Read the article in “Women Today” magazine here.
You’ll remember her right when you see her. Whether in a yoga class or a formal meeting in a strict office. You remain fascinated by something she does not only in conversation or during a yoga practice. You realize it’s something she does in life as well. Something that most of us keep looking for and never find.
Photos: Dilyana Florentin, Yoga photos: Bojana Dimitrova
Most often, you will meet Nelly Naseva in one of the beautiful spaces of Yoga Vibe – the chain of yoga studios, where she is not only the founder and co-owner since 2017, but also an accredited yoga teacher for the Yoga Alliance. The next sentence surprises everyone, because having in mind the background of her achievements in yoga, her job sounds almost impossible. Nelly has been practicing corporate law for more than fifteen years. Shall we continue? That she is the mother of a 14-year-old beautiful daughter, that she manages three of her own brands, that she supports at least ten charitable causes and finds time for her hobbies – diving and aromatherapy. How is this all possible? How does Nelly get out of the vicious circle of her many obligations and how does she manage to be happy, regardless of what storms surround her? Look!
Corporate Law, Yoga, Family. The order doesn’t matter because you manage to balance all three in a way that looks easy on the outside. Is that correct?
I’m glad it looks that way. That’s actually a huge compliment. For example, when I watch virtuoso musicians on stage, I never think about how difficult it is for them. On the contrary, I enjoy their craftsmanship, which is evident precisely from the lightness of the performances, while the difficulty and work behind all this remains hidden.
And to the question – yes, I can say that it is now easy for me to balance all my commitments, but it has not always been like that. Years ago when I was overwhelmed with work and barely able to cope with all my responsibilities, I realized that this was a vicious circle from which only I could escape. Then yoga helped me become not only more durable and healthy, but also to figure out what kind of life I want to lead.
I made a wish to be happy no matter what storms raged around me. But when your lower back hurts from excessive sitting in front of the computer, when you are stiff, immobilized, without a drop of tone, tired and nervous, then feeling happy is difficult. And that’s not how you make the people around you happy.
I started meditating for purely practical reasons. I had already convinced myself in its power to make you calmer, even smarter, and to be something of an “antidote” to the stress of the working day. But then I noticed that if I don’t turn on my body and if I don’t give it the “food” it needs, it will continue to suffer. When our body and mind are one, when we take care of them, they pay back in abundance.
Which is more difficult for a woman – the balance of a handstand on the yoga mat or the balance between family, career and personal life?
Both are difficult at first glance. But there is one thing that guarantees success in both cases, and that is what all people in the world have in common – the simple pursuit of happiness. This is the engine that will never let us down. I’m afraid that many women are used to thinking that life is hard, commitments are crushing, and our personal happiness has no chance to unfold. But this is not always the case.
The balance of a headstand and that between career, family and personal life is a matter of decision – do I want to be well or not. The positive answer to this question with the necessary dose of endurance soon gives you the necessary strength to cope, not to give up, to achieve and to feel good in your own skin. Somehow imperceptibly, life begins to “tailor” itself to you, and not the other way around. But the change is from the inside out.
Did you find yoga or did yoga find you?
Actually, both are true. We found each other. I studied yoga for many years. I traveled all over the world and learned from the best yoga instructors. Finally, in my own life, the moment came when it became the perfect tool to keep me solid. It appeared in my life when I was ready to accept and understand it. I clung to it like a lifeline. When you see that something has such a wonderful effect on your mood, your tone, your consciousness, you want to share it with more people. That’s what I did.
How were Yoga Vibe studios born?
We created Yoga Vibe at the beginning of 2017 with the idea of doing something new in Bulgaria that would change the perception of yoga in our country. We took yoga out of the small dark rooms and made it accessible. Until then, there was a lack of a modern, clean, bright and beautiful place, and I am glad that we created not one such, but five spaces. We wanted yoga to reach every person regardless of age, flexibility, weight and capabilities. We have set ourselves one goal, to serve people well to achieve a more satisfying life. For this purpose, we put our customer at the center, so that their needs and interests are leading.
For me, yoga is not something that only spiritually elevated people can practice. The sooner you find a way to get back to yourself, the better. It’s different for everyone. It’s yoga for me. Yoga has the tools to restore everything that modern life takes away from us – health, nerves, balance.
What are your yoga classes?
Yoga offers its countless ways to make us feel good. If we are overtired and too active during the day, there are yoga practices that can relax us, direct us inward, relax us.
However, my classes are rather the opposite. Since the daily life of most of us is related to sitting in front of the computer, in my practice I offer what we have been missing all day – moving, warming up, physical activitry. In today’s modern interpretation of yoga, we use the body to gain control over the mind. Physical activity, in addition to healing our body, ideally stops our thoughts and clears our emotions.
Unspent energy is our enemy. Intrusive thoughts, depressive states and poor sleep are not always the result of overwork. The energy that is held inside us needs a regular, targeted and correct release. I make people sweat in my classes, I admit. But the results are incredible – clients immediately feel the return of their strength and balance, regardless of the fact that they are physically tired shortly after the practice. It actually brings them relaxation.
Many people choose yoga as a substitute for fitness because it makes a difference in efficiency. Besides reconditioning our bodies, yoga is also the easiest way to stop our thoughts, connect with our breath and control our minds.
What other “tools” do you use to achieve harmony and balance?
I’m always in the process of looking for something to make me feel good. We have so many senses. How much easier it would be if we managed to give each other good emotions through all of them. Smell is a very strong sense, capable of transferring you to different places. Therefore, another passion of mine is aromatherapy. My love for essential oils grew into more than just applying them to my daily life and yoga practice. The influence of the oils on balancing the energy centers became the impulse for the development of the 11 Moons brand, offering high-energy blends for balance, protection and hormonal health. To create our blends suiable for absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender and lifestyle, we used the knowledge of the most established aromatherapists in our country. I myself am also a certified aromatherapist.
We have created special oils for each day of the female period, as well as for the period of menopause, with which ladies can support their immunity. We have a series with the five basic elements that make up both the world around us and the world within. These high vibration blends restore balance to our emotions by stimulating fire, water, air, earth and ether. We have a skin range, yoga collection and energy balancing oils.
Are you onto something new now?
In fact, the news is quite hot. I am very happy that the Omnitom brand, popular among yoga practitioners, has been reborn in Bulgaria and I have the honor of being its newest successor. The first models of the new collection, created here in Bulgaria, are almost ready.
Omnitom is a brand of yoga clothes with a distinctive look, comfortable, sexy, made of pure cotton. Responsibility in the production process is our priority. Unlike the big yoga clothing brands, Omnitom was born from the talented hands of Bulgarian tailors. This is important to us, as every step in production is clean and aimed at helping someone. Thus, clothes carry the energy of care – both for those who will wear them and for those who help us to do so.
And another thing makes Omnitom so special. The brand will serve various charitable causes, with a percentage of sales going to them. It’s a law of nature we’ve followed at Yoga Vibe since its establishment. You can’t take without giving. Now, Omnitom sets the same goal – to always restore this balance.
Is there resistance in your life? Is there something you keep struggling with?
Yes there is. All the things I have to fight with come from within. As I said the process is always from the inside out. We ourselves attract people and situations into our lives. My weaknesses are patience and perfectionism. But I work on both consciously and diligently. Over time, I realize that the more I master waiting and don’t force things to happen, the less resistance there is in my life.
But I have another perspective. Different people have different important themes activated. For some, it is some kind of fear, for others, for example, a tendency to criticize, etc. We cannot deny the topics that are important to us, our strengths and weaknesses. I realized that having a specific topic that is important to you, like everything in the world, has its pros and cons. It is important how we use this energy, and more precisely where and when we use it.
Let’s take the topic of laziness as an example. On the one hand, it is bad if you are lazy, fall behind with tasks, do not help others, become immobile. But the quality of laziness can also have its positive side, if you know where to show it. It would be great if you are too lazy to stress over trifles, if you are too lazy to argue with detractors, if you are too lazy to go to inappropriate places.
So I try to “bring up” my important topics. I try to be patient when and where I need to be, but I love to be impatient for an invigorating practice, for a friendly meeting and for all kinds of good experiences. I manage my perfectionism in the same way. I try not to show it to others, but to direct it to myself, to use it as fuel for my own development.
What was the hardest thing you “let go”?
I let go of people who were harmful to me, including some that I loved. I think this is the hardest thing anyone can do, but also the most important. I stopped having difficult conversations with people who didn’t want to change. Now I change and help people, but only if they want it and look within themselves for the need to live better.
When you start fighting for a life full of joy, interest and commitment, not everyone is ready to follow you. I realized that the most valuable thing we have is our time and energy as both are limited. The people and things we spend our time and energy on define our existence. So I chose those people and activities that are “compatible” with me. I think if everyone distances themselves from people who are harmful to them, that will give him the love, respect, happiness and protection they deserves. If people fill their days with things that stimulate and delight them, depression and exhaustion will increasingly give way to the pure joy of life.
I recently had to “let go”, against my will, a family member whom I loved with all my heart. When you lose a loved one, the feeling is overwhelming, like you’ve lost your own life. But I realized that every loss can also be a gift. This tragedy made me work even harder towards charity and support many people in need. But what exactly I do in this regard I will omit to share. I’ll just say that kindness has a two-side effect – supporting others not only helps them, but also yourself. The feeling of being useful can even be called selfish, but it is another “tool” that helps me live in harmony with myself and the world around me.
What was important to you to keep in your life?
I continued to be myself. I continued to believe that happiness is not about what you have, but how you experience what you have. In my practices, I often remind people of this – to realize that what they desire is exactly what they already have.
I continued to work as a corporate attorney alongside my yoga endeavors.
These two worlds are very different, but again this is an illusion of our minds.
I love my work and I give the same enthusiasm and love there. But I will not hide that this world is also a source of exhaustion.
So I continued, with all my love, to teach yoga and live yoga. I see that it helps a lot of people feel better, and that gives me a sense of worth. After practices, it is often that people are filled with gratitude that they sincerely share. Yoga changes their lives fundamentally. Not only by easing their physical blockages, but by giving them confidence and most importantly by keeping the fire of self-care alive.
Let’s go back to the headstand. If it is a metaphor – what would it be for?
For balance. Labor. Finding your center and keeping it. Because it is not external conditions that unbalance us. Or at least we shouldn’t let it. Change and resilience happen from the inside out. If we keep our center, we will not “fall” so easily, we will not get lost. I think every woman is capable of handling anything. It is no accident that nature has made us so resistant to pain. But if we’re using the headstand metaphor, I’ll add that focus is important – not losing sight of your goal. And it is the very meaning of life – to live it happily and to make as many people around as happy as possible.