JUNE 28, 2018
Dalia is the Office Manager of Yoga Santosha Mission and Kensington. You will find her in the offices of both studios throughout the week, on her mat, and in the community.
Dalia took her YTT in India and her philosophy teacher taught her to strive to make 5 people smile every day. She does this. You will feel it and know it in your interactions with her. If you have the time to say hello, to welcome her to the team, and to offer a smile please do.
We are excited to get to know her better and had the opportunity to spend some time finding out who this beautiful Yogini is. We already knew she was wise, vibrant, dedicated, passionate and filled with heart. Now we learn some of her life adventures and what both fuels her and fills her cup.
How did yoga find you or how did you find yoga?
I grew up in Vancouver so there was no shortage of yoga studios around. Yoga was something I did in addition to all my other sports activities. I practiced asanas (postures) – not yoga as I realised later. It wasn’t a daily practice but something I did when I needed to stretch. Over 11 years ago I moved to Dubai and I searched for yoga studios to keep practicing in but couldn’t find any. I stopped practicing for a while as I enjoyed exploring a new city, new culture and new life. Years later, the yoga scene started to grow in Dubai and now it’s a huge industry. You know yoga is big when Lululemon decides to finally open up in Dubai and open up 3 stores all at once.
The community and the yogi tribe there is amazing. I remember signing up at a local yoga studio and they had a ‘yoga bootcamp’ series and being a previous adventure racer and bootcamp enthusiast, this resonated with me. We practiced yoga 6 days a week from 6.30am – 8.00am for 6 consecutive weeks. We had this amazing teacher who went to yoga high school and university in India. Yes, there is such a thing. Still to this day, this teacher is a mentor of mine. The course started with simple movements and I remember thinking to myself – how boring, where’s the bootcamp, where’s the challenge? Yes, I was still practicing asanas and not yoga 🙂 Over the weeks, we progressed and grew in a way where yoga was all I did. The yoga bug bit me and has never let go. The group that had signed up for this class became some of my closest friends and I still remain in touch with several of them.
This is when I learned about yoga tribe or yoga community and realized that yogis have a language and vocabulary all their own. You can also say heart opening, chakra, huge release after hip opening class, iygengar etc to other yogis. This teacher always included mantras, yoga nidra and meditation in our class and it taught me all aspects of yoga. Yoga is now all I do. I eventually did my 200hr YTT in December 2016 in India. This was the most transformative month of my life. You learn so much about yourself during that month – your physical, mental and emotional staminas are tested daily. Yoga to me is a way of life and it gives me the tools to learn more about myself every day and deal with life.
Returning home after so many years in Dubai must be a tremendous shift. What brought you back?
I moved back for family and to be closer to family. I would only come and visit my family once a year for about 2 weeks/year and it wasn’t enough. After 11 years away, I decided to leave the life I knew to commit to being closer to my family, especially my aging parents. I was so worried something would happen to them and I would not be there in time – travel from Dubai to Calgary is close to 24hours – definitely not a hop and skip away.
I officially moved back earlier this year and I am still adjusting. As many expat friends say – once an expat, always an expat. I have gone from living on my own and not answering to anyone but myself to all of a sudden living with family and having 7 family members around me almost constantly. Life has taught me to have dreams, goals and ambitious but to always be flexible and to go with the flow. I am now flowing through life and learning a lot about patience. I am now practicing yoga not only on the mat but off the mat every day. I am being taught patience in a big way.
We are very fortunate that you returned home and that you are now managing both studios. Can you share a little of what you do and what your role is.
Well, I am still learning what this role entails. I only started at the end of March. Al and Candace are the most amazing ‘bosses’ you can have if I can call them that. I don’t feel like I have a job. I feel like I am part of a family or community. I care about the studios almost as much as they do. I would say the most important aspect of my job is to keep things running smoothly – answer people’s questions about the studios, classes, passes etc.. On the back end, there is a lot of ‘business’ aspects involved – from accounting, payroll, setting up workshops etc.. I am also hands on when I can – making sure the studios are clean, stocked up and that everyone is happy. My main job is to make Al & Candace’s life easier 🙂
What makes a great day for you?
I am a dreamer and I am always wanting to grow and improve myself. I am constantly learning new things and trying new experiences. I like to push myself and leave my comfort zone. A great day for me involves meeting new people, hearing their stories and learning new cultures. A great day for me is knowing that sharing my life experiences or knowledge has helped someone. A great day for me involves smiling at someone for no reason other than to make them smile. I remember when I did my YTT in India, our philosophy teacher telling us to always strive to make 5 people smile every day and I make that part of my daily routine. A great day for me is being mindful – smelling the roses or lilacs here in Calgary 🙂 A great day for me is being grateful for all the little and big things God has blessed me with.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I was such a stress cadet and could not make a decision if my life depended on it when I was younger. I wanted a guarantee that the decision I was going to make was the right decision. I was not in touch with my intuition and had no faith in myself. So the advice I would give my younger self is … Don’t stress so much. Learn to let go. The Universe or God always has your back. Be happy. Be positive and dream and believe in your dreams because thoughts become things. If you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Forgive yourself, forgive others. We are all doing our best in this rollercoaster of life. Love and be compassionate with everyone. We all have our story.
Share with us your favorite quote.
I love Rumi – so anything from Rumi. I love Disney’s “If you can Dream it, You can do it”. I have always loved the class and humanitarian work of Audrey Hepburn. Her quote “Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth and your heart for love” is my life motto.
Dalia you are a treasure. We keep uncovering and discovering new jewels to your being. Thank you for sharing so generously with the community and for being part of the Santosha family.