The Space to Be Yourself and Follow Your Own Path: The Inspiring Story of Nick Palladino-King, “The
You have a passion and you’re ready to share it with people. How should you brand yourself? Just telling people how much you love yoga doesn’t automatically communicate why you love it, nor does it distinguish you from other teachers or convince students why they should choose you as their teacher. How can you communicate your passion in your own words? What would it look like to create a business out of your passion? For inspiration and to hear from someone who’s been there and done it, I spoke with established yoga teacher, coach and business owner, Nick Palladino-King, also known as “TheBigYogi”. Nick is also a co-founder of Tribe SF, a health and wellness studio in near Jackson Square in San Francisco. Nick articulated his unique story about discovering his passion for yoga, including what it’s like to create a business out of what you love. It was so inspiring! Here is Nick in his own words…
Nick, how did you discover your passion for yoga and what led you on your journey to where you are now?
Well, I never imagined I would be where I am now and looking back, it felt like a “divine intervention”. I worked in corporate sales but I had no stress management skills. An athlete buddy of mine invited me to go to yoga and i wasn’t sure why i kept returning to it but I guess i felt that it gave me a sense of space to analyze who I was. Yoga helped me to really check in with myself, question my path in life and reassess my values. After 6 months of yoga, I questioned if i was happy with the corporate career I had created and I discovered that I wasn’t.
One day, while at my job, my heart wouldn’t even let me type on the computer anymore. I knew it was time to quit my job to pursue yoga.
What does yoga mean to you? What’s our unique brand?
For me, yoga is, among many things; a tool for stress management, a space to be with myself. Balancing stress is a moving target not a static picture, it’s always changing. While pictures are momentary, balancing stress always involves micro adjustments. It’s like standing on a balance board that is on top of a ball.
Stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s an important part of our evolution that has kept us alive. In the end, we should thank our stress response. An example of a healthy stress response involves identifying your stressor: what is it trying to tell me? How can I adjust in response? Often, I look to the somatics of the body for its wisdom and guidance. For example, is a relationship to someone stressing me out? Perhaps I need to have a discussion with my wife? Thanking yourself for your stress response in this way is a form of validating yourself because it proves that you’re willing to listen to yourself, learn and adjust.
It seems a lot of your yoga and coaching is about teaching students how to be in relationship to themselves and discover what they truly want. Is that accurate?
Yes, and ironically, most people don’t even know what they don't want, yet. And, an even smaller percentage who do know what they want might be scared to receive it. Do you have the courage to create what you want? And receive it? Don’t let fear drive the bus of who you are. It’s not always a fun process, takes a lot of spiritual chops. Our spiritual journey can be beautiful but also challenging, it can be intense to feel your own depths. Yet, in our depths, we have the ability to transform and the true nugget of transformation is to understand your motivation. For example, if you’re only helping people to help yourself, it creates selfishness and sabotages your self-worth. Your passion should be something that allows you to do well and do good in the world. This is why some of my deepest work is watching myself coach. I don’t want students to replicate my path, I want their path to be in line with who they are, instead. I tend to attract those who want to be coaches, yoga teachers, therapists.
In teaching students to follow their own path, my goal is for people to not need me anymore, it’s a horrible "business model", haha!
Speaking of business, what led you to create TheBigYogi and Tribe SF?
In the beginning, I was teaching multiple classes before and after work and eventually, I started teaching full-time 8 years ago. At first, I didn’t think yoga should cost people money, I just wanted to share life changing benefits of yoga. Yet, I wanted to be living the way that I’m teaching and if I wanted other people to live this and make money doing it, then I absolutely should be charging people money!
Creating a business out of your passion is creative, fun, and it can be a spiritual experience as well. It works for me because at the end of the day, i don’t really like being told when and where to be working.
Any final advice for those considering taking the plunge to follow their passions and create a business?
You have one life. People are more afraid of identifying what they want and going for it and failing than never doing so. A job is always going to be there, don’t be afraid to go for it!
Be sure to find out more about Nick and TRIBE below!