Singer, songwriter and now entrepreneur, Atilia Haron shares how her love for yoga and her pursuit for the perfect yoga experience led to the launch of her now popular YogaOneThatIWant Studio.
My affair with yoga began 10 years ago. All my in-the-pursuit-of-health friends were in serious relationships with their gyms, tennis or climbing rocks. I so wanted to climb rocks but I have really sweaty palms. I so wanted to swim daily but my hair would get too frizzy. I so wanted to start tennis and look cute in my short tennis skirts but I didn’t enjoy playing in the heat of the sun. It was frustrating for me not to find a form of physical activity that suited me (I was told that carrying my fat cat from one room to another could not be counted as a legitimate exercise. I was devastated, and so was Precious - she’s a bit lazy).
Then one day, I discovered yoga, and it was love at first inhale! Yoga had a calming effect on me while giving me a workout that I actually enjoyed.
I had been in and out of many yoga studios, practicing my asanas with different teachers in different surroundings. And although my love for yoga did not wane, I was still looking for that perfect classroom that suited my lifestyle, was logistically convenient and provided a teacher who could take me from one pose to another without irritating me. My dream class was far from being a reality, so I settled for 2 out of 3.
Fate introduced me to Azmi Samdjaga, an Ashtanga believer and he lived just upstairs! I was in twist-and-bend heaven! Sadly for me, his yogic journey had to continue outside of Malaysia. I was crushed, but this did not stop me from exploring my body’s capabilities and practicing my pranas.
I stumbled upon an online yoga class and eventually, got a few of my friends to do classes together at my humble abode. From two friends, my afternoon “yoga-friends-get-togethers” expanded to a room full of 10 people. Precious was not too happy, so that’s when I decided for bold move number one.
I vividly remember the day I decided. It was after a 90-minute Ashtanga class with nine yoga enthusiasts in my house rolling their mats. After a swig of fresh mango juice, I called Azmi and he affirmed the niggling voice in my heart. So in May 2014, I opened my first YogaOneThatIWant Yoga Studio. This yoga studio is an extension of the living room that once hosted yoga lessons for my friends and me. A studio that feels like home, with a bunch of wonderful yoga instructors to guide us gently but firmly; nothing intimidating, nothing fancy – just a cosy studio that offers yoga classes for both beginners and advanced practitioners.
I wanted to spread the love of yoga to more people. Which brought me to bold move number two – becoming a registered yoga teacher.
During Ramadhan last year, I took a month off to study yoga with Kosta Miachin at Vikasa, Koh Samui. I clocked in my 200 hours of teaching and came back home as a certified yoga instructor. My friends and family thought I was mad. To be honest, I thought I was going to lose it too, as I was missing Precious and my fiancé back home, plus enduring examinations at my age was not as easy as I thought! So when I finally held the cert in my hands, I was so glad I had held it all together – again, thanks to yoga which is not just about strengthening of the body, but the mind too!
Since graduation, I’ve taught over 400 classes, have just opened my fifth YogaOneThatIWant Yoga Studio and am currently conducting private classes for corporate companies like Maxis, Bursa Malaysia, Perodua, Aker Solution, Shell, Murphy Oil and Under Armour. With the help of my other partners, we conduct weekly yoga sessions in three different locations every Saturday at 7:30am for FREE! Even though essentially, YogaOneThatIWant is a business, I made a vow to make sure yoga is accessible to everyone who wants to give it a try. We have an average of 200 people coming for our #FreeYogaFit sessions and I am always so ecstatic and gratified to see more new faces amongst our regulars.
So if you’ve been having trouble finding an activity that suits you perhaps, like me, yoga could be the one that you want (See what I did there?). Come and join us at our studios or at any of our free Saturday sessions. We’d be happy to have you join the YogaOneThatIWant family!