Sharon’s Note: Here’s a guest post by my good friend Nabilla, who I’ve known since high school. Like many of us she’s taken the plunge and quit her full time job recently to focus on her new business. It takes a lot of bravery to do this and I’m so proud of her.
I’ve asked her to share some thoughts on the journey so far as a yoga instructor. Also, as most of us are cake decorators I know being hunched over the bench all day sometimes means we don’t have the best posture, so I’ve asked Nabilla to write a few tips about relieving tension in your body.
My name is Nabilla Sharil and I am the founder and principal yoga instructor for Mind Body Breath in Malaysia. Mind Body Breath is a mobile health and fitness service that aims to bring a holistic approach to wellness and healthy lifestyle by combining best practices of positive thinking and emotional management (Mind), yoga asanas, targeted nutrition and fitness training to address specific concerns (Body) and pranayamas or breathing exercises (Breath).
I started this business on a part time basis as soon as I had completed my 200-hour yoga teachers training because deep within my heart, I knew sharing my knowledge of yoga and helping to inspire people to pursue a healthier lifestyle was one of the reasons I had been put on this planet earth. I taught over the weekends and on weekdays I was a Management Consultant working in teams helping large organisations in managing change and the ever-changing landscape of the business workforce. I did this for about 1.5 years when the desire to pursue yoga full time felt more painful to ignore than the gigantic fear of a looming uncertainty if I was to take this dive and do it full time.
Sharon, as one of my closest friends, has always had a pivotal role in my life and knowing that she too had gone through similar feelings in starting up her own successful cake decorating business made me feel like I was seeking advice from the ‘right’ person. Firstly through her solid work and business ethics that I had known since we were young and secondly, her advice carries substantial weight of experience and the ‘tried-and-tested’ virtue was unquestionable. I knew also, her advice is applicable across different industries based on the subsequent suggestions she gave during our mentoring sessions so I was truly in good hands.
The mentoring came about organically, initially as me approaching Sharon for some advice on whether it is the right time to take the big jump and eventually our sessions turned into more structured and consistent chats. She would give little ‘assignments’ to do at the end of the sessions and we would set the date for the next chat so that I would keep to my schedule and complete the groundwork required to build my own business. These sessions were personally precious to me as it helped me set a realistic expectation of working on my own and without a set amount of income coming in every month. Sharon gives valuable suggestions in terms of marketing yourself, getting the word out, exploring different opportunities and setting up different promotional structures. It has been 5 months since I left my full time corporate job, and though it may be a little too early to celebrate my successes, I am happy to report that my client base is steadily growing and word of our services (yoga and fitness training) is starting to catch some momentum in our local market.
As my thank you to Sharon, and to the rest of the wonderful, creative cake decorators out there I have put together a few yoga poses that can be done individually at any point of the day to help ease and stretch out the body especially the areas that so often becomes uncomfortable due to the long hours spent on the workbench creating intricate and beautiful things for the world 🙂
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Downward-Facing Dog is one of those ‘multipurpose’ poses. Many benefits can be derived just by one simple pose and as long as you have a solid, non-slip surface to place your hands and feet, you don’t necessarily need a yoga mat to do this pose!
Begin on all four, palms firmly grounded into the floor and hips directly stacked on top of your knees. Tuck the toes in and gently raise your knees off the floor, extending the tailbone into the ceiling. This pose helps to release tension around the neck and shoulders, strengthens the wrists and energises the body by encouraging better blood flow to the brain.
Uttana Shishona (Extended Puppy Pose)
For a deeper shoulder stretch, return to all four on your palms and knees. Walk the palms forward and move your buttocks halfway towards your heels. Keep sliding the palms forward, melting your heart as much as possible into the floor. Remain with your elbows off the floor, allowing the stretch to work on releasing any soreness around the shoulder and neck region. Apart from benefiting the shoulders, this pose helps to lengthen the spine as well.
Malasana (Garland Pose)
Set your feet hip width apart and gently begin to bend the knees. Lower the hips and pelvis down toward the floor until you are squatting and your heels are firmly on the floor. If your heels do not come down to the floor entirely, modify with a few folded blankets underneath the heels. This pose may help to release any tension or pressure around the lower back area caused by sitting in a chair for too long or standing in one position for an extended period of time.
So next time you feel a bit stiff and sore after a full day in the kitchen, try some of these poses and see how you feel afterwards 🙂