“When I moved to New York, something about Pakistan kept calling me back. Later when my family moved to Singapore, I had the opportunity to move there, but I decided to stay here,” says the warm and very energetic Salina Taqi. After graduating from Smith College in USA, she picked a career in investment banking but life took an unexpected turn when recession hit and the next thing Salina knew, she was out of a job. It was that low moment in her life when she stumbled upon yoga and her life completely changed. She strongly believes that whatever happens, happens for a reason. Today she’s a mother as well as the co-founder of two companies, ‘Yoga Ex’, Pakistan’s first revolutionary hot yoga studio and ‘Ultimate Detox’, Pakistan’s first cold pressed and raw food juicery. Salina has also launched Salina Cosmetics which is an all organic beauty product range. A lot of what Salina has, she owes it to her mother and thanks her for all the guidance. “Her strength and support is the reason behind the success of each and everyone in my family. She’s a super woman and my wonder woman.”
“I remember I worked from day 1. During college, I earned my own pocket money working in the kitchen, alumni house or the library. Financial independence is true power and I recommend it for all women.” Salina is required to multitask all the time and maintains to-do lists to take her through the day. There are moments of weakness, she admits, when one is on the go all the time, trying to do so many things simultaneously. She remembers once she spent the whole day working and setting up the juice bar with her partner without having eaten at all, which made her literally black out. She somehow picked herself up, suffered a minor concussion yet overcame it through positive reaffirmation.
Salina now tries to go through the day in a disciplined manner but this is an alien concept to a lot of people. “People don’t understand the value of time; they stumble to their 11 am meetings at 1. Best is to accept, go with the flow and breathe. I am what I tell myself I am, so whenever there’s a struggle I repeat to myself: I am a strong independent woman, I can do this, I am enough,” she says when explaining her mantra of success. She advises other young girls to do the same, and to not be bothered by the opinion of others. “Do not fall into that rat race, love yourself, be focused, tell your subconscious you can and it starts bringing it together. When you’re unhappy, put on a nice big smile, tell yourself I’m happy and your physiology changes your psychology.”
The dynamic Salina is a proponent of work-life balance. While helping out others through her yoga sessions, she ensures she keeps her mind at peace too. She begins each day with positive meditation, “I sit up tall as soon as I wake up and count all my blessings, spend 5-10 minutes on just focusing on my body, breathing and being grateful.” She is particular about giving time to herself and her family despite her busy schedule, which has taken a toll on Salina’s social life, but she’s clear about her priorities. Among other things, her daily to-do lists also have ‘son time’ during which she focuses just on her son. After her evening yoga sessions, she spends half an hour in a nice long bubble bath which helps her unwind and rejuvenate. She also loves spending time with her husband, “we are one team, once a week we have date night.”
Being a yoga instructor, Salina believes in being emotionally aware - aware of your mind, thoughts, life and destiny. Salina’s journey is an inspiration for all those who sometimes get pulled down by their own do-lists for the day. The answer for them too might lie in starting the day with yoga to inhale confidence and exhale weaknesses. Trying out something new may not be easy, but it may open doors to a world which is unknown, but is beautiful and rewarding.