One of the Babes: Courtney Bailey
Meet Courtney Bailey, a yoga teacher specializing in trauma-informed techniques to help serve communities that "lack appropriate resources to invest in health and wellness." She's been the yoga instructor at many of our events, and you'll probably catch her around town!
You can read Courtney's story and what inspired her to teach below.
Q: What inspired you to start working in the field/Industry? Did you have any role models or learn from someone, in particular?
A: The desire to heal myself from anxiety, depression and other health challenges is what inspired me to study trauma-informed yoga more in-depth. Often, I felt alone so I turned to yoga and meditation to help me cope. Then, I figured I could share what I have/am learning with others so I wrote my very first grant to support me in my efforts to provide this service in communities that have historically lacked the appropriate resources to invest in health and wellness. In addition, I have graduated from Sundara Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Program, where I am learning how to tailor trauma-informed techniques to support the populations that I seek to serve.
I have never said this before, but I believe the women in my immediate family have become role models for me. They labor overtime to give to others, and sometimes forget to replenish themselves. This cycle can create anger, sadness, fatigue and pain (physical and emotional). Each of them have started their own self-care journey, and I have witnessed and learned from their growth. My mom even wants to practice yoga, and it feels good to be able to provide her with sound advice. And, I love when she shares self-care tips with me.
Q: Do you have any tidbits of advice for people with passions, in general?
A: Here is what Ruth Simmons (the first African American Woman to head an Ivy League University) says about the struggle to achieve one’s goals: “It formed in me the ability to assert my views, and then have the courage to be alone in my views.” This is probably one of the realest things I have ever heard. The fact is, what you do may not resonate with everyone and could lack popularity at the moment, but you have to feel good about yourself and the efforts that you put forth. Moreover, it is important to trust in your inner guidance and be willing to walk the path alone when the time comes. This doesn’t mean that you won’t develop support along the way or throughout, it simply means that you must cultivate the strength/motivation from within, first. In return, you will begin to understand your self-worth and sharpen your principals. It takes a great deal of practice, so keep at it.
Q: What have been your favorite moments of creativity?
A: One of my most favorite and terrifying moments was when I made the choice to write a grant to support my efforts. Prior to this, I was bullied into quitting one job, then fired from the next one, I’d lost friends, who really weren’t friends (but at the time I didn’t know the difference), and I was in a very toxic personal space (I didn’t like myself). My family and a few good loved ones supported me as best they could while I got myself together. I started practicing yoga again and really spending time with self. During a moment of clarity, I was able to leave my room long enough to pitch my idea to an organization. It went something like this,
Me: “ I know that is sounds crazy and probably doesn’t make any sense but [insert shaky elevator pitch]”
Them: “We love it. You have two weeks to get your proposal in.”
That was last year, I got the grant and was able to provide myself with a small income to do something that I am passionate about. In truth, it has been an up and down process, but I am confident that I will find my consistent flow in time. All it took was one moment of clarity and the creative drive to make it happen.
Q: What have been your most challenging moments in your career, thus far?
A: Rejection! Whenever a door closes, or someone says, "no" — it hurts. I am learning not to take rejection personally. It is true what they say, when one door closes another one opens. Often, I have to remind myself to turn my back to closed doors and look toward the ones that are opening.
In a close second place is the art of branding. I simply want to teach and practice this healing modality, continue my self-care journey, and share some valuable tools for self regulation with others. However, I run from marketing myself, which drives friends and supporters up the wall! I think this has to do with the first issue of rejection or this notion that once I put myself out there I can’t turn back. This isn’t true, though. I can turn back, front, up, down, sideways as much as I need to because it is my process.
Q: What's your day job?
A: I work at the University of Texas Dell Medical School as a Research Coordinator. I am learning about health disparities and mental health challenges in Austin. I am also in an environment that forces me to be assertive and take initiative. I am learning how to use these skills to help further my passion and knowledge about integrative holistic wellness and mental health.
Q: When you're discouraged, what do you run to or away from?
A: When I am discouraged sometimes I run to my bed and curl in a ball. Other times, I look to my support system (family and those constant friends) to provide the needed lift. I also try, try to practice what I teach, which includes meditation, walking in nature, yoga, breathwork, laughter and mindfulness (drawing my attention inward without judgement).
Your favorite band at the moment: Not a band, but a goddess — Tracy Chapman. Her music is timeless and soothes the natural heaviness that I carry within.
Your favorite book at the moment: It is not my favorite, but I recently completed Toni Morrison's book, God Help The Child. I am still processing it!
Your local Austin gem: I enjoy the many hiking trails in and around Austin. Spending time exploring these trails is a fun way to commune with friends, problem solve, and/or be in the present moment.
Your social media handles:
I am expanding my comfort zone and working to improve this area of my project/business so any advice and support is greatly welcomed! I simply have my personal Facebook page.
Healthy Families is the name of my current yoga project.