Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Bassett.
Abby, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I first starting practicing yoga when I was 16. A friend dragged me to the local library where we rolled around on the floor for 45 minutes. I definitely didn’t “get” it but I knew, I enjoyed it because I left feeling a little lighter and a little happier. I practiced yoga on and off through college and into my professional years but a fast-paced, high-stress job, combined with a brutal commute prevented me from hitting the mat more than once a week.
Fast forward many years later. I survived and escaped an emotionally abusive marriage. I quit my insane job as a journalist at CNN and found love again. I started freelancing. I wrote, I shot video, I edited, I ran social media campaigns, I worked for start-ups, I produced for PBS — I did anything I could to earn a buck and pay rent. It was one of the most productive and liberating periods of my life. After years of trying to fit into someone else’s ideal, it felt like coming home to myself again. I picked up old hobbies and passions and found myself back on my mat once again.
After living in New York for far too long, I needed a change. Nelson, my boyfriend, and I decided to move to Austin, Texas. It didn’t take me long to find a fantastic neighborhood studio near my house and start practicing again. Within a few short months, I committed to doing a teacher training and met some of the most amazing, compassionate, strong, incredible yoga teachers in the industry, many of them with more than ten years of experience. I trained with the team at Practice Yoga Austin and absorbed everything I could. When I finished training I immediately started teaching at the YMCA.
I wanted to teach people like me. People who thought the didn’t have time, or space, or energy to practice yoga. I wanted to teach people who didn’t have the perfect body, those who can’t do handstand or wheel pose, those who, like me, looked at Instagram every day and thought, “I’ll never be that.” I wanted to empower those of us who feel “less-than” to tap into the deep wellspring of yoga and heal and discover that really, we are all that we need. I wanted to help us “normal” people feel like we didn’t have to be thin, insanely flexible, or scantily dressed to be “good” at yoga. Hell, we don’t even have to be able to touch our toes! There’s a passage in the Bhagavad Gita that says “On this path effort never goes to waste and there is no failure. Even a little effort on the path of yoga will protect you from the greatest fear.” That is what I strive to impart to my students through Yoga For Normal People — we don’t have to be perfect to be good at yoga!
A few months after I finished teacher training in Austin, life intervened once again. Nelson took a big job in Los Angeles and I was on the verge of re-entering the corporate world once again. We moved to L.A. in May of 2017 and I began teaching at local studios around the South Bay. I currently work full-time and teach yoga as much as I can.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t always been a smooth road. Finding ways to meld the things that make my heart sing with the ability to put a roof over my head is always a bit tricky. It’s no secret that yoga teachers don’t get paid very well unless you are at the very upper echelons of the industry. That takes years. That’s why I work a full-time job and dedicate as much of my “free” time to teaching and practicing yoga.
Mostly my challenges come in the form of finding a balance. A balance between teaching, working in a very high pressure, full-time, corporate job and finding time to practice myself. I’ve come to realize that without my own practice, my teaching suffers and getting on my mat has become a very important part of my process. If I can’t feel a pose in my own body, I don’t have the information I need to teach it.
Yoga For Normal People – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I run Yoga For Normal People and CNTRL Media.
I have always been a storyteller at heart — even from a very young age. I run all of my freelance work through CNTRL Media and specialize in multi-media storytelling, social media, and branding. I write, edit, shoot and edit video and consult companies large and small on creating engaging, creative and compelling content across a variety of fields and platforms.
My storytelling infuses my yoga teaching, too. Through Yoga For Normal People, I offer classes (both public and private) and share stories of my own struggles and triumphs. In class, I am known for creating accessible, challenging, and uplifting yoga practices that allow students to tap into their deeper awareness and leave feeling rejuvenated and relieved.
People return to my classes again and again because they say they always leave feeling like they are a new person. It gives me tremendous joy to be able to touch people through the storytelling of yoga. I love feeling like I’m able to make the world just a little better as I help others find peace.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’ve recently been asked to lead a teacher training module at The Yoga Harbor, the studio I teach at in Torrance. I’m beyond thrilled to be able to help new teachers find their voices and can’t wait to be a part of their journey.
- Website: https://yogafornormalpeople.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yogafornormalpeople
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yogafornormalpeople
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/yoganrmalpeople
- Other: https://cntrlmedia.com/