Middle East's only Mind, Body & Spirit Magazine

+971 4 453 8874

Following Your Passion The Long Way Around

When I started my CTI Co-active coaching course two years ago, I wrote my resignation letter promising to hand it in three months later. Well it’s taken me two more years, but I’ve done it.  There is only one time to live your life and that is now. And that’s what I intend to do.

For many people working for Microsoft is the ultimate career destination. I have spent the last three and a half years managing Microsoft’s real estate portfolio across the Middle and Africa but I gave it up at the end of November to pursue my passion for yoga and sustainability.Now while it is easy to write that sentence, the journey to this point has been long and challenging.

I started life in the UAE back in 1994 when I moved here from the UK with my then-husband and two young sons. Within a few months my marriage had ended and I was 30 and alone in a new city with no friends. I could have gone back to Canada, my home, but I decided to stay. I had no idea how challenging that was going to be.

I have always been into aerobics and classes in Dubai were expensive so I decided to become a part-time aerobics instructor. With some financial support from my husband and the small income I made, we managed.

By 2000, my sons were 10 and eight, and I felt it was time to find a ‘real job’ and gain more financial independence. I found a job as conference producer for a large exhibition company and realised how challenging work-life balance was for the clients I had been training.  Spending eight hours a day in an office chained to a computer was purgatory, but sadly I became used to it and before long, I had forgotten my other life and instead spent early mornings at the gym and my limited free time running about with my sons to their various activities.

In 2003 I was offered a job with Motorola as a facilities manager so I took the opportunity to learn something new and earn more money. But, in 2007 a sudden redundancy left me with some free time and the chance to return to my passion. I re-qualified as a personal trainer and started teaching Body Pump and Body Balance. I was following my passion again and it felt great, but life will always test our resolve to stay true to our vision.

Two months later, I was offered a job with an international law firm and decided to return to the corporate world. This time I kept teaching on the weekends, which provided some level of balance.

In 2010 when I joined Microsoft, I had just completed my yoga teacher training. My teacher at Zen Yoga was leaving and suggested I take over her early morning classes. I could teach, shower and be at work by 8.30am – it was perfect.

I discovered the green oasis that sits between buildings one and eight at Dubai Internet City and came up with the idea to start the first karma yoga festival in the Middle East. It seemed the perfect marriage of my corporate skills and love of yoga, and I was so excited. I wanted people in offices to step outside and try different styles of yoga, smell the fresh air and feel refreshed.

Yogafest was launched on December 21, 2010 and now in its fourth year it has attracted more than 2,500 participants.

In 2011 I launched Full Moon Fridays – two yoga classes and one meditation session on the Friday closest to the full moon. Like all my events, participants make a donation and the funds go to various charities supporting children. I also started a blog called Corporate Yogini – travels with a mat in which I describe my experiences attending yoga classes as I travelled for work around Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In Cairo, for example, I discovered a karma yoga centre, The Breathing Room, run by an American couple. All proceeds go to local charities, including a homeless shelter for women and children. I have met amazing people and written about my experiences in the hopes that other travellers will benefit from my stories and information.

As my yoga activities grew, my time became more limited and with my 50th birthday looming in the not-so-distant future and my sons both gone to study overseas, I felt it was time to finally do what I had always wanted, follow my passion and give up the corporate world and work for myself. It’s interesting when you do something like this because there are two reactions: people who celebrate your courage and those who caution you.

When I started my CTI Co-active coaching course two years ago, I wrote my resignation letter promising to hand it in three months later. Well it’s taken me two more years, but I’ve done it.  There is only one time to live your life and that is now. And that’s what I intend to do.

 


READ ALSO...

Creating Better World

American artist Sally Curcio’s Bubbles series artworks, domed fantasy world…

FEATURE ARTICLES - July 8, 2019

Socially Awkward? WORRY NOT!, Says Ty Tashiro

  If you have ever felt klutzy or awkward in…

FEATURE ARTICLES - June 11, 2019