Feng Cai, full time City lawyer and part time Fierce Grace yoga teacher, talks to DOSE about fitness, balance and teaching yoga as a side hustle…
What got you into hot yoga?
I moved to London to study for my legal practical course and was struggling to keep my stress levels in check and maintain an active lifestyle. I noticed that my local hot yoga studio, Fierce Grace, was doing an intro offer for new students – unlimited yoga for 30 days. I signed up and was hooked! 5 years later and I am still practising.
Why did you decide to make this a career when you already have such a demanding job?
I have personally experienced huge benefits from practising yoga. It has improved my posture, strengthened my muscles and most importantly, allowed me to clear my mind. I chose to teach yoga because I wanted to introduce others to these wonderful benefits. I am lucky to be part of a warm and welcoming yoga community at Fierce Grace and each time I teach, I am uplifted by the energy of my students. It is the perfect remedy to a stressful day in the City. It allows me to connect with and be inspired by people from all walks of life.
How do you find the time to balance the two?
It can be a challenge. On top of the usual skills of being organised, prioritising your tasks and having a support network, the most important thing is to be realistic with your time and your goals. I know I have a demanding schedule as a City lawyer and so I limit the number of classes I teach a week, to make sure that I set aside some time for myself.
Do you still have time to practice yoga yourself?
I do but only because I am strict with myself on how many classes I teach. I practice because it inspires my teaching but more importantly, because it keeps me sane!
Why do you think more people are choosing side hustles to complement their careers?
I think that people are becoming braver at pursing their passions. We will be working for much longer during our lives compared to our parents’ generation and there is a growing recognition that our careers are fluid. A side hustle gives you the chance to do something that you are passionate about but with the financial security of a more traditional job. Your side hustle might also be complementary to your regular job. For me, teaching yoga has given me skills which have made me a better lawyer (and a happier human being).
What tips do you have for others contemplating a yoga training course?
There’s a lot of different courses available so do your research. Do you feel an affinity with a certain type of yoga? Is there a teacher you particularly admire? Do you want to replicate their style in your own teaching? Are you happier absorbing information over a longer period or would you learn better by doing an intensive course? What is your budget and do you want to go abroad? These are all key considerations that you should think about to make sure that the course you ultimately choose is right for you.
I chose to do my teaching training with Fierce Grace because I admired the teaching approach of the senior instructors. The Fierce Grace course focusses on training you to become the best possible teacher with sessions on voice coaching workshops, video analysis and student role-play.
Do you see workplace wellness on the rise or do offices have a long way to go?
Workplace wellness is definitely on the rise. Our office has recently introduced weekly yoga classes, a wellbeing allowance and workshops on managing stress in the workplace. These are amazing steps but I do think there is still a long way to go. Hosting yoga classes or bringing in wellness professionals are the “easy” fixes, the real challenge is whether businesses have the desire to go one step further and change workplace culture so that the wellbeing of their employees is truly valued.
Do you see Yoga ever becoming a full time career or always a side hustle to compliment the day job?
I enjoy the variety of my two jobs so for the time being I think teaching yoga will continue to be my side hustle. Perhaps one day I will give up the law to open my own studio!
What retreats do you recommend?
I teach at Fierce Grace and they run a number of yoga retreats in beautiful parts of the world (Spain, Italy, India). Chaya Yoga Retreats organises spiritual yoga retreats in dreamy locations such as India, Bali and Ibiza. Annie Clarke of Mind Body Bowl teaches from the heart and is hosting retreats in Bali and Portugal this year. For something closer to come, try Mira Manek and Lily Silverton’s retreat in Poundon House, Oxfordshire or Erin Lawrence-Earey’s retreat in West Lexham Barns, Norfolk. If you are looking to mix up your yoga with something more active like surfing, horse riding and climbing, then Sophie Everard (Mad to Live) runs some inspirational female-only adventure retreats for women of all ages.
Do you consider yourself a healthy hedonist?
Absolutely! My yoga practice helps me to live in the present but also give gratitude for all that we have. Yoga keeps me healthy and calms my mind. It teaches me to accept my shortcomings and not be too hard on myself.
How do you get your ultimate happy fix?
I think it’s important to find moments in our busy lives to take time and hold space for ourselves. For me, my ultimate happy fix is relaxing in savasana after a strong flow on my mat. The signature class at Fierce Grace finishes with a short breathing exercise, relaxing you for a most delicious savasana after…
Cherish each moment. Show gratitude towards yourself and offer gratitude for all that we are blessed to have.
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