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Hidden Gems: Meet Amy Friederich of Amy Lynn Yoga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Friederich.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I often introduce myself as a Lawyer-turned-Yoga Teacher when telling others what I do for a living. That’s largely because I would have never pursued yoga teacher training without having first gone through my experience as a trial lawyer. I have been working in the legal field since 2006, having worked my way up from receptionist to attorney. Yoga was always there in the background. At first, it was a supplement to my more intense workouts, like kickboxing, running, and weightlifting. Then, it became a stress relief and a way to spend time with my best friend during law school. Later, as a trial lawyer, yoga changed my life.

I remember clearly (despite being on pain medication) the day I applied to yoga teacher training. I had just been in a car accident and spent two days in the hospital with a lacerated spleen. I was home recovering when the managing partner from my law firm called wanting a status update on a motion for summary judgment I had been working on. He did not bother to ask me how I was feeling first. I knew in that moment I did not want to spend the rest of my career in litigation. I was fortunate I did not suffer any serious injuries from my accident, but it opened my eyes to what we all know is true: life is short.

Shortly thereafter, I started yoga teacher training through Yoga Buzz, a local nonprofit organization based in St. Louis. All the while, still billing 160+ hours each month at the firm. The training was everything I could have hoped for and more. I have always loved being in school, learning new things, and meeting new people. I met so many amazing and diverse individuals who I would have never met working in the legal field. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself and the type of person I wanted to be and the types of people I wanted to be around.

After graduating from yoga teacher training in December 2016, I accepted a new position in a less demanding area of law and started teaching part-time at a yoga studio. A few months in, I started teaching pop-up events for Yoga Buzz and I was officially hooked! When I pursued yoga teacher training, I did it to learn more about the practice and to give myself an outlet outside of the law. I never really intended to teach, but I quickly fell in love with it. I would refer to it as “my fun job.”

I eventually went into legal recruiting and left law firm culture altogether. I really enjoyed recruiting. I met new people everyday and was able to help others pursue a more rewarding career path, something that had been very personal for me. I worked in that space for almost three years until COVID-19 hit. Then, suddenly, my clients stopped hiring and there was no use for a recruiter. I was let go from my cushy corporate job. Like so many others, I was nervous, anxious, sad, and mad (aka “smad.”). However, I took it as a sign to finally pursue my number one passion: teaching.

Prior to the pandemic, I had started teaching Business Law at Lewis and Clark Community College as an Adjunct and was still teaching yoga part-time of course. So I focused on turning those side hustles into full-time work and founded my yoga business, Amy Lynn Yoga, LLC. I started out offering open group classes via Zoom, then later added private sessions for individuals and for businesses who offered yoga to their employees who were mostly working from home. It was a way for them to “see” each other and connect even while they were apart. During this time, I also created a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program called Work-Life Balance for Lawyers, which I presented to various legal organizations. I finally found a way to merge my worlds of law and yoga!

Yoga helped me get through a difficult period of self-doubt, burnout, and lack of enthusiasm for life, to be candid. However, my message to other professionals who might relate to my story is not necessarily to up and quit their day jobs. (Although, I fully support that decision if it makes sense for you!) Rather, check-in with yourself and ask yourself how you are doing. Are you prioritizing your well-being? Are you making time for family and friends? Are you pursuing any passions outside of your work? These are all important pieces to staying grounded and connected to yourself.

My journey of occupational well-being and self-discovery continues as it should. It has been an unpredictable yet rewarding ride, and I am so excited to see what the future holds. I am especially looking forward to marrying the man of my dreams this October!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My biggest struggle throughout my journey has been trying to reconcile all my passions in a way that makes sense and to let go of what others think. You don’t typically think of law and yoga as having much in common, and I have been on the receiving end of many confused faces when I say I am focused more on teaching yoga these days than I am working within the legal field. One woman recently remarked, “well, as long as it’s lucrative.” For me, it obviously is not all about money; otherwise, I would still be billing 160+ hours a month! I have to surround myself with supportive people and remind myself of my “why.”

As you know, we’re big fans of Amy Lynn Yoga, LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Currently, I am still offering virtual sessions, including yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and wellness webinars for individuals, businesses, and professional organizations. I have started teaching in person again as well now that summer is here and we have vaccinations. My private clients range from newbies to more seasoned yoga practitioners, from 20-something professionals to retirees, and from one-on-one sessions to a room full of 100+ people. I also offer chair yoga, and you can catch me in Forest Park this summer teaching yoga on the stand-up paddle (SUP) boards through Big Muddy Adventures at the Boathouse.

My specialty, however, is working with professionals who are in high-stress positions, either one-on-one or as a group. What sets me apart from other yoga instructors is that I have been in my clients’ shoes. I have worked as a trial lawyer and know firsthand the reality of feeling overworked and often underappreciated.

My goal is to continue bringing wellness into the workplace, especially within the legal field. Throughout the past twelve months, I have had the opportunity to partner with several organizations to spread awareness on the importance of self-care. Most recently, I led a 30-minute virtual yoga session for the Women in the Legal Profession conference hosted by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. I was honored to be surrounded by many other inspiring women in the field!

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
I think wellness in the workplace, including “corporate yoga” and other employee appreciation events will only continue to increase. The past 15 months have really shown us the importance of prioritizing our well-being and finding the right amount of work-life balance/blend.

I have been particularly encouraged by what I have seen in the legal field since starting my business. Individual firms and bar associations are taking the initiative to talk about the mental health struggles legal professionals face and are providing resources to their employees and members. The fact that the Missouri Bar Association has approved Work-Life Balance for Lawyers and Self-Care for Legal Professionals as CLE programs speak volumes to the direction the legal field is headed!

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