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Image / Agenda / Business

My Career: Yoga teacher Gill Costello


By Gill Costello
21st Aug 2022
My Career: Yoga teacher Gill Costello

In 2013, Gill Costello completed her yoga teacher training in the beautiful McLeod Ganj, Northern India, home of the Dalai Lama. Since then her love for yoga has continued to grow and grow. Recently launching not one, but two, new businesses, she talks to us about self-care, seeking adventure, and pushing yourself to keep improving and learning.

Did you always want to be a yoga teacher?
I didn’t even want to be a yoga teacher while I was training to be one! I was traveling in India and wanted to deepen my own yoga practice, so I decided to do a yoga teacher training course, but had no intention of ever actually teaching.

In college, I studied… I first studied TV operations and production in Ballyfermot College, then I studied science in UCD before dropping out to do a degree in business studies and art management in IADT.

My most formative work experience was… working in The Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire. I was given a huge amount of responsibility from early on. The team was amazing and I learned so much. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
My first real job was… I grew up working in my dad’s restaurant, Kitty’s Kaboodle, but my first “real” job was working in logistics for Riverdance.
The most invaluable thing I learned early on in my career was… when in doubt, improvise. Abhann production, the producers of Riverdance also produced Gay Byrne’s theatre show. I became the show’s producer and ended up being everything from the set designer, to Gay’s makeup artist. I had some real trouble trying to get what I needed for the stage sets, so when my mum came to see the show she was surprised to see the entire contents of her living room on stage. Everything from her rug to her lamp came on tour with us!
A common misconception about what I do is… that teaching yoga and running retreats is relaxing. I absolutely love doing it, but it’s not exactly relaxing! I love that everyone is able to switch off their brains when on a retreat, knowing that everything is being taken care of for them, but that means I really need to be on the ball to make sure everything goes smoothly and feels effortless. It’s the proverbial duck gliding across the water looking calm, but underneath the legs are always working away.

My main responsibility in work is to… create incredible retreat experiences for my guests. I take on full responsibility for everyone from the moment they arrive on a retreat.  My aim is for everyone to completely forget about all normal domestic and life responsibilities, knowing that everything has already been thought of and considered on their behalf so they have time to relax, reflect, move, eat really well and take whatever it is they need from the experience.

Do you have a career mentor or someone you look up to/seek advice from?  
Both my parents had their own businesses so I always go to them for advice when I need it. I’m also big into personal growth so I read a lot of books and listen to lots of podcasts from people I admire. Brené Brown, Jordan Peterson, Marie Forleo, Russell Brand, Steve Pavlina, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferris are some of the people that I love to learn from.

The biggest risk I have taken in my career so far is… leaving my job as the studio manager of The Space Between to go out and launch two new companies; YOGA+ creating bespoke retreats and events that are open and inviting to everyone, not just yogis, and also launching Yogi Stories, creating beautiful, high-end yoga jewellery, inspired by meaningful stories.

I wake at… it depends on the day and if I have classes. My earliest start is 5am but usually it’s between 7am and 8am.

The first thing I do every morning is… drink a glass of water and make a cup of hot water, lemon and ginger.

My morning routine is… I take my hot water, lemon and ginger back to bed and I journal. I use Evernote on my laptop as I’m much faster at typing than writing. I journal about whatever is going on in my head, it helps me unload, figure things out and stay focused on what’s important. Then I meditate, either using Sam Harris’s Waking Up app or I just set a timer for 15 minutes, depending on my mood. After that I take a look at my Google Calendar to look at my day ahead, adding in any time blocks I need to get done that day. I add in when I’m going to work out, go for a walk, practice yoga, eat, everything goes in.

I can’t go to work without… like most people, coffee! I’m very much addicted.

I travel to work by… car.

On an average workday I… every day is slightly different. I wake up and after my morning routine which takes about an hour, I have breakfast. Then I either work out for an hour or get straight onto the laptop to work on YOGA+. Either organising the details of one of the retreats, getting back to enquiries, updating the website or working on promotion and marketing. I might also have a Yogi Stories necklace order; the scroll and wax seals are all handmade by me so I may need to make up some orders and post them out. I could also have a class in the evening, lunchtime or early in the morning.

I start my working day at… my earliest class is at 6am but other days I might not start working until 10am or 11am and then I might teach that evening.

The first thing I do at work is… if I’m teaching, I welcome everyone to the practice. If it’s laptop work I look at my Google Calendar and Nozbe for my to do lists to see what I need to be focused on.

I usually spend the first portion of the day… if I’m not teaching, I like to start the day slowly with a relaxed morning routine and I always have breakfast and a coffee before sitting down to work.

I break for lunch at… around 1pm but I usually let my hunger decide. At the moment, I usually have a niçoise salad, omelette or halloumi salad. When I get bored of eating one, I change to the next.

The most useful business tool I use every day is… Google Calendar! I read Nir Eyal’s book Indestractible. He’s brilliant and has done some great podcast interviews. He denounces the use of a to do list and encourages everyone to time block everything into your calendar. I’ve adopted this method and have found it to be a game changer.

I save time by… I don’t! I always underestimate how long things will take. Time is forever getting away from me, but I’m working on it!

I rarely get through my working day without… taking lots of coffee breaks.

The best part of my day is… meeting someone I care about for a coffee, lunch or a walk. At the moment I’m really loving working out. I’m able to work out in an outdoor gym and with the beautiful weather we’ve been having it’s been so fun, you feel amazing after it.

The most challenging part of my day is… getting out of bed! No matter how much sleep I get, I always want more.

I know it’s been a good day if…I’ve stuck to everything I’ve scheduled into my calendar.

I usually end my day at… 9pm.

I switch off from work by… making dinner. Sometimes I’ll watch something on Netflix but I’m too easily sucked into a series, so I try to avoid TV and read or listen to a podcast instead.

Before I go to bed, I’ll… read and then journal for just a few minutes to reflect on the day.

I often prepare for tomorrow by… time blocking out my calendar. I add in everything I need to get done in the day.

After a long work week, I destress by… spending time with friends and family.

The accomplishment I’m most proud of is… starting YOGA+ and Yogi Stories. I’m really proud of both of these. I can really stand behind everything we’re creating and I know they offer real value. The feedback from the guests on the retreats is always so incredible and makes me so happy to know how beneficial that time is for them, and the necklaces have so much meaning behind them – once people connect to that, they truly love them.

If you want to get into my line of work, my advice is to… contact me!

I’ve just finished working on… I’ve just put together the first-of-its-kind, Remote Working Retreat starting Jan 21st 2023. I’m really excited about this one, it’s an opportunity to take a holiday, without taking any holiday days. We’ll be getting away during the cold and dreary winter months to spend some time on the beautiful, exotic island of Fuerteventura living in a luxury villa. This retreat has been crafted to take care of absolutely everything for you, so that you are not only completely relaxed but you also have mental clarity and the headspace to focus on your work. These retreats are to ensure you start the year focusing on both your career and your own self care. This retreat is one not to be missed!