Nikki Bose: Molecular Biologist Turned Yoga Teacher
Meet Nikki. Many know her as a generously badass yoga teacher bringing the community together. She has a special air about her, one of intense inclusivity and passion for others. It feels like she was born to live the life she’s living- even though she tried to ignore the calling for so long. She invited me to come to her brand new yoga studio to interview her while she had a small break in her day. San Diego was showing off its best weather, with sun shining and the breeze gently blowing the studio curtains as we sat on the hardwood floor with soothing sage colored walls and hanging plants surrounding us. I have to admit, this is my first interview I’ve ever done so I was definitely anxious to see how everything went, but Nikki made it really easy. And shoutout to my sidekick boyfriend Bret who asked the best questions and took pictures of us ;)
Nikki grew up in Chicago and was not into yoga at all. Her idea of yoga was glorified stretching. This changed when she went to college in Southern California, where yoga studios ALMOST outnumber the amount of tiny white fluffy dogs you’ll see being walked down the street. She chose an easy path in college (NOT) and studied Biochemistry and Cell Biology. After 2 years, she knew it wasn’t what she really wanted to do, but since college is expensive she felt obligated to finish. During this time she started slightly exploring the world of spirituality but was mainly a self professed party girl (winebag, anyone?).
It began to be undeniable what her truth was and that she was ignoring it every day that she stepped into that molecular biology lab.
After college, she was SET. She followed the path society tells us to and got a killer job right out of college, working her way up in the company to become a clinical molecular biologist by her late 20s. She was raking in the money and by all accounts living an incredibly successful life. She loved the ego boost she got telling people what she did for work. But she was not happy, in fact she was becoming more and more stressed because she knew that she was not doing what she was supposed to be doing. She would work as a molecular biologist during the day and come home completely depleted, then teach yoga at night and get entirely filled up. It began to be undeniable what her truth was and that she was ignoring it every day that she stepped into that molecular biology job.
Nikki explained that if we let them, our bodies will guide us in the right direction. She believes that the prevalence of alcohol in social culture is one example of society trying to numb ourselves and an attempt for us to turn off our bodies messages to try to go with the grain and do what we are “supposed to do”.
Eventually she has such a strong physical reaction- literally having to take 10 deep breaths every morning to get out of her car and into her job- that she knew she had to quit. This was not an easy thing to admit to her family that had supported her throughout her schooling and were so proud of where she was at in her career, but even harder was to admit to herself that she had to leave the path that she had put so much time, money, and energy into. Nikki explained that if we let them, our bodies will guide us in the right direction. She believes that the prevalence of alcohol in social culture is one example of society trying to numb ourselves and an attempt for us to turn off our bodies messages to try to go with the grain and do what we are “supposed to do”.
So she pulled the trigger. She left her stable, impressive career and jumped on a plane to travel Asia for 6 months (as you do when you’ve just made a terrifying decision). Can I add she was newly married, but her husband completely supported her through all of the change even when she peaced out for half a year?!
“In order to be able to bring love and energy to others, you need to have a connection and fullness within yourself first, and you need to be okay with being alone.”
In Asia she did a 500 hour yoga teacher training, was meditating 2 hours a day, alcohol was ILLEGAL so she didn’t have a single drink, and was practicing intense breathwork. She explained that even out in the pouring down rain or on the worst day she felt like she was floating around, and every day felt entirely joyous because of the way she was living and treating her body and mind. She went on to volunteer in Myanmar in extreme conditions, and this is where she began to see all people as one big working organism. She then went on to Vietnam where after being so connected and working intimately with people every day, she was alone for the first time. She began journaling and the idea was born that she wanted to create a yoga studio that connects to the collective consciousness in a physical way, and bring that sense of community that she was missing so much as she was alone in Vietnam. Nikki touched on the fact that in order to be able to bring love and energy to others, you need to have a connection and fullness within yourself first, and you need to be okay with being alone.
Nikki really understands what it means to bring yoga off the mat and into the community.
One way that she started bringing her vision to life with her new studio, ReUnify Yoga, was creating a membership option that gives a piece of your monthly payment to different charities that Nikki works with. A couple days after I was there interviewing her, she took some of her students to Mexico to volunteer with an organization that brings yoga and art to local orphanages in Tijuana. Nikki really understands what it means to bring yoga off the mat and into the community and in doing this she recognizes that those doing the volunteer work will probably get even more out of it than those receiving the help.
From the @reunifyyoga instagram; Nikki with her friend Angela during a volunteer trip to Tijuana, Mexico.
Nikki says that her studio happened naturally, but to me it sounds like an example of manifestation. She knew this was something she wanted to do, saw a space opening up, found out who the landlord was, and made it happen. The entire community came together to put the space together- Nikki herself painted the walls, her friend Justin did all of the gorgeous woodwork in the studio, her other friend built the stunning succulent garden outside of the studio. The space is built by the community, FOR the community, and you can really feel the passion that went into bringing it together.
“We navigate the world and our minds with rational thinking, but we need to listen to our heart and body where we can. If we trust, things will start falling into place and opportunities will open up. She feels that trust and magic have been lost in our society, but that the more you practice this the more natural it will become for you.”
Nikkis advice to anyone who may be feeling stuck like she was in her molecular biology career is not necessarily to drop everything, quit your job, and hope your rent money will magically appear, but instead plant the seed in your mind, visualize what you want, and be open to whatever comes. Trust is a HUGE part of it, Nikki says we navigate the world and our minds with rational thinking, but we need to listen to our heart and body where we can. If we trust, things will start falling into place and opportunities will open up. She feels that trust and magic have been lost in our society, but that the more you practice this the more natural it will become for you.
If you’re feeling lost or stuck in your current situation, it’s okay. It’s normal to go through times of life feeling unsure about where you are or where you are headed. The important part is knowing how to get yourself out of these feelings and like Nikki said, taking a step back and trusting the process as well as listening to your heart instead of what society is telling you to do will always lead you on the right path. An easy way to get into the practice of this is trying out yoga! Nikki wants you to know that all are welcome at ReUnify, even if you have never been introduced to yoga.
If you’ve made it this far, send me an email with your address and I will send you a surprise!