How the couple behind EkhartYoga find Balance
Esther Ekhart and Bas Paul are the dynamic duo behind EkhartYoga, one of the internet’s most popular sites for instructional yoga videos. We asked them how they balance their successful partnership in business and in life.
Which came first, your personal relationship or your work relationship? Did one grow from the other?
We met as kids, when Esther was three years old but didn’t become an item until 2000. We emigrated to Ireland that same year as an adventure. Bas built a yoga studio for Esther, which became very popular but too small. During a Vipassana retreat, she got the idea to start filming yoga classes and posting them online, first on YouTube and later on her own website. It was obvious that Bas would do the filming, although he was not hindered by any knowledge or experience!
What hurdles or growing pains did you have to overcome personally or professionally as your business grew?
At first Bas would show his impatience when filming Esther, resulting in useless footage and an annoyed yoga teacher. We had to learn to trust each other’s expertise. Bas should not interfere with the content and Esther had to let go of the technical issues! Another hurdle was that we never shut off. We talked, and still do, a lot about work when we shouldn’t. We had times when we switched off the lights at night and then came up with some work-related problem, resulting in insomnia for both of us. That’s banned now. No shop talk in the bedroom!
What do you do when work and life get out of balance?
When our personal life gets overly occupied by work, we need to take a step back. The best way to do this is to take a weekend break, visit family or friends, or go for a long walk with Stip, our dog.
Do you practice yoga together?
Not on a regular basis. We tend to meditate at least 20 minutes together each morning. Bas usually joins Esther for support in her retreats and workshops. On those occasions, he likes to join the morning classes and then do some work or enjoy the location the rest of the day. Esther does her daily practice with EkhartYoga at home.
Do you have other common interests that help you step away from work?
We both like long walks in the forest, going out for dinner, and doing city trips. Although our taste does not always match, in the winter we like watching a TV series at night. We hardly ever get bored of each other and enjoy each other’s company.
What advice would you give a young couple starting a business together?
Make sure to switch off at times and remain equal and respectful when it comes to making decisions and discussing future plans. Taking feedback from a partner is not always easy; set some rules for that. With negative feedback, for instance, it is important that you speak from the ‘I’: (I think it might be better to…, I feel… when you do that) instead of accusing the other of ‘you do this and that wrong’. Don’t forget the positive feedback! It also helps to give each other room for me-time.
What do you enjoy doing separately when it’s ‘me-time’?
Esther loves to visit her friends, go to the sauna with her sisters, take a meditation retreat, or read a book, while Bas likes to go to a music gig, techno festival, or hang out with his mates.
Has the physical practice of balance in yoga helped you find balance in your lives off the mat?
Definitely! Balance and strength do reflect into our daily life. Meditation and yoga philosophy has had a massive impact on both of our lives when it comes to balance.