WALK AWAY FROM ONE CAREER, TO START ANOTHER
4 min read
Five years ago Humming Puppy co-founder Jackie Koch walked away from a successful career in the dental industry to become a yoga teacher.
Since then, she's changed careers, re-trained, built a successful international brand and opened three yoga studios on opposite sides of the world with her husband and co-founder Chris.
Humming Puppy is not your everyday yoga experience. Based around the principle of 'Vibrational Entrainment', each class literally hums as the studio space is filled with a combination of frequencies designed to help yogis deepen their practice.
Here, Jackie tells us how she found her path, and how yoga has pushed her further than she ever thought possible.
I remember saying to myself so clearly "I'm going to be a yoga teacher". My intention was to share my love of yoga because it made me feel so good – I wanted everyone to feel like I did.
My primary reason for starting yoga was to regain strength and flexibility after I poorly managed my knee reconstruction. It was a great supplement to my regular running routine and I really felt the physical benefits.
But the more I practiced, the more I began to observe and feel how interconnected my body, mind and spirit were. Yoga had a calming effect on me and for the first time in my life I began to slow down, both physically and mentally.
The desire to have a studio was there from the beginning. What held me back for so long was myself. There was a lot of self-doubt and I lacked the confidence I felt I needed to teach.
Through my practice I saw myself more fully. I learned to love, trust and believe in myself. Through greater self-awareness I moved away from living in a fearful state to being open to all possibilities.
The hum was conceived through a combination of my experiences with Himalayan crystal singing bowls and my partner Chris' meditation practice. While Chris will happily admit he is very much a beginner at yoga, he enjoys meditation, when he often feels vibrations in various parts of his body – mainly his temples. It's a common experience.
Chris was at a bar one evening having a drink with a friend and he could feel the floor vibrating underneath him from the bar fridges. It led him to wonder about using frequency or vibration within a yoga space to align the students' energy.
He came to me that same night with the idea (which I loved) and I began sharing my experiences with him about the Himalayan crystal singing bowls. Each bowl has its own frequency and when played, the sounds that emanate help to restore the vibrational frequency of the body, mind and soul.
For us the combination of yoga and sound to heal the body, mind and spirit aligned. The idea for Humming Puppy was conceived and we decided to work on the project together.
Chris and I have a partnership in life and business that is mutually respectful. We are both equally passionate about what we have created together, and listen to and value each other's opinions immensely. We don't always agree, but our vision is perfectly aligned.
Our biggest challenge so far has been opening the New York studio. From setting up a company overseas, to building, to relocating, to working across two times zones, to opening a new business in a different country, in a different culture – the list goes on.
There have been many times when our New York project has felt hugely overwhelming. There have been moments of doubt and heartache, but what keeps us inspired and motivated to keep going is the positive impact we have on people's lives. Knowing and believing our intention for Humming Puppy is pure and comes from the right place is what drives us to push through the challenging times.
Keeping the momentum going without burning out is a daily practice. It's easy to put your own needs aside when there are so many people relying on you. Tools that help me remain centred and grounded are a regular yoga or meditation practice, time with my network of incredible practitioners (acupuncture, chiropractic and healers) who provide intuitive and insightful treatments, and quality time away with Chris to our happy place down the coast with our fur babies.
The biggest lesson I've learned is things change all the time. You have to be willing to do things differently and understand that what may have worked in the past may not be the best way to continue. There will be times of doubt, but know the challenges are there to teach you and will only make you stronger.
[My advice for growing a strong business and brand] is to believe in your vision and your intention. Be open to new ideas and opportunities that come your way, create a supportive team culture, and don't be afraid to ask others for help, advice or mentoring. Make sure you schedule time to take care of your own needs, too, because you can't pour from an empty cup.
Interviewed by Emma Startup