Sitting here writing this makes me take a deep breath in, close my eyes & smile. Wow, what a journey I have been on that lead me to the here & now, writing a bio for my website. MY website! I never would have imagined this day. This is a massive milestone for me. I am a bit of a procrastinator, especially when it comes to things like writing about my myself & my yoga journey as it makes me reflect back to a lot of ups & downs; a lot of uncertainty & what if’s, a lot of who do you think you are & am I good enough, a lot of harsh criticism and self talk and of course, a lot of healing.
I started off yoga for myself; to help me, before sharing it with anyone else. No, it was not my dream to become a yoga teacher. This is not how this story begins.
I always knew I wanted to help others, not because I’m a saint but it's simply how I was brought up. It's in my DNA. I graduated high school & studied nursing. I was an E.R nurse for 2 years. I always say I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my nursing career. It gave me a whole new perspective on life. I chose to leave nursing for many reasons but something I feel I need to highlight is that I really believe life is all about chapters, that things change and we have the ability to evolve. You do not have to be the same person your entire life. Yes! You can be a lawyer then change careers & become a teacher if you wanted to. Your college degree does not have you held at ransom.
I decided to enter the business world, moved around for about 3 years from being a secretary to working in advertising and then a law firm until I found what many people call a dream job, working for a huge multinational with great benefits, pay & a title that so many people aspire to have. I lasted there for a whole 5 years, which was a lifetime for me.
In the midst of this all, at an event I was attending, a random woman came up to me, tapped my shoulder & asked me if I wanted to join a workshop she was holding called 'The Art Of Living'. I looked at her with such confusion but something in me was telling me YES. I felt called to join. That’s when things started to shift. I learned how to be with myself. I learned how to breathe. I learned how to forgive myself & others. I learned how to live from a source of love. Essentially, I learned how to live a more authentic life. I felt free.
A few months later, I found yoga through YouTube. I had just finished an intense workout & the trainer mentioned that it would be good for us to continue stretching at home & that’s exactly what I did. It was not my cup of tea at first but I persisted and it gradually grew on me. I found myself so immersed in the present moment, where nothing could distract me, not even being hungry. I could practice for hours & not feel time.
There were not as many yoga teachers in Jeddah at the time. Yoga was not a thing yet. It was a challenge finding a place to practice with others. Throughout all this, I hit a very low point in my life where I felt completely shattered I realized how much I didn’t know myself & how I was so codependent on others. I was watching a random documentary with my dad about Nepal & heard “Nepal is one of the poorest countries on earth with the happiest people” 3 days later I packed a back pack & headed to Nepal alone. Threw myself in god hands & again, a lot changed. My priorities shifted. I knew something big was about to happen. I came back home with an uplifted outlook and realized that I couldn't do the whole 9 to 5 job anymore & I had a strong gut feeling that this chapter will soon be ending. (Sometimes we need to break completely to rebuild ourselves)
I decided to go to India to attend a 200HR yoga teacher training. The biggest lesson I learned from our guru is that we have 2 options in life; we can either live logically or we can live magically. You can guess which one I chose
Coming back home this time around, things seemed clearer. I knew I had to leave my job, not because it was bad by any means but I just didn't belong there anymore.
I was asked by my mother's friends to teach them yoga a couple of times a week. That slowly turned into more people coming until I had my first group of official strangers. People were genuinely interested in what I had to share. I was so humbled.
Hoakalei was born; my yoga studio. I have been on this path for about 3 years. So many people come through & each time I give a class, it feels so good to be able to share this way of life with others; people allowing themselves to feel & grow through whatever it is that they're facing. No sugar coating; raw, real & a whole lot of acceptance.