Aman Costigan refuses to let the law be her sole identity. When she first started practicing law, she emulated what she thought a successful lawyer should be. She let go of everything outside of law that made her who she was. When Aman looked at the other lawyers thriving with law as their sole focus, she thought it was only a matter of time until it would start working for her. Six years in, she realized that she would never be happy as a lawyer unless her life was filled with a variety of pursuits outside of law.
She is a lawyer, but she is much more than that.
Aman has always been a planner; a quality her friends lovingly tease her about. When she decided she wanted to go to law school, she vision boarded her dreams of what that would look like and posted a note in her car that read “160 LSAT score”. The planning worked and she got into the University of Saskatchewan’s Law Faculty in 2009. Although Aman had planned to return to her hometown in the Vancouver area, she met her now husband in 1L and articled in his home-city of Edmonton. What originally drew Aman to law school was an interest in criminal law and the flaws in the justice system. But she found a love of administrative law during her articling term and stayed on with the firm, Shores Jardine. Aman moved from articling student, to associate, to their youngest partner in 2018.
At work, Aman takes on primarily professional regulatory files. The files are interesting and the work appeals to the “why” of Aman’s decision to go to law school. The cases she is involved in have long-term impacts on the lives of those being prosecuted or potentially disciplined. Aman is at the front-lines of the administrative law process and although that process happens much faster than the criminal process, many steps are similar. In her work, she focuses on improving the justice system as she had planned, it’s just a different part of the system.
Aman loves the people she works with and is proud to work at a firm known for its ethics. She feels supported on a professional and personal level. Despite the wonderful work environment, when Aman started working in law, she was the person in the office running around like a chicken with her head cut-off. She never dreamed of scheduling a doctor’s appointment during the day, rarely took a break for lunch, and although she is not proud of it now, she felt deep resentment towards her legal practice.
How did Aman go from that to happy lawyer? It all started with yoga.
Aman started practicing meditative yoga near the end of her articling term. She loved it from the start, but the impact it had on her life built slowly. If she had not practiced yoga from the time she became an associate, Aman truly believes she would not have been able to stay in private practice for as long as she has. By the time six years practicing hit, Aman had found some inner peace and learned to accept things she could not change. As a lawyer, sometimes you get nasty emails and are involved in heated conversations. Yoga taught Aman that the way someone writes emails likely has nothing to do with her, and to pause and reflect before responding defensively in a heated conversation.
Aman now runs Beyond Yoga For Lawyers; group yoga classes exclusively for lawyers that help them explore mindfulness techniques. Aman was drawn toward the business idea after being in masterminds with other lawyers who were also entrepreneurs. She felt inspired by their ingenuity, but was still intimidated by the idea. The yoga classes are online, and Aman wanted to make a lot of improvements to her space before sharing it with others. After explaining this to her business coach, her coach told her that she would never be fully ready, and to just go for it. When Aman just went for it, she found that her clients did not notice the colour of her walls, or the quality of her camera; they cared about the peace she helped them find.
The hardest thing for Aman with running Beyond Yoga for Lawyers is the vulnerability she needed to get comfortable with on social media. Aman is a very private person, but she found that the more vulnerable and real her posts got, the more positive feedback she received. She now feels good, if not a bit nervous, sharing personal stories of her struggles and successes because she receives positive feedback and support, and supports others in sharing their own stories.
Yoga entrepreneur is not the only goal on Aman’s list. A couple others include writing a children’s book and being an extra in a Hallmark or other rom-com movie. Aman also is building an Empire of Freedom. She is making financial decisions now that will enable her to have more freedom in the future. As part of the empire, she and her husband have invested in a growing start-up in Edmonton and in real estate.
Aman’s days used to be 100% work, and anything else needing to be done happened on nights and weekends. She now integrates her activities and appointments into her day. She finds that when she makes time for something positive like a mastermind during the day, it energizes her, which helps her to do a better job lawyering.
Aman craves variety, and now intentionally designs her life and her practice to allow for it. Connecting with like-minded lawyers helped Aman do that and she encourages other lawyers, no matter what they want in life, to find people who share their dreams and mindsets.
If you want to join one of Aman’s yoga programs, visit Beyond Yoga For Lawyers’ website. If you would like to learn more about her Empire of Freedom, or maybe start creating one for yourself, subscribe to her newsletter. And most importantly, if you know someone who might be able to hook Aman up with a walk-on role in a Hallmark movie, let her know.