On The Culture of Self-Care: Yoga Instructor and Entrepreneur Kaysha Patel

On The Culture of Self-Care: Yoga Instructor and Entrepreneur Kaysha Patel

Leading up to our Summer ‘19 iteration of WORK, we'll feature select interviews with some of our conference's speakers and thought leaders. In this interview, entrepreneur and yoga instructor Kaysha Patel talks wellness. Click here for a look at Summer 2019’s conference schedule.



After several years of working in the hustle and bustle of the fashion industry in New York City, Kaysha moved to Austin to begin a di erent kind of hustle—the entrepreneur life. In 2017, she opened Stretch, a yoga & meditation studio in East Austin. As the Founder, CFO, CMO, COO, yoga teacher and Principle Maintenance Woman of her business, she’s no stranger to work burnout. In this session, she’ll discuss her techniques for managing fatigue and juggling multiple priorities while maintaining productivity and adhering to the grind.

In what ways has your life changed since you moved to Austin and started Stretch Yoga?

Changing careers from a structured office job to owning a business turned my life upside down (or perhaps right side up?).  I have so much autonomy now to choose how I spend my time and craft the life that I want to live. The opportunity to work for myself and see my ideas come to fruition has been life-changing but this type of freedom also has its price.  I no longer have the stability of a steady paycheck or the luxury to “turn off” work mode after 5 pm. I work 24/7 now, but I wouldn’t have it another way!

What do you think is missing from current conversations on wellness? 

That wellness can be accessible to anyone.  Wellness is often viewed as an “elite” practice centered around luxury retreats, expensive organic products,  health club memberships, trendy workout attire, etc. but wellness can be as simple as a shift in your perspective.   There’s not much conversation on the simplicity of wellness, through the breath and within one’s own mental state. Mindfulness is often a part of wellness, but there is not enough discussion on how to bring mindfulness into everyday life without shipping off to an island or spending money. 

As a business owner, what is your philosophy on creating a positive workplace culture?

I think a positive workplace culture begins with a focus on the “process of working” rather than on the goals of the business. Too much emphasis on results leaves employees burned out and disengaged.  I always tell my yoga teachers to teach what they enjoy practicing, because that ensures they will bring energy and enthusiasm to their classes. A focus on the process rather than the results also helps employees feel like they are not just working for someone else’s benefit - that their enjoyment also matters.   I also believe in open and frequent communication between managers and employees creates positive culture. Everyone knows that employees need to listen to their boss, but not many bosses are able to listen to employees. I think it’s super important to hear what they have to say on their own satisfaction with the job.  

How do you combat the pressure to constantly be busy as an entrepreneur?

I always feel like I need to be doing something in order to feel productive, especially since I don’t have set work hours.  However, being busy doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive. Pushing aside self-care or quality time with friends/family in favor of plugging away at low priority tasks is counterproductive.  When I am refreshed with time off or self-care, I am able to be there more fully for my employees and my work. Someone once told me, “productivity is not about working harder, it’s about working smarter.” Sometimes that means going to get  a pedicure with my computer in my lap, so I can self-care and work at the same time. Sometimes, it means blocking off time on my calendar as “do not disturb” for non-work related activities. No one said you can’t be “busy” doing fun things!

What keeps you going when you’re experiencing a lack of motivation? 

I have kept a journal for the past several years when I transitioned careers.  In that journal, I wrote down my reasons for making a change in my life, and what my goals were in making the change. When I feel unmotivated, I go back to those journal entries and reread my thoughts.  Often times, when I feel like I failed, it’s because I’m too focused on what I haven’t accomplished rather than how far I’ve come. When I look back at my journal, I see that I have taken many steps to living my desired life and I am able to self motivate to keep going. 

What has been the biggest challenge you have ever faced and overcome as an entrepreneur? 

The biggest challenge I’ve come to face is to believe in myself! There have been many times where I thought I wasn’t smart enough or creative enough or just plain good enough to figure out a solution to a problem so I hired people to do the work for me. This never worked out as I imagined.  In the end, I wasted money and realized I had the answers I sought, I just needed to believe in myself and my abilities. That’s not to say one shouldn’t hire/seek outside help, but I learned to hire to grow the business rather to substitute for my own skills. 

What’s something you’ve unlearned lately that you’re grateful for? 

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, Ruiz talks about how we are programmed to take responsibility for everything that is done/said to us,  but in reality, nothing people ever do/say to me is because of me, it is because of them. Their opinions are based on the programming they have received in their lives - through their lens of experience.  Learning not to take things personally has released me from the negativity and anxiety that comes with worrying about what other people think and I am grateful for it everyday.

About WORK: WORK is a biannual pop-up space, designed for sharing new ideas and approaches to creative and entrepreneurial work. The event's panels, workshops and speaker sessions explore personal and professional curiosity, storytelling, diversity and equality, business management and creative entrepreneurship. Our next conference pops up in July 2019 at Rowling Hall in Austin, Texas. ✨Click here for more information.

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