For our #ChangeDestiny
series this month, we're profiling women who have freed themselves from societal norms and expectations and have chosen to take a step towards their true destiny. For Part One
of the series, we caught up with Yoga Lab founder Jasmine Chong
whose personal story is rooted in her choice to choose destiny and lead a life guided by her passion for Yoga.
It's similar to the journey of Beatboxer Aibo
who describes destiny as "...not as something that's already written. But something you choose in each moment." As the first Japanese Female to compete in a National Beatbox Battle, Aibo has constantly been redefining what it means to live life beyond expectations. Watch her journey below in this video from SK-II
For Jasmine Chong, her desire to change her destiny was mostly driven by the exhaustion from keeping up with the pressure to succeed in her career. Extremely driven and caught in a rat race as she pursued a full-time career in the banking industry, Jasmine possessed all the qualities you would imagine of a successful, career driven woman. The problem: she was focused in an entirely different direction in her life, making her almost question whether everything was truly worth it.
The turning point came when Jasmine went for her yoga teacher's training course that rekindled Jasmine's passion for life. That moment marked the point in her life when she decided that she would eventually leave the banking industry behind and focus on what would make her feel truly fulfilled.
So if you're looking to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to live a life guided by your passion, then read on to be inspired by Jasmine's journey on how she moved beyond the rat race and chose to be happy in the pursuit of her dreams.
You left your full time job as a banker to pursue and share your love for yoga. Can you share more about that journey with us?
I was caught in the rat race. It seemed like the normal thing to do, dreading work and accepting it as part of life. I knew I did not belong...I was unstoppable and ambitious! I made my goal known to my bosses and I was clear I was going to work towards that goal. Unfortunately, that also meant making sacrifices.
Sometimes I would stop and ask myself if it was all worth it. I guess I never could come to terms with the slow death of my spirit and I was trying so hard to fill that void...soon enough, I lost myself. I stopped laughing and I started crying. I stopped loving and I started scheming. I stopped trusting and I started doubting. I stopped dreaming and I started accepting the emptiness I was feeling.
I left my job in September 2014 to pursue what made me happy. It has been an incredible (almost) 2 years since I left and I now have Yoga Lab
! I knew I made the right decision.
You’re a big believer in the idea that yoga is an endless road of self-acceptance and self-discovery. What’s the story behind that?
Initially when I first started yoga, all I wanted to do was to be able to get into the full front splits. I was not flexible at all and was even kicked out of dance school so you can imagine how difficult it was for me. But I was very determined; I wanted it so much that I would have my friends sit on me while I practice my forward folds. It was very painful but I chose to ignore those sensations and pushed my body through it. Eventually, I tore my hamstrings. That was a huge lesson for me to accept myself for what I am capable of doing at the very present moment and that there is no room for competition.
Being mindful comes with practice. On the mat we practice being mindful of our breath and being mindful of what our bodies are telling us. This is translated off the mat as being mindful of what you say, and your thoughts.
Right now, being a studio owner is my yoga. And I am thankful for the practice I have which taught me how to be patient and to let go of control. To slow down and to response instead of react. Because I understand myself better, I can be more honest about what I can do and what I cannot do at this point. And I accept that what I cannot do now is temporary, as long as I have faith and I trust the process, it will all come.
What has been the most inspiring part about starting Yoga Lab for you?
The most inspiring part about starting Yoga Lab is being able to continually surprise myself at what I am capable of. I never imagined I would be able to do this alone. Now I handle everything from making the biggest business decision to cleaning the toilets. It requires me to continually step out and be comfortable outside of my comfort zone.
Magic happens outside our comfort zones. I have grown so much as a person ever since Yoga Lab. To be honest, people from my younger days do not believe the things I am capable of handling on my own now. I am inspired to become a better person as each day passes and see my full potential.
What keeps you motivated to keep the Yoga studio going every day?
I am motivated to keep Yoga Lab going so I can bring yoga to as many people as possible. Yoga Lab will be affordable and convenient. Yoga Lab will be right there for you when you need yoga. I have personally benefitted tremendously from yoga and I truly believe everyone deserve yoga. People will no longer be deprived of yoga because it is ‘too expensive’.
How would you define Destiny? Do you think it’s something we choose or is written in the stars for us? Would you consider the life you’re leading now part of your destiny?
I am Christian and I believe that God knows everything that’ll happen in my life. He has given me a destiny — something to do in this life, something only I can do.
But because God allows choices, people can miss God’s destiny for us. For example, if someone decides to drink and drive and end their life in an accident then that is not God’s destiny but a result of foolish choice. So yes I believe we can choose our destiny by keeping close to what God has planned for us. Our destiny is our choice.
I believe God took me out of the banking world and planted me in yoga for a reason. For every step of my way has been a very blessed journey. There has been hiccups but nothing I could not overcome. I believe my life right now is part of my destiny and God is using my life to bring Him glory. Yoga Lab is also where I now run Grace Flow (Holy Yoga) classes!