WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO OWN A YOGA STUDIO IN BALI – INTERVIEW WITH JASMINE FROM RADIANTLY ALIVE
By Susanne Rieker
Radiantly Alive in Bali is my yoga home and happy place. It’s a beautiful yoga studio in the center of Ubud, offering up to 12 classes a day, multiple workshops and events each week, yoga teacher trainings, healing treatments, and they have recently opened a delicious café as well.
So what does it take to open such a place? To run a yoga studio and cafe in the tropics, in a place like Bali? I’m sure I’m not the only who wants to know all the details, what’s happening behind the scenes.
It’s such an important place for yogis from all over the world and when Jasmine, who owns Radiantly Alive together with her husband Rafael, agreed to share her story for this blog, I jumped at the chance. This is a long read – grab yourself your favorite drink and enjoy.
Jasmine, tell us a little bit about yourself and what brought you to Bali
I discovered yoga in in my home country, Peru. At the time, I was working a corporate job in marketing and wanted to get fit for my wedding. I went to this fusion class that combined fitness with yoga, and I loved it. This got me back on the mat and I began a more regular practice. There came a point where I decided that I really just wanted to focus on the yoga aspect, rather than the workout class. I really wasn’t doing it for the abs and fit body; I kept coming back because of the way it made me feel.
At the same time that I was deepening into yoga, it became clear that I just wasn’t happy in my job anymore. So, not knowing what was coming next for me, I made the decision to quit. It wasn’t just the transformation that yoga had sparked in me that made me quit. It was also meeting my husband, who had a broader vision for life, working for NGOs. He inspired me, and still does, with his passion for helping others.
Quitting my job was one of the first big changes in my life. And I had no idea was what I was going to do. But I knew that there was something more fulfilling for me, where I could have more impact in the world.
I felt this deep urge to become a yoga teacher. By then, I had only been practicing yoga less than a year, and I didn’t really know much about yoga beyond the classes I was taking. I just knew that I wanted to do my training and teach at some point, and I knew I wanted to do my teacher training at Radiantly Alive in Ubud.
I actually won a scholarship that meant I could afford it, so off I went to Bali for my teacher training at Radiantly Alive.
I had been to Bali on my honeymoon previously, and that experience really planted the seed to come back here. We actually said at some point “wow, I think we would be truly happy in Bali”. But you know, I never thought that I was manifesting so intensely that I was going to move to Bali!
How did you both move to Bali?
At that time, Radiantly Alive was looking for a new general studio manager and I told my husband that this was what we were searching for! That he had to apply for this job so that we could live in Bali.
It wasn’t something he had done before – I mean, he was managing big projects and working with NGOs around the world. But taking on something so different, in a place half a world away was a long shot, though with my sometimes ‘stubborn’ will, in the end, he was convinced, and he took the job.
I think that’s why I’m so passionate about inspiring people to fully follow their dreams and listen to their intuition. When we have these strong feelings of our intuition telling us what to do, which doesn’t happen every day, we can’t simply shut it down or say no. We have to follow it!
So we both moved to Bali, Rafael worked as the studio manager and I took a job as the marketing manager at the studio. It wasn’t what I really wanted to do – I wanted to teach yoga – but I just had to find a way to make it possible so that we could stay in Bali.
Luckily, after a few months, the owner told me that I was doing a good job in the office, but they wanted me to teach yoga because he could see that’s what I really wanted to do. So they got me a work permit and I then started teaching regular classes.
How did you end up owning the yoga studio?
The previous owner was looking to sell Radiantly Alive and we saw the potential of what we could do with this studio we had fallen in love with. So we put our energies into making it possible that we could buy it. There were a lot of problems and struggles in this process, but a year after we came to Bali, the studio was officially ours.
After both already working there for a year before we bought it, we knew what needed to be done and we started renovating right away. We worked incredibly hard, growing the business and building a bigger team. We really had this vision of what the studio could be.
We added a new yoga shala, a bigger shop, and a café. We had no idea how to run a café, but we went for it. I’m also super proud of our shop, it has beautiful locally made yoga products the majority made in Bali! We always try to support the island in any way that we can.
Now, after two years of renovations, I feel we are more stable and can focus on evolving the business in exciting ways, like bringing in more international teachers and crafting more expert trainings.
How do you work together?
I think our roles naturally were created in a way that is in line with the unique differences we bring. Rafael is amazing with numbers, you can throw him at a business that’s a complete mess, and he’ll know how to bring it to life again.
That’s not my thing. I’m passionate about teaching. That’s’s my calling. But I,m also passionate about marketing and the creative side of the business. I’m also in charge of the yoga program and schedule. I’m never going to stop obsessing about the schedule! It’s the foundation of the studio and what brings it to life!
But we had to set boundaries. We are both passionate and I was thinking and talking about the studio 24 hours a day. It’s important to know where to draw the line and decide, ‘okay, let’s not talk about the studio in the evenings.’ Still, I can’t imagine doing it without Rafael. We are happy and blessed to be able to share this experience together.
What’s life like right now?
Right now, everything feels great. My daughter Luna is over a year and a half, which is a beautiful age. I don’t have a fixed role at the studio, though I’m still involved in many areas, and of course I’m teaching. I also just finished my first ever yoga retreat in Bali and I’m really excited about how this journey will continue to unfold.
I’m also taking more time to study and do trainings, and trying not to be so hard on myself. It can be difficult juggling all of the roles, from teacher to mother, so I focus on easing up a little. Now that I have more time with a great team and the studio more established, things are getting easier.
Do you have any tips for yoga teachers who dream about coming to Bali?
It’s important to be professional. . We run a studio, we need to rely on people and work as a team and that’s why we’re looking for people that are professional and passionate about what they do. We know that people are the right fit when they really express an energy that is willing to move through the ‘hurdles’ of coming to teach in a foreign country, rather than just finding the ‘easy’ way and not putting the effort in. But of course, the most important piece is that I feel this persons energy and values is aligned to what we want to offer at the studio, and normally it’s a gut feeling that I know from the start!
Lastly, what’s your typical day like in Bali?
Right now, our mornings start early because Luna is awake by 6am. It’s just us three in the morning and we spend some time together as a family.
Then Rafael goes to the studio to work, and I either teach a class or I play and dance with Luna. Sometimes I find the time to go to class myself, maybe two or three times a week.
Afterwards, I hang out in the studio, and drop into the office and see what’s going on. I might have a meeting or get some work done on my computer. I have lunch at the studio and then in the afternoon I go home and spend time with Luna.
In the evening we have dinner early and then Luna goes to bed at 7:30pm. After that I have space to work on things like my upcoming retreat or sequencing for my classes.
So that’s a typical day. Some days I also find time to have lunch with friends. Because that’s also important to stay connected to the beautiful community we have here. In short, life is good.
Click here to learn more about Radiantly Alive in Bali and check out their upcoming events and trainings. You can also read a review I wrote about the studio here.