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: https://www.facebook.com/CultivateCalmYoga
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.]