amazing doctor (she is my NYC mom to this day), then later on down the road… wait for it…. the guy that let me go years back called me and was, like, I have an assistant positon open, do you want it? . I took it! No more working two jobs, just one really good-paying job Monday-Friday. Here I was back to where I began. I ended up leaving Brooklyn and moving in with my best friend in Astoria (the memories I have there bring tears to my eyes). Moving day I noticed there was a yoga studio right next door (Thank you, yoga gods). This studio was really nice, but they did a hot vinyasa instead of bikram, and that, my friends, is where vinyasa became my love. The flow of it was so much better for me, instead of the 26 postures of bikram (my opinion). So now I am back in it, still can’t do a proper dancer pose, but I can hold a tree pose with the best of them. People would be, like, oh you do yoga, that is not a workout. OK, Sally, or whatever your name is, you go do my class and then tell me what you think. Everyone thinks yoga is just sitting in a room with candles and singing songs. Well, it is definitely the opposite.

 

Here I am, good job, living with my best friend, and have my yoga practice down! My mind was so sharp, and I felt so happy I wanted to just give everyone a hug! It is such a euphoric state, that all I (type A) wanted to do was yoga. Don’t worry, friends, I fell off the wagon many times since I did, after all, live in New York City. I was about six years into yoga at this point and properly doing it, mind body and soul were on point, and I was gaining great muscle and feeling super toned on top of having a clear mind. I was preaching to everyone to go…. Nobody listens :)

 

Then, my boss said to me, go take your series 7 & 63 (legit hardest financial exams ever). Friends, I have a degree in medicine, so I have no clue about finance. He was, like, I will then make you associate in Equity Capital Markets (insert dollar eye emoji). I started financial classes, and studied every day which yoga kept me super sane during this time. Took the test…. FAILED!! I cried like a two-year-old (me being dramatic) as I worked so hard, was in a bit of a funk for a couple days, but signed right back up for the test in three months’ time. Back to studying, back to yoga. The 2nd time… I PASSED!! Now here I am, an associate at an investment bank, living in a great place, loving it all.

 

Long story short, yoga truly help mold me into who I am today. I was 27 when I moved to New York. Yes, the hustle of New York will force you to work to survive and I am very grateful to her, but yoga made me find myself. Sure, things didn’t happen at the exact moment I wanted them to, but it made me realize what path I was destined to follow. We all come to a fork in the road at some point, most of us will follow the easy path as it is easy, yoga made me realize it is ok to take chances and I took that chance and chose the correct path to which why these amazing things are happening  in my life.  It is now 2020 and, friends, I am still at it! Follow my journey, let me know your yoga experience, ask me questions, there is no harm in trying as that is what makes you, you! Don’t ever give up on your dreams, I promise you anything you put your mind to can happen, just have patience.