Leen | From banker to yoga coach
By Eleni Meraki
I studied International Business and Sustainable development. My aim was to work for the United Nations and to make a difference in the world. The dream got close, when I started working for the European Union. The expat life in Belgium and Luxemburg was exciting but I started doubting whether my definition of sustainability truly matched the one from the Union. Later on I got involved into sustainable banking and again I felt I was not getting closer to my life purpose. It felt as if I was only using my head and missed the deeper engagement of myself in my work. Working from my heart and intuition.
5 THINGS ABOUT
IDEALIST | HEALTH FREAK | INTU YOGA | SENSITIVE AND STRONG
LEAP OF FAITH
It may sound cliché but the turning point came when I experienced a burnout. I was working for a bank at the time and felt more and more disconnected from myself. Deep within me I felt I wasn’t in the right environment yet I didn’t know what the next step should be. I started spending more time meditating and practicing yoga, which I had been practicing for a couple years by then. It was during this period of connecting with myself on a more consistent basis that answers slowly started to come to me. Throughout this process I made a discovery that I am highly sensitive (HSP). I realised that besides my rational thinking, that I strongly developed through my education, I had another core strength; my intuition.
Now, two years down the line, I am running my own yoga school: INTU YOGA. Alongside, I am a trainer/coach in corporate personal development and leadership programs. INTU stands for intuition which means the deepest layer of wisdom everyone owns deep inside. My purpose is helping people and teams to discover their intuitive skills, bringing them closer to their inner core. Nowadays many people, especially in a business environment, live through their minds, using mainly the left side of the brain for logic and rational thinking. That can result in counterproductive thinking and behavioral patterns that could for example lead to burn-out. As a yogacoach I offer yoga as a tool to observe and reflect upon those patterns through body and breath awareness as they directly reflect our emotional state. More awareness is a great agent for change and development in people’s life’s and in a business environment. My belief is that the balance between rational and intuitive thinking is needed in finding solutions to today’s challenges in the world resulting in living a more fulfilling life. It is all about connection, which is the literal translation of the word ‘yoga’.
I had saved a little money when I quit my job and decided to go to Canada where I could stay with family for some time. While following my first yoga teacher training I worked in the garden of my yoga teacher. In the evenings I worked as a waitress and during weekends I painted houses. It was tough but the deeper feeling of following my heart gave me profound energy and strength to do anything. When I got back in The Netherlands, my intuition led me to a tiny village in the rural part of the country. I started teaching in yoga schools and gyms and after some time a friend pointed out a vacant room above a health/beauty store. I got in touch and the owner supported me in setting up my practice there. And that’s what I did.
The first year was tough financially so I found more creative ways to come by. I lived on a horse farm where I paid little rent in exchange of nurturing the horses. It isn’t that hard to cut down costs when you have more time to do groceries and do your own cooking. It actually gave me satisfaction to be more conscious about what I truly needed instead of buying things that would be nice to have. It took me around a year to come by financially and I guess it will take another year to make a normal living. They say it takes around 3 years to have your business up and running and I believe that’s quite accurate.
THE TOUGH TIMES
It can be a lonely path to make a big change in your life. For me it meant the end of a relationship as well. Inevitably you will lose people that you love. The beauty lies in the new people you will meet, people that you will connect to much deeper than before. People around you may not understand why you make certain decisions. The most important thing is that you know what is best for you and keep believing in your dreams. Surround yourself with like-minded people through network groups.
5 INSIDERS TIPS
- Dealing with fear of the unknown was a tough one. Yet, my life is so much richer and more fulfilling than all those years when I had a steady job and income.There are of course less impacting ways moving to the job that you love, yet I believe that stepping into the unknown speeded up the process. The moment I moved out of my comfort zone was when things started to happen.
- Keep questioning yourself and clearly see the difference between the voice of your ego and the voice of your intuition.
- There is only one constant in life and that is that everything keeps changing. It could be that your dream will also change through time. The art is to stay true to yourself and remain flexible. Follow your heart and intuition and everything will fall in place.
- 3 books that inspired me the throughout my journey are: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, The power of now by Eckhart Tolle, and Hoogsensitiviteit als Kracht (Dutch) by Caroline Bont.
- A very inspiring documentary to watch on Netflix -"INNSAEI -the power of intuition".
Written by Eleni Meraki
Eleni is the founder of Guts & Tales. She lives in Athens and enjoys roaming the world as much as she can. She is a multi-passionate entrepreneur with big dreams and a big mission; to empower you to live a life you truly enjoy living.
Click on the About Eleni tab to read her full story.