Charlotte is Passionate About Making Yoga Accessible to Everyone

What’s your story?
I am an experienced yoga therapist with a passion for embodied wellness. I work with people to find a way out of pain and anxiety through the simple practice of breath and movement.

I arrived in Hong Kong in 2009 and established a homeopathy practice here. However, a big part of my own personal wellness journey has been my yoga practice, and so, in 2011, I received the chance to train as a yoga teacher, with Yoga Limbs. Since then, I have immersed myself in training with the Wisdom Yoga Institute, in order to receive my certification with the International Association of Yoga Therapy, as well as studying with many inspiring teachers along the way. 

I now offer a unique practice, to my clients, that combines the eight limbs of yoga, therapeutic yoga, breath-work, somatic practices, movement education, and neuromuscular re-patterning. It is a process that can empower individuals to have new choices in their healing process, and encourages them to explore new pathways to foster a sense of self expression and self reliance.

What excites you most about your industry?
Yoga in Hong Kong is going through a really exciting time. When I first arrived in Hong Kong, there really were only a few yoga studios, and I did not find them very accessible. In the last 5 years, there has been an explosion of new studios and practice centres. Now, I find it fantastic that there is something for everyone seeking different yoga practices in Hong Kong. 

I think what excites me most of all, is what is happening now, in relation to world events. More and more people are now starting to practice at home. As much as we will always wish to meet and practice in a yoga studio, developing a self practice is an incredible opportunity for self exploration. What I am seeing is a need for more authentic relationships and meaningful interactions, as a way to be connected.

What’s your connection to Asia?
Both of my sisters travelled all over Asia. I received their letters describing the places they traveled, and it sounded so exciting. I knew that the moment I had a chance, I was going to travel to Asia. So, after graduating from school, I took off for India, and thus began my love affair with Asia. I was utterly smitten by the chaos and the beauty. 

When the chance arose to relocate to Hong Kong with my husband’s work, we leaped at it. Two years in, we moved to Lamma Island and we fell in love with the island and its community. Lamma is our family away from home. Our house, and my rooftop yoga space, is where I feel most grounded and safe. 

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
For me, it has to be Hong Kong. It is such an incredible city. In the space of one day, you can hike the trails, swim in the sea, have lunch in the city, and meet with colleagues and clients. 

I am grateful to the city of Hong Kong. Its capacity to give is never ending. Here, my children have grown to be teenagers, I have learned to paddle an outrigger canoe and surfski, and I have built and grown my own business to reflect my passionate belief that people can have agency in their own journey to wellness. Developing this capacity in others serves to keep my work authentic.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Done is better than perfect.” This advice was given to me many years ago by my dear friend and teacher, Hersha Chellaram. I think if I had not received this advice, I would still be sitting on a fence, in fear, too scared to do anything, in case it failed. What his advice taught me was that it was better to try, to put yourself out there, to be brave, even when you feel scared. I have had some epic failures but I have also had some incredible moments of success that would never have happened had I not been brave enough to try.

Who inspires you?
My students always inspire me. The people who show up on the mat with me, the people who turn up with all their fears, worries, and vulnerabilities, and allow themselves to be seen as they are. That blows me away every single day, and I will always be in awe of them.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
All my life I have lived according to a list. I thrive when I’m on the go, and from being immersed in my work. When the restrictions were put in place in Hong Kong, my first thought was panic and fear about how the quarantine would affect me. But, as I started to work through it, I realised that I was being given an amazing chance to stop, to pause and reflect on what really mattered to me. I have learned that I am way more resilient than I give myself credit for, and it took stepping off the bus, for a bit, to see that. I have also learned that looking after myself is non negotiable. I have never felt so inspired creatively as I have been during these past few weeks, and that is a direct result of having had more time for me.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
In all honesty, nothing. I firmly believe that we are the sum of our life’s journeys. My capacity to work with others is rooted firmly in my own experiences in life. I have made many mistakes and have made many decisions that did not serve me well, however, everything that has happened has brought me to this place where I am now, finally able to own my own story, and to trust that I am doing some of my best work right now.

How do you unwind?
Simple! I go to my roof, I pull out my mat, I burn some palo santo and play some music. Then I allow myself to tap into how I am feeling, and through that, explore movement as a way to integrate my feelings. Afterward, I sit back with a cup of tea and listen to the sounds of nature. My rooftop is my special place, it has a unique energy that everyone feels. 

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Recently, we went to Sri Lanka and it has become one of my favourite destinations, ever. For me, it ticked all the boxes – stunning countryside, beautiful people, amazing food, but most of all, big, wild beaches, that beckon me to spend the day.

Everyone in business should read this book:
“The Wild Woman’s Way: Unlock Your Full Potential for Pleasure, Power, and Potential,” by Michaela Boehm. Discover how to create and enjoy a pleasure-filled and meaningful life with this practical tantra handbook for the high-achieving modern woman. This is a game changer of a book for everyone who wishes to learn how to switch effortlessly between the aggressive “go-mode” required to compete successfully at work, and the feminine “flow-mode” of softness and receptivity.

Shameless plug for your business:
I work with people in Hong Kong, in small groups as well as one to one, offering therapeutic, breath-centred, and individualised yoga therapy and embodied movement practices. This is available to everyone, as there are no limitations as to who can be helped, by me, through these practices.

I have also just launched a new online community space called, “Ease & Calm.” It is an intimate and online space offering women a place to explore doing something different, with a radical approach to yoga. 

It’s a free community, for those experiencing pain and/or anxious thoughts, to connect and engage, and to receive exclusive content on both breath and movement practices, that will not be available on my main social media platforms. 

www.charlottedouglasyoga.com 

How can people connect with you?

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connects’ series of more than 500 interviews

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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 and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.

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Download free copies of his books at www.callumlaing.com