One of the things I’m really enjoying about this project is meeting new people with different life experiences, who are pursuing careers in completely different areas from each other. Despite these differences, together, these stories highlight similarities in what holds us back and what happens when you start to follow your heart. I think you will find that when you read Thalia’s story below, there are many elements that will resonate. Thalia is a Private Yoga Instructor whose passion for Yoga and Eastern philosophy took her all the way to Rishikesh, India where Yoga was born. Visit her facebook page or website to find out more about her and her work.
Number of years in business: 2
Briefly describe your business and why you do what you do:
My inspiration to become a private Yoga instructor started when reflecting upon my own personal practice and journey while in India during my Yoga Teacher Training course. During my meditation I came to realize just how significantly positive living a Yoga lifestyle had saved and changed my life. I knew going forward that Yoga would always be a part of me no matter where I ended up and what I would be doing. Before heading off to India I quit my job and had very few positives in my life. I used my time in India to heal and try to better myself by learning how to love myself. One thing I did realize while in India was that before I could truly heal I needed to try and forgive myself for past events outside of my control, this didn't happen until much later and is something that requires constant affirmations. While meditating in India I would also often ask myself what is it that I want my life to be, knowing that I did not want to go back to an unrewarding career that I am not passionate about. I started to think about where I would be if I never found Yoga and this scared me. I started to think, how is it that this thing that altered my life in such a profound way, is not being used in everyone's life? This led me to want to start a business that taught Yoga, a Yoga lifestyle that could hopefully help others as much as it has me. It also realized that my personal journey of what Yoga means to me and how I connect with Yoga can and will be completely different for each student. Everyone has different limitations (mind, body and spirit) on the mat or off the mat and have different ways of expressing Yoga or why they started to practice Yoga regularly in their life. I decided to emphasize on connecting with each student on a personal level to meet his or her needs or personal goals. Every day we feel differently, whether it be emotionally, physically, or mentally, and by teaching Yoga privately it allows me to guide my students on regular bases on what they need at that present moment.
1. Looking back on your life, were there certain events or people that helped push you to follow your current path? Describe one of these key turning points along with any fears or challenges that may have held you back from pursuing your passion.
Before completing my Yoga Teacher Training in India, I definitely had some personal struggles and challenges leading to where I am today. I suffered from anxiety and traumas from my past that lead me to masking my emotions with alcohol. During that period of my life, I felt very disconnected within myself, alcohol became a way to cope when emotions felt to heavy or scary to confront. I started practicing Yoga in my teens, during the difficult times in my life. When I happen to step on the mat and I connected with my breath I felt so aware of myself and for that brief moment was able to find a small ounce of peace. When on the mat, I allowed myself to channel an energy deep within myself that I didn’t even know existed. Yoga was the light in my darkest period of life, it allowed me to find a connection between mind, body and spirit. On the mat was a sense of euphoria and off the mat I would feel lost all over again. Through the years I was so fearful to surrender and let go of all the struggles in my past, but once I started to live and walk the path of Yoga, I found that balance on and off the mat. This path has led me to a place of peace and acceptance. Starting my business was definitely scary for me, because my struggles and lower points in my life were the catalyst to get me on the path of teaching. After experiencing how much Yoga can heal and balance life, that is why I started connecting individually with students and seeing how Yoga transforms lives.
2. How and when did you know you were pursuing the “right” career?
I’m a big believer in signs and I believe we are constantly surround by hints the universe is sending consciously or unconsciously. I tried many jobs from hair salons to bartending but they weren’t my passion and none of them seemed fulfill that longing feeling I had to find my true path. Working these other jobs I only ever felt resistance, as if nothing could go right and everything seemed to be spiraling out of control. My life at that time felt chaotic, I was losing myself and who I wanted to be. When I stopped and listened to my calling of becoming a teacher, it seemed as everything effortlessly, but with hard work fell into place. As strange as it sounds, my higher self knew that I was now on the right path. After making the conscience decision to follow this dream it seemed as though the universe conspired to make everything fall into place at the right time. As much as I have had fear of letting go and to surrender to my life’s purpose, inside I knew if I believed in myself, not compromised on who I am, use resources available, use past experiences, and trusted everything up to this point is the right path for me.
3. What has been your biggest failure and how did you change as a result?
Looking back on my past and moments that appeared as failures or set backs, I now view them as life lessons. Ups and downs are the process of the journey, and I quite enjoy it now. We have to welcome change and challenges to have a better understanding of oneself or our surroundings. Yoga taught me to look at all aspects of life with an impartial eye, to not accept or reject, but to be open to all possibilities that come my way.
4. How do you define success?
I don’t view success as a finish line or a destination. I used to believe that if I had everything I desired and everything was checked off of my list, or I reach a certain milestones that I would feel successful. Throughout the years I’ve realized that it is merely an illusion of success. I still maintain goals for myself and push myself as I am a driven individual but true success to me is being happy in the present moment and happiness is striking the right balance for you.
5. Based on your experience, what advice would you give to your younger self?
There are three things that I say at the end of each Yoga class to my students that my teacher in India would say. “Take care of yourself, appreciate yourself, and observe yourself.” I would tell my younger self to practice those three things everyday!