Bailey hopped in my car, and we drove up the winding road leading to Hyalite Reservoir. Even though we just met, the conversation flowed with ease. I immediately felt comfortable in her presence. Her enthusiasm was palpable and contagious. She radiated with passion—passion for yoga, athletics, work, and life.
As the founder of Ekam Yoga in downtown Bozeman, Bailey approaches her teaching and business management with a no-bullshit attitude. She is at once grounded and energetic. While running a small business, she manages to train for triathlons, do cross-fit five days a week, and enjoy her personal yoga practice. "I really enjoy testing my limits," she writes below. "My yoga practice offers the ability to click the refresh button on my body."
She told me stories of growing up in the south and moving out west for college. A major back surgery got her into yoga. As a runner and swimmer in high school, triathlons were a natural extension of her childhood joys. She almost went to school to become an orthopedic surgeon. Instead, she pursued her love for yoga and opened a beautiful studio in a downtown loft. Many of the classes at Ekam specialize in alignment, stabilization, and mobility for the outdoor athletes living in Bozeman.
Below Bailey speaks to the ways yoga balances her go-getter life as a business owner and triathlete. What I most appreciate about her interview and the time we had together on the shoot was the clarity in which she pursues her passions. She writes, “I respect athletes because there are no shortcuts, just hard work.” Bailey invites us to explore our bodies with a playful curiosity of what they may be capable of doing.
Meet Bailey Evans
Yoga Instructor, Triathlete, & Business Owner
Kelsey: What is your occupation and why do you do it?
Bailey: I’m a yoga teacher and business owner. I teach yoga because I am passionate about it and feel strongly that a yoga practice is the best supplement to all activates that I love. I am a business owner because I hold myself to a higher standard and want to provide the best experience possible for my students. Their practice should be a chance to take a timeout from their lives and I am overjoyed to create that for them.
K: What sports do you enjoy?
B: I love all the stereotypical Montana activities like hiking, running, road biking and skiing (downhill and XC). I also do a good bit of weightlifting and HIIT type classes.
K: How have your sports shaped your relationship to your career?
B: They are my career. Athletics are the thing that I am most passionate about. I have an insatiable desire to learn as much about the human body as I can. My favorite way to explore that is by moving my own body in as many ways as possible.
K: How does yoga compliment your sports?
B: I really enjoy testing my limits and my yoga practice offers the ability to click the refresh button on my body. I have a nasty habit of beating the crap out of my body and my practice is the thing that keeps me healthy.
K; What should athletes keep in mind while practicing yoga? Is there anything a woman athlete in particular should consider?
B: I think it is important for athletes who are used to their bodies functioning at an exceptionally high level to be even more mindful of what their limitations are.
Athletes, both male and female, have a much harder task in their yoga practice to keep their focus on feedback their bodies are giving them. Athletes can be much harder on themselves and have a difficult time stepping back from what they think she should do, versus what they need to do.
K: What changes would you like to see in how people think about and practice yoga?
B: I would love to change the way we think about our practice. Some people think they have to find spiritual enlightenment or have perfectly aligned chakras to practice. I don’t want you to even be thinking about that; I just want you to show up for yourself. The best practices are the ones that make room for silliness and not taking yourself too seriously. I promise I (as the teacher) will take it seriously for you — just enjoy the ride!
K; What does beautiful mean to you?
B: Beauty to me is when I feel strong and healthy. It has everything to do with me feeling capable of taking on whatever the next challenge is, and nothing to do with my external appearance. That said, it took years, and a lot of work, to find that mentality.
Being kind to yourself, forgiving, and understanding is probably the most beautiful thing around.
K: How have your sports, yoga, and career shaped your body image and your relationship to your body in general?
B: I place some of my self-worth in my ability to be disciplined about my fitness.
I respect athletes because there are no shortcuts, just hard work. So my relationship to my body continues to flourish because it’s rooted in a respect for what it allows me to do.
K: What advice would you give women and/or fellow athletes in general to better enjoy their unique bodies?
B: Figure out what you truly like, don’t follow the trend—do what moves you. Don’t worry for one second what someone else says you should like. Figure it out for yourself!
Thanks, Bailey, for sharing your light on the Worker's Wo/Manual!