Thursday, June 6, 2013

Be inspired by this great lady.

Check out Christa's blog here: Christa in New York

About Christa, my interviewee:

Photo Credit: Dan Fortune
I am a product developer who is equally inspired by new technology and ancient wisdom, a yoga and meditation teacher who learns from my students every day, and a writer who believes that creativity and determination is the most powerful duo on Earth.
My 14-year creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events that make people happy. I now work for myself through my consulting practice, Chasing Down the Muse, in which I support people and organizations who are and want to be at the very top of their chosen fields with a variety of services.
In 2010, I founded Compass Yoga, a NYC-based nonprofit that focuses on improving the health of all people by teaching the therapeutic benefits of yoga and meditation through free and low-cost classes and workshops.
A recovering multi-tasker,  I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my dog, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching.
Q&A with Christa
Q: You are a prolific and talented writer, on many topics.  You have self-published books, and are collaborating with others.  You also have a great blog and a lot going on!  Can you tell me about your practice of writing?

Christa: I do have a daily writing practice. I sit down every day at some point and write. I've been doing that for 6 years. I wanted to become a solid writer and I felt the only way that I could do that is to practice every single day. Sometimes it's for my blog (which has a daily post) and other times it's for freelance pieces or personal writing projects I'm working on. It's become such a ritual now that I actually don't feel right if I don't write every day. For me, writing is like brushing my teeth. I see and experience the world as a writer and it makes sense of me to get those observations down in some way. 

Q: You are interested in yoga and meditation used as tools for creativity.  Have you developed a philosophy on what works in the practice of yoga and meditation specifically with regards to creativity?

Christa: I've taught yoga for creativity classes at places such as SXSW (ed. note: The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals (March 8-17, 2013)) and NYU. A number of my students are professionals in creative fields. Yoga is a tremendous support to me as a writer and product developer. My yoga teacher, Douglass Stewart, says that our practice both saves and serves. That's definitely true for me. 

Creativity needs boundaries. A painter's canvas is only so big. A book can only be so long. A songwriter's tune can only last so many minutes. It's these boundaries, these guideposts that hone and focus our creativity. We eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary can speak. Discipline and determination are wonderful, useful tools for artists of all varieties. Without them, our creative muscle just becomes one big blob. Organizing our creativity is what gives it impact and that's what I try to impart in all of my work and my teaching.     

Q: I'm really inspired by your ability to bring all of your skills together, creating a unified voice on your website.

Christa: I have a lot of different irons in the fire at any one time. There's a great quote about living our life spherically, in many different directions. That's exactly what I do. I teach, write, consult, and create my own products and services that I sell in a variety of industries for different types of customers. I'm always trying to acquire new skills and enhance the skill sets I have. I've always been a good student and I love school. There is always something new to learn, and each new learning experience gives us an invaluable gift - knowledge. It's something we get to keep forever and that we get to share with others. 

This summer, I'm taking a break from most of my work and re-tooling my career and life a bit to bring even more cohesion into my work because that's something I want to do. To me, a change of scenery and routine can help us to look at our lives in a new and refreshed way so I'm giving myself that opportunity to explore and reinvent. 

I'm very passionate about the practical applications of technology in everyday life: technology's ability to generate and sustain a sense of community regardless of geography and to disseminate information and knowledge. I'm working on the idea of making technology the bedrock of all of my work - what I write about, how and what I teach, and the products I develop. I'm doing this not because I have to, but because I want to have that consistency in my work.   

Q: You started a yoga non-profit designed to partner with organizations to bring yoga to underserved populations.  Can you talk about that decision to go non-profit?

Christa: This was a lengthy decision. I tried a lot of different ideas - from a totally for-profit business to a blended model. I ultimately decided that a nonprofit was the way to go for several reasons:

1.) I am most interested in working with people who are sick, injured, and from communities that don't have access to traditional yoga services for financial reasons. This work is best accomplished through community-based partnerships, and most of those partners are nonprofits. By having the same business model, we are on the same financial wavelength and have similar financial goals. 

2.) Being a nonprofit gives us access to philanthropic capital, which we wouldn't be able to have otherwise. This doesn't mean we can't make money; it just means that we can have a greater diversity of potential income streams.

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