Anita Cheung takes everything you think you know about yoga and does a crow pose with it. Anita is the founder of Social Yoga, an alternative, experiential, conversational yoga series with workshop themes ranging from breakfast to ice cream to botanicals. A lover of music, reading, people and movement, Anita has dreamed up intimate unique classes in spaces like breweries, bakeries and even pizza restaurants. One of her current projects is “No Fun November” which focuses on 30 days of “no-fun” in preparation for the holiday season. Rather than a detox or challenge, Anita explains this latest endeavour as a commitment to better health – with a twist. (We’ve signed up and will let you know how our “no fun” month goes!) Sign up for this and the other workshops here. As a ‘first time yoga class hater’ with a case of the “can’t sit stills”, it’s remarkable what this lady has done for this stereotypical spiritual practice. Yoga will never be the same. Today, Anita shares her business lessons, inspirations and mantras with Zimt!
In 3 words, describe what you do.
Move, connect, dig deep.
Describe your ‘AHA!’ moment.
The first seed of Social Yoga was planted when I realized one day, mid-teacher training, how closely I had bonded with a group of strangers and how I had shared things with them that I wouldn’t have shared with anyone else. Yoga gets people to open up and vulnerability is needed in order to feel a sense of connection. That’s when I knew I wanted to teach mostly progressive classes (where people sign up for multiple classes at a time and they see the same group each week).
Your source of inspiration?
I am constantly inspired by innovation and good design. Restaurants, shops, artists, anyone doing something creative are all sources of inspiration. On a deeper level, I am also always moved by conversations with others.
What’s a typical day in the life like for you?
I teach anywhere from 2-4 classes a day ranging from privates, to a few studio classes, and of course Social Yoga classes in the evenings. The rest of the time, I am meeting with people for future collaborations and series, doing admin work (emails, blogging, marketing, PR, finance- one woman show stuff!), or class planning. I also try to squeeze in a workout once a day, at least 4 days a week. My days are long (ending usually at midnight once all is said and done) but very rewarding.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made (and are willing to share)?
I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my lifetime, and plenty more in my first year of business. Anything from failing to draft up a contract when working with someone (and totally eating the cost of it afterwards because there’s no one to blame but myself), to spending way more than I needed to for an event.
One thing that sticks out is I really wanted to create Social Yoga conversation cards. I had them printed (which cost a pretty penny), but when I went to cost out packaging, I realized if I were to sell them, they would cost way more than what anyone would be willing to pay. The cards are still lying around (without packaging) and may be resurrected one day- who knows!
Your greatest loves?
My friends, family, and community, meditation, stationary, naps, and chocolate.
Are you vegetarian/vegan? If yes, how did you get into it?
I was a vegetarian for 10+ years as a teenager. I got into it, quite honestly, because of a mix of wanting to gain control over my health and body as well as super effective PETA advertisements. Over the years, my reasons have changed and I’ve re-introduced fish and seafood recently; however I still mainly eat vegetarian out of habit.
The most vivid memory of your life so far?
There are too many to pick from! Any hiking trips or travelling I do with friends are always perma-printed into my mind. If I had to pick one, I have some pretty great memories from doing the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne a bunch of times.
What’s the one thing you should never say to someone?
General put downs. We’re all our worst critics anyway- there’s no need to put someone else down. There are ways to give constructive feedback without being plain ol’ mean.
What’s your favorite question to be asked?
Want to grab a coffee and chat?
Your favorite dessert?
Hands down, creme brulee.
Your favorite Zimt treat?
I haven’t tried all the chocolate flavours yet but I’m a big fan of the macaroons!
Three words of advice if we didn’t have the almighty Google to turn to?
1. It’s either a good time or a good story.
2. Never lose your sense of wonder.
3. Give to your relationships (both with others and yourself) as much as you would give to your work.