My Career: Yoga role is so flexible

Sara de Miguel Hernandez talks to us about her business, FloWithMe
My Career: Yoga role is so flexible

Sara de Miguel Hernandez. Picture: Peter O'Toole @peterotoole

Name: Sara de Miguel Hernández

Age: 35

Lives: Cork City Centre

Job title: Founder of FloWithMe (www.flowithme.com). (Qualified Life Coach and Chair Yoga teacher)

Salary bracket: 45-60K

Education background: Honours degree in Business Administration, ACCA Chartered Accountant qualification, Executive and Life Coach by PSG, 200H Vinyasa Yoga teacher by The Sacred Fig NY, Certified Chair Yoga teacher by LVCY Australia, Certified SUP Yoga Teacher by Flowocean Sydney.

Hobbies: Cooking, traveling, surfing and SUPing (Standard Paddle Boarding), cycling, cliff walking, reading, journaling, dancing, did I say cooking? I love food either cooked by me or going to restaurants and trying new places all the time while socialising with friends.

Describe your job in five words: Passion, purpose, fun, supporting others, creativity.

Describe yourself in five words: Positive, innovative, determined, brave and caring.

Personality needed for this kind of work? Organised, creative, visionary, perseverance, consistency, good communication skills and adaptability. 

Being a business entrepreneur requires having a clear vision of what is driving you to set up a business in the first place. 

It is going to take a lot of time and energy so you need to be sure of your ‘why’. Once you have clear vision of what it is that you want to do and the reasons why, the rest comes easy. Perseverance and getting out of your comfort zone every single day helps to achieve that vision.

How long are you doing this job? Two years. I set up FloWithMe in January 2019 and they have been a great two years full of experiences and lessons learned.

How did you get this job? When I went to university in Madrid, Spain, I wanted to do business administration to become a hotel director where I would like facilitate the hotel guest to have a great experience during their holidays. 

Little I knew back then, that when I finished my business degree four years later, I would end up moving to Cork, Ireland. 

With my business background, the easy option was to work in financial services and while working as an Internal Auditor in a Bank for over 11, I qualified as a chartered accountant.

During my years working as an Auditor I got to learn a lot about processes and procedures and how to improve them, while also I got to travel around the world. I really enjoyed it as I loved visiting new places and trying their cuisine.

When I arrived in Cork day one, as a hobby, I started teaching cooking classes with the kitchen appliance Thermomix. Sharing my passion for food and cooking with other people. It was a great way to make friends with similar interests and be part of a community. I also I got to meet a lot of like-minded people that were interested in healthy cooking and a healthy lifestyle. That hobby gave me great opportunities to build my confidence in public speaking, network and get to see my real passion was in wellness and not in numbers.

My passion for wellness brought me to my first yoga class and I loved it.

 A regular yoga practice and meditation supported me during my years traveling with work and the fast pace environment in the corporate world. Living that life was not what I wanted but I was not sure what I wanted so I took a three month unpaid leave from the Bank and travelled to Australia and Indonesia. That trip changed the way I looked at my life and identified what was really important for me. I qualified as a yoga teacher while in Bali and when I was back in Cork I started a course about life coaching and also teaching chair yoga to my colleagues in the bank. 

Fast forward a year later, I decided the Internal Audit world was no longer for me and instead I wanted to help other people with the skills I have gained.

On paper it looked like a crazy move and a huge career change when in reality the skills I had used to audit were the same as what I would need to coach people or teach chair yoga.

Listening, thinking outside the box, and show to people information in different ways. Same of what I was doing as an auditor. As an auditor I was looking at processes, now I was looking at people’s life and helping them how to improve them by making subtle changes like I had done including my daily meditation and yoga practice.

I will never forget when I taught my first chair yoga class or coached my first pro-bono client. 

It was scary. Who was I to do that? The impostor syndrome kicked in and stayed there for a while but seeing the results my clients were experiencing while working with me, how much they were progressing and how well they were feeling, made me build on my self-confidence and continue with my vision of creating a wellness company that helps other to live a better life by working on their body, mind and spirit with a holistic approach.

Over the last two years I have got to work with many different clients and teaching chair yoga to people that would have never gone near a yoga mat in their life. It is amazing to see how no matter the flexibility or fitness level, everybody can practice yoga. I have taught people in wheelchairs, with reduced mobility, blind, recovering from cancer treatments or my old colleagues in the corporate world that are desk bound and more now that we are spending more hours sitting down on average a day. Chair Yoga showed me that when you know you want to help people, ideas come to try in different ways adapting to each individual and their needs.

Having the support of big companies like AIB with the Women in Enterprise Award I received in 2019 have helped me to increase the awareness of chair yoga and the importance of wellness, both physical and mental wellness.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? To be a coach and a chair yoga teacher, you do need qualifications. The theory is very important to have to understand the concepts and gain expertise in the areas of work. That in addition to experience and practice every day is what makes you become an expert in the field and provide a very good and professional service.

I trained in Bali with The Sacred Fig in a 200h intensive yoga teaching training course and subsequently I have completed different courses in Australia more specifically in chair yoga style. 

All the trainings I have done over the years have supported me to understand better the theory and become a better yogi which has improved my teaching as a result.

For life coaching I qualified with PSG in Dublin and I continue improving every day with different courses and being coached by my coach on a monthly basis.

Running a business can be more challenging that actually providing the services. You are your own boss which has great benefits, but it also means you wear so many different hats every day. You are the accountant, the marketing person, the customer service team and a long etc… Having my ACCA Qualification has been of great benefit to me as I understand how a company works and what structures and processes to have in place to run the business more efficiently. It also helps from the accounting point of view as I understand the importance of having budgets, and knowing the numbers from week to week. Setting goals and tracking the progress made each month.

To become a business owner, you do not need an accountancy qualification but you need to have a good supporting network that will help you with the areas that you are not comfortable with. It is all part of the learning process but the more equipped you are, the easier it will be for you.

Describe a day at work: My day starts early with meditation and a short yoga practice followed by a healthy breakfast (usually a smoothie). Every day is different as it depends what clients I have scheduled, but since COVID I have tried to create a routine that would start around 8.30- 9 in the office and take the first few minutes to check my diary for the day, the clients I have and write a list of tasks that need to be completed looking at priority vs urgent. That helps me to eat the ‘frogs’ first (I call ‘frogs’ to the things that I don’t want to do and that can easily stay there in the list for days unless I tackle them first thing in the morning).

My mid mornings tend to be filled with life coaching clients and then in the afternoon chair yoga classes with corporate clients around lunch time.

I take my lunch and go for a walk and when I come back I tend to do admin work, planning, social media or keep up with the finances or billing. I end the day with life coaching clients or a private yoga class depending on the day. Once a week, I continue doing one cooking class for my Thermomix community where I share a recipe with them or do all cook along together. It is a lot of fun and a great way to connect with others.

Recently, I have started taking time off during the week so Wednesdays or Thursdays tend to be my day off which breaks the week nicely. Ensuring I am more efficient when I am working because I know I need to get things done before Wednesday or otherwise they will have to wait. Also knowing there is a break in the middle of the week, focus my mind more and helps with my wellbeing.

Do I work weekends? Sometimes the line between working and having fun is very blurred so I don’t know if I can call what I do work but yeah I may work on a Saturday and then on Monday morning if I don’t have any clients scheduled, I go to the beach or meet friends.

How many hours do you work a week? On average around 30 – 35h a week now that the company is more stablished and I have created the virtual chair yoga studio where clients join and do the classes with my videos. At the start, I was working very long hours most days as it took time to have all the structure in place. The fact that you are doing things for the first time also means that it takes a lot of time to get things done as you are learning and you make a lot of mistakes. With time, you start getting better and everything gets easier.

What do you wear to work? My working arrangements vary so if I am teaching chair yoga, you will see me with my yoga gear and barefoot as I sit in the chair and teach chair yoga classes. If I have life coaching clients, then you will see me all professional and high heels will be on. I love the way I have that variety and every day is different. Ultimately, I am helping people and it is so rewarding, I just change the tools I use to help them depending on their needs.

I like the idea of changing outfits also as it gets me into the zone. The suit and high heels go more with the more mental type of work when I am coaching a client on a zoom call, which the yoga gear is more relaxed and in tune with the movement of the body in a yoga class. Either outfit, I try to wear very colourful and vibrant colours that already put me in good mood from first thing in the morning.

Is your industry male or female dominated? Predominantly female. Particularly yoga. Most yoga teachers are women. There is also men and really good teachers but it tends to be an industry dominated by female. Same with coaching.

Does this affect you in any particular way? Not really. I like to have male and female colleagues as I think it is helps for diversity and to see different approaches. I have had male and female yoga teachers and coaches and each person has their style. It is good to open the mind and not generalise looking at the person and their gender. For me, the important thing is their values and that they are in alignment with mine. The rest becomes secondary.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: No. My job is not stressful at all. I would say a 2. Coming from a fast pace corporate environment with loads of daily deliverables and deadlines, now it is a matter of organising my time efficiently to be able to do everything I want to do and still mind myself. 

I help people to calm and destress so for me it is very important my own mental health and wellbeing as I cannot help others if I am not in a good place myself.

Do you work with others or on your own? I mainly work on my own but I do collaborate with other people from time to time. It is very nice to be your own boss and have the freedom. However, being an entrepreneur can be very lonely at times when you need to make decision and you don’t have other colleagues to bounce off ideas or brainstorm. For that, I love working with other colleagues or network with different entrepreneurs as I get to see other points of view and I always learn something new from them.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? I love what I do so I don’t think I will ever retire. 

I may not work as many hours and have more free time to spend with family and friends but I think I will continue helping people until the day I die either with yoga or coaching or something else. 

When you are so passionate about what you do, you don’t work. You have fun and get paid for it which is great.

Best bits: Flexibility to do whatever I want and be creative. Able to work from anywhere in the world. Choosing my own hours and projects I work on. Being my own boss. Expose to new experiences I would have never had working for somebody else. Very fulfilling to see your company growing and seeing the results.

Worst bits: Uncertainty of not having a regular income. Not having a team to have a work night out. Ideas come at all times so sometimes the line between work and time off can be a bit blurred.

Advice to those who want your job? If you have an urge to set up your own business, listen to yourself but also do a good analysis of your current situation, your skills and the market. Do jump and try it, as it will be the best experience you will ever go for personal growth but also be conscious of your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to get support or learn yourself. 

Like anything in life, plan, plan, plan and then take action. Or even if you don’t plan and try, go for it as you will learn a lot. 

Most important, get clarity of what drives you to set up your own business and write it down. Once your vision is clear, things will come your way or you will search for them but having that roadmap will make the journey a lot more pleasant and more fun too!

Any other comments? If 13 years ago when I moved to Ireland you would have told me I would own my own business doing what I love, I would not have believed you. But dreams do come true, just don’t focus too much on the how, but spend time on what it is that you want. And if you are not sure what you want, hire a coach and she / he will help you to figure it out.

For more see www.flowithme.com

My Career features in WoW! every Wednesday. Email features@theecho.ie to take part.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more