Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Inspirational Wednesdays: Interview with Nathalie, owner at MALEKAI ultimate wellness business

Nathalie is an experienced project manager born in Holland but raised traveling the world with her family. She moved to London to study and then worked for a number of global clients in the communication industry, from creativity agencies to NGOs like Oxfam.  She is also a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher and qualified Masseuse.

I met her during my stay in Nicaragua and became good friends with her. We share a lot of things in common like our fascination for the ocean, traveling and connecting with others. We both come from publicity agencies backgrounds, but we want to do something greater and be able to work and share our passions.

I did a photo shoot for her new business “MALEKAI” in Maderas, and interviewed her for your weekly dose of “Inspirational people” like every Wednesday.

Here we go!:

- Nathalie, what was your inspiration for becoming a Yoga teacher being already a successful project manager?
I started my personal yoga journey 15 years ago in London. I was working long hours in a high pressured job and was looking to do something that helped me stay both fit and release the stress from work. I joined yoga studio in London and after my first class I was hooked. After many years of yoga as a student, I wanted to deepen my practice so I started looking at different yoga teacher training courses. I eventually decided to study Ashtanga Yoga in India. I’m a big believer in life-long learning and even though I have established a career as a project manager, I’m always looking at ways to learn more skills and grow as a person.

Nathalie just glowing in Maderas Village 
All concentrated giving her Ashtanga Yoga class 
- How did you decided to create MALEKAI?
I decided to create MALEKAI during my first world travel trip. I was practicing my daily yoga on a small island in Fiji, where I was approached by two travellers who asked if I could teach them. At that time I was not a qualified teacher (and told them this) but was happy to guide them through their first yoga class. They really enjoyed it and wanted to come back the following day. They did and this time they bought two new friends, by the end of the week I was teaching a small group. Initially I was providing free classes, but people wanted to give a small contribution. Donations ranged from pineapples, coconuts, bananas, hugs, accommodation and some cash. My yoga classes eventually help me fund my stay on the island for two weeks. By then I started to realize that I not only enjoyed being a yoga student, but also loved sharing it with others. During my visit to Bali, I booked a 2.5 hour long Balinese massage & spa. This was total bliss and it motivated me to learn more about massage and wellness in general. I have always been into fresh and healthy foods and I enjoy creating simple and nutritional dishes. It then came to me to bring together the three things I’m passionate about - Yoga, Massage & Healthy Foods – and offer an ultimate wellness experience. By this I mean helping people feel amazing inside and out!

- How traveling encouraged those decisions?
I have travelled since I was a child and have been lucky enough to have seen and lived in some incredible places in the world. My travels, both then and now are my main source of inspiration behind MALEKAI. Experiencing new cultures and connecting with like-minded people that are passionate about living a happy healthy life.

Meditation phase
- What has been the best part of working on and for MALEKAI?
The best part is being able to create and share my passion. I don’t see it as work, more as an extension of who I am. It has also given me the opportunity to live a more balanced life. Currently I freelance as a project manager for a few months and then take a few months off travelling and focusing on MALEKAI. Yes, feeling blessed.

- What do you want to achieve with this side of your professional life?
The aim is to be 100% MALEKAI and turn it into a successful business venture, offering one-to-one consultation but also 1 or 2 week wellness retreats in Europe, Asia and the Pacific. My years as a project manager have been valuable in shaping how I run MALEKAI. As always I’m constantly looking at how I can grow, but also want to encourage and inspire others with what I do.  

Massage session
Balinese massage
- What are your plans for this year and next?
This year I launched MALEKAI in Nicaragua, where I teamed up with Maderas Village at Playa Maderas, near San Juan del Sur teaching yoga and offering Balinese massage therapy. This summer I’m bringing MALEKAI to Europe, running massage clinics at Surfana Surf & Music Festival in Holland and then working in collaboration with a TFR Surfhouse in Hossegor, France. At the end of the year I will be heading back to Bali to set up new and exciting ventures.

- Could you share with us some inspirational thought or moment that helped you create your “MALEKAI”?
I always tell people to “follow your heart”, this thought has guided me over the years. Life is what you make of it!

Malekai's cards and Bougainvillea

Training with yogi sister Aga

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