Samantha Sin, the founder of One Yoga Studio and Samantha Yoga. A young yogi who believes that yoga can change lives.
What’s your story?
Inhale….. try to focus on your breathing for a moment. Feel the air coming through your nose; into your lungs. Feel your lungs expanding… now, relax your shoulder, slowly exhale….
How was it? Great isn’t it? You probably have not been so aware of your own breathing for some time. I hope it helped calm you down. That was how I felt anyways; when I had my first yoga experience guided by my parents when I was 6/7. I fell in love with it there and then.
My parents met each other at a yoga class when they were young. It may not sound very special today but imagine in the 1970s, going to a yoga class in Hong Kong was definitely not something that an average person would do. I guess I have always had that special connection to yoga way back.
Fast forward to 2012, I found myself at a career crossroad. At the time I had been working as a full-time nurse in the operation room of a hospital. It was a high-stress environment. The long hours were bad but the worse part was you know that someone else’s life is always at stake. I was exhausted every time I stepped out of the OT (operation theatre) and I realized it was not something that I could do day in and day out. Because of work, I rarely saw my family and friends. The long hours and pressure had also drained my patience. I became so grumpy and irritable all the time. I felt that I was moving so fast that I didn’t know how to stop.
Then one day, a friend of mine from university asked me if I wanted to join her for a yoga session. She tried it for the first time a couple of weeks before and started going regularly. I had stopped practising yoga since I started working in the hospital and I felt a little bit rusty, but I thought maybe I should give it a try, and I did. Then one lesson became two, and soon I started going to yoga classes regularly again.
In 2015, a few years after I started picking up yoga again, I decided to make a major change in my life. I decided to go through a formal yoga teacher training programme and become a yoga teacher. One year later, Samantha Yoga was born, and the year after, One Yoga. Today we have more than 1000 students at our two studios and a team of passionate and dedicated teachers.
What excites you most about your industry?
The yoga industry in Hong Kong is young and vibrant. It is growing so quickly that you see new boutique yoga studios everywhere. Yoga has become part of most people’s life. As a yogi, I am really happy to see more and more people embracing yoga. Yoga is not just an exercise but also a way of living. It is really exciting to be in an industry where there is an ever growing number of people who share your values.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Asia is my home, my root. Yoga as a discipline also has its origin traced back to India. I have to say that there is a lot of Indian/Asian philosophy in the spiritual side of yoga practice.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong, partly because it is my hometown but also because of its business-friendly environment. Yes, the rental cost is high but it is also easy to set up your own company. The tax rate is low.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Who inspires you?
It’s really hard to pick one, I love reading a biography of inspiring individuals; the likes of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mohammed Ali etc. One thing in common of all these people is their resilience, passion and their never-give-up attitude.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Brewing tea and tasting. I was surprised to find so many similarities between this and yoga. I guess mindfulness connects a lot of things together.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Yoga is all about living in the moment. I have never thought about going back and doing anything differently. All the experiences in life help us become a better person. Even the “wrong”/painful path that we have walked down in the past.
How do you unwind?
This is an easy one – yoga
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
I wanted to say Fiji but it is debatable depending on your definition of Asia. I guess probably Japan. Most people would say Japan because of the city side of the experience, but for me, it is more the country-side that draws me to it. I really like the suburbs and the hot springs there. It helps me relax every time I go.
Everyone in business should read this book:
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This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.