An Interview: Cultivate Calm Yoga

January 27, 2015

Photographer Credit & Copyright:  Geoff Francis Photography

Today on the blog, I interview a former work colleague and friend, Monica Rottmann. Like myself, Monica has left the corporate world behind to follow her dream. Monica’s dream was to start-up her own yoga studio and she has done just that. Monica is the Owner/Principal of Cultivate Calm Yoga on Brisbane’s Southside – a yoga studio that sees yoga as exercise for the mind, body and spirit!

I am so proud of Monica’s achievements! She was an inspiration to me when I worked with her and she continues to inspire me with her courage, determination and success with her new venture! We can always learn from those who inspire us, so I wanted to dig a little deeper into the mindset she has carried with her as she pursued and continues to pursue her dreams and share what she has to say here on my blog.

So without further ado, I now hand over to Monica (my questions are in green and Monica’s answers follow).


Photographer Credit & Copyright:  Geoff Francis Photography

When did your love of yoga begin and when did you know that you would like to teach yoga and one day have your own studio?

I started yoga about 8 years ago as I was suffering from tension headaches and back pain. I had no idea that I was going to fall in love with yoga and that it would end up being my career. When I first started, I loved the opportunity to connect to my body and feel good about my body. Like most women, I’d been used to punishing my body and pushing my body so it was a shift to embrace it. I loved the sense of relaxation I got at the end of the class and before long I became a yoga addict.

I was deeply unsatisfied with my career and the hours wasted in mind-numbing meetings, staring at a screen and pushing paper. I’d often looked at the yoga teacher and thought “I could do that”. On a holiday in Thailand, I took my mat with me and did yoga every day with my husband, kind of teaching him but really just repeating yoga classes that I’d been to. That’s when I started to think a bit more about teaching yoga. I put it off for a few more years until I read ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho. This book is all about finding your life’s purpose and following your heart so I signed up for a 9 month yoga teacher training course.

The easiest way for me to identify my life’s purpose was posing the question, if I won the lotto and never had to worry about money and could do anything I wanted, what would I do? I would open a yoga studio in an exotic location and teach yoga all day. So it really was a no-brainer about opening my studio, it’s just not that exotic, but one day….

What steps did you go through (practically and mentally) before feeling confident enough to leave the corporate world to start-up your own yoga studio?

I hate to admit this, but although I come from a background of strategic planning and project management, I just jumped straight into it without a plan. I was hiring out local halls and teaching classes after work and it wasn’t long before the classes became full and I had to look for another venue. I saw the current studio advertised for rent, signed the lease, quit my job and opened the studio within the space of about 2 weeks. I didn’t really think about it, it just felt right. It wasn’t a confidence thing, my whole life had been leading up to this point.

How did you overcome the inevitable fears that come along with making a huge life change?

It didn’t actually seem like a huge life change. The main change was income – going from 6 figures to nothing was hard. I know that if the business didn’t work out, I could always go and get another job so it didn’t seem like a huge risk, more of an adjustment.

Does your confidence and/or self belief ever falter? If it does, what do you do to bring it back on track?

Yes, I think it’s part of being human. Honestly, I think doubt is just the protective mechanism of my ego seeking safety. I know how my mind works and how I always try to talk myself out of stuff. It’s been going on for years… I’ve stopped taking my thoughts so seriously.

How has doing what you love changed you?

It hasn’t really changed me. I’m the same person. I just have a greater sense of satisfaction when I come home from work and no longer dread Mondays.

Tell us about the process of deciding to name your yoga studio Cultivate Calm Yoga?

Trial and error really. I would think up a name and then check to see if it was already registered. Most of the ones I initially came up with were taken, so Cultivate Calm Yoga was probably about my 20th choice. I wanted something that had a deeper meaning though, something people would grow to understand what yoga is about.

How do you want people to feel when they visit Cultivate Calm Yoga?  

Good about themselves, physically, mentally and spiritually.

What is one unique thing that you think sets Cultivate Calm Yoga apart from other yoga studios?

Ha, good question. I like to think it’s the holistic focus on mind and body. Our classes are pretty gentle compared to some of the hard core stuff that other studios teach so people can actually explore the mental and spiritual aspects of their practice rather than trying not to faint from exhaustion.

Can you tell us a bit about the benefits of yoga for the mind, body and spirit?

Yoga is slated to cure all sorts of ailments as it brings the physical body back to full vitality. It improves energy, flexibility, strength, balance, posture, digestion, sleep.

Mentally, yoga creates a calm mind and alleviates stress, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

Spiritually, yoga helps you to experience the essence of yourself and experience the truth of reality behind the veil of thought.

What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating leaving their ‘corporate life/job’ to chase their dream? What are some key steps you would recommend they do/take before making the final plunge?

Make sure there is a demand for your product and that you’re good at what you do. Have lots of savings. Be prepared to work really hard. Stick to your vision. Develop your skills. Check whether you want to turn your hobby into a job.

A huge big thank you to Monica for agreeing to this interview and taking the time to answer my questions!

If you’re interested in connecting with and/or learning more about Cultivate Calm Yoga all the contact details are below.  Be sure to have a read of her blog posts as they are very insightful and informative!


Facebook Page:

Location:                    963 Stanley Street East, East Brisbane Qld 4169


Phone:                        0406 476 950

Ciao for now,


[This post is linked up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT,With Some Grace for #FYBF and also joining Maxabella Loves, Life, Love & Hiccups, Sonia Styling, A Life Less Frantic and Patchwork Cactus for the Weekend Rewind.]

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  • Reply Kathy January 27, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I loved reading Monica’s story – very inspiring for me, especially on my yoga teaching journey. She doesn’t make it sound that hard, just brave to bite the bullet. Thanks Min.

    • Reply Min January 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      I thought you would enjoy reading Monica’s story Kathy & so glad you did. I’m so glad you found her words inspiring and hope that they provide inspiration towards achieving your dreams! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Ingrid @ Fabulous and Fun Life January 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I love reading inspirational stories of people following their dreams like Monica did. I wish her yoga studio was located in Sydney as I’d love to attend it!

    • Reply Min January 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      I love reading inspirational stories too Ingrid! You never know – maybe she’ll hit the big time and end up with studios all over Australia and then you’ll be able to go to the Sydney one. She’ll probably faint if she reads this! lol 😉 x

  • Reply Maxabella January 27, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I admire any woman who follows her dream – hats off to you Monica! x

    • Reply Min January 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      Me too Bron! Monica is a very smart cookie and a hard worker. She deserves every good thing that goes her way! 🙂 x

  • Reply Grace January 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Go, Monica!!! I love how she came from a strategic planning background during her corporate career but jumped straight into her new one with yoga! It feels right, why wait? How very inspiring. Thanks for introducing Monica to us, Min x

    • Reply Min January 27, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      It’s funny how she jumped in without any clear plan when she comes from a strategic planning and project mgt background isn’t it Grace! I think it goes to show the level of confidence she had in what she wanted to do and a *knowing feeling* that she was doing the right thing. Also, as I also come from a strategic planning and project mgt background, I can understand the resistance to producing yet ‘another’ document/plan/report etc. The plan was to get away from all that stuff right? 😉 x

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages January 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I love reading stories of people who follow their dreams and make a real go of it.

    • Reply Min January 28, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Me too Malinda! 🙂 x

  • Reply Aroha @ Colours of Sunset January 27, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I need to read more stories like this! I have been asked a lot lately what I want to do (since I’m studying marketing) and my answer is always “I don’t know.” I guess knowing would be the first step. I so admire people who know what they want to do and just do it. Maybe if I read enough stories and advice on it I will one day just do it??? Thanks for sharing. x Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

    • Reply Min January 28, 2015 at 10:04 am

      The ‘knowing’ part can be the hardest part Aroha. For me it has been hard to get clarity around the ‘knowing’. For others, like Monica, it is clear! Good luck with your ‘marketing’ future! My sister is in marketing and has done very well. Thanks for visiting! Min x

  • Reply Renee Wilson January 27, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    Good for you, Monica!! This studio is not too far from me. I should check it out. I really think it’s what my body and mind need at this point in time 🙂

    • Reply Min January 28, 2015 at 10:07 am

      You should so check it out Renee. I know you won’t regret it. 🙂 x

  • Reply Deb @ inner compass designs January 27, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Fabulous interview. Checked out the site and hope she will be running a chakra energy class again soon. Just missed it and it sounded great. Might try out the intro package for a few classes. Xx

    • Reply Min January 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Thanks Deb! It would be worth an enquiry to see if the chakra energy class will be run again. The intro package looks to be a fabulous deal! I’m sure you’ll love it there. I love Monica’s holistic approach to mind, body and spirit and attention to detail so that everyone who visits has the best experience possible. 🙂 x

  • Reply Druime@SnippetsandSpirits January 27, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    I just love Monica’s bravery very inspirational. Really great interview too. I just love that first photo its pretty special.

    • Reply Min January 28, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Thank you Druime! That first photo IS amazing isn’t it! I do not know how she gets her hands like that. I have tried and I fail miserably! lol 😉

  • Reply Rebel Without A Pause January 30, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Beautiful – I know just the person to pass this post onto x

    • Reply Min January 31, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Awesome! 🙂 x

  • Reply Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me January 30, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Very interesting Min, Monica sounds like a very inspiring woman. I just tried that first pose – FAIL!

    • Reply Min January 31, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      I fail miserably at that post too Em!!

  • Reply Sonia Life Love Hiccups February 2, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Wow what an incredibly inspiring story Monica. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I love the idea of posing the question – what would you do if you won lotto… I would write. Just write. I need to get back to yoga, I wasnt very good at getting into some of the positions but I felt so good in the head anyway xx

    • Reply Min February 2, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      I could do with a big dose of some of Monica’s confidence Sonia! I would LOVE to win lotto!! If I did – I would travel, buy a beach house, a country house and a house in the mountains and I would go from one place to another depending on the seasons – avoiding the humid heat of summer and I would take photographs and blog and stuff like that! I need to get into yoga too! I did a 6 wk beginner course and then stopped going. I loved it but life got a bit busy. I need to fit it back in. I was not good at getting into some of the positions either but I found it so relaxing and my head felt good when I left and I like that! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Michelle@myslowlivingadventure February 7, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Very inspiring! Finding a path in life that you truly love is amazing. I don’t think that many people actually do that.

    • Reply Min February 7, 2015 at 8:36 am

      I agree – so many people just go with the flow like I did for many years. I admire people who know what they love to do and go for it! 🙂

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