"If you invest time and energy into building relationships, you will be on the top of the list when someone needs expert’s opinion."
-Nadya Andreeva, Wellness Coach & Author
Can you give us a brief overview of what you do at Spinach and Yoga?
My mission is to inspire and support women in finding their own flexible (non-restrictive) path to optimal health by re-connecting with their bodies and its wisdom. In one-to-one work and group programs, I help women re-build self-trust and find their own inner wise wellness advisor. By combining positive psychology, ayurveda, mindfulness, and meditation, I create powerful personalised programs that support my clients in creating their ideal body, vibrant health, glowing skin, regular digestion, and a trusting relationship between body and mind.
I believe in sharing knowledge and empowering women to gracefully step into their own power to take care of their body. I do not believe in strict rules, restrictive diets, or generalised advice. I focus on keeping all advice real, family-friendly, flexible and effective.
Tell me more about your career before starting your business?
I was studying at NYU to get my Masters in Organisational Psychology and working at AIG in leadership development. I thought it was cool to work near Wall Street and be surrounded by people in fancy suits. But in reality I hated dressing up in conservative outfits, sitting in a grey office and doing boring work. So when I graduated and started interviewing for consulting jobs during the middle of the financial crisis, there was nothing that I liked or where I felt welcome so I decided to teach yoga instead. I have been doing yoga since 12 years old so it seemed like a natural and easy thing to do. I got certified and dived into teaching, amassing 20 classes a week. That slowly led to more writing and eventually wellness coaching full-time. I had no idea I would end up doing what I am doing now!
What inspired you to start Spinach and Yoga?
I personally know how difficult it can be to overcome digestive issues and sort through an overwhelming number of contradicting nutrition theories. For a long time I felt frustrated with my belly because even simple healthy foods made it bloated and puffy.
Since before I can remember, my digestion and I were out of step. My issues gradually led to psoriasis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, constipation, and a protruding tummy. And with every symptom, I felt more and more like a failure.
I was confused. I read as much as I could, tried every diet, until I finally discovered Ayurveda…and then everything changed. Ayurveda teaches that our bodies are complex instruments, influenced by a variety of factors (edible and otherwise). I discovered that internal dialogue, emotions and thoughts had an equally powerful effect on my digestion as the food I ate.
While I was on my journey of discovery, I shared my experiences on my blog and other women began to approach me for advice. It amazed me how many women were facing the same struggles I was; chronic discomfort, fatigue, and worst of all, frustration. I loved sharing what I knew so much, I realised I wanted to do it on a grander scale. This is how my writing, speaking, and coaching grew into being.
How did you manage building it alongside your full time career?
I was teaching yoga full time and started by writing a weekly blog. It took some discipline to write weekly but I kept going until it became a habit. This consistent habit helped me grow an audience over time. In the beginning I was excited about every person who joined my list. Now I have over 15,000 women on my list and still love to check in weekly to see and ‘welcome’ all the new subscribers. Then more women started emailing me with questions and I offered 1-1 consultations. Also my yoga students were a huge percentage of my consulting clients. It wasn’t an easy transition but quite natural.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
My book: Happy Belly: Woman’s Guide To Feeling Vibrant, Light, and Balanced. This book is designed as a streamlined version of my journey. The only difference is, I’ve already made the mistakes – so the readers don’t have to.
Helping women across the world uncover the strategies that will change everything about the way they eat and nurture their bodies is my life and heart’s work. There is nothing more amazing to me than seeing a woman’s relief when she finally understands that her body is unique, and can find her own approach to living and eating. So using the wisdom of Ayurveda, mindfulness and psychology I created an easy to use guide to help women heal digestive issues, find foods that address their body’s unique needs and change habits that don’t serve them anymore.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was getting comfortable with uncertainty, learning at a very fast pace and making time for self-care even during very busy times. I am still learning all three. As an entrepreneur we are rarely in a position when we can predict the outcome of a new launch, the number of clients that we will get, or the income for the month. It takes a lot of trust, prayer, and overcoming fear to make peace with this uncertainty. Learning at a fast pace is also a must for business owners. For the first three years I used to do everything from my website, to my newsletters, flyers, marketing, editing, copy writing, networking, book keeping and so on. It can get overwhelming at times. But I think it’s great to know each aspect of your business inside out before training someone else to do it. Now I have support but in case something breaks and needs to be fixed urgently, I know how to do it. That’s priceless.
Self-care is another huge aspect, especially for women entrepreneurs. We tend to push ourselves, to use our masculine side, to skip meals and workouts when busy but it’s the opposite of what your body needs during stressful times. Often I almost force myself away from the computer and outside. Your inner mean girl might turn on the guilt talk but you have to learn how to turn it of and focus on nourishing yourself in all possible ways including nature. Long talks with your girlfriends, walks with your lover, and moving your body. We are women and we need a different approach to work then men do. Honour your feminine energy and things will flow at work with a lot more ease.
You’ve had some fantastic PR coverage, featured in the likes of Glamour, Women’s Health and Daily Candy. What’s your secret?
No secret here. When the book came out, I had more people reaching out with interview requests. The only lesson I learned about media so far is that it is all about relationships. If you invest time and energy into building relationships, you will be on the top of the list when someone needs expert’s opinion.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
Do it! I see too many women who are struggling with emotional eating when in reality it has nothing to do with food. Instead it has all to do with not living at to the potential that we have inside. It is awfully scary to start your own thing, it’s a lot of work, but it is very rewarding and totally worth it. Be ready for a journey with lots of bumps and wonderful lessons ahead.
What’s next for you?
I feel the need to connect with more women in person. I have been doing all my work online (via skype or online courses) and only a few in person retreats. I see women change at a much faster pace when they are surrounded with other women and taken out of the context of their day to day life. It allows them to ignite change at a much faster pace. But I also love working with groups online so that aspect of my work will continue.
What’s your favourite quote?
‘Woman’s power is in her ease.’ I heard this quote in Russian first and unfortunately, don’t know where it comes from but it resonates with me really deeply.
Nadya Andreeva is the author of the #1 Amazon best-selling book on digestive health for women Happy Belly: A Woman’s Guide to FeelingVibrant, Light, and Balanced. Professionally trained in mindful eating, yoga, and positive psychology, Nadya helps women create a healthy relationship with food that honors their body’s unique chemistry and eliminates bloating and irregularity. To find out more, pop on over to her website here
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