From civil en­gi­neer to yoga warrior

Chang­ing your life to pur­sue your pas­sion is pos­si­ble, but you need to be proac­tive

CityPress - - Careers - DANETTE FRED­ERIQUE projects@city­press.co.za

En­gi­neer­ing jobs are no­to­ri­ous for be­ing some of the hard­est po­si­tions to fill in South Africa and, in 2014, the de­part­ment of home af­fairs placed civil en­gi­neer­ing on its crit­i­cal-skills visa list. De­spite the value of her train­ing, Man­disa Nduli left a ca­reer in civil en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy at the age of 23 to en­ter South Africa’s rapidly grow­ing fit­ness in­dus­try.

“I’ve al­ways seen my­self in busi­ness, but wasn’t quite sure what field I would branch into,” Nduli says. “When I started yoga, I im­me­di­ately knew that this was it. I had fi­nally found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Nduli is now 26 and work­ing full time as an in­struc­tor at Yoga Warrior in Rose­bank. Ditch­ing her plans to ob­tain a mas­ter’s de­gree in pro­ject man­age­ment, the Dur­ban res­i­dent es­caped what she calls the sti­fling struc­ture of the en­gi­neer­ing field for the health and well­ness in­dus­try.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by SA Good News in Fe­bru­ary, one in five South African adults go to a gym or health club, or en­gage in some other form of ex­er­cise, such as yoga, at least once a month.

South Africa has the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of fit­ness cen­tres on the con­ti­nent, and with this growth comes an in­flux of job op­por­tu­ni­ties for club man­agers, per­sonal train­ers, group in­struc­tors and ad­min­is­tra­tors.

Since a whop­ping 61% of the pop­u­la­tion is over­weight, dis­course around health and fit­ness is in­creas­ing and life­styles are ad­just­ing, es­pe­cially among the work­ing mid­dle class.

“The best part of what I do is hav­ing a plat­form to trans­form peo­ple one yoga ses­sion at a time,” Nduli says.

“I love the ex­pe­ri­ence that comes with see­ing peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence the good­ness that yoga brings on the mat.”

Although many fail to see the spir­i­tual prac­tice in an en­tre­pre­neur­ial light, yo­gis are en­trepreneurs.

There are fi­nan­cial, ad­min­is­tra­tive and man­age­rial du­ties to han­dle when run­ning a stu­dio.

Also, like any en­tre­pre­neur, yo­gis take cal­cu­lated risks to make their pro­fes­sional dreams a re­al­ity.

“Go­ing all out is the best way to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence and for you to be fully sub­merged in your pas­sion,” Nduli says.

“A def­i­nite cal­cu­lated risk is nec­es­sary. Know the risks that come along if things don’t work out. Al­ways have a plan B and even a plan Q.”

She re­signed from her job be­fore she had even cer­ti­fied as a yoga in­struc­tor. Dur­ing a three-month in­terim pe­riod, she re­lied on sav­ings un­til she gained a full-time in­struct­ing job.

“If you’re look­ing for fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity, then go and do your nine-to-five job. It’s sim­ple,” she says.

“There are go­ing to be some months where you have to tran­si­tion. With en­trepreneur­ship, you’re not look­ing for money in the be­gin­ning; it’s about shar­ing your gift and shar­ing your pas­sion with peo­ple.”

POLE PO­SI­TION Man­disa Nduli changed the course of her life by choos­ing to be­come a yoga in­struc­tor

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