I am a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), a Yoga Teachers Fellowship Member, a Sirdar Accredited Independent Director and a Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) Alumni. My homebase is in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Hi I’m Phindile, Chief Executive of Black Swan Society and the creative mind behind YOGAFRICA, an initiative that is working to change the face of yoga in Africa by producing and contributing to programmes and projects that deconstruct the notions of what yoga is and bring the discipline to under-represented spaces, to people who wouldn’t ordinarily have access.
The Wellness Agency’s mission is to to help people on the continent to recognize their human potential while realizing economic freedom through wellness; by working with the yoga teacher community, and other wellness providers, to build an active eco-system and engine that creates and contributes towards well-being (of individuals and society) in a dynamic, inter-connected world.
My life was transformed by yoga almost accidentally when I took a class at my gym and was touched by how everyone seemed to go deep within themselves and be moved through the experience. Since then, yoga has appealed to me because of its unique ability to be both exclusive and inclusive at the same time – exclusive as it is meant to be a time for you to selfishly connect, and inclusive in that it is for all ages, genders, sizes and ethnicities. I firmly believe that yoga can and should be accessed by anyone, anywhere. And I feel compelled to share myself through this work.
I completed my undergraduate studies in finance because my older sister thought I might be good at it given my affinity for numbers. And went on to start my working career at the age of 20. To tell you the truth, at the time I had no cooking clue what I wanted to be or do with my life. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. My experience spans across finance, tourism and non-profit sectors, with a strong underpinning element of empowerment and transformation. Overall, I have worked in corporate and government environments for 7 years and the non-profit/civil society space for 10 years.
There was a time in my corporate career where I found myself working 7 day weeks because the flow of work did not ebb. Being the diligent over-achiever that I am, I invested extra time to get up to date so that I could then have a full handle of my work, with the intention to continue to stay on top of things. This approach found me in a fast downward spiral, exhausted, burnt out and having little time for anything other than work.
I remember the Sunday sitting at my desk at the office clearly, when the thought occurred to me “If I can work so tirelessly for someone else, imagine what I could build if I channeled this energy to something that was mine”. This opened up my mind to imagine the bottomless earning potential I would have as a result of applying the same work ethic and discipline.
Personal development, of myself and others, has always played a role in my work where I now have 14 years experience. I discovered yoga in 2006 as part of my self exploration and decided to delve deeper into it through a teacher training course in 2010. As much as I teach, I continue to be a dedicated yoga practitioner. I’ve been self-employed for 8 years.
I started my first business at 27. They say that ignorance is bliss and this totally rings true for me at this time in my life. However, I probably wouldn’t have done it any other way. I took the leap head first and never looked back. I was confident that I would be able to handle anything that would be placed on my path given what I knew and experienced in my previous work environments.
No words can describe the entrepreneur’s journey. Honestly. It has been one of the most heart-wrenching and soul-gratifying experiences of my life. One that has had me search deep to connect with an energy not of this physical world to access the will to continue living this life. That being said, it’s been incredibly rewarding and I would not rewrite a single minute of my experiences differently.
I’ve failed innumerable times and can count the handful of successes of my business ventures. I can safely say I have gained a lot more from the failures than the successes; and am sometimes reminded of the horrors that I’ve encountered with projects and partnerships gone terribly wrong. The truth is if you fail to keep it moving, you will forever fall victim to blaming other people and circumstances for your lack of progress. Bottomline – entrepreneurship is not for sissies. And if you’re not growing, neither will your business.
Music is my life. Deep house to be specific. I’m eternally blown away by the talented South African producers and musicians competently competing in the global arena – a multi-billion dollar industry – flying our flag high. They are extremely under-rated in my opinion.
Fitness is one of my other obsessions. My body is my Temple. I’m perpetually challenging myself to discover and surpass my ultimate mental and physical limits. I love to sweat – the exhilaration I feel in stretching my capacity is indefinable. I am my most important project.
Time is irreplaceable. It’s the one resource we can never get back. Ever. So I intentionally dedicate my time to people, work and activities that will propel me forward towards my heart’s wildest desires. I have no time to waste on anything that does not build or progress me. Period.