21st Guest: Sarrah Strimel

We’re teaming up with lululemon to host some dinners out East this summer. Each one will have 20 guests. Big for a dinner party. But here’s the thing: Though we’d like to, we can’t fit everybody at the table. This is where you come in. You’re all the esteemed 21st Guest. We want your input on the conversations around that table, for you to ask questions and be a part of the party. This week, Sarrah Strimel two-steps her way to the party.

The underlying theme here is “doing a solid.” Your questions are going to do the party a solid and get them talking about what you want to hear. Do us one, and check back in the next edition for where can send your burning questions. Or just email us your thoughts on this or anything at hello@whalebonemag.com.

Singer/dancer/actress/yogi and BYoga founder Sarrah Strimel adds more slashes to her abilities here.

Photos by Austin Eckardt

Who’s the most inspiring person to you?
I would have to change the word person to people and say every single one of the men I have dated in the past fifteen years. Ask anyone who has taken my class and they will tell you that all of my dharma, or themes and lessons, comes from inspiration from the book of “Adventures in Dating with Sarrah.” Does anyone remember the story of the text message breakup or doing sun salutations to “Let It Go” from Frozen after “The Great Disappearing Act of 2017?” There have been heartbreaks, great loves, ghostings, simply ridiculous shenanigans, and learnings. Humanity, with all of its faults and magic, is life’s greatest teacher. I am constantly inspired by the workings of the human heart. The human heart has the capacity to change the world. Or to make me eat my feelings late at night after the 20th-man-in-a-row texts me saying, “it’s not you, it’s me.” As Wyclef said, “To all the men I’ve loved before…” ( or was it “girls I’ve loved before?”) Anyway, thanks for inspiring me to wait until the right one comes along and for all of the material.

What’s the biggest challenge you ever faced?
I think any life that is being lived to the fullest will face challenges on a daily basis. I am lucky enough to say that mine have been extremely small in comparison to many. My transition from performing on Broadway, out of a career that defined me for my entire life, and into a business owner and yoga teacher was extremely hard. There were the little things, like filing for an LLC ( I googled), learning what BCC meant ( performers don’t really email, ok?), and buying a used car alone ( Thank you to Mo in Hicksville). There were the big things, like figuring out who I was without having to define my worth by what show I was in, spending my life savings on opening BYoga, and realizing that perfection isn’t something only attainable from the shows I used to star in.

My family was my backbone, as well as my beautiful business partner, Anna Chung. I also have to acknowledge Jay Galluzzo, who is a dear friend and mentor. He was the first one who believed in me starting my own brand of yoga and also happens to be a big part of Montauk Brew Co. See how the universe conspires?

How have you learned the value of paying it forward?
As yoga teachers, it is part of our job description to pay it forward. You don’t become a healer or a teacher if it’s not in your nature to nurture. We take our life experiences and put them out there, raw and real, so that others can see we are all the same. A little damaged, a little crazy, and a lot beautiful. We also hold the concept of karma yoga sacred. Karma Yoga is the path of unselfish action, without being attached to the fruits of personal consequences. According to the OG, Buddha, “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.”

When was the moment you realized the capacity we have to help one another?
The moment I moved to New York City. I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve witnessed the most beautiful acts on the streets of the city. We are all there trying to achieve our dreams and, at the same time, just trying to survive. I have been a New Yorker for 15 years and couldn’t be prouder to walk amongst my fellow Big Apple warriors.

Each failure is a lesson.

What’s something anyone could do to pay it forward?
Don’t use plastic. Be a good fucking person. Share your skills and knowledge with the world. Buy a boat and take your friends out for rosé. Vote for the Democratic Party. Go out of your way to make someone’s life easier. Communicate. Community. Hug someone for 20 seconds. Smile, in a non-creepy way, at a stranger. Be yourself in a world that wants you to be anything but. Stand up for what you believe in, unabashedly.

A time you wanted to help, but couldn’t or didn’t get to?
I witnessed a few co-workers being body shamed backstage at a Broadway show I was performing in. The associate choreographer came into the dressing room and accused them of eating too many croissants while we were performing in Paris. These were stunningly beautiful and strong women, without an ounce of fat to be found. As a dancer who had an eating disorder at a young age, all I wanted to do was stand up and take this person down, but I would’ve lost my job. It was an awful thing to stand by and watch damage being inflicted on others and feel powerless. I vowed after that moment to let my voice be heard, no matter the consequence, if it means helping another

Best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“Tape an aspirin to it and get back out there” –Archie Strimel

My dad was a college football coach and I was the oldest child, so naturally, I had a little tough love. This saying, while unwelcomed when I was injured dancing through the pain, has allowed me to pursue my dreams with tenacity, courage, and grit. I’m not the kind of girl to let anything stand in my way. I couldn’t afford a house in the Hamptons? I buy a boat. And have no idea how to sail it. My Broadway show is closing in one week? I get a job selling yoga pants while auditioning for the next one. Conquering adversity and cultivating a fierce spirit has been a benchmark of my success in life, all thanks to good ol’ Dad.

One piece of advice you wish you’d gotten but didn’t?
When matters of the heart are involved, be more cautious. Being open and transparent is a beautiful quality, but reservation and trust are built over time. As I’ve gotten older, this lesson has become so pronounced through every heartbreak. Then again, each failure is a lesson. Each misstep, a blessing. So then again, maybe advice is overrated and we should all just trust our intuition and go for it? Oh, and also… When buying a boat, learn how to sail it first.

Where are the places that you go to to find inspiration?
The beach. The ocean. My yoga mat. My heart. Someone else’s heart. New York City. Anywhere I haven’t traveled to yet. The brains of my most trusted people. My students. The theatre. My record collection. Rumi. My surfboard. Every new day that dawns. Inspiration is everywhere if your eyes and your heart are open.

They aren’t just stretchy pants.

What’s a small way to do someone a solid every day?
Truly see every person you come in contact with. Everyone has a story that’s begging to be told. Listen to them. Be present. It’s a simple as that. When we all start to truly connect with one another, the world becomes a happier, wealthier, and more magical place. You can change someone’s life in a single glance. Look up

So, you’re a lululemon ambassador, what has that experience been like for you?
Lululemon has been such an incredible company to represent and learn from. In March, I was chosen to attend the lululemon Global Ambassador Summit in Whistler, BC. One hundred Ambassadors from all over the world were brought together to connect, create, and celebrate all of the work we have been doing. The energy that week was infectious, but moreover seeing the core values of such a large company in the very place they began it was nothing short of incredible. They walk the talk.

Lululemon has supported me and my company, BYoga, at every level. They have given me the tools to make my wildest dreams come true. We recently opened our second location of BYoga above the East Hampton store all because they wanted to help us elevate our mission of bringing Damn Good Yoga to more of the East End. They aren’t just stretchy pants. They are a group of innovators and big thinkers committed to leaving this world better than they found it. For them to count me as family has been one of my greatest joys. From community outreach to insane dance parties to personal development, I can’t wait to see what we come up with next.