BookYogaRetreats (BYR): We like the title of your book, “I Got Laid Off, Traveled, and Wrote This Story”. It sounded like “Eat, Pray, Love” to us. Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
Shari Hochberg (SH): Maybe in “theory” it may seem like “Eat, Pray, Love,” but in reality, it is a totally different story! I wasn’t escaping anything, I was running towards something new and exciting. The book recounts my time spent over the course of a month in France and Italy after I was laid off from my marketing & advertising job in San Francisco. These incredible travels conjured up embarrassing, uncomfortable, and yes, absurd tales of the past woven into the present as I explored the streets from Paris to Milan.
BYR: It sounded like losing your job, continued with your trip to Italy was a tipping point for you. What actually happened during the one-month trip?
SH: I decided to travel for a month so I could remove myself from my life for a brief time to figure out my next steps in my life and career. Sometimes a new environment can provide clarity and direction. And this is exactly what happened in my case!
BYR: Did you realize something and want to make changes with your perspective and your life? Can you tell us a bit about that?
SH: I fell in love (again) with the European lifestyle and attitude. There was something so intriguing about sitting at a café for two hours and only discussing mundane subjects like how to create the perfect cup of coffee! I realized what I needed was a complete change for my overall wellbeing.
BYR: Did you decide to be a yoga teacher after this trip? Or did it happen long after?
SH: I kind of “fell” into it! I did the training with the idea of opening up a yoga studio in Italy. During my travels I realized this was an area that was lacking in this incredible country. I didn’t think it was responsible of me to open up a studio if I wasn’t even qualified to teach. (Sort of like opening up a restaurant if you do not know how to cook!) So, after my training, I was asked if I was interested in teaching and so I did. As simple as that.
BYR: How did you get to know yoga and fall in love with yoga?
SH: I discovered yoga in San Francisco after my close friend Sarah took me one day to one of her favorite instructors. I loved the way I felt and how strong I became in such a short amount of time. I practiced numerous disciplines and with amazing instructors before I considered being certified. I think the years of practice helped me through the Teacher Training process, both mentally and physically.
BYR: How did you start Sole Yoga Holidays?
SH: I wanted to create a yoga holiday company with exactly what I would like to have on a yoga retreat! I like the balance of yoga and entertainment. I don’t want anyone (including myself!) to wake up too early. I don’t want anyone to feel they need to restrict their diet. I want to have some excursions, but plenty of free time to discover the local areas or simply relax and unwind. The idea is that I create a recommended program, but truly the vacation is up to the individual. For some, it may be the only time throughout the year they are capable of taking a vacation. So, I want them to relish it fully.
BYR: So, is yoga your pathway now?
SH: Yoga is part of my life. But, not the main part. I am so thankful for the practice and grateful for the immeasurable knowledge from all of my teachers and students. And I certainly have an appetite for more! But, I also desire to do additional things with my life, such as continue with my writing! The balance gives me incredible satisfaction.
BYR: Just a little curious. You put a story of your dad in the beginning of your book. You also called him ‘Vagina Whisperer’. How’s your relationship with your dad?
SH: My Dad is such an incredible, loving, intelligent man. He is an OB-GYN, hence the nickname! I do not think I could be more proud of another person. He has delivered thousands of babies. He has helped thousands of women. He is truly my idol. Our relationship only gets better with time. (He loved the book, by the way!)
What a life! Have you ever 'fell' into yoga as Shari did? Share us your opinions and experiences about it!