For Jasmine Chong, founder of Yoga Lab, what started as a means to lose weight seven years ago quickly became a passion and a respite from a dissatisfactory lifestyle. Jasmine is a certified pre and post-natal yoga teacher.

As a teacher, Jasmine is nurturing and encouraging, and her classes focus strongly on form and alignment. Even though she has a wealth of knowledge to share, she remains humble and understands that her students, too, have something to teach her.

She is always inspired by her students and loves seeing students grow stronger, not just physically but also mentally, through their yoga practice.

Before starting Yoga Lab, she was in banking for a total of about five years. But then she decided that she had had enough, and she decided just to quit the banking world and become a full-time yoga instructor.

Initially, she was just freelancing, and then after a while, she decided to open her yoga studio. So, she left her corporate job to embark on an exciting journey to share her knowledge and experience in yoga with as many people as she can.

The opening of Yoga Lab is Jasmine’s way of spreading her deep love for the practice, and she is thrilled to provide a safe environment for practitioners of all levels to share their passion for yoga.

She continues to pursue an education in yoga and nutrition. She has learned that yoga is an endless road of self-acceptance and self-discovery.

Yoga goes beyond the mat and can teach us lessons about ourselves. For example, hip openers never fail to reveal how much negativity I store in my life. Deep hamstring stretches show me the true meaning of letting go. Backbend practice reinforces the importance of integrity like no other. Shoulder and thigh openers taught me how to accept myself. Inversions taught me patience and core workout taught me determination.

Jasmine Chong of Yoga Lab, On How Yoga Is An Endless Road of Self-acceptance & Self-discovery

The New Savvy: Was the decision to quit the banking job a tough one?

Jasmine:  Yes.  It’s safe to say that it has been the most difficult decision till date.  I think when I was thinking of quitting my banking job, one of the biggest things was to give up a certain kind of lifestyle that I was used to because the only way I could justify my lifestyle was the paycheck that I was getting.

So giving that up was a big deal.  I wasn’t sure if I was ready to live without the things that I was so used to enjoying.  And then, of course, I had friends and family telling me it was the stupidest decision I would ever make.

Because growing up in  Singapore, and studying in Singapore, it seems that the one thing you want to do when you grow up is to become a professional and earn a lot of money and then be successful in that way.

But I’ve come to realize that being successful doesn’t equal money.  Being successful without happiness, feeling so empty about your life, feeling so empty, and so sick and so tired all the time, it’s just not what I would now define as success.  So I took the leap, despite everyone telling me not to do it, and I have never looked back; it’s the best decision, although the toughest one.

The New Savvy:   What has changed between then and now, when you were in banking and after you quit your job and started being a yoga instructor, and now being the owner of Yoga Lab?

Jasmine:  When I was in the banking world, life was more comfortable.  Monthly pay was fixed, so even if I took a day off work, I knew that at the end of the month I would still get the same amount, and the number in the bank account would still jump. That changed when I became a yoga instructor.

It depended on how much I was willing to work.  There were months when I was tired, but I needed that extra buck so I would work seven hours a day.  I would work the extra time just to get that extra amount of money, and I think that has contributed to being a start-up owner.

It’s the same now.  The work doesn’t stop.  Even when I go home, I cannot just shut off the computer and be done.  Even at home, I’m still thinking about work.  Even when I’m sometimes teaching, I’m guilty of that; I’m still thinking about the work.

But I believe that it’s just transition phase regarding financial stability.  Now it’s not stable, it’s risky, but it’s more fulfilling because I know I’m working toward something bigger.

The New Savvy:  So can you tell us a bit more about your struggles and fears, and how you overcome them?

Jasmine:  about Yoga Lab, the most emotional one was when I saw the location; the agent that I was dealing with wasn’t a very honest agent; so there were a lot of lies and a lot of emotional struggles I had to go through.  The lease had been signed, so I couldn’t back out. So my first reaction was to react very badly to the agent.  We fought a lot; I yelled at him a lot, and then I cried a lot because I was angry at him for trying to cheat me.

But then, I stopped myself, and I thought, “You know, yoga, it’s like the thing that we do on the mat, it doesn’t just stop there.”  I told myself that the guy that I was dealing with, the most difficult guy I’ve ever met, was my real yoga test.  And it all came down to thinking from his point of view—was he having a very difficult month?  Was he eager to close the deal because he was facing some problems?

My perspective changed then.  And it got a lot easier for me to handle, although it was still tough.

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The New Savvy:  Can you tell us a bit more about how your family and friends reacted when you decided to leave your job?

Jasmine:  Some of my friends, especially the ones that I went to school with, left.  It was a pretty hard truth to swallow, because they were friends from school—we did well together, we landed a good job together, and then we would hang out together, and we would still go out almost like three times a week, just to socialize, network, and meet people that we should meet.

The moment I was not in banking anymore, it was like I wasn’t of any use to them anymore.  They just disappeared.  The experience made me learn the hard way that sometimes people are only with you because you are of use to them.  As for my family, they were shocked when I left my banking job because it was the one thing that I had wanted and worked so hard for. My parents were anxious about me; they thought that they would have to support me all my life.

But, once I started making a very comfortable amount, and they went, “Oh, she knew what she was doing.”  And then Yoga Lab happened.  The conversation went like, “Dad, I need all my money,” and he’s like, “Oh, are you opening a yoga studio?”  The next minute I know he had transferred everything back to me, and he’s like, “You know what you’re doing, it’s all your money, so if you fail, that’s it for you.”  I was like, “Thanks for the best advice ever.”

Now, friends tell me that they wish they had the courage to do what I did, to leave their job and pursue their dreams.  So I think now I’m at a superb place with friends and family.  They see that it’s possible to pursue your dream and still not starve to death.

The New Savvy:  So if you were to give one advice to other women who aspire to be like you, to pursue their dreams to be an entrepreneur, to do what they love, what would it be?

Jasmine:  Be courageous.  Trust your gut; it would work, go for it.  I always tell my teachers who are in transition of leaving their comfortable worlds to become full-time teachers, that if you have an inkling, then it’s probably your gut telling you to do something.

You will never feel ready, but you just have to take the leap, and once you are on the other side then you have to run like crazy.  You can’t just take it for granted that it’s all going to happen for you.  Once you’re on the other side, run like crazy for what you want, and then one day you will get there.

The New Savvy:  If you had a chance to do-over your life, would you do anything differently?Jasmine Chong of Yoga Lab, On How Yoga Is An Endless Road of Self-acceptance & Self-discovery

Jasmine:  I’d probably go overseas for study.  I stayed in Singapore because I wanted to finish my degree and start working as soon as possible.  But now it’s my one big regret because I didn’t take any summer breaks or overseas exchange programs.

I spent three years just in SMU in Singapore, trying to finish my degree in the fastest time possible. And I think that part of life I would re-do.  Just to take my time through it, travel, experience things, take five years if I need to, and then get out to the working world.

The New Savvy: How do you define success, and how do measure up to your definition?

Jasmine:  I don’t have a grid box or a checklist of how I define success, but I do know that doing something you love, and being very good at it, or getting to become superb at it is what makes me happy.

I believe the true form of success, or at least success, is when you are happy doing what you’re doing.  When you don’t feel like you want to escape from the life that you’re living right now.  That you are just excited to get up and start the day.

So, currently, my definition of success is having a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment at the end of the day.

The New Savvy:  As an entrepreneur yourself, what do you think are some of the challenges that women entrepreneurs face?

Jasmine:  Women entrepreneurs?  Wow!  Well, in my line of work, you’re dealing with contractors, mostly men, who would potentially intimidate you.  You’re dealing with people, or maybe even investors, that would think, “She’s not up to it, she’s too young.  She might get married in a few years.  She might have a kid, and then she’s not going to focus on the business so much.”

I think, although right now there’s not so much social prejudice against women being able to do well at her work, there still is discrimination against women who would potentially get married, or get a family and neglect their business.

That’s the one big thing that I’m facing right now, every single meeting that I go to; investors will always ask me, “So when are you planning to get married? Are you going to have kids after marriage, and what happens to Yoga Lab after you have a child?”  And I find myself having to draft an answer, just to convince them.

Be courageous.  Trust your gut.

The New Savvy:  What’s your answer then?

Jasmine:  My answer is, “I have no plans to get married, and even if I do have a kid, I’m prepared to walk up the steps with my big belly, and I’m not going to stop.”  It’s up to them to believe you, but I find it a little bit unfair that women have to answer these questions and men don’t.

Men get married too.  Men have kids too.  Why wouldn’t they be bogged down with family matters, and only women do?  So, I think that’s the biggest struggle right now, at this stage of my life.  At this stage of the business as well.

The New Savvy:  Do you think your age is a factor? You’re young. Do you think that’s an advantage or disadvantage, or both?

Jasmine:  I think it’s an advantage that I started my business before I’m 30.  I don’t know why I have this notion in my head, but I’ve always thought that even if you fail at something,  you should have at least given yourself enough time to try it out and that once you’re 30, you will kind of know where you’re going.

I feel quite comfortable where I am now, knowing that I’m financially stable at the age of 27.  And I give myself a few more years to try things out.  I can still be adventurous.  I have nothing to lose, in a way.  I don’t have a husband or children,  I don’t have debts to pay,  I don’t have things to pay for, and I don’t have to worry about liabilities.

I can just try whatever I want.  The sense of adventure is to my advantage, I believe.

The New Savvy:  Is there something you think women entrepreneurs like yourself should learn?

Jasmine:  I think, as a female and as an entrepreneur, there’s a delicate balance between being strong and being soft.  I believe that it’s very easy for us women to become an entrepreneur and become so capable that you harden up, and you become like a man mentally, or in the way you behave.

Although there’s nothing wrong with that, I do believe that as a woman, there’s a sense of feminism that we should still keep.  That’s what makes us women, and that is what makes us attractive in a way, and that’s what makes me, me.

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So I do not want to lose that, and I hope that girls or ladies out there who go into a start-up, go into entrepreneurship, find it within themselves to still keep that softness in them.  That they are not barking instructions at people all the time.  You know, we hear all these stories about how tyrant bosses are.  So I still believe that you can be a girl boss, without being a tyrant.  Without being a bitch.

The New Savvy:  Can you tell us more about your challenge when you put all your life savings into business?

Jasmine:  When I first got that sum of money from my dad, I’d never seen so much money in my bank account before, so I was a little bit like, “What do I do with all this money?”  And I was tempted to keep it for a while in my bank account.  I kept it for a total of 24 hours, and then I had to cut a check and transfer it to the Lab’s account.

At that point, during the transition, of putting the check into the bank account, I felt fearless, not because I disregarded the amount of money, or not because I ignored how much money that was, or how much that amount of money should mean to me, but because I really believed in the idea of Yoga Lab, and I thought that this concept would catch on.  And that gave me the courage just to dump it in.

I knew that putting the money in was not the end of my story.  I was going to work like crazy to make sure that amount of money was not going to dwindle down to anything.  So I guess putting all my savings in was also that one big push factor for me to work really, really, hard.  Because at the end of the day, I’m responsible for myself.  I’m responsible for what my life will be in the future.

Jasmine Chong of Yoga Lab, On How Yoga Is An Endless Road of Self-acceptance & Self-discovery

The New Savvy:  Can you tell us more your attitude towards money?  What would you like to learn more about managing your finances?

Jasmine:  When I was young, I would spend every single cent I had in the bank.  It got to the point where I realized that when I wanted a bag, I was waiting for the 15th of the month when my money would come in, and the moment the money came in I would cut a check to the person who sold me the bag.  And I would just be like, “Yeah, and then now I’m back to zero.”  That’s why when my dad cut me the check, I was like, “Wow! This is a lot of money.  Maybe I should buy like ten bags.”

When I became a yoga instructor, I learned that that’s not going to work, because as a freelancer you don’t have that money to pay.  As a freelancer, you better freaking save because you don’t know whether the next month you’re going to do as well as you did the previous month.

So, that phase of my life, although short, actually taught me a lot.  I read a book; that money looks better in a bank account than it does on your legs.  So I cut all expenses.  I cut all my shopping.  I only spend money on food right now, and sometimes yoga clothes.  It was difficult initially, but now it is easy.

Now, my philosophy with money is to buy something only if I can cover five times of my expenses. That means, if the thing is $20, and I have $100, I am comfortable to buy that item.  So it’s an enough easy rule to follow.

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The New Savvy:  Is there anything you would want to learn more financially?

Jasmine:  I want to find out how to do the book-keeping for my company, so I don’t have to pay someone to do it.  I regret not taking accounting because it’s very, very valuable knowledge when it comes to a start-up.

It also pays that you know and you understand every single bit of how money works in your start-up.  It helps you to watch your cost a lot more, and it also gives you a better idea of how things are going every single day, instead of having to wait for someone to give you a report at the end of the day, or at the end of the month.  So I think that bit I do want to catch on, and I want to do it pretty quickly as well.

The New Savvy:  Seeing that this was your first business, was it difficult when you were starting it up?

Jasmine:  When I first started out I had a mentor.  My mentor was my boss from the studio that I used to work at.  So she had experience running a studio, and she was so sweet to share all her experiences with me.  Without her, I don’t think Yoga Lab would exist.  We had one month to build the space. We had one month from the signing of the lease to at least starting business, because I didn’t want to pay rent without operating.

I didn’t want to pay rent for nothing, so I gave myself one month, and we did everything in one month.  Without her, or her contacts or expertise I don’t think that would have been possible.  So having a mentor helped in the initial phase of the business.

The New Savvy:  Who is your role model and why?

Jasmine:  My dad is my role model.  My dad is a business owner, and a lot of the decisions that I make day to day, I would run it by him, just because in my opinion, he’s the smartest man on earth.  He came to Singapore when he was 17 years old because he was sick and tired of the life in Malaysia.

He had no job or family here.  He walked into the first construction company he came across and told them he needed a job. They gave him a job to hold on to water hose rail to wash the dirty tires of the lorries which would come in and out of the construction site.

He did that for six months, and then he did it so well that his supervisor noticed him and they upgraded him to something else.  Eventually, he became a project manager.  And then someone from a shipping company spotted him and approached him to become a shipping company project manager.

Finally, he rose up, and he invested in property, he eventually owned a shipping company.  From washing lorry tires to owning a shipping company; that to me is a super inspiring story.  I feel like he should share it with a lot of people, but he’s a typical humble Asian man, he does not like to talk about it.

When I was younger I used splurge money all the time; he would tell me the stories about his younger days and him being hungry and having only two dollars in coins.  He would go to the mini mart, and he would only be able to afford one loaf of bread and a can of coke.  And that was his dinner, and that was his breakfast the following day.

So when I hear stories like that, it makes me think that if you limit yourself, then you really can’t do anything.  But if you allow your imagination to go, if you just allow yourself to be willing to explore, you can do anything.  You can do anything.  So, his story inspired me to believe that if I allow myself to go, allow myself to explore, who knows what Yoga Lab will become.

The New Savvy:  How do you think that social media has helped you?

Jasmine:  Social media is another story completely.  During the last three months of my banking job, I set up a Yoga Instagram account because my friends were sick and tired of looking at my yoga photos on my personal account.   They threatened to unfollow me if I didn’t stop posting so many yoga pictures.

I created another account just to post my yoga pictures.  At that time, there were a lot of yoga challenges online where you post one picture every day.  And I was taking part in three challenges, so I had post three pictures every single day.  So the frequency that I was posting was pretty intense.  It got to the point where I would go home during lunch, just to take pictures and then rush back to work.  And that was how crazy I was with my Instagram at that time.

By the time I decided to quit my job, I had already garnered a decent following on Instagram, and people in Singapore already knew who I was, so that made the transition to a yoga teacher a lot easier, because the studios already knew who I was.

When I applied for a job, they would be more willing to see me.  Earlier it was difficult for a yoga teacher to find a job because no one knew you. But having social media around, the first step of the way, have puffed it up.  I got a job within a day.  They decided to see me, watch me teach a class, and I got that job.  And then it went on, my social media kept me going, paid some of the bills when I started taking on some sponsored pose.

Eventually now, for Yoga Lab, I have not spent a single cent on marketing.  We are running based on free marketing and it’s been running for a month, and I’m real, really happy with how it’s doing now.  Everything that we’re doing is just based on Instagram, based on the following that I have, based on the following that my teachers have, and people have been coming.  I have not had to cancel a single class.  So there’s the power of social media.

The New Savvy:  Are there are any tips for people who want to grow or to market their business?

Jasmine:  I get that question a lot.  I feel that when you sell yourself as an individual, it’s very different from marketing business.  I’m having that problem right now because I find that it’s a lot easier to market myself as Jasmine Yoga than marketing Yoga Lab.

I’m still trying to figure that out, but I do believe that people like to follow you as a person.  So if you transform your business and you give your business a personal voice, a very distinct voice, and a very distinct character, then people will be more inclined to you.

That has to do with branding as well.  So you have to be very clear what you stand for.  You have to be very clear what your business is about, and then from there just drive.  Don’t waiver.  Think of it as a person. Like if a person has a fixed set of character, how would he behave, and how would he speak online, or how would he talk to people?

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The New Savvy: There are a lot of yoga outlets nowadays, so what makes you stand out from the rest?  What is your unique selling point?

Jasmine:  What makes me stand out from the rest?  I have no answer to that.  I believe that the poses that we post are the same.  I did see more of an increase regarding people wanting to see our flow, what I’m doing, because I shared the story about how I left banking and went into the yoga world and pursued my dreams.

I think what came off as very refreshing in the Singapore social media scene either because people are surprised, or people are dying to hear stories like that, where they feel encouraged to pursue their dreams.  They feel encouraged to see someone going through that journey, and the people that I have on my account have been around for a long time, so they know that I was in banking and that I quit my job.

The difficulties, I documented it all online – the difficulties then.  I even wrote that I had no money to eat out, that I could only buy necessities.

And then the moment I said I would be a studio owner, everyone online just rooted for me, because they wanted to see that transition happen.  So I think if there’s one thing different between me and the rest of the Instagram accounts, or like yoga Instagram accounts in Singapore, it would be that, regarding yoga like being a unique selling point, I always wanted to bring the culture of affordable yoga to Singapore.

In Singapore and Hong Kong, it’s shocking the amount of money you pay for yoga.  $50 a class is not surprising.  $50!  Even in New York, you pay only $5 a class.  And what’s the difference?  Marketing.  Because the first company that got in here was a huge corporation.  I wouldn’t even call them a studio.  They were a huge company, and they were the market leader, they were the big boys so that they could set the price.  Everybody else that came in after that would just have to try and be a little bit lower, if not they would not be able to survive.

Yoga Lab’s idea is simple.  We’re going to cut off everything that’s unnecessary.  I’m going only to charge you for a kick-ass yoga class.  And you’re going to pay $15 a class.  We’re going to be the “MacDonald’s” of the yoga world, basically “so happy, so cheap.”  Hopefully, people will catch on.  And it’s been doing well, so I believe in this concept.  Almost like any fitness, I’m going to be everywhere, eventually.  I’m going to run on volume, and that’s our selling point.

The New Savvy:  How do you stay authentic?

Jasmine:  Stay authentic?  When I was working in the bank, it was painful because I found it tough to be authentic.  I’m a very trusting person and also very transparent— you can tell immediately if I like you, or if I don’t like you.  In the corporate world, that is not a valuable asset.  You need to be able to have a poker face.  You need to be able to be sociable with everyone and anyone.

Being in the yoga world, being my business owner, I have found it a lot easier to be authentic, because I don’t need to take shit in a way.  And I think if you’re not authentic, it’s also difficult to teach, to be a yoga teacher, because teaching yoga, sharing yoga, you’re not just sharing the poses, you’re not just sharing how you move, you’re sharing a way of life.  You’re sharing with people how you live your life.

Back to that story of the terrible agent that I dealt with.  These kinds of things, I talk about it in class sometimes.  And it’s about being real.  I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t yell at him.  I did it because I hated him, and I still do, but how do you deal with that?  How do you react to that?

How do you apply yoga to your life?  And I think being honest is a big part of being authentic. Being genuine and authentic to yourself, and also with the people around you.  Don’t care about what other people think, just say and do.

The New Savvy:   You are very social media savvy. Share with our readers on how they can use social media effectively. What are some tips for people who want to use social media to boost their business? Jasmine Chong of Yoga Lab, On How Yoga Is An Endless Road of Self-acceptance & Self-discovery

Jasmine:  I’m on a few social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat.  I’ve deleted everything else because I cannot handle.  Snap Chat is my most recent addiction.  It’s just documenting every single bit of your life.  Like I’m eating this now.  Snap.  My dog is barking like crazy. Snap.

It’s catered to younger people, the newer generation of internet users, where everyone has an attention span of 10 seconds.  And 10 seconds is the maximum you can post on Snap Chat.  Every single Snap, either a picture or a video, nothing exceeds 10 seconds.  So it’s just for people who are bored and just like watching people’s life, and then you can just fast-forward their lives if you want to, or skip their lives if you want to.

It doesn’t sound very good, when I say it this way, but as a user experience, I think Snap Chat is an excellent tool as people have shorter attention span now.  So, for me, Snap Chat is everything that happens.  Everything and anything that happens.

Instagram is more like curated items.  Instagram is where I post pictures.  I can take ten pictures and only post one.  And I sit and think for a while what I want to say about that picture.

As for Facebook, I have a personal, Jasmine Chong Yoga, account and I have the business, Yoga Lab account.  In the personal Facebook, anything goes. –  Stupid pictures, funny stories, albums. Jasmine Chong Yoga has pictures that I do not post on Instagram, but still yoga related.  So tell people things on your Facebook account that they don’t get to see on Instagram, so it’s not like a repeat of items.

On the Yoga Lab account, we post articles, strictly relevant.  We post things that we believe in.   So right now Yoga Lab is advocating for being inspired to believe in yourself, to do what you know you can do.  When you do things on the mat, sometimes you think that you cannot do it.  But using yoga as a vehicle to train yourself, train your mind to believe in yourself.  Doing yoga and taking this out of the mat, taking this into your life and taking your life to the next level.

The New Savvy:  How do you connect and communicate with your social media followers, be it Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat?

Jasmine:  On Facebook, especially the business account, I make it a point to reply to inquiries or messages within an hour.  I believe in that because having a Facebook message is equivalent to having an email, so you want to reply pretty quickly.  And then on Instagram, if it’s a business account, I do reply to the comments.

But on my personal Instagram account, I never respond to comments, because it gets pretty crazy.  But I do look through my followers, and I’ll sometimes go to their page just to see who they are, what they are, and then if I like their feed, or like what they are doing, I also follow them, and I’ll talk to them online.

On Snap Chat it’s pretty easy, just stalking each other’s life, essentially. So that’s how I connect with people online, and on social media.

The New Savvy:  Can you give us some social media tips?

Jasmine:  I think for your personal branding, people can tell if you’re being yourself or not.  So being real is one big thing that has come up recently, especially in the social media world.  It’s really difficult to define how to be real.  It’s really up to you how you will be authentic to yourself.

Sometimes, it might be about saying things that people might not agree with, but which you really, truly stand for. Would you still say it was knowing people won’t approve?  My answer is “Yes,” I would still do it because I believe in it.  You’ll get tons of negative comments; you’ll get tons of haters, but I don’t care.  And I think that’s also one thing that makes people want to follow me, or want to keep up with what I’m doing.

The second thing is, I believe social media is not just a platform for you to put a lot of selfies on.  Because of the nature of my page, I get a lot of girls following me, especially younger girls.  So I do believe in always sending a very positive, inspiring kind of message.

A very empowering message that you don’t have to worry so much about how you look.  You don’t have to worry so much about what you’re eating or whether you’re losing weight.  All that doesn’t matter.

Focus instead on what you’re feeling, how you’re feeling every single day, and how you can go about every single day to make yourself feel good.  That can be regarding your family life, relationships, work-life, or your career.  And, speaking of careers, a lot of people are stuck in very uncomfortable jobs, and they think they have no choice.

But, at the end of the day, you always, always have a choice.

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The New Savvy:  What are some tips for younger girls who struggle with self-esteem, and how they perceive themselves?

Jasmine:  To be honest, think if you focus on how you look, there’s no place in social media for you to feel good.  Because there will always be a picture that reminds you that you’re not good enough.  There will always be a person that will make you question if you’re skinny enough or your boobs big enough.

There are hundreds of wrong messages out there, and you can’t stop them because those are the things that sell, and those are the things that pay the bills.  So marketing people will always put all this stuff out there, but I think intrinsically you have to know what your worth is.  Not by how you look, but by how you feel inside.

I must admit that I used to think that way before, obsessed about how I look.  I used to have eating disorders.  And then there was a change in me, where I started realizing that the moment I stopped thinking and obsessing about that, I instead focus on how I’m feeling, and just wanting to be healthy.  Being healthy, eating well, everything comes together, and it affects your mood as well.

So every day my goal was just to make myself feel as good as possible regarding the choices that I made regarding food or people I met.  Don’t meet toxic people.  Choose your friends wisely.  If people are always pointing out negative traits in you, those things will affect your self-esteem.

Choosing wisely is important.  Choosing to read messages that will empower you.  Choosing to be inspired by the right kind of words, and actively blocking out, or actively sifting out wrong information, and not even exposing yourself to it.

The New Savvy:  How do you deal with the negativity on social media?

Jasmine:  I block and delete.  Easy.  I block and delete negative comments.  I used to get a lot of comments saying that I’m too skinny and need to eat more.  I’ve tried explaining online as I feel strongly about it.  I posted a few times about that.  It just doesn’t work, because the people do not want to understand will refuse to learn.

There’s no point taking pictures of 10,000 burgers and posting them online just because you want to show people that you’re eating.  There’s no sense.  It’s not about other people’s approval; it’s more about how you feel about yourself.  Such negative comments?  Simple.  Don’t react.  Don’t even think about it.  You’re blocked.  You’re deleted.  I don’t mind losing 10,000 followers a day if that means I keep myself happy.

The New Savvy: Give us some fitness tips.

Jasmine:  I have no strict diet.  The only thing that I tend to watch for is how my body has become more customized to eating real food, non-processed food.  It is said that real food is the thing that’s on your table that’s supposed to look like what it is.

A chicken nugget doesn’t sound like a chicken, so that’s not real food.  But chicken drumstick, sounds like a chicken drumstick, so that’s real food.  I’m not vegetarian because I cannot survive without meat.  I also believe in not depriving yourself, so if you’re hungry, eat.  If you deprive yourself, you deprive yourself mentally.

You can be on a good diet for three days, and on the fourth day you’ll be at KFC, and you’ll be eating a tub of chicken wings.  So there’s no point.   Don’t starve yourself mentally, physically.  That’s my rule in life.  It all comes back to feeling good about yourself.

For fitness, find something that you like to do, something that is not painful, mentally.  The moment you find something that you enjoy doing, you will just want to do it.  And if you just want to do something every single day, you can sweat at least half an hour a day.Jasmine Chong of Yoga Lab, On How Yoga Is An Endless Road of Self-acceptance & Self-discovery

The New Savvy:  What do you tell women who don’t exercise because they claim that they are too busy?  How do you motivate them?

Jasmine:  Like I said, it’s all about choices. So when you say you have no time, observe what choices you make every day.  Why do you have no time?  Is it an excuse or is it a valid reason?  Half the time when you sit down and observe all these things, it’s all excuses, and you have to decide for yourself what your priority is.

To be honest, some people come to me and tell me they want to lose weight without either dieting or exercising.  I tell them that when they start making the right decisions, giving priority to exercising and being good to themselves, then we’ll talk again.  I think some people are ready for your advice and your motivation, and then there are people that are still not there yet.

Your job is not to sway people into it.  Your job is to guide them, remind them of what’s important, and then leave them to it.  You’re not forcing them into molds; you’re just guiding them to set their goals.

The New Savvy:   What is the typical client profile of Yoga Lab?

Jasmine:  Yoga Lab has a younger customer base, mostly students.   Very hard working, because we have an active practice here at Yoga Lab.  And there are also the complete beginners, who are younger, who follow me on Instagram and want to try yoga, because of all the benefits that I have talked to them about.  So definitely a very, very younger, vibrant, and very willing to try crowd.  Also, you can be older, but you’re ready to work, I still think you’re young – young at heart.

The New Savvy:  Being a millennial yourself, what do you think of all the people who are criticizing millennials for being lazy, for not wanting to work hard?

Jasmine:  I do believe that these people have a point sometimes. There are a lot of millennials that are lazy which are unwilling to work.  But these are just a small pocket of people.

What do I say to the people who like to criticize millennials?  Widen your perspective.  See more people.  Give the millennials a chance.  Empower them.  Open up their world.  Help them instead of criticizing them.

Right here at Yoga Lab, we hire a lot of millennials. Some of them have shown me that they are so unwilling to work, they are so lazy.  But, instead of firing them, I give them more responsibilities, and I tell them I don’t have to micro-manage them. So they have no choice but to do it.

You can take your time, and you can procrastinate, as long as it gets done at the end.  Usually, the people who are lazy are the smartest ones.  They cut corners so that they can finish the work quickly. And this kind of people also don’t like to be micro-managed, so it is better to let them do it their way.  They will surprise you.

I’m speaking from experience here because I was indolent when I was in banking.  I didn’t want to work at all.  I just couldn’t find it in me to work every moment of the day, and I used to cut corners.  I used to squeeze in all the work into the last two hours of the day. If my bosses were to catch me at 10 AM in the morning, I’d probably be on my Instagram or something.

I think, you shouldn’t impose your idea of how a worker should be on others.  Allow them to work in their way and let them surprise you.

What Do Millennials Want & Look Out For In Life And Work?

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).

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