Megan Grandinetti graduated from law school in 2008, summa cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law. She moved on to working for some prestigious law firms in the U.S. as an international tax attorney. In 2013, she left her law career to focus on building a yoga and wellness business, which is now Sattva Center for Meditation & Yoga.
Q. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your life at law school? What extra-curricular and co-curricular activities were you involved in?
I’m Megan and I’m a lawyer-turned-yoga teacher. I often joke that I had to go to law school to become a yoga teacher, but there’s a lot of truth in that statement.
Law school seems like an eternity ago, but when I first found law school, it was like I started to know myself better. I was training my mind in a way that I never knew it could work. I loved reading and learning new things. I also really enjoyed the social aspect of it. But what I found most enjoyable about law school was working for myself: making my own hours, doing things on my own time, etc.
I was a Student Bar Association (school government) representative for my first-year section. I was the Vice President of the Haiti Rule of Law Association, an organization that raised funds and awareness for a small, rural law school in Haiti. And, on top of all of that, I worked part-time during my second and third years of school.
Q. After Law School, you worked extensively in the legal sector. Now you’re running your own startup! Did you ever envision that you would shift careers outside the legal field while at law school or even right after graduation?
When I graduated law school in 2008, I had no idea where my law career was headed. I had a feeling that I wouldn’t want to make partner at a big law firm in New York because I saw how they all lived and I knew it wasn’t for me. I thought that I might end up working in the not-for-profit legal sector, but I never imagined I’d jump ship and end up where I am today.
As part of my business, I do massage. I once had an older woman ask me, as I was working on her hips, “did you ever imagine you’d be doing this when you were in law school?” And I asked, to the point, “do you mean, did I ever imagine I’d be massaging people’s butts when I was in law school?” We both laughed, and I told her no. I always loved the physical body, and I enjoyed exercising and yoga immensely. In those law school days, I thought I had to use my intellect for something really mind-based in order to make a difference in the world and not waste my gifts. But the truth is, now that I am doing what I love—teaching yoga and meditation, and working with the body—I can feel my work making a difference every day in people’s lives.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about ‘Sattva Centre for Meditation & Yoga’? What was the inspiration/motivation behind the same? What does a typical day in your life look like?
Sattva Center for Meditation & Yoga was borne out of a vision I had years ago. I have been teaching yoga for many years in my town, all at various studios and fitness facilities. Over the years, I’ve accumulated students and followers, but we never quite had a place we could call a “home” for our yoga. During the initial coronavirus lockdown in the US, it became apparent to me that I needed to offer more for my students at a time when we were all facing uncertainty. I began taking on more of a leadership role, and many of the classes I offered in 2020 were out of my own backyard (to reduce the spread of covid-19 during classes). Around the same time, I began looking for real estate and found the space that Sattva now calls home.
Sattva is meant to be a place for people who are looking for Truth, whether through yoga, meditation, or just a quiet place to Be.
A typical day for me involves arriving at the studio, teaching a morning class, then offering a few massages or private lessons, followed by another class and meditation in the evening. There are some days where paperwork and administrative stuff has to be done, so I find time between appointments and classes for those things, too. And then I go home, rest and spend time with my family, and start all over again the next day.
Q. How did you go about setting up the Sattva Centre for Meditation & Yoga? Was the process of career change a difficult one? What factors did you take into consideration before making the switch?
Sattva was a many-years process in the making. I first left my law career in 2013, with the intention to start a coaching business and teach yoga on the side. At the time, it felt scary and intense to leave behind something I had worked so hard to achieve. I saved a bit of money and set it aside for opening my business, but ultimately, I realized I still needed to work for a while. Rather than go back to law firm life, I spent a few years working remotely for Thomson Reuters, doing legal editing and writing for RIA Checkpoint (their tax law database), and teaching yoga and coaching on the side.
In 2016, teaching yoga became too important to me, and I knew I couldn’t work for Thomson any longer and dedicate the time I needed to my students. I’ve been 100% self-employed since then, and somewhere along the way, coaching became less important, with teaching yoga taking the forefront. I also studied Ayurvedic massage in India in 2017, and began offering that as part of my business.
Sattva opened in early 2021, and it is already thriving, partly because I already had a consistent base of students and massage clients that followed me here, but also because we’re trying to give back to the community and offer yoga and meditation to those that can’t afford it. It’s been a journey between leaving my law career and opening Sattva, but one with a lot of beautiful life lessons learned along the way.
Q. What were some of the challenges that you faced as a part of the process of making a career switch from the legal field and how did you overcome them?
The mind will always present you with a million challenges and doubts when you make a big change. I think the hardest challenge for me was leaving behind a career that had given me financial security, a comfortable life in New York City, and the status of being someone well-educated and important. I grew up in the US in a relatively low-income household, and having made my way up to a large salary meant I didn’t want to go back to that “lesser” lifestyle. But slowly I began making changes to accommodate a different life. I moved to a less expensive apartment, and then I moved to my town in Pennsylvania, which was a much less expensive option than New York. I cut down on extravagant dinners and high-end shopping. I began to live a much simpler life.
A lot of travel—and spending time in other countries seeing how other people truly live—was really helpful, too. When you spend large amounts of time on the road, wearing only the clothes that you brought with you, and you’re surrounded by people who are happy with very little, you start to see how little you really need to survive in terms of material wealth.
Trusting the universe to provide for me, however, was the ultimate way to get past the mind’s emphasis on money. When you’re self-employed, there are going to be days and weeks where you make a lot of money, and there are going to be days and weeks (and months) where you do not. You have to trust that it will all even out. I have a small postcard by my desk that says, “The ego mind looks for what it can gain. The Heart simply offers.” These are words of my guru, Mooji, and they guide me each day as I work.
Q. Has your legal background helped you in anyway in your current professional journey? Are there any unexpected skills that you brought in from law school to your career today?
My legal background has certainly helped along the way. In my first years out of law firm life, I spent a lot of time coaching lawyers and trying to help them find a healthier way to live in their current professions. I don’t think I would have been so well-suited to work with lawyers if I hadn’t had a similar experience of my own. And even now, I do a fair amount of yoga geared toward corporate wellness. My background in the corporate world helps me see how I can be of service to these folks.
Practically speaking, my legal background prepared me for all of the ins-and-outs of business ownership. From starting my company as an LLC, to writing my own contracts and other business documents, to being able to apply for grants to help with finances, my legal background has provided me with a great place to start (and maintain) a business, especially now that it has grown to this new phase of having a brick-and-mortar space.
My legal background is also helpful for friends and family who are unsure of certain issues, and just need a set of eyes that has been legally trained to read something. I never charge for it—I just offer my services and help when I can.
Q. Most of our readers are students of the law or are law graduates. What advice do you have for those who want to take up a career based on their passion but feel limited to the conventional career options in the legal field?
Being a lawyer will open so many doors for you, regardless of whether they’re traditional doors or not. I have plenty of friends who have stayed on and made partner at law firms. Others have gone the “in-house counsel” route. And then others, like me, have made a total leap to something different. All paths are good paths, and a career is only a good career for you if it helps you feel fulfilled, happy, and at peace. Look for work that brings you joy, and maybe that work is within the traditional legal sector, or maybe it is somewhere different. Only you can know what is the right work, or the right next step, for you.
Find out more about Megan –
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sattvayogayork
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sattvayogayork/
- Website: www.sattvayogayork.com ; www.megangrandinettiyoga.com
Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.