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Yousra Diab says no to corporate life and embraces a non-competitive life, the yoga way! she believes that Yoga was an initiation into empowerment and the answer to everything she was lacking in her life.


13 Days… 21 Hours… 59 Minutes… 41 Seconds was the remaining time in the countdown I created until my resignation day.  Waking up every morning, looking at this countdown is what kept me going and I was so looking forward to the big day: November 2nd 2017.  I was even visualizing myself saying goodbye to my colleagues and I drafted my farewell email and I was just ready to go! However, on the beautiful morning of October 19th 2017, one lady from HR came to the office and after a brief discussion with my boss, they called me in a room to tell me the breaking news.  “Unfortunately, the bank is undergoing a restructuring and we are making some positions redundant and yours, unfortunately again, was one of them”.  It took me a couple of minutes to realize that this is really happening and that I am not dreaming. By the time I absorbed the pleasant shock, this lady was still talking, with the most fake compassionate smile on her face, then she added “and today is your last day”.  At this point, I couldn’t hide my feelings and I said” Really or are you joking? This is such a relief” Of course, she was pretty surprised to the extent that she said that this is the strangest termination meeting she has ever had in her career.  I won’t go into much details of why I hated my job so much and how impatiently I was waiting to quit.  However, I would need to mention that this place taught me a lot of things other than the job.  I came to know that although people can be so different; yet, they can be so similar.  I had some colleagues that I will always remember and although, we were far from being similar, we found common grounds to enjoy working with each other and having interesting conversations away from any judgements.  As I was not really fitting in the working environment, some of my close friends continuously asked me how I am still working there and how I am coping with it.  I am a big believer that winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win.  That’s why I kept being persistent and I tried to find the positive side in the negative; as I tell my Yoga students, I tried to find the comfort in the discomfort, because this is how I can grow.  But, sometimes, the attempts do not work anymore and we just need to admit that it’s time to quit.  In my personal opinion, a job is like a relationship; when it becomes unhealthy and toxic, we have to walk away.  In my case, it was even better because they did for me.

Change is always good.  Because I was suffocated, I even created the hashtag at the beginning of 2017 #yearofchange.  This is definitely the change I needed in my life to move on and follow my passion for Yoga teaching and travel writing.  Letting go of things that do not serve us anymore always creates space for other things to enter to enable us to be happy, achieve our full potential or be the best version of ourselves.  Interestingly enough, the day of my redundancy was a new moon which signifies a new beginning.  The sequence of events that have been happening my life since I decided to quit my job, initially creating my countdown, is unbelievable.  I was always afraid to take up the responsibility and to start fully teaching Yoga; I was just teaching for fun maybe some classes here and there but never took it seriously because deep down, I was afraid of putting myself out there and fail. Until one day last May, my dearest friend and teacher Claire was going on holiday and she told me: “You are covering for my classes for the next 3 weeks” and I was terrified questioning if I would be able to do it.  I turned up to the class and there was 17 people! I did my breathing exercises and went with the intention that I will just speak from the heart and it will go well and it did go well! Shortly afterwards, I got a permanent spot for myself and since then things have been positively developing on this front and, for the first time in my life, I enjoy what I do.  It is great to feel that I am making even a small difference in my students’ lives by relieving any kind of physical pain they are experiencing, or by talking about a personal change they wish to do or simply by the fact that they feel more relaxed after a class.   This gives me great contentment and satisfaction, which I never experienced in my life throughout my banking career; it is just more “human”.  On another note, it is a great environment to be part of; other teachers always support me and come to my classes while I go to their classes.  we help each other in our practice on and off the mat; it is a blissful non-competitive happy environment that I am grateful to be part of.

It’s been almost 3 weeks I am out of the corporate world and I will list the value adding activities I completed in this short time: (1) I was able to participate in the Dubai 30×30 fitness challenge teaching weekly morning classes; (2) I was able to attend my friend’s marriage notarization that took place during the day without worrying about going back to the office or skipping the whole event because of work requirements; (3) I was able to complete the course requirements of my Prenatal Yoga training and I successfully became a Prenatal Yoga teacher; (4) I taught more Yoga classes in the studio I am teaching;(5) I was able to catch up with some friends that I have been wanting to catch up with for the past 6 months but couldn’t due to crazy working hours and finally (6) I am a much happier and calmer person who has nothing to complain about.  On the contrary, a person that has a lot of be thankful for.


As Buddha says, “All what we are is a result of what we have thought” if we really believe in what we want so much, it will have no choice but to materialize.  This is how the universe works and we will actually end up getting so much more than what we asked for.  We only live once and time does fly.  So, it’s not worth it to spend this one life in a job we hate or a person we don’t like just because it’s more convenient.  Being afraid of the other unknown side is normal and maybe that’s why we become resilient to change.  However, and I consider myself the typical example, the change that we are afraid of will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to us.  Waking up at 6 a.m. today to teach a yoga class felt completely different than waking up at 6 a.m. every day to go to the job I hated.

Although my banking friends think that I am having a midlife crisis that I will wake up from pretty soon, I think I finally found myself.  I am finally able to do what I want irrespective of external variables.  Maybe, for a while, I won’t be able to afford the spacious apartment with the great view or the sports car; but, does it really matter if I own these “things” but I am deeply miserable? and I try to own more things in an attempt to become less miserable?  It’s a matter of priorities; for some people, status is more important than happiness but it’s important to set our priorities straight, whatever they are.

Last week, a Yoga teacher and a friend of mine asked me: “Do you think Yoga betters or ruins your life?” With no hesitation, I would answer that it definitely betters your life.  For me, Yoga was an initiation into empowerment and it was the answer to everything I was lacking in my life.  “Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself” The Bhagavad Gita.  #lifeoutsidethecubicle only began and I am sure it will keep getting better and better with #zenwithzooki!

Source: Yousra Diab:

Is a Full time banker, certified 200 hours and Yin Yoga teacher and a travel blogger based in Dubai, UAE. Zooki Travels is the travel blog describing her travels and yoga practice. For more trips, visit www.zookitravels.com


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