We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Borenstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Because otherwise I would slowly die inside! Different people are wired to do different types of work. At a very young age, I gravitated to the arts, specifically ballet, because dancing to music made me feel alive and complete in a way that nothing else could. Now as an adult, yoga and meditation give me a similar experience- a joy in being embodied- and sometimes the ability to transcend the stresses of life a little bit. As a yoga teacher, I get to share this with people and I get to be surrounded by similarly inspired people. I’ve tried to do other types of work, mainly because sometimes I want to wear a pencil skirt instead of yoga pants, but I’ve always ended up back in the studio and grateful to be there.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a yoga teacher, I’ve taught groups and private clients in different styles, including Yin, Restorative, Yoga Nidra Meditation, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga. I’ve taught in studios and corporate settings. I’ve also had amazing opportunities to co-lead continuing education courses for teachers and yoga retreats to Costa Rica and Bali. It’s been hard for me to choose just one “niche” method, because I’ve experienced the unique transformative effects of each one and I enjoy teaching them all. Recently though, I’ve had the opportunity to really focus on teaching in the Mysore format of Ashtanga yoga. It’s a group class setting but with a very personalized approach for each student. I love actually having time to work with individual students on their practices. I don’t always have that option when cueing a “one-size-fits all” approach.
What sets me apart from others? Maybe that I secretly have an entrepreneurial spark. So, even if I’m working at someone else’s studio, I’m usually looking for ways to help the business thrive beyond simply doing my job, because I like being part of thriving energy. I tend to see the best in people from the start. I don’t feel like the practice needs to change you, I think it gives you the courage and energy and space for you to be the amazing soul who you already are. I approach it like that- if you walk in to practice I automatically think you’re great even if you aren’t yet aware of that! I’m not sure if that sets me apart or not. Maybe everyone is like that?
My path to and through teaching has been a combination of hard work, luck, support from friends and mentors, and privilege I suppose. And A LOT of taking opportunities before I felt confident. That was most of it actually. Some phases have been easier and some moments have been tough, but always worth it. Starting teaching yoga was really scary for me at first. After teacher training, I was nowhere near confident enough to teach a class, so I started out with teaching barre and dance thinking I’d eventually feel ready to finally teach yoga. That’s not how it worked though. At some point I was asked by a friend to sub his (very established) class for a few weeks while he was out of town. Now, this class was at a big studio and was packed with “regulars.” I had all sorts of fears that they would hate me, that I’d never be able to plan and lead a 90 minute class, major imposter syndrome, etc etc. I still feel a little shaky just thinking back on that! But, I think I knew it was a now or never type of situation. So I just did it (through the fear.) It was not perfect but I lived and went back for more! After that, gradually, teaching became less terrifying, and I slowly became a better teacher. As a (recovering) perfectionist, I think I wanted that first class to be as polished and perfect seeming as an experienced yoga teacher’s. But, that only comes through experience.
Some lessons I’ve learned: Reframe anxiety as excitement. If you can’t do that, then know that it’s natural and okay to feel what you’re feeling at any given moment and that the sensation is temporary. The best way to get over any self-limiting belief while teaching a class is to just focus on truly loving the people in front of you. If you’re trying to break into an oversaturated world of yoga teaching, teach the 6am classes!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Brookhaven, so we’d probably go to Moonbird Coffee in the mornings, and I’d definitely bring them to some of the delicious restaurants in the area like Secreto, Vero Pizza, the Alden, and upstairs at Arnette’s.
In the daytimes I’d bring them to Vickery Creek Trail, Sweetwater Creek, or the Beltline. Obviously we’d practice yoga at Mysore Yoga Atlanta.
If Fly on a Wall or Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre was performing we’d go check out a show. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve leaned on and learned from so many people over the years, but special shoutout to my Mom, Alessa, and Douglas for all of your help and love.
Youtube: Erin Borenstein
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