Social Confoes 018 – Practice Active Mindfulness w/ Natasha Fong Poen
Diego and Jean-luc are joined on #SocialConfoes by Natasha Fong Poen. Natasha will take us on a journey from moving to the Netherlands, starting a corporate career, moving back to Suriname, and finally leaving corporate life behind to found Yogini Su.
You can also connect with Natasha
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 3:57 – Why the interest in health?
- 9:08 – How do you mentally prepare yourself for an intense 30-day challenge?
- 11:15 – The calm Natasha vs the corporate rush Natasha
- 15:38 – Takeaways from the corporate world that positioned you to start something yourself?
- 21:25 – The story behind the yoga pose photo
- 26:05 – Thought process on deciding what to study
- 35:08 – The importance of environment in finding yourself
- 38:14 – Thoughts on the ‘cult’ aspect of yoga
- 40:42 – A memorable travel story
- 45:39 – Misconceptions around yoga practice
- 49:14 – The technical aspects of yoga
- 57:17 – Quickfire
- 1:00:27 – How can you use yoga to not get burned out in a corporate setting
- 1:03:33 – Closing off
Video Version of the Episode
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Diego: [00:00:43] Good morning. Good afternoon. Wherever you are in the world. Welcome back to Social Confoes it’s episode 18 and Jean-luc I got to say I’m, I’m kind of distracted right now because last week we’ve talked about, I’m literally in a, at a discord server right now, following other trends activities going on like two hours ago, there was this launch out for what was supposed to happen last week of Gary Vee’s VeeFriends drop. And I’ve been following that like for the past two hours and I’m still checking the chat as we do this. So, but without further ado my Attention is now shifted to Social Confoes.
Jean-luc: [00:01:44] You’re actually waiting, still waiting for the drug. I had my drop. I actually shared the video together, which, you know, another person was also in the drop. And, and beyond we, we took a video of me opening the pack that I got from last week’s drop. And I’m really disappointed because the ROI is actually negative right now. The bag that I had the NFT is that I open up from the back or actually worse than then why my initial investment quick, quick shout outs to the covenants, a shoulder to Mr. Bezig he says we’re busy. So that’s, that’s a good thing. No, but yes, without further ado, because there are already people waiting for the introduction of our guests. Today’s guest is somebody, Frankel is the wine. I’ve known her quite well for over actually around 20 years already. Yes. And I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna introduce her the usual way I introduce her because that I would it wouldn’t, I wouldn’t give her the proper respect.
So I’m going to introduce Natasha as somebody who I know from, from high school who actually also spent office very small part of her studies in Alberta actually ended up selling a bank, a coach or. Giving a coach or selling a coaches. You’ll tell me if, if I was nice enough to give it to her or that I sold it to her, but I ended up giving her a culture builder.
And then I asked her to become one of the keynote speakers for the first ever social media conference in Suriname back in 2017. I remember that one. Yeah. And then she moved, she moved back to Suriname and not only is she somebody who I look up to when it comes to corporate communications, but she also is somebody that I look up to because she decided to do her own thing. And that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. So without further introduction, let’s bring it to the streets.
Natasha: [00:03:49] Hi guys. Thank you so much for that beautiful introduction. Jean-luc every time you made me speechless with those.
Diego: [00:03:57] Hi, Natasha. Welcome to Social Confoes. And first of all, compliments on your background there.
Lovely, lovely background. And I think people might be wondering what we’re going to talk to about tonight and the site probably during the announcement from corporate, from the corporate growth too. A yogini and what a Yogi in is we’ll dive into that a bit, but let’s dial it back to, you know, the good old days.
You met Jean-luc in high school and based from your, I guess your, your profile, some of the background information we did, you’ve been in the active, like the healthy space for, from quite, for quite a while. So how did that begin? Where were the interest? What’s this, I won’t call it obsession, but this interest in health.
Natasha: [00:04:44] Well, how does the favorite passion of mine? This is true ever since I was middle, maybe I think you I was, I’m an only child, so I was, I grew up alone in the house. So my parents it’s both of them, their second marriage and I’m actually. You know, they’re only child from this marriage and they have had children before, but they were already living abroad.
So actually had to entertain myself. So I was always singing, dancing and doing some kind of a sport. And they would actually take me to, you know, I could choose any sport I wanted. So I think I actually, I checked the list of sports and dance and piano lessons and everything. So it was, it was my thing. It was where I met people, made friends.
And so I was always busy with that. And I just, even later in life, I never had the inclination to divert from it. So yeah, I think, I think that’s where it started just as a little kid doing understand and trying it all out. A number of really sticking to something until I started swimming. That was when I was, I think I was 10 and then did that up until I.
Yeah, it wasn’t the national swimming team. So I think that was my, yeah, my highest achievement in sports at the time.
Jean-luc: [00:06:05] actually met you, met you when you were swimming. I think there’s also a story that you actually completed Insanity twice. Now, first of all, there are a lot of people are a lot of people that that wants to try and Saturday they don’t finish it.
When they finish, it is a very big achievement. And you actually did it twice. So I have to ask on behalf of my close friends, I have to ask, why did you do it twice?
Natasha: [00:06:35] Because I’m in sanctioned this, you know,
Jean-luc: [00:06:39] no, but a little bit of story behind the reason for doing it, of course, because there are people that want to know is inside of the actually good for my health. Is there something I can learn from it? And then the question for why, why would you do it a second time?
Diego: [00:06:53] What is insanity? Right.
Natasha: [00:06:56] So insanity is the it’s this fitness program by Shanti who I still follow and love. So Shanti is this fitness guru. And he had started this program where you do a certain you do like 20 minutes up until 40 minutes of sports and and cooling down, warming up and cooling down included.
And you do this every day. Four, I think it’s Oh my God. Jean-luc is it 30 days? 40 days? I can’t remember. It was such a while back. Yeah. At least a month and a month or five weeks or six weeks. Something like some something in this range and it, and like from the first week, like you die, like you feel every fiber in your body, every stall.
And the reason I did it back then is to actually to get into shape is the one reason, but I love things that challenge me, like my yoga program that I did back in November, it was also like this that woke up every day at 4:30 AM and there’s just four consecutive hours of training. And it was just quite brutal as well.
So in a way that was, I think, even harder that insanity. Because there’s also the spiritual process, you know, and challenging the body. So I do enjoy pushing myself like this. So after the first time I was feeling so strong and able, and I think, I don’t know how long it took me, but then I did it a second time.
It’s true. And then I, I love challenges and I love seeing how far my body can go. And also if you come into a meditative state when I’m doing sports, or when I’m focusing on my house to get into a state of inner peace of just you leave everything behind, I think people that play sports, I know that you guys, maybe you like football, or, you know, I think when those players are on the field, there’s nothing else in the world than just them and their body. And this is how I feel with sports, how I feel with yoga, with dance, with music.
Jean-luc: [00:09:08] There’s a group of people right now. It started the 30 day challenge where I actually decided I want people to join in. We’re doing a 30 day challenge.
Diego’s in that group as well. And the biggest hurdle to start with a 30 day challenge or what start with anything, that’s a commitment for a month. And like, how do you mentally prepare yourself for such an, for such a challenge?
Natasha: [00:09:32] It’s funny you should ask because I also, actually, before I did my yoga training, I also did like a 30 day challenge. How do you prepare for that? I think I have no other advice than to just commit. And I think this is the biggest hurdle we have as humans committing is it’s an issue sometimes just getting yourself, holding yourself accountable for your actions. I think that’s where it starts and how to prepare is to not start to do it.
No. Oh, today I’m deciding tomorrow I’m going to do it. I mean, if you know, you’re the type. Yes. But if, you know, you’re not the type like planet for three months ahead, you know, say, Hey, I’m going to do insanity or I’m going to do with this 30 day challenge, I’m going to do it in August. I’m going to do it in the summer.
And then from that day that you have decided actively try to everyday say to yourself, Hey, I’m going to do this. And you’ll see that if you really start to believe in it and not see it as a burden. But see it, as I say this to my students, we get to practice. We don’t have to practice. We, we, it’s not that we should.
We get to how many people are not able to do any kind of a challenge because their hurdle in life is how, what is their next meal going to be? They can get out of bed, maybe. They’re physically impaired me. We get to practice. It’s a blessing. So whenever challenging, maybe you get to do it. How privileged I read to be in a WhatsApp group and, and be able to deal with the challenge.
Diego: [00:11:15] you’re using a very powerful word there, get to, and it’s a, I guess, a perspective on how you look at things and I get that, that you, a lot of people struggle with that, but the whole way you’ve been talking from the moment you appeared on camera, it’s so calming. It’s so zen-like even the you’re getting compliments from the youtube to here.
Gregory says he’s digging your video, set up So that’s really interesting to hear you from this perspective, but then again, Jean-luc mentioned in your introduction that you are kind of invited to be one of the keynote speakers during the conference in 2017. And that was in the setting from a corporate world.
So I’m trying to figure out this disconnect or connected to in the calm Natasha I see in front of me right now and the hurdles and the rush life of the corporate world. So how did that happen?
Natasha: [00:12:21] Yeah. So that person still is in of me. She comes out every now and then she was, she was here today, rushing around the city, having to get from here to there.
And then I get into a state that I don’t like that state anymore. The state of having to rush, rush, rush, where you feel like life is living, you. I was listening to the song and this song is called surviving. It’s a beautiful song. And I think it was written in the COVID period, you know, because so, so many people have it so heavy these days.
And it feels like surviving. It feels like getting through a day, getting through your life, getting through the next thing to take off. And while I actually, I, I had a, quite a, quite a good career, I think in marketing and in social media. And I think that’s why she asked me, I hope so, but actually that, that person’s standing, there is someone who is good at her job who is very bubbly onstage and show she, she gives a show.
She’s a performer I a performer. That’s what I did until work. I actually started performing arts for awhile there. And I still love performing, but that’s the thing at a certain point, I asked myself, what is my whole life going to be a performance, you know? And every time I close a door and I become, yeah, the whole different person, is that what I want to be?
And I didn’t think so. I didn’t think so. I think, I think that all the choices I had made up until then had, have served me. Well, I have, I think, built a good name for myself. I take care of my parents. I’ve done my best. When at a certain point I was feeling like I was just surviving and every day was a show and I decided that I didn’t know what to do.
That’s the thing. I didn’t know what the next step was going to be. And maybe that’s why it took me awhile, but it was right on time because in the end. The way forward was what? I just let go. I quit my job. I left my relationship. I decided to just not focus on the house I wanted to buy or the car I needed to buy.
If I gave up my idea, I decided to just, just go and just leave and see. And every book I had read up until then it was story. Every movie, it always starts there with the person just jumping. And every time you see it, you’re like, how are you going to survive? And what are you gonna do? But the thing is we, we are trained by society to think so much of those things.
And I thought now is the time, because of course, if I have a family and I don’t know the kids and everything, I, I maybe wouldn’t have done it so easily. Not that it was easy, but I think, you know what I mean? So I thought, Hey, if there is ever going, gonna be a right time, I think this is the time. So. Yeah, I think that’s the different between that, that girl.
And this one.
Diego: [00:15:38] Is there anything that comes to mind you’ve worked for Hewlett Packard, you are the marketing manager there, and then at one of the local bakeries here is an Suriname. Is there anything you took from those, I guess two experiences in particular in the corporate world that kind of sets you up to make this decision or put you in a like position? Be it financially, mentally are just personally to say you’re in a comfortable or in a, in a, not comfortable, but in a ready state to make this next step for yourself.
Natasha: [00:16:20] Well, definitely not financially because there’s nothing, I didn’t have like a it’s the same. When I moved from the Netherlands to here, everybody’s said like, you have to have a aspire, but you have some savings, you know, before you go to Suriname, because it’s really hard there.
And and also with this, and you know, if you’re gonna wait for that, so if you have it, that’s great. But if you don’t, you’re going to spend your whole life trying to save up to live a life and then you’re not there anymore. So it was definitely not financially. I think I did reach a point of if I may be so honest of, of feeling, feeling utterly unhappy feeling utterly, like this is not who I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live anymore.
And that I finally, this, this clarity, I am the only one that can control this. I, I can do something about it. And if there’s any takeaway from, from our convo today, it’s that thing, you can do something you’re never a victim of circumstance. You can always do something. So whether that thing is you just up and leave, go, go, be happy, be, find your joy.
Find your passion. Life will bring you enough struggles and challenges because even in any kind of a happy setting, if you’re living on a beach in Bali, you struggle with you. This is how life is designed. So why not just, you know, take that as it comes. And the part that you can control is make it as good as possible.
So it was, it was basically out of just feeling rock bottom and feeling like I had no way out and just dropping it and say, I need to reinvent myself. Which is ironic now because that’s, HP’s slogan it’s read, keep reinventing. And that’s exactly what I did.
Jean-luc: [00:18:20] it’s, it’s fun because we’re looking at, at corporate and looking at yoga. So where do the pets actually cross? What are routines or habits that you build up in your corporate life that you took with you to yoga and also the other way around?
Natasha: [00:18:41] Wow. And so good question, because I actually got from the top of my head, can’t really let me say this first. And for most that I didn’t, when I left corporate, when I just quit my job, I didn’t teach yoga yet. I didn’t, I wasn’t even a teacher yet. And when I started to do my training, I did that from out of India, I, it, everybody was asking you you’re going to teach. And I was like, I don’t know. I know this is just for me, I’m just, you know, on this journey and there was no teaching involved, then it kind of just, it came to me that this is maybe what I should try and now it’s, I love teaching.
So yeah, I think the, the, the way that relates to life in general, not just the corporate world is that we learn to be mindful. We learn to live mindfully, to not, to not live in mightily, but to, to move every finger every month. Every Aspen that is mindful. If you are not mindful, you’re going to fall.
It’s going to. It’s you’re going to get injury. It’s gonna not be a good experience for you, but if you are truly mindful in the moment and know where you are, where you’re following the reserve for that day, maybe your body doesn’t go that far. And maybe you can sit in meditation is not to not force it, you know, or when you feel the struggle coming inquiry to tell yourself, Hey, it’s okay.
I don’t have to push when I can just stay statically and I’ll be okay. It’s this calmness, it’s this sense of, of being in this moment that I think we can all take with us in any kind of setting, whether it’s corporate veterans in a family setting, where people are driving you crazy, it’s focusing on your own body, focusing on your breath and coming into this moment.
So, yeah, I would say that would be my answer. I don’t know if that answers your question to them.
Diego: [00:20:55] Probably Jean-luc, we’ll answer that in a second, but I want to quickly go through the comments cause a few more came in. You got welcome Natasha. Welcome everybody. Hey guys, from Tenerife, I have no idea where yeah, I know
Jean-luc: [00:21:11] Tenerife is Spain that’s because a cruise freed up is our guests for next Next week.
So a shout out to James for taking him that said we have four people watching this from different continents
Diego: [00:21:25] we’ve got some Tevin is back as usual. Thanks for the audio and video check Greg for clarifying that. And Tevin is also in our 30 day challenge. So that’s go, he’s already saying Day 2.
And you have a comment here from Nicole. She’s surprised by the switch to becoming a yogini, but she’s also inspired by the story behind it. And speaking of story behind it when we had our pre-talk in the chat, you send us a few photos and then the photo we decided to use for the announcement was the one where you are on a river and you’re holding some kind of yoga pose, a if I may call it that. And you also said that was the moment that. Where are you decided are that, that triggered that decision, like to leave, leave it all behind what was going on in your mind or in your body at that moment in that pose. Can you paint the picture for us?
Natasha: [00:22:23] Yeah. I remember, I think it was a day before that Oh, we stayed up late and we were talking and I remember, I was, I said, I said that I felt like I never belonged. I felt like I never belonged in my own family. I never felt like I belonged in the Netherlands. And I came to Suriname. My, I felt like I didn’t belong here. And the sense of belonging, because I had just started meditating again. And there was this mantra I was seeing like, I, I, may I be happy? May I be free?
May I feel like I belong? And it’s in that. Sentence may I feel like I belong that I remember I started crying and I, I just, so I was talking about this late at night and I said, you know, I just, I never felt like it’d be like, I don’t know what to do about this and just other, but it was all this pent up feeling of unhappiness, feeling stuck, feeling, not, not well in life, you know, and, and not, not feeling like you’re not able to talk about it because of course you’re privileged.
Of course, like you have a job, you’re a manager of, one of the biggest company. You’re ex manager of another even bigger, like what are you have to, you know, complain about really? And then you feel like you’re not allowed to I felt like, yeah. So the next day I just started doing yoga on the, you know, we call these river Rapids this to last, right.
So I remember I said, no, let’s let me take some pictures. And I had never, ever in my whole life. It seems now that that these pictures are from a photo shoot. It was the first time in my own life that I actually had had someone take my picture doing yoga, like the first time ever. And now these pictures are basically my brand.
So is this quite this? Did they experience for me now? But, and then just while I was, I was sitting there, I felt so free and I started to do these Asanas and these series, this specific series of lessons that you see. I had a warrior poses and as broken as I felt the night before, when I was in that Asana, I was asked, and then I felt so strong.
And I said to myself you have the strength, just jump just leave. You know, if, if you have to leave the country, leave the country, you have to leave whatever you have to leave, just leave it. And that in this picture, because we were talking about two and one, I was on a rock doing the Asana and on another one, I was actually with my feet on the rocks in the river and the rapids are flowing and it’s actually pulling you back.
You have to pull yourself up while you’re trying to bend 90 degrees and do a back bend. And I was still standing strong. And actually, I, I, again, I was just starting out. I have done yoga for 12 years, but I hadn’t done it in so long. And I was quite ill that period because of my my food intolerances and I, I just, I was losing so much weight rapidly.
My blood count was low. It was not a good time for me, but at that moment I was strong. And free. And I think that I then decided, you know, what, if I can do this and feel like this, I can leave. And again, without a plan, because I wasn’t even doing my yoga teacher program, I just, that’s what I felt. That’s the picture
Jean-luc: [00:26:05] I have to ask this though. I really have to ask this. So how much does your upbringing, the way your parents raised you or your experiences in other countries have impacted it that you’re willing to make the sacrifice? So I’m quickly gonna give an interlude to this. We often talk about what is. Typical Sudanese, typical, certain of these identity for me, a typical Surinamese identity is that I believe Surinamese people, they can live anywhere in the world.
They can overcome any challenge. Like there are so many stereotypes about certain of these people, but one of the things that I think makes your, these people really strong is their creativity. And they’re, they’re so fearful with, with in different situations. But from the other side, I do want to know, like what, what, what made you so confident that you were willing to take the jump?
Because we had this discussion in previous talks on Social Confoes our generation, at least the generation before us was taught you study economics, you study law. Or you study medicine, that’s basically what you should study and, and you stick to that data status that will get you through life. And you are making jumps that for a lot of people in their mind, it’s like, this is not possible to do I have to go out of my regular job. I have no security when it comes to income. So, so tell us a little bit about that thought process from your side.
Natasha: [00:27:32] I think it’s actually being mindful of this upbringing and being mindful of the impact that not only our upbringing, but also just general society, media culture has on us. The role we have to take as a woman, as a man, as a father, as a mother, as a child.
I, I was, I was always very mindful of that. And I think my first job was when I, I. So Jean-luc knows that I actually was very bright in high school. And I think my parents and everybody with everybody’s plan was she goes away she’s 18. And then she comes back when she’s 22 and she’s going to have a master’s in something and she’s going to be great, you know, and it’s just going to be the president.
This was, I think my father’s clan. So and, and I, I felt like, yeah, this is, I, I didn’t know any better, like that’s. And then I started uni and again, this feeling of total under dread and, you know, not, not being motivated and knowing that I can do it. But just not, not wanting to do it, but then feeling like a failure, it was a, you know, a trip and I actually stuck to it because my dad said, you’ll have to stick to it.
You know, you, you chose this. And I went into switch and went to do, but he just. Didn’t allow me. And then actually it came down to mental health. It, I just basically use that argument because it was true. You know, I had a talk with my dad and I, and my mom, and then he said something, but mainly my dad was, was not really feeling it.
And I said to them, you know, if it’s a question of, of finishing this particular study, which was IT by the weight and the cost of it is literally me just wanting to, you know, not wake up anymore in the morning. Is that when you work, so you, you know, because I’d rather just go work in a shop or in a gym and I don’t care, but that was a big, you know, embarrassment in our, in our culture because you’re, you know, you’re from a certain, I don’t know, upbringing and you don’t do that.
You don’t go work with your hands or, you know, This, these are the things that were in my head. Not only necessarily talk to me, but more my own, my own interpretation of Surinamese culture, especially, you know, from a certain point in my life. And it came down to that and I just said, you know what, that it’s either this, or, you know, I don’t think I’m, I don’t think there’s going to be much left of me.
And it was that’s the thing, that’s a key. I was, I always just said those things to my parents to this day, as much as it is sometimes maybe hurts because of parents never wants to hear, you know, that their child is really hurting in a way, but I was always honest about that. So it was that. And then I just, and I just caught it and then said, you know he made me make a plan actually.
So he made me make. Like a, like a write of plan. So I wrote a one pager and it’s still like that. I that’s why this job is different because for this jump I didn’t have any plan. So that jump, I had a plan, which is good because I was only 20 years old. I remember that’s when I got this tattoo. And this tattoo, and this is a nice story because this tattoo is actually it’s part of everything.
It’s part of my name. It’s everything to me. And that back then, it was just pretty, Alisa Milano had it. I was like, I need it. And see how things do come. You know, it just all holistic in a way where later in life, you know, the meaning of it just need so much. But I basically said to my parents, this is me just leaving, leaving, whatever you expect of me behind.
And that’s when I started auditioning and I went to London, I went to Jamaica. I And I got into Tilburg and I did performing arts. And up to then now this job, how do you find the courage? The thing that I think anyone should ask themselves is, am I willing to live this life? Because you don’t know how long you’ll live.
Right? So maybe you’ll think it’s a, it’s a few, it’s just this period. You don’t know if you’re going to wake up tomorrow. So the question is, and the question I have asked myself in those moments is, am I willing to live like this? You know, and if I, if I died tomorrow or next week, I’m going to regret everything, regret all the choices.
Like this is not the way I want to live. so it’s, it’s, it all comes down to that. We only have one life and as responsible as you can try to find any kind of passion you have and at least make it part of your life. You don’t have to just up and leave everything. Like I did but make it part of your life.
And one thing I promise you, if you do that, door’s a little open because that won’t happen to me. I have always wanted to work for you and for the United Nations. I that’s, when I, when I finished my communication studies, which was actually, you know, it fit me, I loved it. I finished that one in four years.
Had I had chosen that one when I was 18, who knows how I would have turned out. Maybe I would have been whatever my dad wanted me to be. But anyway actually I said to my, you know, to my teachers, like I went and worked for who and this and that. And I had all, but given up on that dream because when I started to deteriorate last year, I just thought I need to leave.
And I applied everywhere from Geneva to Timbuktu to Micronesia. Like literally I can show you the letter. I was just wanting to find purpose, wanting to do something with my life. That if, even if I wasn’t happy, I could help people. And then it amounted to nowhere. And when I quit my job, I had all, but given up on that, like, okay, it’s not for me.
You know, it’s not for this point in my life. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it’ll be fine. And actually that’s when I just got a call from the, you know, from a UN organization and to actually do a consultancy. So that’s what I’m doing now. And it was when I had already left. So that was very cool.
Jean-luc: [00:34:16] So I quickly want to jump into this before Diego takes us through the questions as well in the comments, I do think you are explaining a little bit of the DNA as well. And the reason I say that is because you do jump it’s a jump. I wouldn’t say it as fully calculated. That’s something you said as well. But it’s not like you weren’t busy with yoga. You never did yoga from a perspective of professional yoga or from a teacher, but you have been doing it for over 10 years. So I think, I think for people it’s good to know. Like if, if there are certain things that you enjoy in life and you’ve done for them for a longer period in time, and you really love doing them, don’t just give up on them because you’re getting pressured out of them and it makes you unhappy. But if it makes you happy, just please, please keep doing it. But I think there’s some questions as well or comments as well. So we’ll dive into those
Diego: [00:35:08] before I go to the one in the comment, I’ll probably follow that up with my question. My question is to relate this back to mental health. And you being in that moment that night before you had that powerful moment in the river, is that you are talking to somebody or was it talking to yourself or talking to somebody?
Was there anyone in your environment during this whole process that helped you during the trajectory to, you know, finding yourself? Or was it just all inwardly? How important is it that there were all these people to sound for, of even if they don’t respond, but just to, you know, keep you sane.
Natasha: [00:35:55] Yeah, just, just having someone who listens and, and just, you know, try and still understand is, is, is I think it’s important. However, these, these processes are. Are quite telling you. I said, it’s hard for people to understand who people who love you. You know, if you talk to it with total stranger and you can really have go, if you want to be a musician, be a musician, you know, because they don’t, you know, they, they won’t think me too much about all the risks, but the people who love you, the people who are at your family or your friends, they will try to protect you.
And they’ll say, no, don’t do it. How are you going to survive? You’re crazy. You’re literally insane. And that’s why I didn’t know. But you know, so that’s, that’s a thing. So it’s, it’s more, this, this change came from inwardly. I wrote two years go. I wrote pages and pages and I think a whole notebook full of thoughts that came to me and finding a direction, you know, and not necessarily a plan like I’m going to do this and that.
But what I did try to work out for myself is you guys notice, right? So corporate companies, they have pillars, they have strategic pillars and I have built so many strategic pillars for your company. And I was like, but what are my strategic, what am I pillars? What is my drive in life? You know, because I, I kind of want to leave.
I want to go. And actually, when I started to go inwardly, I found that no, you don’t want to go. Not right now. Your parents are here. Did you not move for your parents? Was your biggest fear in living in Europe, not to get a phone call that something’s wrong with your parents and you can go, and this is exactly what happened.
Jean-luc knows this in February. And what if I had left, you know, back in October or September. It’s important to have people, but it is more important to spend time with yourself is my advice and it’s kind of find yourself.
Diego: [00:38:14] Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I think confronting looking yourself in the mirror, looking inward is the hardest part for but that to the questions, and then I’ll probably follow up later again. But Gregory asks here, what’s up with this cult aspects of yoga and in parentheses, veganism, Buddhism, and the apologizes for the crude phrasing. But yeah, I can see that actually, anything, any organizations activity that’s kind of, you know, not really the traditional mainstream is seen as a cult so I guess with the recent awareness, I seen more yoga things pop up. So could you elaborate on that? What are your thoughts on that?
Natasha: [00:39:01] The cult aspect. Yeah, I think I, I think I know what you mean. And if I may try to interpret that so that if you are going to do yoga or you want to call yourself a yogi or yogini, then you should not eat meat.
You should. It convert to Buddhism and, and things like that. I think past what, what is meant and no, this is not true at all. It’s, it’s, it’s up to you. Of course. You, you can, you can do all these things if you want, but I mean, I’m not a Buddhist at I’m not vegan so it’s all up to, what do you choose to hold onto if you, so this is the risk of going into things like yoga or religion or any kind of, you know, the lifestyle, if you will, is there’s always a thin line between Practicing it and enjoying it and then becoming part of it.
And then this whole world opened before, where are you seeing this? And that is not much different than society. It’s society not teach us to become doctors to become, you know, economic economics or to become the president. You know, that that is a cult culture, he here. So the choice is yours. Do you want to go with that?
Because it’s very easy to just become vegan deep, dive into Buddhism and leave everything. But, but I’m not sure that that that is the way to go. If you’re purely doing it to belong to a certain group. I don’t believe in that.
Jean-luc: [00:40:42] So more like a tactic. It’s more like a tactic. Like I have to do it this way, this way, this way, because it is written that way instead of doing something you love because you love it.
So I think, I think, but thank you for, for putting that out. That like the way we’re kind of conditioned as well in traditional trajectories and traditional upbringing is also cult like, you know, it’s also cult like situation. So, so that’s, that’s really interesting, a quick shout out from
You’re giving you see, and actually there’s also, I think Nancy also wants to mention the importance of mental health and then the question from Marina and she actually shares her story. So she’s thankful that you are sharing their story. She has, a lot of people are stuck in the rat race. Which is called Rich Dad Poor Dad.
And as long as they’re comfortable they are not willing to risk that. And then she also explains I myself in this situation right now and still try to overcome my fear and choose myself and my purpose, your sorry, will truly contribute to making my decision very soon and I’m manifesting it.
So thank you. And Natasha, thank you for sharing as well. Marina, when I, I think we all struggle, struggle with this a lot. But, but also interesting would be you’ve traveled quite a bit. So what, is there a place or a story that you remember from traveling, which also contributed to making this decision are that you remember quite fondly off?
Natasha: [00:42:13] I actually, it’s funny. You should say that Jean-luc because this is a. This is something I haven’t thought of in a long time, but the moment you said travel and everything that we’re talking about in this moment is came to me and it’s, I think it’s the perfect, the perfect example. I, I thought the last trip I made when I lived in Europe was to Berlin, and I actually, I had a burnout.
I had a burnout at what, 27, and I couldn’t do anything. I always, but for now, what is that? That’s, you know, for old people or when you use lazy, you know, and, and then one day I broke down at work and I couldn’t do anything anymore. I couldn’t even watch TV without just getting anxiety. So I was out of the, you know completely out of the, out of the running.
And I remember his friend of mine, he said, okay, but I’m leaving to Berlin tomorrow. And we were actually used to having a catch-up. We didn’t, we didn’t have, we hadn’t seen each other and I don’t know how long. And, and I said, okay, I’m going with you. And he’s like, really? And I was like, yeah. And we just went with the bus and it was, I remember it vividly.
And then we came there and they were just people that he knew and he told me, so these are van-lifers. And they said, well, what is that? So vans like invented like the cars life, or so I thought
Jean-luc: [00:43:43] I got the shoe
Natasha: [00:43:45] and then these people Jean-luc and Diego. So they, they basically convert vans, like, like these old VWs and they make it into their home.
They sell all their stuff like their house and they just literally go live in that van. And they don’t have a lot of costs. Obviously. There’s no rent. You know, they just live off of the street and like the streets. Well, if you’re, if you’re in Europe and these richer countries, it’s of course different than if you would do it here.
Because for example, there were a lot of people from Australia and then Australia, there’s a lot of public bathrooms and showers and things. So they could literally live in there then. And I think some places in the U S as well, and maybe in Europe here, I’m not sure, but anyway, what was inspiring to me because my first, you know, my judgment was off there probably, you know, there probably is people who don’t, you can do anything in life and typical, you know, this coat in my head.
And then, and then these people were lawyers. These people who had been doctors, see people have been everything and anything. And they just pack up their stuff and left and they were having the best time we spent so much time with them. They cooked for us in their band. We eat food, we make music, we send theirs, it was an experience of a lifetime and I never, and they switched but two.
So then the one from Australia had switched bands with one from, I dunno, Slovakia and then, you know, so the one was traveling in Australia and that they saw the whole world like this and I mean, it’s amazing. So that was inspiring. Don’t meet everything.
Jean-luc: [00:45:37] That’s pretty cool though.
Diego: [00:45:39] It is a, and yeah, you mentioned that, that it, infrastructure is kind of there with the facilitation. I’m not sure if it put work here. I I’ve seen. Some of these in my time in New Zealand as well, like there’s public bathrooms everywhere. You can just chop their desk, public showers even. And basically the whole infrastructure is kind of built like that to facilitate people who want to do like this, usually it’s for tourists travelers, but then they fall into that cycle of enjoying it so much that they kind of make a lifestyle out of it.
But yeah. But coming back from your travels and having had that experience, are there any, I guess, misconceptions that people have from. One like as you had misconceptions of this van lifers of, you know having nothing, but their history was like, kind of like yours in a corporate setting. Are there any other misconceptions that comes to mind in that space and do specifically in yoga that you’re practicing, that you often hear are people often call you out on?
Natasha: [00:46:52] Well, I’m not sure. Yeah. People, I don’t think people, a lot of people dare to, to call me out on it. But what I do feel is some stigma from the religious side. Sometimes I, I feel that a certain amount of judgment maybe. And, and it’s not for me. I haven’t experienced it from from from an evil side. It’s more so in concern. Having, you know, because I was brought up Christian, let me say I was brought up Christian. I went through all the things that I don’t know how to call the things in English, but you know, the christening, the, you know, the things.
I was very, you know, very Catholic up until a certain point where I said, Hey, you know, I don’t know. I think, I think there’s something there. I’m not sure, but I’m not going to adhere to all these rules and I’m not sure. No, I don’t think so. And I think that if you do come from a certain, you know, upbringing or a culture or a certain religious group that you may be concerned because maybe, maybe, you know, you learn to be concerned for people who don’t define their there.
Their connection to anything God like, or, or maybe not even believe in God. No, it was like, I think it’s more from that area that I, I sometimes feel that it’s not really appreciated, but I just leave it as it, because again, it’s not from a hateful, I’ve never had someone say to me, like you’re doing the devil’s work or something where I know it’s, it is being said, it has not been said to me, it has been set to people I know of, and it hasn’t been said to me, but concern, I have felt concern coming my way.
And what I tried to do is just always say, Hey, come, I invite you into my space and. See how much, how much peace, action and love goes into what, what I do, whether it’s yoga, whether it’s when I dance. When I think when I do my work in communication, I do everything right. Passion.
Jean-luc: [00:49:14] Oh, I do want to jump in. To, to the, to the singing and the dancing part, but maybe we’ll save it for later. Gregory wants to know can you please elaborate on the technical, physical aspect of yoga versus something like CrossFit? And he, he also elaborates on it saying, like, I find that CrossFitters are very, have a very casual approach to highly technical exercises, like Olympic lifts, which leaves them for the world to injury while yoga really embraces the learning process. So what, what can you tell us about that?
Natasha: [00:49:47] Yeah. The connection was broken up for a bit, but I can repeat the question. So I I’m back I’m back in we’re back in business. Yeah. So yoga versus CrossFit and I think fitness in general. So with yoga yeah, there’s more, as you said, Gregory, it’s more embracing the learning process.
It’s more the journey. Rather than the destination. And again, this is probably, this is my next metaphor, but to keep it strictly about sports. So there is, there is a way a destination. If you, if you look at it as this certain pose is the destination, or even like this lifting this much weight, if the destination, and that sense of not much different in that to live that certain amount of weight, or to lift your body or to do exercises with your battery in a certain way, you have to really learn how to have that mind, body connection or else what you said, you get buried.
You, you get easily injured with yoga. There is so much focused on the mind, body connection that what we’re doing, because I’m not sure if you’ve seen you do things that I, my mind is completely blown. I feel like it’s because of that mind, body connection as well. So it’s not just the physical, but it’s also the mental, it’s also the spiritual.
So I don’t know if that answers your question.
Diego: [00:51:17] Yeah. I seen like from a aside fundamental, like the, from the physical perspective, yogi’s always are very like flexibility and they have a lot of strength for not for, not for doing this like calm motions, not forceful motions. And it always boggles the mind.
Like it’s kind of counter intuitive from a, what you see in media, stair lift weights, you get strong, you get a lot of strength, but. But yoga is kind of the opposite to you, you have to have all this control to actually be able to do these precise movements, kind of like ballet and I, I can’t like fall and all these kind of activities seem very counter intuitive to strength based and like physical health based exercises.
So coming back to that part specifically, if you stay to the physical aspect, is there any beginner yoga tip that comes to mind that you could challenge people on to give this a shot, to see if this is something for them?
Natasha: [00:52:30] Wow. I would challenge them to learning the sun salutation a from the Ashtanga yoga practice.
So it’s a style of yoga called Ashtanga and in that style, you start your practice with this, this means sun salutation and you have two of them. So there’s one and two or, and just this, the sun salutation aids very, it seems very simple, but there goes so much strength and flexibility and mindfulness into it.
But also for the first time we remember, so it’s most yogis, the first sequence. So whether it’s this sun salutation, or there are different ones, most of the first he can you learn is most, it’s mostly going to be your suing. Gosh, so, and I have people also, you know, we do classes nowadays. And everybody said, Oh, I can’t wait for next week.
And I was always say, guys, no, not wait for next week. You practice. That’s that’s. That’s why I teach for me. If you do this practice for yourself at home, then I am successful as a teacher. So challenging everyone. I, I posted a tutorial of surya namaskar A and just do that, just do that one exercise.
Do it every day for 30 days,
Diego: [00:54:02] we can make it a 30 day challenge.
Natasha: [00:54:09] So I, I would say do that. So, so for any beginner, it’s what I teach in my beginners’ course is it’s the surya namaskar. I break it down completely. And even people who know it, they learn it again. So yeah. If that’s my tip forever. Just practice your surya namaskar. If you do that for all your life, this is what all the Goonies that met said, you’re good, then you’re already good.
Diego: [00:54:37] Awesome. Well, I’ll look that up as well. And once you go live with a challenge
Jean-luc: [00:54:44] I’ll tell you what yoga is deceptive. I can tell you that Diego yoga is deceptive. It’s somethings look easy. They are incredibly hard stands to do some of the things you can actually, you can do I’ve done gymnastics for six years and there are still some things that I’m like, yeah. That, that pose is not going to work for me. So I’m all. If you want to try it, just to learn a little bit about it, I’m fine. I’m not doing any yoga challenges anytime soon.
Natasha: [00:55:12] Yeah, well, at least you’re at least you’re on is because yeah, it is, it is quite heavy. It is, it is quite heavy.
Jean-luc: [00:55:20] the, the thing that I do find interesting about yoga is the breeding for me the breeding for, for you, most of you watching don’t know it, but you don’t have any idea how often Diego has to mute my mic because I’m breathing into the into the microphone, but I do have an issue with breathing. So from a, from that perspective, I’m interested in yoga exercises that help with breathing. But I’m trying to Wim Hof method. I have, I haven’t seen actual results from it, but it is interesting
Natasha: [00:55:50] actually that part shattered. I find me that’s part of what yoga is called prana Yama. So prana Yama is this specific. The specific I, what the process of breathing, and there are so many breathing exercises. You do, you do alternate nostril, breathing, belly, breathing, Jeddah, so many things. So if you say like yoga is not for you, when you actually mean it, asana practice is not for you. So asana as pose. But the yoga, we have eight limbs and yoga, eight sections of yoga estimated for 30 of them ran.
I am not as another foot in front of them in the third. And so I would invite him to, to, to try some pranayama exercises for the breathing will help.
Jean-luc: [00:56:39] Okay. Okay. You can, you can link me up.
Diego: [00:56:42] Yeah, I know he’s sending some support from Curacao. Yeah, I think you also know. Yeah, I know. I think I met all of you during that conference as well, so happy reunion here. But yeah, as you are saying Jean-luc before I caught you up through to leave.
Jean-luc: [00:56:56] Yeah. As we, as we go to the final questions, I basically have one more question that I have to ask. And, and where are we going to do? Quick fires. Diego took to close, close it off. Do you feel like there are some quick fire questions?
We haven’t done quick fire questions in quite some time.
Diego: [00:57:12] I have not mentally prepared for quick fire, but I am flexible enough to go for it.
Jean-luc: [00:57:17] I have one, one question I have, and it’s going to surprise you a little bit. Maybe I want to know Michael Jackson or our Bruno Mars.
Natasha: [00:57:28] Sorry.
Diego: [00:57:32] I want to know a story behind that. Why you specifically called it out? That there’s a reason behind it, especially between the performing arts and the love for singing and dancing. Natasha, I’m sensing a story.
Natasha: [00:57:51] I wasn’t even sharing that question was for me or for Diego, but I had to answer, so I apologize. Yeah, I think because yeah, Michael Jackson is special to me.
Jean-luc: [00:58:06] Yeah. So the follow-up question to that of course, is what song is best suited rust, which Michael Jackson song is best suited for doing yoga
Natasha: [00:58:16] man in the mirror.
And the first sentence is I’m going to make a change for once in my life.
Diego: [00:58:24] I was about to say that encompasses your journey, basically what we just talked about during this whole conversation that’s now yeah, you
Natasha: [00:58:35] did this time.
Jean-luc: [00:58:38] I have to get her a little bit out of her comfort zone or
Diego: [00:58:42] No, that’s perfect. Then did the calmness has dissipated, but I can see that she’s very composed still. One last comment, it came in really quick that will assess Jean-luc is agreeing with you that some forces are kind of impossible, especially on people and yeah, but I think that’s something you could learn. So quickfire. Is it possible to learn flexibility over time, even at this stage?
Natasha: [00:59:13] Of course. I mean, there are, this is a scientific fact, like you guys can look it up. It is completely possible. Of course, everybody has a limit, like meet sometime your bone structure is in a way of something, but I promise you.
It’s not, you never having done yoga and then trying it for the first time and say, Oh my God, I can’t do this. I promise you. I had this conversation today. Someone asked me like, you are probably the flexible kid and you were probably, I was like, no, you can ask anyone. I was the kid that just couldn’t touch her toes even at eight years old.
So no, I taught myself actually first for dance for dance audition. That’s like, okay, if I’m gonna, you know, I have to be flexible. And it just started training. You can train flexibility the same way when, not the same way, but in the, in the same team type of exercises that you train, like your muscles, for example, like if someone really skinny can get really big as a bodybuilder, You can get flexible.
I promise you not that yoga is about flexibility. Now let me, you know, but if we talk about possibility, yes, you can train flexibility the same way you can train strength
Diego: [01:00:27] Definitely. And then to close off, my final question would be to come full circle with you’ve actually done the journey from, you know healthy lifestyle, done the corporate track, traditional, you know, the traditional trajectory that people set you on.
And then come back here to this calming beautiful room you’re sitting in, in a Zen, very Zen mode. Then I want to turn it around again. What puts you in your current profound position as a yogini? Say to someone, maybe your past self who has in a corporate world, how could they either merge our bridge, or use yoga to elevate their corporate life or that rush life do not get burned out?
Natasha: [01:01:17] Yeah, I would, I would say practice active mindfulness before you do anything else, practice active mindfulness, being mindful of every single thing that you do. And we work that comes out of your month. How many things do we say in a day and are in a week? And we regret it later. How many things do we do?
How many meals have we had we had, and we don’t even know what we can even work because we were watching TV or we checking our phone. You know, how many, how many moments with our family have you missed? For this call or that thing, or, you know, live, live wine, try to be mindful. So in work hard, do your best, but being mindful if you know, you have already had a 10 hour Workday choose to disconnect, choose to spend time, not only with your family, not only with, you know, doing scrolling through your feed, spend some time on yourself, on your inner-self, you know, write
listen to music where you had all these do something that makes you paint, things sing, do something that, that actually elevates you to a certain level, even if it’s five minutes a day. So I would say practice mindfulness. And if that mindfulness brings you on a yoga mat, And you do a sun salutation.
That is great. If it rains you on a meditation cushion and you can close your eyes and just go for five minutes. Great. And if that’s nothing at all the sorts, that’s also good, but take that time, be mindful and know that it is okay to spend time on you, because if you don’t take care of yourself, whatever it is, mentally, spiritually, basically you can’t do all the things you’re running after you can take care of your family.
You’re not going to be able to show up. You’re not going to be able to, you know, do whatever. So that is what I was saying.
Diego: [01:03:33] I think that’s very, very beautiful advice, practice, active mindfulness, and then to close off, what can people expect from you in the next few weeks, months and where can they find you follow you? Anything people can look forward to?
Natasha: [01:03:51] Oh gosh. Actually I, so it was the first time I’m speechless to this in this conversation. Okay. Now I have to talk about things. I’m good.
Jean-luc: [01:04:01] You’ve never inspired people. You’ve inspired people. Now you just, all those people that listen to this conversation and are now inspired, they have to know where they can contact you.
So, so that’s something that’s the least, you have to tell it and you don’t have to tell them your details on what your plans are, but just tell them where they can follow you. And you can’t do the announcements over there. It’s fine. We don’t mind
Natasha: [01:04:23] I thought. I wouldn’t know. So actually okay. Where can you find me? Let me add to that. So let me say this, because this is important to me. I, so that I have my company is Yogini Su. See, this is my company from my company.
I teach yoga and I do consultancy and communications, meaning health communications, but this, I think most of you know I don’t know if, if some of you know, but I also have a foundation. I founded this foundation called Yoga Suriname and it started as a visual platform. It’s now still a visual platform.
And I started it with my own, you know, resources and everything. And I’m still doing that. Well, what I would actually love to do when we’re allowed again, when the world is it a better place and then make wise is to actually go and reach out and help out where I can, because the thing is, and not me, but me and this community of yoga teachers and, and Yuki’s and yogis, and everyone who wants to practice yoga are who, who just likes to follow along, just come and let’s go do things, you know, we can do little things because this is the thing you think of all the, if I have to help out, I have to run 50 K and raise a million dollars, or I have to, you know, whatever.
No, let’s just go to, you know, An animal shelter, starting to paint things, or let’s go do yoga and following thing, everybody puts some money and then we go donate that money. Let’s do little things because I think that’s important. So that’s one thing. So there’s this, this charity, and there’s also this collective, this platform of so if you’re a yoga teacher please contact me because I’m going to launch actually the Yoga Suriname website, where I would love to have a database of all the yoga teachers in soon now.
And also, if you have content that you love to share, are you doing yoga or meditation or any kind of knowledge you want to share? Please also contact me. So Yoga Suriname is basically for all of us here who want to practice our practice already teach. So that’s, that’s what you can definitely stay at two and four.
Before Yogini, before I ever started at, I already had the Yoga Suriname, so, and from the Yogini side. So you can find me at, @yogasuriname all of the people that have up until now collaborated on this platform. You can find them at yoga Suriname on Instagram, Facebook, you’ll see me post where you can do yoga classes in Suriname.
If you contact me, I have some contact details of yoga teachers. I can hook you up. And there are people teaching online now a lot, but, but you know, if you don’t know, it’s hard to find sometimes. So this is Yoga Suriname. I was just at yoga, Suriname on everything. And then there’s Yogini Su, which is, it’s a company, it’s a commercial company that I run.
And for your Yogini there’s, I’m also going to launch the website soon. So stay tuned for that as well. You Yogini is basically this story of today, this, this helping to inspire people, physically, mentally, spiritually, to just have a passion for the journey, not only the destination, a passion for the actual journey, which is I believe what I have found.
And so that will be launching. I’m not creating a lot of content for that. And so stay tuned for that. And also the logo and everything is coming. And then lastly, there’s going to be a TV program where we’re going to do eight weeks of yoga with you. So I’m also really excited about that. Yeah, I needed to think, but I got it.
Diego: [01:08:28] Yeah, that’s amazing. And so many memorable one liners that you’ve just dropped for us. Yeah.
Natasha: [01:08:39] Write them down,
Diego: [01:08:43] put them in the show notes and we’ll put all the links contact information for Natasha in the description. Guys, thank you again for joining us, everyone in the chat who joined the end, we got some two more late commerce. Idi says he’s doing sun salutations. He learned from you while listening to his conversation is Zuard says considered him inspired.
So thanks guys for listening and tuning in as always. And the audio version of this episode will be released on Saturdays share with your friends if they missed it and share the Social Confoes and the Confoes podcast in general with everyone, you know, we’ve been consistently added for 18 weeks now Jean-luc props that we look forward to next week.
We briefly introduced next week’s guests already, but I’ll leave that over to Jean-luc for next week. And with that being said, Jean-luc final word. And then you can roll us out.
Jean-luc: [01:09:42] Natasha from the heart of everybody that was watching from us as the host. Thank you for doing this. Last comment jumped in from Marina, my success, Natasha. It was an amazing show next week. We’ll have fun midnight party with people in Tenerife so thank you for watching. This was once again, Social Confoes. I’m Jean-luc this was Diego. This was Natasha the next week, Tuesday nine. O’clock the same thing. Bye.