We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabelle Casey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isabelle, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance for me has been a constant evolution. When I first began my own business teaching yoga, I was single first of all. My responsibilities and the way I used my time were completely different than how I manage now- I have a family, I teach online 100% versus for years when I would go to location to instruct. Life has evolved dramatically for me & through it all the anchor is carving out a couple hours of personal time every early morning. I get up before everyone else to tend to my daily routine which includes my yoga and meditation practice. It sets the tone for the day and serves as a reminder in many ways for that day. The other big part of balance for me is getting outside in nature. I live on top of a mountain with forest lands all around. Its a year-round playground where you will find me mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, & exploring secret stashes on my snowboard. Releasing endorphins and moving your body while exploring and appreciating nature makes me more than happy. On days I don’t put myself first, the day will undoubtedly be harder to navigate, let alone be balanced.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For the past 20 years, I’ve been teaching yoga. My teaching journey has been quite the evolution. When I first began teaching, I taught what I practiced which was more vigorous & intense styles of yoga. This made sense considering I was so young, curoius, and had so much energy. As time went on, I became more seasoned in my yoga practice and continued to further my own studies, leading me to experiement in other styles, philosophies & exposed me to many extraordinary teachers. My practice definitely matured and the experience I gained could only be attained by putting in the time and effort. I am most proud of my personal practice- having a practice that is my anchor in my life for now more than a couple decades. Personal practice is the key to one’s own growth and its not always easy to bring yourself to your space each day. Regardless of the challenge I may be facing, I make myself take this time to reset and also remind myself that my own work is never done. And I would 100% credit where I am today to having this type of discipline. Prioritizing myself above all else reinforces the message that if I want to be my best; be able to care for my family; be present and connected to the world, I need to always put myself first on my own lists. I’m also a yoga teacher trainer & having created my own accredited program that focuses on whole-listic living outside of the expected course curriculum. This also was an evolution that organically took shape. The building blocks for writing a certification program came from my own experience of leading workshops, series, & conferences. In addition to that, I’ve continued to study over the years, dedicating myself to diving deeper and learning about how these lessons show up in my life. All of this took time. Yoga is different than any other type of ‘profession’ out there. There are such deep experiential philosophies embedded in the yoga traditon that there is no way to speed through attaining knowledge. It takes time & patience as well as building your own network of relationships that also provide the interwebbing needed to flourish. I encountered numerous challenges. Some of them self-inflicted at the beginning- mostly when I was learning my way in the working world. Back then, there was no internet to market or reach people. I built classes the old skool way: making my own flyers & posting them everywhere! I remember driving all over town, posting flyers & business cards at every cafe in town, In those early days, I was living in Seattle and there are a ton of cafes in that city! I also took advantage of networking opportunities and partnerships. It was much more difficult to get the word out then. That said, now that the norm is online everything, the market is saturated making it more challenging to stand out. This is where experience, i.e. wisdom is the key. You just can’t rush wisdom! Some of the other challenges I encountered were the competitive studios I worked for and even many of my collegues. For many, teaching yoga was their full-time job. Teaching full-time yoga is not easy being that it is not only physically taxing if you have a big class load, but also time-consuming, costly, & also mentally tiring. At my peak, I was teaching 21 classes a week! Besides all that I just mentioned, I also spent a ton of time in my car, which only expedited the wear and tear on my vehicle. After about 10 years of an intense teaching schedule, I noticed I was starting to burn out and needed to change that. So I got creative and found a way where I could tame my teaching schedule and also still be involved in wellness. I utilized my network and tapped into my business skills and began seeking out opportunities that kept me abreast to what was happening in the industry, but also so that I could diversify and be even more valuable. This lead me to starting an online community wellness website as well as create my own mini wellness event production organization that not only utilized my skills and connections, but fortified my vision as well as became an essential part of my business plan.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love Colorado so much that when anyone comes to visit, I have to severely narrow it down as there is so much to see & do in the beautiful state! Since I love to venture out all over, here are just a few places that are my favs. First, since I live in Evergreen, I would have to take you an a morning hike out here on one of the secret trails to take in some epic views, followed by a late breakfast/lunch at one of my favorite spots, the Evergreen Bread Lounge (artisanal heirloom breads & a cafe. My fav’s are the roasted veggie sandwich & the veggie breakfast burrito). Wash Park is a fun place to people-watch and also take a stroll around. I always seem to end up here when I venture into town. Its a good mix of what I love about any city: awesome walking/running area surrounded by a diverse mix of residential homes. This area has some beautiful architecture mixed into old city Denver homes. The Dairy Block is a must! Right in downtown Denver and home to a generous array of different small business retailers and mostly restaurants. My favorite is Pinchi Umami! Its a new pop-up restaurant located inside of Bruto, created by my friend and Chef, Michael De Leon (also the head chef of Bruto). His food is insane! It’s mexican street food with the thread of Japanese cuisine fusion. The presentation is outstanding- almost too beautiful to eat! I have to give some love to Boulder too! Boulder is where I lived for the first year here before landing on top of a mountain in Evergreen. I had so much fun when I lived there & spent every day mountain biking all over and exploring all the nooks and crannies of this bustling mountain town. A must if you are into mountain biking is riding the trails. I did this everyday because I had easy-access from my front door, riding north along the Front Range, then cutting through the plains and riding around the Boulder Reservoir. Its a decent couple hour ride that will definitely work up an appetite, which means you need to unwind at the Avery Brewery. Its our absolute favorite brewery! The food, ambience (ginormous modern, beautiful brewery), and staff are top notch. But for my go-to, super-healthy, local, & modern open-kitchen ambience, I LOVE Zeal on Pearl St. I haven’t had anything on the menu that I didn’t love. Get the veggie burger if you are hungry and then get ready for a nap. You can’t go wrong with their bowls, and you can’t leave without having a fresh juice flight!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a shout out to my friend who I mentioned above, Michael De Leon (accent over the ‘o’). He recently moved here from El Paso, Texas and even more recently started his own pop-up restaurant and is also the Head Chef at Bruto in the Dairy Block. He is humble, kind, professional, a master at his craft, & one of hardest working individuals I know. Denver is fortunate to have him!
Youtube: Isabelle Casey Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLfNH40SKFNlZP4yoW3LlEg
Other: Online platform I teach on: https://theglobalcollectiveyou.com/