On recognizing opportunity, embracing challenges and unseating comfort zones

Hi Everyone! I hope that you had a great weekend! I had another long but amazing weekend for my teacher training. It was full, full, full. I’m still trying to process some of the learnings from the weekend and will share that with you soon. 

This week, we have a week-long retreat schedule as part of the teacher training program. While I’m away, I’ve invited some friends to come over to share some of their stories. 

Today, I’m beyond honored to have Jolene here. I can’t remember how we came across each other’s blogs but I adore her and her writing. She always reminds me to slow down, notice and be grateful. She’s here to share her experience becoming a barre instructor!



Hi everyone! I’m Jolene, and I blog (re-emerging after a bit of a hiatus!) over at Determined to Be and am honored to write a guest post for Christine this week as she’s in training to become a yoga instructor!! I was so thrilled to hear that Christine was taking the plunge into something she’s so passionate about and today I write about my own experience taking a similar plunge and why it as one of the best decisions I ever made.

I trained to become a certified barre n9ne studio fitness instructor about a year and a half ago, after going through my own fitness journey at the very same barre studio, (read my story here!) reshaping and changing my body and eating habits for the better, and becoming so passionate about this lifestyle and approach to fitness that when Tanya, the owner of barre n9ne, asked me if I would like to train to become certified as an instructor, I jumped at the chance and was so honored to become part of such a strong community that I, in part, helped cultivate.

The easiest part about becoming certified was saying ‘yes’ to Tanya to training. The hardest part was stepping out of my comfort zone and setting foot in front of a studio of clients, putting my best ‘game face’ on and leading a class I had taken hundreds of times, commanding that room, and putting together a class that not only I could be proud of, but that would mirror the beauty behind the barre n9ne approach: that it never.gets.easier. that it is always always ALWAYS a challenge and that the class would walk away and never know it was my very first class to teach.

Jolene barre n9ne

After 25+ hours of training, countless hours pouring over my notes, practicing in an empty studio, or my mirror at home, or in the car, driving, talking through the class, getting used to hearing myself aloud. I would run on the treadmill with my class playlist on and mentally ‘teach’ the class throughout an hour of music, to see if what I’d put together for a class felt timed well, visualizing walking around the room, adjusting form, motivating, and pushing clients to go lower, push themselves through one more rep, or step out of their comfort zone and hold that position just 5 seconds longer.

My first class was both the scariest 60 minutes of my life and the most exhilerating. It was the most fun, the sweatiest, and the most nerve-racking. And when it ended, I looked around and smiled. I’d taught my very first class, and the room was alive, everyone was sweating and I was riding a major ‘barre n9ne high’ as I like to call it, still, to this day.

And every single time, every single class that I teach every single week, I walk out of that studio and have a huge smile on my face. It is the most rewarding, the most fun, and the most challenging job I have ever had. Every time someone tells me they loved class, or that it was super challenging, or that I motivate them, or that I inspire them, it touches me, it makes me realize why I do what I do, and why I love it every single time. It feels like my calling is this. I was meant to do this. It was worth every ‘uncomfortable’ moment, it was worth taking a chance, and it is a challenge I embrace every day.

And seeing Christine doing this very thing – stepping out of her own comfort zone and going after her own passion? I cannot wait to see her story unfold, because she will be amazing!

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone?



  1. says

    I think every instructor goes through all those stages you described! I still get nervous when teaching a “new” format or at a new place and I think it’s definitely tied into passion. I’ve heard so much lately about these Barre classes! I really do need to try one!!
    Allie recently posted..The Mother of All Books – ReviewedMy Profile

  2. says

    Awesome story of how it all came to be. I have never done a barre class. I don’t think it was ever offered at the gyms we had been members of but now that we have a home gym, we no longer take group fitness classes. And we miss them. Spinning was the class where I had to step out of my comfort zone to do but we loved it so much, spin bikes were the 1st purchase when we decided to remodel our garage into a home gym.

    Congrats on your success!
    Angie @ Losing It and Loving It recently posted..Harvest Your Health Bundle Sale: 97% OFFMy Profile

  3. says

    My sister had a similar experience and is now training to be a Yoga instructor.
    I have been stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit at a time lately. I feel like I need to be taking bigger steps but I’m happy for what I’ve accomplished in 2013. More for 2014!
    Tamara recently posted..Stuff That’s Big, Big, Big.My Profile

  4. says

    I loved reading about your journey. And I can tell how jubilant you are doing what you’re doing by your expressions in those photos. I had to step our of my comfort zone in a big way when I went through yoga teacher training and in a huge way when I taught my first class, so I get this- but the great thing about stepping out of that zone is that it’s like that domino effect where we mind less and less doing it again and applying it to different areas of our lives. I’m sure you’ve experienced this too!
    Ilene recently posted..I Love Your BlogMy Profile

  5. says

    Thank you so much Christine for the opportunity to share my story here! and thank you to all of the wonderful ladies that responded and liked my perspective!! Means so much. I agree that it really makes a huge difference when an instructor is passionate about what they do!! it sets the class apart big time. Christine, you will make an amazing yoga instructor!! XOXO
    Jolene recently posted..A needed #staycationMy Profile

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing this–this is great to read. I just got back into teaching yoga again after many years. I just launched Runasana–a run + asana class at a local yoga studio, so your article is very timely for me. Teaching does feel terrifying sometimes, mostly the hearing myself talk as you say. The bonus is the more we teach, the more we practice. It’s a win-win.

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