Zoë LePage is a yoga teacher, fitness instructor, and a non-profit founder. Zoë attended YogaWorks teacher training during a gap year before college and was enchanted by the philosophy and physicality of the practice. Yoga was more than just stretching and strengthening the body; it was an accessible practice to connect back to the self. As a senior at Barnard College, Zoë created Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit organization that brings trauma-informed yoga to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Exhale to Inhale runs teacher trainings across the United States and hosts trauma informed yoga classes for survivors in New York, Connecticut, and Los Angeles. Upon graduating college in 2013, Zoë joined a boutique management consulting firm but after 2.5 years she decided to leave the corporate world behind and focus on Exhale to Inhale. Zoë is also at teacher at The Class by Taryn Toomey.
What do I do best?
Connection. Whether I am teaching or simply speaking with someone, I’ve learned that what people really want is presence & heart – everything else follows from there.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Supporting others. When I am stuck in my own head, focused on just me, life gets small. It’s when I am able to step outside myself, show up for others in the spirit of service, then I feel connected, fulfilled. This applies to teaching, running Exhale to Inhale, and even (and maybe most importantly) my relationships!
What are my aspirations?
I hope to empower individuals to realize that they have choices in their lives -- helping them see themselves clearly – that they are whole, strong, and resilient & that growth is actually a process of coming back to ourselves & stripping away & letting go – the people, behaviors, and beliefs that we actually no longer need.
My Biggest Success?
During my senior year in college I started Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit organization that brings yoga to survivors of domestic & sexual violence. I had an intuitive sense that yoga could be an empowering experience for survivors and set out cold calling domestic violence shelters and interviewing yoga teachers. Four years later, we have trained over 100 yoga teachers and run weekly classes in NY, CT, and LA. So far in 2017 we have taught over 500 trauma informed yoga classes to survivors who would not have otherwise had access to yoga. Exhale to Inhale has become so much greater than just me – the fact that there is now a team working to achieve the mission of the organization I created is what feels like a true honor & accomplishment.
My Most Challenging Moment?
One of the most difficult decisions I have made was leaving a job in management consulting. Like many of us, I can fall into trying to “do the right thing,” overly concerned about what other people may think. Everything in my life looked great on paper but I started to feel disconnected from myself. Walking away from a well paying “impressive” position wasn’t easy. I felt like there wasn’t space for me as a teacher, felt like Exhale to Inhale wasn’t a viable career path but I decided to take a risk, bet on myself. This experience, of honoring myself, was one of my most terrifying and yet rewarding decisions.
“What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” - Eric Hanson
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Too many to count and the list keeps growing as I now intentionally surround myself with individuals who inspire my…but to name a few…My parents & sister – they know me through & through, good and bad. And they are always there for me – no matter what. All my colleagues at Exhale to Inhale – you have never met more powerful group! Amy Tobin & Kate Mitchell, founding board members of Exhale to Inhale – they believed in Exhale to Inhale and were there for me during that first year - Exhale to Inhale wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for them. Taryn Toomey & the community she has created with The Class by Taryn Toomey – this work is healing me as I teach it, what an honor! And finally my 7 year old yoga client – she’s more insightful than most adults I encounter!
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I honestly love NYC and can get so caught up in life here that it’s hard to leave but travel is something I want to make more time for in the future, there is so much to see & experience! Three of my favorite places are…Cape Cod – it will forever remind me of our annual summer family trip – ice cream for dinner, body surfing, and drive through movies. Venice CA – everything just feels a little easier in the sun or maybe it’s simply because I move a bit slower in California. Australia – if you can get over the LONG flight, it’s amazing! One of the most beautiful places I have ever been, some of the nicest people. I had the privilege of calling Australia home for 6 months while working in management consulting.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Yoga teaches us non-attachment but there are some really great things out there ;) lululemon everything! I discovered palo santo at The Class by Taryn Toomey and now I light it before every class & pretty much all the time around my apartment – I even got my boyfriend on the bandwagon! Everything from Pratima Skincare – her facials are a true experience! DoTerra – I usually have Serenity or Balance in my bag. Oh and cold brew - it’s what really gets me out of bed in the morning!
My Current Passions?
Feeling. Not thinking. Feeling. Without justification or explanation. It’s a work in progress.
1st Photo: Bea Helman
2nd Photo: Quyn Duong