“Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” — Steve Jobs
When I was 15 years old, I was scouted by a modelling agency in my hometown. Being promised a glamorous life, big pay checks and travels all around the world, I was hooked! Two months later I took off to fill in my first contract in Tokyo, and over the years, working in Tokyo, Osaka, Hong-Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Milan.
This is how I, at a young and delicate age, was emerged into the fashion world, all the while still searching for my own path in life.
Over the years, I learned how to please people in the industry, how to put on different masks, depending on what type of clients I was to meet. It was fun changing characters on photoshoots, representing someone every young woman would want to be. Someone who I really was not. Someone even I sometimes envied.
I started practicing yoga a few years later – I was about 19 and back home from my modelling contracts. I really loved the challenging Ashtanga and Vinyasa sequences that my teachers offered at a local yoga studio. I loved being able to use my skills that I had from my background of ballet, and the self-discipline it required to hold Asanas for a longer period.
At that time, I did not yet know, yoga was more that breath and postures
Pursuing success in the world of modelling often means pushing your true self aside and trying to fit into someone else’s vision. Often faced the fact of being too skinny, too tall, too short, too cute, too young, too old, too everything, it never seemed I was enough. It became harder and harder to see myself as a fully acceptable human being, who is more than just a pretty face, a doll getting dressed up.
Even though all skills came in favour, it was still a world based on superficial values. Having an image of a confident young woman, while still constantly questioning – am I enough?
Always comparing yourself to others is a difficult way to live, and does not lay a steady surface to build a happy life. That is why so many of us struggle – not that we try to improve ourselves, but the fact we try to be better than others.
Standing again on my yoga mat in the studio, smelling the incense, singing the tranquillising mantra and moving smoothly from posture to posture, connected with a mindful, relaxed breath.
That is the part of my day that softly started bringing me to my own body with the true appreciation of myself. Reaching the understanding that every little thing I want to achieve in life, every bit of happiness really begins from me. Letting go of the mindset that impressing others could ever bring me what I wanted.
Yoga has been my silent teacher, awakening the knowledge we all have, but often forget. Improving my practice day by day, overcoming fears in challenging Asanas, connecting with and noticing what is going on inside to transfer the experience to my everyday life, without worrying what was or what is still to come.
Some of the greatest things I learned from yoga is how to be myself, how to let go of the fears we limit our minds with and how to continue on my own path of happiness.