This is my last week in NYC {and the story that brought me here}

I’ve got some really big news today.

This is my last week as a New Yorker.

I’ll be saying goodbye to 15 clients that I have loved and taught for as many as 10 years.

{This is HANDS DOWN one of the hardest things I have ever done.}

Even six months ago I had NO IDEA this day was coming.

Let me back up and give you a little background. Here is the chronology:

  • 2005:: I move to NYC as a dancer and yoga teacher, and am a full time yoga teacher by the fall of 2006
  • 2006-2012:: Live and work as a yoga teacher in NYC, slowly build a thriving full time practice
  • May 2012:: Move halftime to DC for boyfriend’s job {surprised by how much I love being out of NYC and create an awesome life and community in DC}
  • Summer/Fall 2012:: Live a full blown double life, love that I get to have everything I want, but definitely feel torn between two different places and communities
  • February 2013:: Leave said relationship, but decide to stay in DC anyway. Also continue to work in NYC with beloved private clients 3 days a week. Double life continues. Good but hard.
  • December 2014:: I travel to Thailand
  • Return home from Thailand and everything changes

Thailand was an amazing, but challenging experience. I was on retreat with my teacher Sara Avant Stover for the first week of my trip, and it was some of the most difficult work I have ever done. Sara is an incredibly skillful and serious teacher and we spent our week with her taking a deep dive into some of the darkest parts of ourselves. It was hard.

We were scheduled from 7am to 9pm with meditation sessions, journaling time, asana, and mostly deep inner work exercises led by Sara. Much of our time was in silence. Please don’t think I am complaining; it was 90 degrees, sunny and humid, and the resort was beautiful, but a relaxing yoga vacation this was not.

This stirred quite a lot in me; I left that retreat time feeling very awake to the inner workings of my soul in the most amazing and healing way.

After the retreat week finished, I traveled around Thailand totally alone for two weeks.

Everything that had been stirred up by my retreat time was still floating around, but now without the loving container of my teacher and retreat friends.

Thailand is a beautiful country with incredibly friendly people that is set up to support tourists. It is a safe place to be a woman traveling alone. That said, there were many challenging moments traveling in a developing country alone, and they were exacerbated by the vulnerable, raw state I found myself in after the retreat. Managing the logistics of this trip by myself proved taxing at times.

Just one story to illustrate:: As I traveled from the islands in the south to Chiang Mai in the north, I was really sick from the food, had a 36 hour travel day that included a terrifying ride on a “ferry”, {Rickshaw-on-water was more like it…}, multiple delayed and then canceled flights, and an unexpected overnight in Bangkok. Nothing I couldn’t handle, but doing those kinds of things all alone took its toll.

Also:: I stayed a few nights in a beautiful and secluded resort on a tiny island in the south. I was the only person staying there who wasn’t on a honeymoon. Y’all. I’m not even exaggerating. I was LITERALLY the only guest there not on a honeymoon.

I had this conversation at least 5 times a day::

Waiter:: How many people?

Me:: Just one.

Waiter:: Only one people?

Me. Right. Only one people.

Waiter:: You alone??

Me:: Yes, I’m alone.

Waiter:: You have no friend?

Me. Right. I have no friend.

Waiter:: Where is the husband?

Me:: I don’t have a husband. Can you take me to my table please?

Then I sit down at the table, and 5 minutes later have the EXACT SAME CONVERSATION with a different waiter.


This happened so many times, I felt like I was in a bad romantic comedy.

There was also no internet at this hotel, and I was staying in my own tiny little bungalow.

It was the most alone I have ever felt.

There wasn’t much to do, so I did long meditation practices, long asana practices, read, wrote in my journal, and FELT ALL THE FEELINGS.

I knew what an incredible gift this was, and I didn’t wish it away for a moment, but y’all…it did not feel good. It felt hard.

I think there is a misconception that inner work is beautiful and glamorous, or relaxing and peaceful. That has not been my experience. All the deepest work I have done in my life felt like WORK. It felt like digging a ditch. I didn’t forget for a SECOND how incredibly lucky I was to have the time and space and resources to take time for myself like that, but it didn’t feel relaxing and calming and glamorous. It felt like doing uncomfortable, manual labor.

When I came home from that trip I felt incredibly raw and open and vulnerable. I was hyper aware of the way I was interacting with people after having spent so much time alone.

I was thinking and journaling very intensely about the way I wanted to show up in all my most important relationships.

I asked,

“What kind of friend, what kind of daughter, what kind of teacher do I want to be?”

I realized I wanted to be much more focused on, generous to and grounded for the people I love.

The next question then was, “What do I need to do for myself every day, so I can engage in my most important relationships the way I want to?”

And there sat the answer, clear as day.

I need to live in only one city, and it can’t be New York.

{New York has so much to offer, and it is also an incredibly challenging place to live. I want to live in a place where going grocery shopping or just getting to work is not the hardest part of my day.}

After living a double life for three years, and wondering and worrying about how long I could really keep this up, I finally let myself see the truth.

Once you let yourself see the truth, you can’t unsee it. {Tweet it.}

In the end, there was no decision to be made. The only thing to be done was allow myself to be quiet enough so the deepest truth could reveal itself.

The other thing that made this the right time is that I have some amazing teachers who will be taking all my clients over from me. They are fabulous women who have been studying and mentoring with me for two years, and they sub for me when I am out of town. My clients know and love them, and the transition to the new teachers will be seamless.

I will be a full time resident and yoga teacher in Washington, DC as of March 1st.

This means I will have to build a private practice from scratch again. {I’ve already got a bunch of great irons in the fire that I feel really excited about!}

If you stick around, you’ll get to watch me spend this year rebuilding a thriving private practice. I’ll share with you what is and isn’t working for me, and show you that building a private practice isn’t about fancy marketing, business secrets or having the perfect contacts.

I built my first practice in a slow, organic way, because I built trust and relationships with my clients that allowed for deep work to be done. That deep work manifested as meaningful change in their lives, and their testimonials built my practice for me.

I’m going to do it again here in DC. I’d love for you to join me for the ride!
Tell me loves… Anyone else have big changes on the horizon? Share with us here!

26 Responses to “This is my last week in NYC {and the story that brought me here}”

  1. Dunia

    Funny reading this. My family and I have just this week decided to relocate to DC for my husband’s work. I’m very nervous about it as a native New Yorker whose entire family and support system is in the NY area. Your post came at a very interesting moment. Hope to meet you down there and provide some live music. 🙂

  2. Stephanie

    Congratulations Francesca! It take a lot to uproot and make a change especially when it hasn’t been an external force the has required us too, just the gut that tell us it is what we need to do!
    I am about to leave my full time secure job to start my private yoga business in Melbourne, Australia. In some ways I think I should be worried and concerned about how it will pan out and that I should even have some fall back plan but instead I feel calm and positive and excited about what is to come.
    I have to thank you, your website and blog have been such a resource and inspiration for me. I look forward to hearing about more of your mentoring courses as I would love to do one in the future.
    Thank you again and all the best for your move in March.

  3. Cassandra

    wow oh wow oh wow. Thank you for writing this. So courageous not only to actually do the work but to share with us as well. You made me laugh too. I admire and respect you and honor what you’ve accomplished. I grew up around NYC, to me NYC is THE city. But DC has been my home for over 25 years and I love it. Welcome to full time living! Good luck with the move. xoxo Cass

  4. Barb

    Reading this…. Strangely I feel very proud of you! I don’t even know you except for a few emails back and forth we’ve had! Glad you’re home! I’m with you for this next adventure!

  5. Nancy

    Thank you for sharing the inner work and courage it has taken to “see the truth”. I have a little voice telling me I need to relocate….however I’m not living a double life so I’m not sure where. Furthermore I know it means “starting over” in all aspects of my life. Kind of frightening. Maybe I need 3 weeks in Thailand!

  6. Racheal Cook

    I remember when you came home and told me all about the big trip… and I couldn’t be prouder of you lovely! Can’t wait to see what unfolds next for you! And thanks for taking us all behind the scenes of your journey!

  7. Mélanie St-Jean

    I felt someting similar last week, as I discovered my life mission while I was teaching a yin class, and the vision was even clearer in my bath after. The word of this life mission is EQUILIBRE (equilibrium or balance). I will leave my current corporate job and help women with round bodies to find their balance in life, as I am experiencing finding mine. Thanks for sharing your true self Franscesca, its very inspiring! I also felt that alone, feeling really alone in one trip in 2009, and I can definetely relate to your story. I wish you all the best in DC.

  8. Olga

    Good luck Francesca! Sounds like a brave, yet necessary next step. Thank you for sharing your experience with the challenges of the inner work. It is such a misconception to think of it as glamorous or relaxing! They don’t call it “work” for nothing. And as someone who made a similar move about a year and half ago, I can tell you that it is a rare opportunity to rebuild your life being very conscious about what you choose to have in it, and what you can let go off. Then you can really direct your energy toward things that matter. Poputnogo vetra! (This is a Russian expression that basically means “May the wind help carry you on your journey”).

  9. Corey

    Congratulations Francesca! Your transparency and willingness to share your journey with all of us is both inspiring and motivational. I’m sure many will come out of the virtual woodwork to share their stories of transition as well. I am closing my small studio in April. I had a huge ‘aha moment’ in December when I realized my intention for going into business didn’t include making a living for myself. I literally forgot to put myself on my priority list. Need-less-to-say, I have become burned out, resentful and exhausted beyond belief. My plans for teaching moving forward include taking my business “mobile” to retirement communities and corporations and eventually building a private practice. My daily reminder is, “What’s best for ME?” Magically, organically, people are calling ME and my calendar is filling effortlessly. Feels good to finally be on the right path. I’m walking beside YOU and cheering you along this path we walk together. Namaste!

  10. Fina

    I admire your ability to live two lives between two cities, to take 3 weeks off for personal self discovery, and to sit and listen for your answers, and to not turn away from the path shown to you in fear.

    I have struggled with weather to move back to NYC or not, i was born and raised there ans so happy to move away and explore other places to live. I have struggled with listening to the direction provided to me when i connect with source, and while I would like to build my own yoga practice, fear holds me back.

    I have read your blog and posts over the past year but never commented. I look forward to hearing more about your journey of growing your private practice in a new city.

  11. Abby

    YEAH FRANCESCA!!!! Congratulations and continue to be the dedicated and professional, not to mention amazing and awesome woman and teacher that you are!!! NYC isn’t THAT far away, and I am sure you’ll be visiting on occasion!
    Best Wishes!!
    Love, Abby

  12. Christine

    My husband works for the military and I thought I had embraced the intense amount of uncertainty that this life brings with it. Turns out… not completely. This past weekend, we found out he will leave for seven months for work (not dangerous/combat related), but he leaves me with our 3-year-old, me (balls deep) in the midst of nursing school, and a full-time yoga business (group and private sessions). I have to release two of my favorite group classes to manage this change and it has left me heartbroken, but I am still optimistic that these changes uncover opportunities and I just have to wait and breathe. I have been following your webinars on the Yoga Alliance page and watched your videos for private sessions (which is where my heart lies… I specialize in individual sessions for military veterans and those with trauma). Thank you for being a guiding voice to those who want to meet their clients as they are and I wish you well with this new change. It is heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring, and informative to hear your own authentic story.

  13. Ashley

    Congrats Francesca!! I can’t wait to build a private practice alongside you in DC 🙂 you’ve been such a helpful resource and taking class with you is such a treat. I hope I can make it to class again soon!

  14. Quinn

    Congratulations on the decision! I think the hardest part is making yourself space to see your answers.

    I can remember back in July last year, after yoga teacher training but before I was working regularly as a yoga teacher, when I set out to get myself a secure, regular paying job (read: not teaching yoga). I damn near had a panic attack just dropping off the resume!

    This wasn’t long-spent reflection like yours in Thailand, it was more of an explosion of TRUTH hailing down on me. It was tough, but taught me a lot. Namely, it taught me that I couldn’t cave, I had to keep following my heart. (More on this story here:

    I’m so happy for you.

  15. Danielle

    Francesca, I’ve been inspired by your work and SELF since I came to your Science of the Private Lesson training last year in March. I draw on that information and my experience with you frequently. And your story here… really inspires me again. I’ve been thinking about all the internal traveling I do–thoughts running, desires nagging, contemplation, quieting of the mind, focusing on the breath, and more thoughts running, desires nagging, insecurities, growing confidence, all of it…– but without the intense, focused work of expression (journaling), the serious meditation (consistent, regular), the physical travel (new environment, exiting comfort zones), and being alone (no coping mechanisms, no familiar faces, and lots of time with ALL OF THE FEELINGS… )….. without those things, my mental/emotional wandering only takes me so far before I run up against the side of my brain, get distracted, fall into a familiar habit, etc.

    Okay, rambling… but you’ve truly shown me by example and raw honesty that I’m onto something, my intuition about needing to travel and be with myself and all my feelings–raw and without the typical, easy distractions–is probably something I should follow.

    I can’t wait to hear more about your journey in rebuilding your base fully in DC.


    I’ll be sending you love, energy of courage, and light. You go girl.

  16. Jessica

    A lovely share, thank you for writing about your journey!
    It occurred to me while reading, how being in community is a foundation for leveraging ‘happiness,’ – although it is inevitably a choice. They say the Danish who live in near commune-style apartments with shared kitchen and garden are the happiest people as a nation. Contrarily, I am married and stay home with our son but can often feel very alone. I have learned the feelings “lonely” and “happy” are self-generated choices regardless of our circumstances.
    I wish you the very best as you continue your journeys of the inner and physical landscapes 🙂

  17. Michelle

    Hello Francesca,

    I am deeply moved by your courage and willingness to let us journey with you! All the best, I will be travelling to DC for the first weekend in May, I’d love to attend a workshop if you by chance were planning something. 🙂

  18. Gracy

    Thank you for sharing this with us Francesca. Your journey makes sense to me, especially the hardness of it. I totally agree that the moments that really reshape us involve the intensity of fire. I’m proud of you and excited to see what will happen in this new phase of life. Selfishly, I’m excited you choose DC. Let’s have tea soon! XO

  19. Diana

    Wow, Francesca. Thank you for sharing such an intimate and heartfelt story. Relocation is a very stressful transition. I also just relocated. I moved from New Hampshire to Southeastern Pennsylvania to be closer to family and old friends. Your positive attitude and yogini toolbox will surely benefit you. I look forward to hearing more about your journey and growth. You are an inspiration, and I appreciate the genuineness of your personality and demeanor.

  20. Tina

    Many blessings Francesca. It’s interesting to read this post, because I’ve just decided to teach a yoga workshop in March called “Thresholds: Moving from What Was to What Is.” My focus is more about the tiny thresholds we cross without knowing it–but the one you’re crossing is a MammaJamma threshold. Godspeed, my friend. DC is so lucky to have you.

  21. Elizabeth Peters

    I love DC. I am originally from Northern Virginia. I sometimes do work up there and I have a great girlfriend who lives in Mt. Pleasant I would love for you to meet. I hope our paths cross and we’ll be able to share a tea or something when I travel back to the North East. Congratulations. I hope and wish the best for you. 🙂

  22. Kristi Smith

    I came across your site this morning due to my own pending transformation (pending because I know what I need to do, but am not yet able to take the plunge for financial reasons). Thank you for sharing and for your inspiration! Om shanti.

  23. Zeshan

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey and being so honest, open, and vulnerable Francesca. I could relate to you and your story here and it feels good to know that I am not the only one. Such a beautiful, deep post – my favorite one yet!


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