Caro Hapke works in business development for Gympass based in Berlin, Germany. She shares her story of taking a year long break from work to attend yoga teacher training in India and what it was like to come back to Gympass.
I’ve worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for more than fifteen years. Most of that time, I was also balancing working a full-time office job. I started to feel more and more that the purpose of life is not money or fancy job titles, but following my heart and finding ways to be happy. My passion is working with people and showing them how important movement is for their body and mind.
As a trainer, I found that I love to motivate others to create space in their daily routine to become more active, healthy, and happy. Realizing this led me to leave my office job at Gympass and follow a dream that I had for a long time: attending yoga teacher training and ThaiVedic Bodywork training in India.
Yoga and meditation have been important parts of my life for many years. When I first started, it was challenging to slow down, take a break and ‘just breathe’ for a moment. Just like other forms of training, you have to get used to it and repeat it over and over. Now, if I go a day without practicing, I feel like something is missing. These programs gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills with a more holistic approach.
There were so many amazing moments during my travels. I’m super grateful to have met so many wonderful people who now truly hold a special place in my heart. I was living in Sri Lanka when lockdowns began due to the spread of COVID-19. Practicing social distancing, I spent most days at my favorite place at Coconut Tree Hill in Mirissa (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen). I was grateful to be in paradise during such a tumultuous time. Despite challenges and tough times, it was an extremely positive experience and I learned so much.
Returning to work
When I returned to Berlin, I was completely overwhelmed. Everything was so loud, so fast, and there were so many people. It took me several months to acclimate myself to being back, which I didn’t expect. There are still moments where I find everything to be too much, but I’m happy to be back in the city with all its people and freedom. During my training, I deepened my meditation practice a lot. It’s now my most powerful tool to stay grounded, relaxed, and visualize my goals to see them through.
Now that I’m back in Berlin, I’ve rejoined the Gympass business development team. I’ve been able to use my new expertise and personal story to relate to my clients and share the impact that yoga and meditation have had on my personal and professional life. To others considering a sabbatical off the beaten path, I couldn’t recommend it more. I believe it is always worth it to follow your dreams, no matter how far they may seem in the current moment. If you’d like to learn more about my travels and how I bring these practices to my work life, follow my Instagram @mindful_movements_with_caro.
Caro Hapke, Business Development Coordinator