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Overcoming Fear and Embracing Authenticity: Jen Carrubba's Yoga Journey
Episode 316th September 2023 • The Fire Inside Her with Diane Schroeder • Diane Schroeder
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How can practicing yoga and incorporating self-care techniques help to manage anxiety and self-doubt? In today's episode that is just one of many questions you'll have answered. In the latest episode of "The Fire Inside Her," host Diane Schroeder sits down with Jen Carrubba, a yoga instructor and business owner, who opens up about her journey from battling anxiety and self-doubt to finding her inner fire and becoming the empowered woman she is today.

Throughout the episode, Jen shares her personal struggles with anxiety and depression, and how yoga became her salvation. But it wasn't an easy road. From initially hating the practice to becoming a dedicated student, Jen discovered that the heat of the yoga studio unlocked a meditative state that soothed her both physically and mentally. The supportive community in the studio played a crucial role in her healing journey and gave her a sense of belonging.

But Jen's story doesn't end there. After taking the leap to become a yoga teacher, she now finds herself facing the challenges of being a business owner. Despite the hurdles, Jen's dedication to self-care remains unwavering, reminding listeners of the importance of filling up their own cup before taking care of others.

Join Diane and Jen as they delve into the transformative power of yoga, the magic of community, and the resilience that lies within each of us. Discover the fire inside Jen Carrubba and let her story ignite your own.

Jen Carrubba recently opened up a yoga studio in Morgan Hill California, a city she's been living in for almost 30 years. She and her business partner, Paula, are approaching their first year anniversary of opening their doors.

She has taught yoga for 7 years and has been practicing for 17. She is incredibly passionate about yoga and sharing it with others. Opening Morgan Hill Yoga Collective has been an exciting new adventure where she has learned that she is stronger than she thought she was.

How to connect with Jen

https://www.mhyogacollective.com/

Instagram

@mhyogacollective

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/MorganHillYogaCollective

How to connect with Diane

www.thefireinsideher.com 

Diane@Thefireinsideher.com 

Instagram

@TheRealFireInHer 

LinkedIn

www.linkedin.com/in/dianeschroeder5/

Are you excited to get a copy of the workbook that Diane mentioned?

FREE Value Workbook: TheFireInsideHer.com/value

You can also get Self Care Audio download HERE –TheFireInsideHer.com/audio

If you enjoyed this episode, take a minute and share it with someone you know who will find

value in it as well. You can share directly from this platform or send them to:

https://TheFireInsideHer.com/podcast

Transcripts

Diane Schroeder [:

Welcome to The Fire Inside Her, the podcast where we explore the incredible stories of individuals who have discovered their inner fire on their journey to authenticity. I'm your host, Diane Schroeder, and I am so grateful that you are here. Hey, friends. Welcome back to another episode of The Fire Inside Her. Have you ever had a self doubt or a limiting belief that really held you back from achieving a dream or a goal that you've always wanted? This week's episode is perfect for you. I had the privilege of speaking with Jen Carrubba. Her journey is one of resilience, self discovery and the power of community. From overcoming her fear of public speaking to becoming a confident yoga instructor and eventually a business owner, jen's story is proof that our biggest challenges can become our greatest triumphs. We dive into how Jen's journey unfolded, starting with her first encounter with the world of yoga and how it transformed her life. And speaking truly, I can't even reiterate how much yoga has transformed my life. Jen battled anxiety and then found a sense of belonging and purpose. Her experience is going to inspire you to embrace your own journey of self improvement and healing. But Jen's story doesn't stop there. We also talk about her journey to taking a leap of faith and opening a yoga studio with a business partner. They have created a space that prioritizes acceptance, community, and the freedom to explore your own yoga practice without judgment or competition. We also discuss the importance of listening, communicating, and being open to new ideas as Jen reflects on the lessons she's learned through running a yoga studio and the incredible team of teachers she's surrounded herself with. Jen and her business partner recently opened up a yoga studio in the city Jen has lived in for almost 30 years. They are quickly approaching their one year anniversary of opening their doors. She has taught yoga for seven years, but has been a practicer of yoga for 17. She is incredibly passionate about yoga and sharing it with others. Yoga has helped her overcome anxiety and depression, and opening the Morgan Hill Yoga Collective has been an exciting new adventure where she has learned that she is much stronger than she thought she was. So grab your yoga mat, find a cozy spot, and get ready to be inspired as we unlock the fire inside Jen Carrubba on this episode. Welcome Jen Carrubba. So excited to have you here today for our take three of getting this podcast recording going. How are you doing?

Jen Carrubba [:

I'm doing great, Diane's. So excited to be here, and I've just really enjoyed our first two.

Diane Schroeder [:

I mean, I feel we've laughed a lot. This is this is life.

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes. And like you said, it's kind of calmed my nerves a little bit. I've never done this before, and so I'm just excited.

Diane Schroeder [:

I'm excited too. And as I said, I'll be gentle since I'm your first and I've gotten your consent and I respect you. So we're going to make this happen. And the first question I want to know, my random icebreaker question for you is what is your favorite yoga pose?

Jen Carrubba [:

Tree pose.

Diane Schroeder [:

And why?

Jen Carrubba [:

Because I feel very strong. I feel very kind of sounds weird coming from the word strong, but I also feel very light. I tend to be a bit heavy headed and heavy hearted and in a vinyasa tree. And you can grow your branches. And when I grow my branches, I get to express myself in a way that makes me feel empowered, very peaceful and just very happy.

Diane Schroeder [:

That is beautiful. Will you do me a favor and let the listeners who are non yogis know what? Tree pose just a real basic kind of shape. It is.

Jen Carrubba [:

So you're balancing on one leg. So let's say I'm balancing on my left leg. I place the sole of my right foot on the inside of my left leg, either below or above the knee. And you always have to pull that belly button into the spine to engage the core and your heart's open. Maybe you bring your hands to heart center, palms together, and maybe you grow your branches into any form that you'd like. Branches meaning your arms.

Diane Schroeder [:

That is perfect. And I do love tree pose. My current favorite shape is I like a good side angle. I don't know why. There's something that I just feel strong and just the stretching my arm over my head. I just feel very aligned when I go into side angle.

Jen Carrubba [:

I love that. Well, that must mean you're really kind of in tune with your core. And I'd say in my class very often in every yoga pose, you work from the soles of your feet to the tip of your fingers or the tip of your head. And that especially really works that lunge and works your core. But it's also I mean, you could tell, you can hear it in my voice so passionate about yoga and what it does for me, what it does for everyone who is really open to it because it's empowering.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes. I'm so excited to talk yoga today for the podcast, and I've talked a ton about leadership and having a seat at the table. I can talk self care forever. And I believe that the journey to authenticity is held up by self care, community and leadership. And a huge part of self care to me over the last six years has been yoga. It has literally changed my life in so many ways. And you talk about a core and we'll get to that because I'm very conflicted when I talk about yoga and how strong my core is because in my mind, I feel like I should be thinner and not as thick as I am. So it's about acceptance and love and man yoga. It's not just your toes to your feet and everything in between, it's your mind and your love and acceptance for yourself. So if we can just go back a little bit, I want to hear, and my listeners would love to hear about your journey and how you got to opening a yoga studio almost a year ago.

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes. So I never thought that this would happen. I actually didn't even dream of it. I first started practicing yoga about 17 years ago. I have suffered from anxiety and depression my entire life and I didn't really get help for it because I didn't know what it was until I was 18. I saw a counselor and it was great being 18. She did not immediately prescribe medication and we worked through some stuff and I think it was just a matter of me soul searching and trying to find myself because I felt a bit lost when I graduated from high school. So that's when it first started. But fast forward 17 years ago, I had another bout of anxiety and depression and it was the health scare. That wasn't really a health scare, but I thought it was so bit of a hypochondriac. And I am a worrier, and that goes hand in hand with my anxiety. But I had what I call kind of a I don't say panic attack because it doesn't necessarily hit me as what a normal panic attack is, where you breathe and you eventually get through it. I consider myself a person with high functioning anxiety, so I have to do what I need to do to manage that on a daily basis. When I had that attack, I sought out therapy. I started on medication for anxiety and I started up with Beacram yoga. Now, beakram yoga is a hot yoga. It's intense.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes, it is.

Jen Carrubba [:

But I had a friend of mine that owned a studio and she said, I really want you to come and try this. And I tried it and I absolutely hated it. Yes, I absolutely hated it. And I was literally hide from my friend because I didn't want to feel that pressure. And I felt a little bit of guilt not going to her studio, but I eventually just kind of stuck with it because my anxiety was debilitating and I didn't leave my house for about a month. So I needed time for the anxiety medication to work and gained a little bit of strength through talking to a therapist. And I went to yoga on a consistent basis. So what I loved about it is the heat creates an environment where you get into a very meditative state and you are not able to be in that state if you don't have the heat. In my mind, that's my experience. Not for everybody, but it was a set sequence and it became my ritual. And not only was this a time, as you said, of self care, for me to look at myself in the mirror with a bright light, with no music for 60 minutes at that time, it was 90 minutes. It was difficult, but I kept going back. I kept going into my mat, and I eventually started seeing the results of how I was feeling mentally and how I was feeling physically. And the community, I just get goosebumps as I say this. The community is what held me up. I mean, I can honestly start crying because it means that much to me. I just felt like I belonged all of my quirks, I felt broken. And what I love about yoga is everyone who steps into the door is searching for a better version of themselves, or they're searching to heal something, whether it's mental or physical. So you have all these people that come together that are broken in some way. And I don't say that in a negative way, but they're somehow wanting to be better or stronger or just love themselves, learn to love themselves. So I did that. And I been teaching now for seven years, so I was practicing for ten. That community saved me. And then owner of that speaker studio said to me, you should teach, because I was going all the time. I was really connected. I loved it. I was passionate about it. I would talk about it all the time. And I was a really big part of this community. And she said, you should do it. And I said, there's no way. One of my biggest fears is getting up in front of a group of people and speaking thing, and I can't remember jack shit straight up. You had asked my husband, ask my mother. I mean, it was 26 postures with two breathing exercises, and it is a script. It's very different than the style of teaching that I teach now. And so when she told me this, I said, I can't possibly remember all that. And she said, well, you got nothing to lose. You know me. You know this community. Why don't you just give it a shot? We'll take one session at a time. So make a long story short, I went through three months. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears. A lot of tears. And it wasn't until probably the last two weeks of my three month training that I actually thought to myself, maybe I can do it. But I worked my ass off, Diane. I did not watch television. I had a family to take care of, and I took care of them, but I didn't do anything else. I sat down, and every day I took one Posture at a time. And once I memorized that posture, I added another. And then I would add that first Posture, then the second one. Once I got the second one, I would learn the third and then say the first and the second, I would listen to the dialogue in my car, in my headphones. I was completely saturated, and that's what I needed to do to learn it. And I'm incredibly proud of myself, because, as I said, my husband and my mom, if you ask them now, when I first told them I was going to do it, they said, we didn't think you could do it.

Diane Schroeder [:

Wow.

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes. So here I am, seven years later, teaching the bikram, which is now called the hot 26, and I teach Vinyasa yoga. I am so incredibly passionate that I become kind of weird.

Diane Schroeder [:

Thank you for sharing your story. And I know that's a snapshot of your story, and let me just say, we're all a little weird. So if you're not weird, you're weird.

Jen Carrubba [:

I agree. I think it's so good to be weird and silly.

Diane Schroeder [:

Absolutely. Just be you. I'm listening. And I've done both styles. I've done the hot 26 or Bickram, and I then went back and did Vinyasa and fell in love with Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Those are two of my favorite and obviously restorative. But the way you described bikram is exactly how my partner described it. When he started doing yoga, that's what he learned. It was the hot yoga. It was meditative for him. It was routine and really helped change his life and heal him. And he's since left that studio and joined me at my studio that I go to. And so the change to Vinyasa was hard for him, shapes that he'd never done before, and it's taken about a year and a half, but he really loves it now. And everything that you said about the broken people when I started going to yoga regularly, I was at a pretty low point in my life. And she's now one of my best friends at the time. Before we became really good friends, she lived down the street, our sons played together, and she said, hey, I go practice yoga right behind the house. Why don't you join me? And I was like, I'm kind of washed up from my CrossFit days. My whole body hurts. Yoga will be good for that. It will help heal me physically. It's exactly what I told myself. And I was like, all right. And then the first couple of classes, I couldn't move. I was so sore. I was sweating. I hated it. It was the hardest thing I'd ever done. I was like, give me a barbell. Let me do some burpees. This is ridiculous. I hated it. And then I stuck with it, and before I knew it, I was changing physically and mentally, and I felt less broken. And I felt, when you say community, this group of strangers that I didn't know, we don't even talk for 60 minutes. And then when you're done, the energy has shifted and everything is magical. And also at that time, my son was really struggling. He was pretty young, I think he was six or seven. And I would take him to restorative with me in the evenings when I went. I mean, he wiggled a little bit, and it was really hard, but it helped calm him, too. That's why I love talking about yoga, because it's just amazing.

Jen Carrubba [:

Well, I'm glad you did that as a mom, because I think that if I had yoga in my younger years, I would have been so much better off. And as you touched on before, it's acceptance. Because one of the things that I say as a teacher, every single class, I say, there is no expectations, no judgment, and no competition ever. And a lot of that time, that competition is with you, right? And we do that and I do it myself. And the way I teach is what I need to hear and what I need from it. I never feel like it's me preaching. It always feels just like, this is what I need. Like I need to remind myself that if I fall out or if I can't do a pose or if I'm just not getting it, that it's okay. And I'm okay. It doesn't mean I'm less of a yogi or I'm not as good as the person next to me because that's not what it's about. I mean, as you know, our lives are crazy, especially nowadays. And if you can carve out 1 hour, although these days, I have to say, people are looking at their Apple Watch and I always get up in their face and I'm all, hey, I'm guilty.

Diane Schroeder [:

I'm not going to lie. I'm sorry.

Jen Carrubba [:

I would be like, Diane, this is your time.

Diane Schroeder [:

I know, and you're right.

Jen Carrubba [:

But most of the time they'll be like, oh, I'm checking my blood pressure. I'm like, oh, okay, well, I don't want you coding out in class, so that's allowed. But it's time. It's an hour that's carved out undivided attention, where you get to focus on your breath, your heartbeat, all the sensations that are coming up in your body. It's such a gift. I understand it's not for everybody. And I've been in my community for 30 years, and I swear there's people I see at Safeway that avoid me in the aisle. They're like, oh, God, she's going to get me locked in. And I respect that. And everyone has their thing. And it's funny that you bring up CrossFit because I just started one day a week. That's it. Just because I'm 53, I'm getting older, so I want to lift weights and I want to keep my strength up. And it is kind of a nice little balance that I found when I'm sore from CrossFit. I love to stretch out in yoga, but ultimately, I have to say, all I do is walk my dogs, and I have two corgis. They're not really athletic dogs, but I walk and I do yoga, and I've never been in such good a shape.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes, I found just getting that strength from the inside out, not just physical, but mental. My posture is better and I find I'm just calmer. And I agree. Yoga isn't for everyone. While it's a great form of self care, beauty of it is we get to talk about it for an hour, because we could talk about it probably for 10 hours. But if someone can take something away and the way I describe it, there's so much life lessons in yoga, and I have this presentation that I give about self care and self maintenance, and it's primarily to men, so I may explain self care. And a lot of what they talk about is you have to have a work life balance. Work life balance. And I disagree. I think to yoga, I think to tree pose. Every time I say this is you have to be stable before you can get in a balancing posture. So there is no way you can balance your work life and your home life unless you have some stability within yourself first.

Jen Carrubba [:

Well said.

Diane Schroeder [:

And the best way to do that is yoga. Because there is nothing more humbling than trying to stand on one leg with one leg either connected or sticking out or going backwards or something else or holding a plank pose for any amount of time. It just tests your resolve. And there's something about it that changes you. Once you consistently do it, it does.

Jen Carrubba [:

And until you do it and again, accept it, like, I'm going to go, I'm going to open my mind to it, and I'm going to see what happens after I consistently go to my mat. I've never left a class that I was sorry I attended. Ever.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes.

Jen Carrubba [:

I mean, it's hard to get there. I get it. Like, it's busy, you're busy, you want to go home, you want to sit on the couch. But I've never walked out of a class. Sorry, I went. And in yoga, we do really hard things and we breathe through those hard things. And the intention that I always have is it's a practice. So when you practice that on your mat, consistently, when you walk out the door and you leave the studio, when you're in a situation that is difficult mentally or physically, you breathe through it. You can get through hard things. And the only way that you're going to grow as a person, as an individual, mentally and physically, is if you continue to do hard things. And the way you're going to do it, not to panic, because I'm an anxiety panicker is to breathe and get to that yoga breath. And for me, 17 years later, I know what that yoga breath feels like. It calms me down. Then you take a deep breath and you sigh it out. You connect with that breath. Really allows you to be present and be mindful and know you can handle it. And funny you say men because I just recently added a we call it broga.

Diane Schroeder [:

Oh, my God.

Jen Carrubba [:

Because it's brogue.

Diane Schroeder [:

I know.

Jen Carrubba [:

It's so fun. And because men need it, the majority of our students at our yoga studio is women. It's about 80% women, 20% men. And they're just intimidated. They're intimidated to come into a room full of women that know what they're doing. Most men are not flexible and they're just scared to be bad at something and they don't understand that it's not about being good. Number one thing people say to me, I'm not flexible. I can't do it. What does that even mean? Well, can you breathe? You're getting into the best version of you in whatever that posture looks like for you in the moment you're in. So anyway, this broga has been fun. It was a way to get my husband there. My husband has not really been into yoga. So I said, hey, I'm doing this broker class and I got a couple of my friends that are also his friends that are coming. And it could have been the ice cold beers that I served after class. Could have been it. But I'm not beneath bribery, duh.

Diane Schroeder [:

I mean, right? Especially with guys, because men are similar to raising children. And I say that with all the love I spent over half my life supervising men in the fire service. And what works for them usually works for my little guy too, and vice versa. So if cold beers gets them there, then so what, they did yoga?

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes. And my husband came away and really enjoyed it. And he suggested that I do broga once a month. He's even talking about the playlist because the one thing I know I sorry if I'm going all over the place, but with Beek Room, we didn't have any music. Well, we've changed things up. Now we're hot, 26 now. We have really fun music. We got 80s music, we have southern rock. I mean, we have it all. Makes it fun. In our studio, we have colored lights to set the tone, set the mood. And it is all about joy. And we laugh and we fall out and we wipe our sweat, we drink water where we want to. We're in there to just support each other and have fun. So with that coming into it, he stretched, he breathed, he moved, he didn't feel intimidated. He became more self aware, he stretched, took the time up for him because he's a gym guy. He lifts weights, he doesn't stretch. He's 58. So afterwards and it was warm. It wasn't as warm as I usually have it, but it was warm. We all came out and sat on the couches and we were there for almost 2 hours, just shooting the shit, drinking ice cold beers, having cookies. And for the first time he looked at me and he said, I get it.

Diane Schroeder [:

It's community. You gave them the best of everything. So before we get too far down that, let's talk about your decision to open your own yoga studio. So you went from teacher to business owner. And I want to hear just a little bit about that. And for those that are in California, I will leave all the information to Jen's studio in the show notes. But tell us about that big leap.

Jen Carrubba [:

It was crazy and very unexpected. And I have a business partner, her name is Paula Rasmussen, and she is just an angel that came into my life and changed it forever because I have worked at several studios and this particular time I was working at a corporate studio. It was during COVID It was tough, but I love it. I love to teach, I love the community. So that was my home. I was there for almost a year and had some issues with corporate, with the owner, with the management. That wasn't right for me. It was a personal decision. I'm not bashing anyone here. I just want to say it was just not a comfortable place for me. And considering how much I love it, it just didn't feel right. And it was time for me to leave, so I decided to leave. But I had created a community that came to my classes and we were all friends. My students would come in and save spots for one another, and so we created this circle of just love. And I had to make phone calls and just say, hey, I'm really sorry, but I'm leaving the studio. And they were upset. Paula in particular was upset. It had helped her a lot through COVID. She and her husband were in a place where Paula was an attorney and she was ready to get out of the law, believing that things happen for a reason. And her husband was like, I think it's an opportunity and you should seize the day. And she called me and said, how about we open our own studio? And keep in mind, that was not an easy move for me. And for about two days, I didn't get off the couch. After I left Corpus studio, I was devastated in my hometown. I'd been in this town for 30 years. I love it because before that, I was commuting to teach, so I was devastated because it's pretty much in my backyard and she was a lifeline for me. And she called me and said this, and I didn't know how much I believed her. I just kind of was entertained by it. I was so appreciative because she got me off the couch. She gave me a little glimmer of hope. Obviously, it didn't happen immediately. We started to kind of talk and entertain it. The idea of it started looking around for spots. And so in the meantime, I had gone to another studio to do some substitute teaching, and everyone that followed me over wasn't that thrilled about it. Just didn't have the same vibe, it didn't have the same community. So I was, like, freaking out a little bit, and next thing I know, I mean, Paula, speaking of needing her own podcast, this woman is she's a doer. She's just made shit happen. And once she got that idea in her head and I have to know she was the financial backing of the studio. We put our heads together, did some research, found a place, and everything just fell into place beautifully.

Diane Schroeder [:

I love it when that happens.

Jen Carrubba [:

It just felt right because Diane, I was scared shitless. I felt know. Paula has just moved into this area three years ago. It know my name, my reputation. People are following me. It was up to me. I felt it was my responsibility to have this place succeed. And this is way beyond anything that I thought I could do. I don't have a head for business, as you know. I'm not techie at all. I don't know what to do. I still have old school lists that people write their names down on. So I just thought, I don't know if I could do know if I'm in charge. I don't like confrontation. I don't like hard conversations. I don't like any of that. But Paula gave me strength. And because I knew we were in it together, I thought, okay, let's put 1ft in front of the other. Let's learn. I was the first one to say, I don't know what the I'm doing. I need help. And that little group that I told you about that was at this corporate studio, that's one of the reasons why we call it Morgan Hill Yoga Collective. I know I'm getting ahead of you.

Diane Schroeder [:

But no, it's beautiful.

Jen Carrubba [:

It is a collective group of people that help pull this thing off and they are incredible. I call them the dream team. Everyone came into this circle with what they are good at and helped us do this.

Diane Schroeder [:

You just described everything about being an authentic, genuine leader. You have surrounded yourself with amazing individuals who add value to your life and your business. You were open to receive invitations from the universe in the form of human angels. And when you're in alignment with what you're supposed to be doing and how you feel and the people you surround yourself with, it is that effortless. It is that everything works together. And the humbleness that you show about it tells me that it's because of you. You bet on yourself. As a good friend of mine says all the time, if you bet on yourself, you can't go wrong.

Jen Carrubba [:

Wow. And that's powerful. It's not something that's ever been easy for me. I've doubted myself. Everything that I've done before, everything that I've done, I don't think I can do it. I have a high school education. I did not go to college. I went to beauty school. I became a hairdresser. And then I was a stay at home mom. And I knew that when I was an empty nester, I was going to have to reinvent myself. And I am grateful for yoga. And like I said, I didn't expect it. It just happened authentically. I embraced the journey and met so many incredible people, but in no way am I a savvy business owner or the best yoga teacher there is. I'm surrounded by I think there's nine teachers that we have at the studio, and I'm probably the youngest, and I don't say youngest in age, but experience. So I just look all around me and our teachers, and Paula and I said this from the beginning. This is not paula and I. This is all of us. We are nothing without our teachers. We are nothing without our students. We need to listen to each other, and you have to talk and communicate, give us ideas. We're open to anything and we'll go with anything. It's all trial and error. We're figuring it out, and that's truly what has happened.

Diane Schroeder [:

You've created the safe space for the community, whether you're a student, whether you're a teacher. You've created this safe bubble where people can come in and be genuine and be seen. And that just inspires more creativity and also the ability to fail. So if this doesn't work, if Bro yoga broga was a flop, okay, cool. We'll figure it out again. What's the worst that can happen is you love each other and you hold each other up and you continue moving forward, and that says so much. And I would challenge you to give yourself some grace, that you have raised two beautiful children, correct?

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes.

Diane Schroeder [:

You've been married for, I'd say, probably.

Jen Carrubba [:

A minute, almost 30.

Diane Schroeder [:

You have worked your ass off your entire life while managing and deciding to not let anxiety define you, or if you get knocked down, to not get back up, even if it is hard, because it is hard and life is freaking hard. And to be scared and not sure what happens next, I think is a shared emotion of the collective. You're saying all these things, and I just feel it in my heart as I just walked away from my career in the fire service, and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do next.

Jen Carrubba [:

Yeah, it's scary.

Diane Schroeder [:

It is terrifying. But you're not alone, and that's the beauty of it. And when you share your story, you find you're not alone and you help other people. Someone hears and like, oh, I have that. That sounds familiar. And look what she did. That means I can do it too. So you're a role model.

Jen Carrubba [:

Thank you. Thank you for those kind words. I will take them in and absorb them because it feels, I think, you know, it's not all the time that I feel this way, but little spurts of it, knowing that I'm helping people. I've always been very open and honest, talked about being on Lexapro for anxiety. I've been on and off medication for many, many years. And it's okay.

Diane Schroeder [:

Absolutely.

Jen Carrubba [:

One of the reasons I'd like to share is because people see me in the yoga studio environment where I am, high energy, seem to be very confident, gregarious and I can chalk that up to the passion. Because in other areas of my life, I have not been that way. I've been shy. I've been insecure, self doubting. So when they see me and they think, she's got her shit together, she's healthy, she's strong, as you can tell, I swear a lot, and I usually swear just for the sake of an adjective, but I'm fucking hot mess. I am a hot mess. I'm emotional, I'm sensitive. I'm, believe it or not, an introvert in many ways. And I recharge by being by myself. But people don't see that. And so when I tell them I have anxiety, I have depression, I suffer through so much self doubt. I'm so insecure. I need yoga, I need medication, I need therapy. When they see that, it allows them to be human, too. That's one of the gifts. I feel like. I used to think it was such a curse to have anxiety, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone because it's really scary. But the anxiety, what I feel, forced me into focusing on me. I couldn't just go through an autopilot mode and doing what I was doing, and I would have my decisions were based on fear. Didn't go to college because I was fearful, a number of things. So for me, I was forced to tune in. And I think, in a way, that's why yoga is so good for me. It forces me to notice what's happening in my body and my mind to tune in, because you have to. Because if you don't fill up that cup and if you don't take care of yourself, you have nothing. You have nothing. And you cannot take care of your son. You can't take care of the job. I want to congratulate you for your service, your career. And I know what that involves because we have a mutual friend, Tricia Connolly, who is one of my favorite people walking this earth. And I know how difficult as a woman, I know how difficult that must have been. And I just applaud you because you've paved the way and you've become such an incredible role model for other women. It's huge. But then when that goes away, it does somewhat define you. Then you think, well, why am I now?

Diane Schroeder [:

Absolutely. So thank you. I spent probably the last two years of my career, really with some serious self talk of, this is not who I am. It's not who I am. I am a million other things. And yes, I work in the fire service, but it's not who I am. And I thought, I'm ready, I got this. It's not who I am. And like, two weeks after I retired, I was like, well, damn it, maybe I was wrong, and it's exactly who I was. And should I go back?

Jen Carrubba [:

What a bunch of nonsense.

Diane Schroeder [:

Who the hell was I talking to, because that self talk. And I have to say, as a fellow introvert, those are our superpowers. Being empathetic, feeling the room, feeling the vibe, feeling other people's energy is a superpower. And it can also be really exhausting because people got a lot of stuff going on. And if you don't know what it feels like to walk into a room and just absorb all of that energy, good, bad or ugly, it really takes a toll and can be draining. So I appreciate you sharing that. And I know that someone listening is going to be like, yes, that is exactly it. So you give yourself grace. And I guess my question then is how do you continue to take care of yourself? Has it changed? Has yoga changed now that you're a business owner? Or is it still the sacred way that you take care of yourself? And have you found other ways to fill your cup?

Jen Carrubba [:

Yes, that's a good question, because teaching yoga is not anything like doing yoga, even. There's some teachers that do the movements with you, the whole class. I'm not that kind of a teacher. I walk around, I can't sit still, but I'm never on my back, so I don't get the physical. But also, even if the teachers do, they're so preoccupied with providing the energy and the encouragement and the guidance. So being a business owner, even though it's been just everything kind of fit into place and it's fantastic. There are times when our heater goes out or you don't have Internet, we have no music, music doesn't work. Someone's locked out. I mean, there's just so many things. Hard conversation, things that don't work out, staff that doesn't work out. It's a lot. Self care for me is getting to my mat. So I try really hard to get to my mat at least twice a week, and I try to put everything aside and just tune it out and know that it's waiting for me when I get off my mat. I try to meditate. I'm not very good at it. Trisha and I have tried to do it together to make ourselves accountable. I mean, I do it through the Calm app, which is wonderful. So a little shout out to Calm. I love it. Ten minutes is all I got, but it's enough. I tell myself, Jen, you're good because Carve out an hour or a half an hour. She's too latch. So you always got to just take the baby step and just get what you can in, even if it's on your mat. 15 minutes by yourself, at your house, get on your mat. You deserve it. So I try to meditate. I love to bake. Sometimes I go home and bake.

Diane Schroeder [:

What's your favorite thing to bake?

Jen Carrubba [:

Everything. Dessert. My favorite is cookies. I love to make a pear tart. I love to make an Eisenhower cake, a bun cake. I'm miserable at bread. Absolutely miserable at bread. I've tried it. Everyone's into sourdough during COVID My sourdough was so bad, I used it like a frisbee in my cul de sac. I swear to God. I like that's. It epic fail.

Diane Schroeder [:

I have more pinterest fails than not. So I understand that and I hear that, and I have to build things with my hands to feel calm. That's the best way to calm me down. Whether it's creating something to help I don't know whomever, I have to draw it out. I'm a whiteboard person. Or I like to build shelves or furniture. Just something to assemble. It gives my brain something to do.

Jen Carrubba [:

That's amazing. But, I mean, yet for you, such a talent to build your furniture and things in your house. That's awesome.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yeah, it's pretty fun. It could rival what my 6th grade shop projects looked like, but that's okay. It's sturdy. So far, it's still standing.

Jen Carrubba [:

Yeah. Hey, in sewing class, back in my day, making that little potholder was huge. Was huge. That doesn't have to be perfect. You did it with your own hands. Yeah. That's huge.

Diane Schroeder [:

I am so grateful that you have shared such a vulnerable side of you and your story. And what I hear the whole time is you're just a badass. And I hope that you will see that in yourself someday, because all the evidence is clear. You know exactly what you're doing. You're amazing, and you are helping a community, and it's through the most beautiful practice, in my opinion, which is yoga. And that is no small task at all. And I love your passion for it. As a final question, I just want to hear your take on this. I'm really curious. Why is arguably the easiest yoga position, which is shavasana or corpse pose the most difficult?

Jen Carrubba [:

Oh, and it is. And I knew where you were going. I'm like, oh, I hope she says savasana. I hope she says savasana. Because it is the hardest. And it's the old egg we joke saying it's the posture you come here for. Because of our brain, we cannot turn off. We can't turn it off. It's so hard to sit still. That's why it's so hard for me to meditate, because sitting still and this is why I like yoga, because it is a moving meditation. So I get the benefit of meditation, but with movement. So being able to let go of everything and to allow yourself to focus solely on your breath, to give yourself that time to shut off all the crazy talk that you tell yourself. I call it a squirrel brain. It's just that and it's funny to watch people. People are fascinating. They're scratching and they're itching because cutting it short. Squirrel brain. You can't turn it off.

Diane Schroeder [:

Yes, the squirrel brain. And I read in a book, too, part of it is just feeling safe because you're in a very vulnerable, exposed position after doing something really hard. And there have been a few times where I've fallen asleep in Shavasana, which to me is like level ten, right? Snoring everything slightly embarrassing, but there are times where, depending on what's going on in my life, that it's the squirrel brain. Yes. And I don't feel safe. I don't feel like I can fully relax. So my untrained yoga.

Jen Carrubba [:

But the thing is, it's different for everyone. So I love that you said that, because I'm going to always learning and it's just from what people say and what they experience, and I love to bring that in. So I'm going to bring it into my next class and just that maybe that vulnerability and that you just did something incredibly hard and with this is where you truly benefit from all that hard work you just did. Allow yourself to let go. Diane, thank you for inspiring me.

Diane Schroeder [:

Well, you are very welcome. Thank you for inspiring me and thank you for giving us your time, because I know it's valuable, and even after ten takes to try to get it going, I'm very grateful, and I can't wait to come visit you and practice at your studio.

Jen Carrubba [:

I cannot wait, Diane. I cannot wait. So I'm holding you to it.

Diane Schroeder [:

I'm down. I will be there. I'm not sure when, but I will be there. Thanks, Jed.

Jen Carrubba [:

Thank you.

Diane Schroeder [:

Another great conversation. Thank you for giving the valuable gift of your time and listening to the fire inside her podcast. Speaking of value, one of the most common potholes we fall into on the journey to authenticity is not recognizing our value. So I created a workbook. It's all about value. Head on over to thefireinsideher.com/Value to get your free workbook that will help you remember your value. Until next time, my friend.

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