Setting up my first yoga studio at the age of 22 was a huge leap of faith. At the time, I was working in public relations in a reputable advertising agency in Singapore. When a personal family tragedy struck, the questions, “Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going?” came up really strongly within me. On a whim, I handed in my resignation to a job that I did enjoy, but didn’t fulfil every single pore of my existence. I packed my bags, and went travelling for the next 9 months, without a plan.
In the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted to “change the world through education”. It was a huge dream, but I didn’t really know what that would be. I thought of education for children, and education through non-profit work as some ideas that I could explore, yet nothing resonated within me in a way that I felt completely at one with.
All this time and since the age of 14, practising yoga has been the most consistent thing in my life. It gave me a sense of complete wellbeing, that inspired me in everything that I did. Without a clear plan of exactly what I was doing, I started reaching out to commercial real estate agents in Singapore. “Hello, I’m opening a yoga studio and need a space that is light-filled, and approximately 2000 square feet. It needs to be in the city area, where there is a lot of human traffic.” The words just tumbled out of my mouth.
The whole time, I simply allowed the Universe to guide me. No business plan was made - I didn’t even know where I was going to get the money from. I just knew that I had to trust and allowed IT to happen.
As I trawled through Singapore’s real estate, I happened upon a charming 3-level shophouse along the busy Circular Road, in Boat Quay. This street is renowned to have karaoke bars, some red-light activity, and busy little cafes and restaurants. As I walked up the stairs into this space, beer bottles littered the cement floor, Chinese words splattered in a few places; and I thought this is absolutely perfect. In fact, I didn’t have to think; I felt this sense of completeness in the space. The daylight subtly lit the insides of the building, and I could see how magical and special it was, beyond the grossness of it being an ex-karaoke bar.
I turned around to the bespectacled agent and went through a few mundane details, but inside I was churning with excitement. Not wanting to seem like I was too eager, I said I would get back to him. Twenty four hours later, I called him up and said, “Yes, please. I’m in.” He replied, “I’m so sorry, but it’s no longer available.”
Slightly disappointed, but also completely aware that everything happens for the best possible reasons, I took off to New York on a creative and exploratory trip. Immersed in art galleries, fabulous restaurants and interesting yoga studios, I was feeling so expanded and inspired. Inside, I knew all I had to do was to keep tapping into this inspired feeling and trust the Universe to deliver. I remember clearly, one beautiful, balmy New York day, whilst I was out and about in the city, I received a call from my bespectacled real estate agent, and he said, “The space is yours, if you still want it.” I replied without a moment’s hesitation, “Yes! I’m coming back.”
I jumped on the next flight back to Singapore and within a month, Hom Yoga Raffles Place opened its doors. Looking back, I didn’t have a clue what I needed to do. I simply trusted my instincts, and allowed everything to unfold in the most organic manner. The Universe completely supported my vision, as everything that I needed or asked for, the Universe responded with grace.
The most important thing I learned is to trust, and to be open to all the possibilities. I was tapping into my innermost Self, and able to allow my deepest inspiration come to its fruition. The second most important thing was to simply take action. Having a business plan is important, but one can spend days on end mulling over words on page. Once I started taking action, the business plan became a reality. Some days were more frustrating than others, but I knew deep down that I was on a very important journey, and I wasn’t going to allow a challenging day veer me off course.
Starting and running a business has allowed me to express my creativity and inspiration. It has shown me all my strengths and weaknesses in its heightened clarity, and it has given me the opportunity to continually transform, evolve and expand - becoming limitless in a world which can often be seen as limiting.
Malvina will be holding a 'Beginning as a Yoga Teacher' workshop this March to give you ideas and directions on how to become a successful yoga teacher or yoga entrepreneur.
By Malvina Kang