My journey to yoga has taught me that life doesn’t always give us what we want, but it always gives us what we need.
Kris Rotzinger, CPT, 200hr RYT
Heading toward burnout
If you had asked me how I was anytime in my life before discovering yoga, I probably would have answered: “busy.” It was my default answer, because for a long time I, like many people, wore my “busy” badge as one of honor. Life was all about the hustle. It seemed like I was always trying to have more, to do more, and to be more.
First, it was volleyball, AP courses, and varsity quiz in high school. Then on to student government, full-time job, and volunteering in college. After graduation, next came multiple jobs, building a business, and earning certifications on the side. I was a hard-working, goal-oriented over-achiever, but I was also addicted to stress and on the fast track to burnout.
As a result of this unbalanced, cortisol-fueled lifestyle I suffered frequent headaches, even migraines, and had trouble falling asleep even after an exhausting day of work. To add insult to injury, I had lost grip on any concept of what it meant to relax and found myself plagued by ping-ponging feelings of guilt for my rare moments of “laziness” and overwhelm regarding all the things that still needed my attention.
But the most frightening part of all was that I thought I was doing great. I truly believed that this fast-paced, hustle and grind lifestyle was the path to success and happiness. Only now can I truly look back and see that I was one wrong step from falling completely apart.
Life was all about the hustle. It seemed like I was always trying to have more, to do more, and to be more.
Finding love in fitness
Beginning My Career
Eventually, I started to realize that in order to keep pushing toward my goals, I had to start prioritizing my health and it was this realization that led me to discover my fascination with fitness and exercise. Although I still wasn’t ready to start slowing down, the busy body in me was more than happy to add another to-do to the ever-evolving list.
In 2017, I started teaching group fitness classes at a local gym and absolutely fell in love. As much as I loved what being active did for my mental and physical health, I loved the connections and transformations I was making with my clients even more. This was it! This was what I was meant to do and I couldn’t get enough of it.
I started teaching classes almost every day of the week and spending most of my spare time dreaming up new workouts in my home gym, always eager to find new ways to challenge myself and my clients. But even then, yoga remained largely off my radar. It had always seemed too slow, too quiet, too different from the workouts I had first fallen in love with. Little did I know at the time, the things we resist most are often exactly what we need most when it comes to health and fitness.
A step toward balance
After moving to Japan in August 2019, I decided to give yoga a try. While my main focus remained on the HIIT and functional fitness routines that had started my career, I thought yoga might be a good way to support my recovery. Though I may not have consciously realized it at the time, that decision was my first big step toward balance.
My yoga journey began with a mere 15 minutes a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. Most days, I enjoyed the flows, the stretching, even the calming sensation of connecting with my breath. Yet every time, I reached my final resting posture, savasana, I’d take about two deep breathes (if that) before rolling right back up to a seated position and getting on with my day.
The hustler in me liked to reason that if it wasn’t challenging me, it wasn’t changing me. Yet the truth, however, was that laying still and quiet was so much of a challenge after a lifetime of go-go-go that I didn’t even recognize it. Even still, I continued to show up for my practice and over time it became easier and more natural to quiet my mind and simply let myself be.
It took about a year of almost daily practice before I realized the full impact that yoga had been having on me. It wasn’t just about stretching my sore muscles anymore, it was about learning to reconnect and actually heal my mind, body, and habits after years of overthinking, overstressing, and overdoing. I started to notice how I felt more aware of and connected to my body. I stopped having headaches and found myself falling asleep easily at night.
Through yoga, I learned to let go of the stress that had fueled me for so long.
Yet the truth, however, was that laying still and quiet was so much of a challenge after a lifetime of go-go-go that I didn’t even recognize it.
Coaching Deep Health & Sustainable Habits
Who I am Today
Today, my passion for health and fitness continues to live on at the heart of my business, but my understanding of what it means to be healthy has grown tremendously. I now focus on training deep health using a full-person, full-life approach as I assist my clients in building sustainable habits around mind-body fitness like yoga.
In addition to my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with YogaBody, I am also a certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise. In 2020, my never-ending thirst for knowledge led me to add the title of Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach to these credentials. I truly believe that there is no machine more fascinating or perfectly built than the human body and my goal each day is to understand it better in order to provide the support it needs and the respect it deserves, both for myself and my clients.
Furthermore, because I understand the burden of stress from my own experience, I am incredibly passionate about helping hard-working, over-achieving men and women just like me to find peace and balance through yoga. I am also a big believer in making yoga, and health in general, accessible to everyone. In my business, this means offering both group and private sessions online and in-person to reach as many people as possible.
If my story at any point has ignited a spark of inspiration for you to begin your own journey with yoga or if the struggles of my early days seem to mirror elements of your own life at this time, I would love to invite you to join me on the mat for some mind-body healing through the power of yoga. You can use the links below to get started.