A quickfire Q&A with a yoga teacher using her career experience from the corporate world to bring wellness to workplaces…
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m Natalie Cristal Morrison, Founder of The Wellness People, which brings a range of well-being services to businesses as well as private clients. As a wellness coach, I integrate my training and experience in yoga, mindfulness, personal training, pilates, integrative nutrition and life coaching to enhance the overall well-being of my clients.
When did you qualify and where do you teach?
I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly twenty years and completed my teacher training in 2014. I teach at the homes and offices of our clients around London and in addition I really enjoy teaching public yoga classes with Yogasphere, London Fields Yoga and from my studio in Hackney Wick. I also run retreats around the UK and internationally.
What’s your business and when did you start it?
The Wellness People was founded last year. We offer a one-stop-shop for workplaces for wellness and performance-related services, recognising that the two go hand in hand. We offer yoga, pilates and fitness classes, massages etc. along with workshops on common problem areas such as sleep, stress management and diet.
We started in response to a need for yoga and mindfulness, along with wellness-related workshops within the company I worked for and since then has expanded to cater to businesses large and small around London and beyond.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
‘Do what you love’ is simple but powerful advice I’ve applied to business as much as life. Whatever you choose to do in life, it’s likely to take a lot of dedication to make it a success. If you create a business that really resonates with who you are and the positive impact you wish to make in the world, that will give you all the insight, motivation, and serendipity you’ll need.
I’ve learned this the hard way, really. When I was younger I was really into yoga and spirituality and was very creative, yet I ended up climbing the corporate ladder, trying ever harder to live up to some inappropriate vision of how my life should be. After ten years I felt exhausted and deeply unfulfilled. I was eating ‘al desko’ three meals a day, barely saw the light of day from Monday to Friday and was waking up in the middle of the night dreaming about tomorrow’s deadline. Reinvigorating my yoga practice really helped me find some healthy distance from that and gradually empowered me to leave my corporate career to follow my passion.
I’ve found it’s important to keep asking yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s easy to get distracted and go after the wrong thing, especially if it’s vaguely in the right field, such as perhaps setting up a studio if you’re struggling to find a regular teaching slot. You need to decide do you want to be a studio owner, a yoga teacher, or do you genuinely want to be both? Before you know it you can invest your precious time and energy in the wrong place. Likewise if you would like to help corporations improve the wellbeing of their staff, you could either arrange this yourself which of course could be very rewarding but also take time and effort to set up, or you could align with a company like The Wellness People who can help to connect you with those clients.
What business focused resources would you recommend and why?
I often find the priorities of business and leading a spiritually-oriented life are somewhat incongruous and may hold some yoga teachers back from fulfilling their full scope as a teacher. Two books I’d recommend on that subject are “Divine Wisdom at Work: 10 Universal Principles for Enlightened Entrepreneurs” by Tricia Molloy and “The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Life” by Geshe Michael Roach.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started?
It took me a while before I was comfortable to fully be myself with clients or students. I look back on how I used to teach, lead a workshop or even pitch for business and I think used to play it quite safe, offering a kind of blended version of how others would do it or some generic idea of how I thought I should be. In recent years I’ve become much more authentic and bolder in my communication style. I feel much better for it and so far it seems to be working out well!
What are you most excited about now?
It’s a really exciting time in this industry. When I think back to even a few years ago it’s remarkable how many more people are taking up practices like yoga, how mindfulness is becoming more mainstream and how businesses are increasingly taking responsibility for genuinely helping to facilitate a more sustainable and productive culture for their staff. Fitness classes at work are now commonplace. I’m thrilled to be able to take corporate wellness a stage further and help companies manoeuvre their way out of the toxic status quo in a way that is strategically planned, integrated and targeted to their unique business needs, enhancing the health, satisfaction, loyalty and performance of their staff and ultimately boosting the profitability of the business.
Finally, where can we find you?
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