Hoàng Vân Anh
Magda Nowicka, originally from Poland, resigned from her job as a food and beverage manager in the UK and travelled for three years in Asia before moving to Việt Nam.
The beginning of that trip with her two friends pushed her life into a completely different trajectory, in an entirely different location across the globe.
When in Việt Nam, she also shifted between different jobs. While her first time trying yoga was in the UK, it wasn’t until a trip to India that she fell in love with the challenging, dynamic Ashtanga yoga, so much that she stopped travelling just to attend classes every day for two months straight.
She realised she wanted to know more about the art of yoga and later came back for a six-month yoga teacher training course in 2013.
|Magda (middle) at her yoga teacher training in India. Photos courtesy of Magda Nowicka|
Currently, she is juggling many things at the same time in Hà Nội: teaching English, teaching yoga and managing her Moon Yoga studio, as well as being a mother.
“It all started when I started teaching private classes in my studio apartment when the number of students interested started to skyrocket.
I noticed that this wasn’t sustainable, given it’s my small living space. That’s when I collaborated and founded Moon Yoga due to popular demand," she said.
While her favourite style used to be Ashtanga, now she has been digging into different styles such as restorative or Vinyasa, which she finds more dynamic and creative.
Besides typical yoga classes, she also leads some therapy courses stemming from Iyengar like spinal therapy, which she learned in the advanced yoga teacher training course.
Her journey with Moon Yoga hasn’t always been easy but she said it’s been a very rewarding experience.
When asked about COVID-19, she said it was a stressful period. Lots of expats, the main customer base at Moon Yoga, hadn’t worked since Tết (Lunar New Year) and without a source of income, were tight on funds. Since yoga is not the most basic necessity, the number of attendees and members dropped.
However, by moving the class online, her Zoom classes allowed people around the world, like previous members who had relocated abroad, to attend. Luckily, her international community of members generously donated and helped the studio survive.
|Magda instructing students in her class.|
Now, using a new business strategy to welcome more local residents, Moon Yoga has diversified its customer base to include young, open-minded English-speaking Vietnamese yogis at the studio as well.
With Zoom, she can teach from anywhere and anyone can attend her classes.
“I even noticed that during typhoon season, more local members attended classes on Zoom rather than commuting to the studio.
"However, not all styles can be done on Zoom like those with props like aerial yoga.
"Zoom classes are also not suitable for beginners as in person allows the teachers to help them get into the right posture to get the most benefits of the poses," she explained.
Moon Yoga also offers holistic wealth workshops, where workshop hosts reach out to her to collaborate and hold the event at the studio.
“I really appreciate my collaborators. One of the good things about people with flexible time schedules is that they have the freedom to create and consequently, bring benefits to people.
"Since my boutique studio fits the vibe that offers alternative yoga courses, its friendly ambience also fosters interaction among members and visitors," she said.
Moon Yoga also offers Float Meditation sessions and yoga retreats called Samadhi. The retreat locations are all rustic, hidden and found by coincidence or recommendations from their customers.
|Morning stretches in nature in Samadhi retreat run by Magda.|
The entire experience with Moon Yoga made her much stronger as she is now confident enough to run a business abroad and all its processes such as dealing with legislation.
She has even worked with The Fitness Village to open a second location for Moon Yoga in the West Lake area.
“All the people I’ve met here have been creative and inspiring, and I’m so glad that Moon Yoga fosters such a community. I can now confidently say that I have friends almost everywhere in the world," Magda said.
Anyone who has interacted with Magda always notices her positive energy and when asked how to achieve that kind of mindset and transfer good energy to others, she recommends reflecting on your mind to see how happy or fulfilled you are. She also says to genuinely care about the people around you.
Before yoga, she had anxiety. Now, thanks to years of practice, she noticed that she’s less anxious and has more control over her emotions.
“The key is to be present and grateful to find positivity in things," she said. VNS