Self-care is empowering, and being too busy is sometimes detrimental to our overall sense of wellbeing, so how do we balance a healthy mind, body and spirit with a hectic work or family life schedule? The answer isn’t as complex as you would think, as AboutHer.com sat down with the 3 ladies who form Soul Space Dubai. They explained how their unique concept aims to bring an optimistic outlook to our daily lives and develop a healthy sense of all round wellbeing, from the inside out, that we can also implement into the lives of our loved ones.
All of them are mothers and businesswomen who are passionate about maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit and sharing their knowledge. Sarah, a life coach, Komal, a Reiki healer, and Kate, a yoga practitioner, talked to us about all of the ways in which we can practice self-care and help our children to do the same.
Tell us a little about Soul Space and what you do.
We are a wellness company with a strong belief in treating the whole person and the whole community. A lot of the time it is not enough to ‘treat’ a physical ailment, reconnect spiritually, or clear our minds - to really create happiness that lasts, a more holistic approach is needed so that we truly create a balance that works for each individual.
We are three practitioners, providing services that cover three aspects of being - mind, body, and spirit. The mind is nurtured by Sarah through positive psychology life coaching, the body by Kate through yoga, and the spirit by Komal through reiki. As well as these individual services, we also offer regular events together that combine these skills to create a profoundly balanced experience for our community. For example, regular full moon yoga, reiki & meditation sessions, and workshops that aim to inform but also provide a safe space for people to share and release.
Our mission statement is to build and empower a vibrant community in a safe space, allowing everyone to authentically lead a lighter and more optimistic life through personal development in Mind, Body and Spirit.
What did the three of you do prior to setting up Soul Space and what motivated you to push forward with the concept?
Our educational and professional backgrounds are in clinical psychology, IT, and marketing and with that being said, we are all mothers with young children, and that is what we were doing. Being a mother is all-consuming, time-consuming, emotionally-consuming, and physically-consuming. It is also an incomparably enlightening experience that teaches us, tests us, and realizes the potential of our love. While we were doing all of that, we each had a very similar dream and were missing a tribe to accompany us there.
Komal and Sarah discovered this common dream in a very unexpected way, and it was truly the most encouraging feeling to find somebody who was as passionate about creating this community. So we had our mind, and our spirit, and went in search of somebody who could nurture the body - we found Kate and straight away knew that our team was complete. There was no intellectual debate, or trying to convince one or the other to accept things or let other things go, and having this strong team of well-trained practitioners, with a strong common vision was all we needed for motivation, and this keeps us going today.
The other motivation is the feedback we get from our community as we are told of the impact that our services have on helping people grow, and understand themselves better, and we can see hat impact as they return time and time again to continue that life-long journey.
As business women and mothers, what challenges do you find yourselves facing when trying to balance the two and how do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge had to be in distinguishing our roles. When we meet as a team, the agenda is clear and we work hard to accomplish our business goals. However, we don’t have a 9-to-5 job where we can just stop working and switch straight into mother role. Starting a business is continuous work, and when an idea is inspired by our family life, we rushed to our WhatsApp and let the team know and get working. Quite often, it’s not possible because we want to enjoy quality time with our families. So, the challenge is in the distinction of time, and of our roles both in and out of work.
Overcoming this challenge is thankfully relatively smooth. When we came into this work, we all understood and agreed that we need to forgive ourselves and show empathy when one of us, or all of us, need to switch off from work and focus on the family and we automatically fill in the gaps for each other without needing to justify our reasons for not having the time or mental space for work. It is such a forgiving, nurturing, safe space that we have as a team, and we are sure that this love between us emanates through our work.
How would you recommend encouraging children to take up and enjoy yoga and meditation?
It is a common misconception that we hear often that children ‘can’t do’ yoga as they imagine a yoga instructor standing in front of a class of wriggly 6-year olds and trying to get them to stand on their heads. The way we teach yoga to the youngest children - toddlers up to 6 or 7 years old - is through stories and the number one rule is that we always have fun. We tell a story out loud while using our bodies in various yoga poses to portray the story’s journey and transform from snakes to dogs, travel in boats and aero-planes, and climb mountains and trees. The possibilities are endless and we have found that children really enjoy this story-telling approach. As they get older, they become more interested in understanding the benefits of yoga and what the aim is of each yoga pose.
With regards to the meditation, again there is a misconception with regards to both children and adults that it involves sitting cross-legged atop a mountain, and chanting with our eyes closed. Yes, this is one way to meditate, there are a plethora of ways of introducing meditation into our lives.
For children, we start with the breathing which is the anchor that follows us everywhere. The youngest children begin to get comfortable with the idea of taking deep breaths, and as they get older we slowly introduce a focus on the breath and on being aware of their bodies, evolving into longer sessions of guided visualizations. Even with the guided visualizations, we are choosing images that they can relate to - they have the opportunity to use their imaginations to visit unicorns, and travel to enchanted forests. The goal with all of these is to slowly introduce to children in a way that they are comfortable with and can relate to, and really letting them lead which way we take the practice. They really can teach us a lot.
What is Reiki and how does it work?
The Japanese word Reiki translates to ‘Rei’ - Universal, and ‘Ki’ - Life Force Energy, which permeates all living things.
An analogy to best describe Reiki is imagining that humans are like a garden hose. Water can flow easily down the hose and into the body but at times, there may be little stones or dirt that will find their way into the hose and make it more difficult for the water to flow through smoothly. Let's say that these hypothetical stones represent issues and difficulties that people have and some examples are worries, anger, anxiety, fear, or toxins from medication. Layers of stone and dirt build up, and eventually there only a trickle of water is able to run through the hose which is analogous to energy flowing in the body, but not at optimal force. At this point, people usually experience pain, feel sick or feel emotional trauma.
During a Reiki treatment, an attuned practitioner (a conduit to the energy flow) uses a series of hand positions, and with intent, breath control, and mental images to focus on, energy is able to move throughout the body (like water moves through a hose). The energy (‘water’) washes down, clearing the stones and obstructions, and flushing out the debris so that the water coming out of the hose is now clean, and free of things that cause dis-ease and diseases, thereby increasing the flow of strong energy and so without a buildup of dirt/stones/toxins in the body, people feel better.
Reiki is an energy healing practice that promotes overall balance and encourages balance in body, mind, emotions and spirit through relaxation, which in turn aids a person’s natural ability to heal. Overall the direct experience of Reiki explains much better than words ever could.
How do you think Yoga, meditating and mindful eating helps with personal development for both adults and children?
Our company tagline is ‘Mind, Body & Spirit’. We feel that there is not just one particular aspect of being that guides people to wellbeing.
Yoga, reiki, meditation, positive psychology life coaching and mindfulness, are just some of the things that we believe contribute to people achieving whole being happiness. We often assess a person who has come to us and they may just want to see one of us. If they reach out requiring guidance on other things, then we assess the situation and will refer them to either one or all of the other entities of Soul Space, dependent on what they require.
For example, a recent client initially came to Komal for Reiki, but was super keen on speaking to someone about a loss of direction and focus, so it was an opportunity for a referral to Sarah for life coaching. There is no one-size-fits-all package of services and we will cater for what our clients require dependent on their wants and needs.
What do your workshops entail and how can people benefit from them?
We hold monthly full moon yoga sessions, have a series in place called ‘Conversations with Soul Space’ whereby we have different topics that we address in a casual setting, and Sarah holds a positive psychology series specifically for children call “Kids in the Moment” that spans over 5 weeks. We have also held workshops for students, staff and parents, including at Middlesex University, Jumeirah College and Repton School.
To take our ‘Conversations with Soul Space’ workshops as an example, we offer tools and advice on challenges we may face where topics vary from mindfulness to parenting, and we emphasise on creating a casual setting so that everyone feels comfortable enough to open up and share thoughts, tips and tools, thus creating a supportive environment. We have recently integrated a women’s circle into our full moon yoga sessions, again with the emphasis on offering each of our skills - be it yoga, reiki or positive psychology in the form of a guided meditation - with the goal of encouraging our participants to open up and share.
Our aim for following this format of conducting these workshops is not only for everyone to feel like they’re walking away empowered with the tools they have gathered, but also for them to have gained a community for ongoing support.
You do some amazing yoga and meditation sessions in the desert, tell us about those. What sets them aside from a regular yoga class at the gym?
In our monthly Full Moon events we head to special locations, such as the desert, ‘Nature Escapes’ in Al Barari or, in the summer, indoor studios with a special feel. What is unique about these sessions is that we always have something with a difference. For example, once we invited a lady who facilitates sound baths and gong meditation, and another time we hosted a cacao ceremony and sharing circle for women, which had a big impact on quite a few of the ladies who attended. We hold these sessions under Komal’s reiki umbrella, meaning that the energy in the room is always extra special and brings out emotions and reactions that people may not have expected. The Full Moon is a significant time during the month to let go of negative feelings and emotions and start afresh.
These sessions are different from a normal gym class, as we bring all elements of what we do to these sessions - again catering to mind, body and spirit. The sessions typically last a lot longer than gym classes as well, lasting up to three hours.
What top 5 tips can you share with our readers for them to lead a healthy lifestyle mentally, physically and spiritually?
1- Take time to look after yourself. Being busy is not always something to be proud of - be proud of taking time out.
2- Find your tribe of people who empower you, give you energy rather than ‘steal’ it, and who respect your boundaries.
3- Eat well and don’t get stuck on fad diets or calorie counting. A balanced diet and a healthy relationship with food are key to a healthy lifestyle.
4- Review all areas of your life frequently. Which ones do you feel you need to work on elevating? Where are you already successful and happy? Then set to work on those that you feel need some attention.
5- Find a type of exercise that suits you. There is no need to force yourself to anything particular - yoga, gym, walking, group exercise etc. Anything works as long as you move.
As women, what empowers you and how do you empower others?
As women, we need to give ourselves more credit and space to be true to ourselves and it really is as simple as that. We want to empower people in a safe space and our sharing circle for women does just that by providing an intimate environment where everyone is allowed to be vulnerable, to cry, to laugh, to share and to be entirely honest. We have found that women crave deep and real relationships, and when we are allowed to be our true selves, we thrive and we are empowered.
We also like to provide parents and individuals with practical tools and skills they can take into their daily lives, whether through our ‘Conversations with Soul Space’ workshops or any of our individual services. They are all designed to leave you with more knowledge, power, and self-confidence than you came with.