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Alex Sabbag

Soul Dive Yoga

Alex Sabbag

0:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

hello everyone and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship this is your host mr. Gabriel Flores today I'm here with Alex Sabag from Seoul dive yoga down in beautiful beautiful California which I'm actually gonna be down there in June down visiting Long Beach but you're just a little bit more inland before we get in all that Alex introduce yourself where are you calling it from I'm Alex Sabag I'm the founder of Seoul dive yoga the studio is based in Palm Desert California and so you actually mentioned that you're actually calling in pretty close from the beach right now so where are you at right now I am right now I am in Solana Beach California which is honestly where I intended to live I'm right on the block I have a teeny tiny little beach pad that fills my heart

1:00 - Alex

sold with so much joy. And a month after I bought the beach pad, I got fired and ended up with a yoga studio in the desert.

1:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

So let's talk about that. Let's talk about the yoga studio. What is it?

1:14 - Alex

Why did you decide to get a yoga studio going? Totally. I think any good entrepreneurial story will lead with the fact that I didn't choose it. It chose me. I've had a 20 year relationship with the practice of yoga, most of which was incredibly frustrating. You can't tell right now, but I'm 5 foot 10. I'm very lanky. And if you've ever taken a yoga class, some things they ask you to do, I was like, my body doesn't do that, right? Like, good for you. You're a gymnast and you're flipping around here like an acrobat. But I actually can't put my foot there, right? So I hated it. I hated yoga so much. And it wasn't until I ran the Bank of America, Chicago Marathon when I was about 29. This is coming up on almost 10 years ago. And my body just like kind of physically broke down. It was like one of the best days of my adult life, but took a major toll. actually like couldn't stop running the months following and broke my foot in Napa Valley, which had nothing to do with exercise. And finally just accepted the invitation to go to the neighborhood yoga studio with a neighbor of mine. And again, didn't like it. I did not have a good first experience. It was not, it wasn't one of the things where I was like, oh my God, I get it. Like it's in my bones, right? It was so much resistance, but it was kinder to my body. It was this gentle, but also intense form of exercise. And I was like, all right, well, I can maintain my physique and do hot yoga. And so I got addicted as so many do. So it was just the practice for me was very, very much in the physical. Fast forward, I was in a relationship six years ago and my fiance was diagnosed terminal brain cancer. And it was through this experience that I say yoga's higher power really struck. Again, my history with it was very much a workout when really the practice of yoga is more of a work in. I don't know if you're a yogi, but yes, we can like do a bunch of chaturanga and we can bring heat and we can bring power and strength and condition the physical body. But that's just part of it. Yoga actually has eight pillars and the physical movements only one. After he was diagnosed, my house was kind of just turned just totally transformed into, you know, this caretaking habitat, right? And was going to overrun my sadness and death and gloom and the yoga studio felt like my respite, my home away from home. I had no power, I had no strength. would oftentimes just show up there and cry on my yoga mat because it was just simply a place where I could go and be in any way, shape, form I showed up. And I share this backstory because it was really like all of these seeds. started to get planted with my lived experience and my relationship with yoga and how it showed up for me and really the community and the people around it that offered this sense of solace for me. never received pity or, oh, you poor thing. I remember the teacher that embraced me the first time I went to the studio. And she was like, look, this is yours. You don't need to be any other way than exactly how you are. And I'd never really received that type of permission, you know, especially as like a woman and a business owner, this is my second business. Now, and you know, we're expected to show up in a certain way and there was no expectation and no judgment and a heck of a lot of freedom in that space. And it just kind of sparked my curiosity to understand why. And so I went through yoga teacher training as a way to come back home, right and rediscover my purpose. What am I doing here? You know, when you go through any type of giving, whether you're taking care of any. aging parent or a child or I actually have an 18 year old dog, which is more work than like you missed. You lose a part of yourself and it took me, right? mean, we selflessly sign up for these things out of love and it is the most pure form of love we can give in that self-sacrifice. But I was really lost and I was really, it was kind of after this, you know, period of just like having absolutely no other identity except for that, which was kind of descended upon me through his diagnosis. I went to yoga teacher training, it sort of just like took off from there. I never wanted to teach, immediately, you know, concluding the training, I started teaching. I never wanted to own a studio and fast forward the pandemic pushed me out to California and I ended up with a lease in my inbox, right? just out of general curiosity. So that's a little bit of the backstory.

5:54 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

No, I love it. And folks just like, I think, you know what Alex is talking about in regards to the various pillars. Now, Again, I've only been doing yoga for like about five years. So I'm kind of a new being regards to it. And I would completely agree with Alex, you know, I'm close to the six foot. And so like trying to stretch in these different like the crow and these different poses for my hips. I'm a dude. My hips don't open like that very well, you know? so, um, however, I will say like after that, after going through a couple of sessions and then like, you know, at the end kind of on my stay, kind of like really like a part of yourself and like breathing like all some good vibes and breathe out the bad vibes. Um, that really kind of sets a tone for my day, you know, for me. I gentlemen, for those gentlemen that are listening, it's this yoga is not just a female thing either. Uh, my golf swing got better when I was doing yoga. swear to God, I got more flexibility out of it. Um, you just, it is a lot, a lot of benefits of, of yoga.

6:53 - Alex

I think that people probably really don't realize, um, and I think there's also this misconception. that it's just a female only kind of exercise. What are some of benefits of yoga? Yeah, well, first of all, I got to tell you, on the whole golf swing situation, we have a yoga for golfers workshop. I'm telling you. I know this isn't going to air in time to promote it, but if you can throw like, hey, put on the newsletter. Like also on Instagram and tag us. It really does. I think there's certainly the physical benefits. mean, this practice is ancient, ancient, ancient, ancient, ancient, right? And it was never like the way that with the Western world has done to the practice is fine. do what the Western world does. Took something that's super sacred and we've made it a commodity. OK, that's all right. We've done it with a lot of things and the business of is different. But it does stand the test of time as far as, you know, what it's doing mind, body, soul. Yes, it's opening up your hips. It's giving you more rotational movement and mobility in your shoulders. It's opening up your chest. And people complain about traps, right? Like we hold a lot of stress and tension up here. Well, our Shoulder brown forward because our chest is tight. So everything is interconnected in the body, which we all probably know by now, but we can't actually get the shoulders back unless we open up the front side of the chest and conveniently it is where the heart is located. So as we're opening up this like the surface layer, right? one, chest, collar bones, spread them apart, create some more space here. We're also giving the heart a little space to open up. And from an energetic perspective, right? We need to keep the heart open. We don't want to be the grinch where it's closed, we're frozen over and we lose this ability to like feel our way through things. We could and a lot of people go through life like that. Like, oh, I'm going to feel, I don't want to feel it.

8:40 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I'm going to go hide. Yeah.

8:42 - Alex

But it truly is like we work through it. We start in the physical and we go down into the subtle body. And you don't need to know, I always tell people, you don't really need to know how the sausage is made. You just need to show up and be open, right?

8:55 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I love it.

8:55 - Alex

And that's very much like what you're saying. And as far as it being, you know, men versus women. Thank you. First of all, men, um, really like, I am shocked that men haven't quite gotten the memo, that like, why don't you like go find a yoga community that you like if you're looking for a solid dinner date, right?

9:14 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

oh, there you go.

9:15 - Alex

Yep. Yeah. That's a good not paying it needs to be a pickup joint, but like, hello. Yeah. But also just like, you know, physically we're built so different. And when you find the right teacher that you really align with and can sort of settle into trusting them and kind of flowing through their classes, you're going to learn that it's not a one size fits all situation. My warrior one's going to look different than your warrior one. Men are naturally going to have a wider stance, maybe a tougher time clasping the hands behind the low spine and letting the, you know, bind kind of fall over the back of neck. That's all very normal. And I use normal lightly, but like, we got to normalize the difference.

9:55 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah. We're not all going to show up in the same way, shape or form.

9:57 - Alex

I think one of the biggest things that I've done. taken forward to the mat from a teaching perspective is that freedom. You're not going to come into my class and hear a lot of like alignment or kind of that clinical part of the discipline. That's there and there's a lot of practices that offer that and it's beautiful and it works for you. Amen, go do it. But for me, love just the freedom and the inspired creativity to really just like flow and get in your body.

10:28 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, and I must admit, you know, again, I've probably been doing it for about five years or so off and on here and there. And you know, one of the things you mentioned was like opening up your heart and they I'm always hearing that in my workout and that I'm never understood what they meant by that. And so you're kind of giving that explanation is really nice. And it's really like, again, you're just opening up your body and one of the things they constantly talk about in the class is like have everything interconnected, right? Like it goes out from up from your feet out to your head, right? it's kind of like you have this or your muracaba, essentially. You're a flower of life all around you, right? And it's really, really nice to kind of go through that process. again, gentlemen, I would really encourage you to try to do it. I can touch the floor now, like I can bend over and touch. That is like, I can do it. And that was a huge, huge step for me. But it feels really good. Alex, I want to kind of take a step back. you mentioned this is actually your second business. So let's talk about what was your first business and what happened with that and how do you transition to yoga?

11:30 - Alex

Yeah, well, first of all, anybody can touch the floor. You just, this is your permission to bend your knees.

11:36 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Okay. your blowback, protect your joints.

11:39 - Alex

was like, I have to put that PSA out there. It's like, just use your resources. It's not cheating. So my first business was a small boutique kind of PR company located in Chicago. So I went to school at DePaul University. I never left the city and graduated early and right away started working for a big PR agency. in downtown. I left in October of 2010. I was 25 and founded and consulting with Susan G. Komen as my first founding client. So I took this passion for writing and PR and storytelling and really wanted to focus on things that mattered. What you'll learn very quickly about me is I can't fake it. If I don't like it, I'm out. It's just how I am wired. And the agency life was promoting brands that I wasn't passionate about. couldn't get behind. And a lot of non-profit missions, not all of them, but a lot of them I could. And the business really started focused in Komen's house.

12:45 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Komen was my founding.

12:47 - Alex

I went on to work with group called Friends Apprentice, which is one of the fundraising arms for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. And the business group from there, I had my biggest team of seven in office in the West Loop. And And, you know, it was interesting about it as I created a business that I was like, this is going to be great. I'm going to meet the man in my dreams. I'm going get married. I'm going to have a family and I'm going have all this flexibility to be that badass business owner and a mom. I'm like, this is going to be great. Guess who got to do it? Not me because I wasn't aware of all the freedom I had created at the time. my number two, she was the director of media relations for me, she worked with me for, I don't know, probably eight years. And we got connected through just like a mutual contact. when we met, she's like, I want to start a family.

13:34 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I'm like, ooh, fun. We could be pregnant together, right?

13:37 - Alex

I'm like, the things that you have to blinds us, you don't have. But she went on to have two beautiful kids while working together and it really showed me that you can do both. Yeah. And it's, and I have not gotten married. We're had children yet, but I hope to someday. And yeah, it was a good run. It just, after about 11 years, it was tired. And I wanted to do, I wanted a new challenge and a bigger change and I accepted a role with a startup that pushed me out to California Which was a bit short-lived and then I went to another startup for about year and a half as the chief marketing officer as an insurance technology company and Really got to flex my skillset while learning a new industry kind of like simultaneously in the startup world is Not for the kind of If you hang in that arena and especially being a young woman in the insurance space No easy tasks, but ultimately That was the company that I got fired from while having the least to the space that is half sold IV yoga in this all divine timing right and you can And you know like everybody listening if you have something that is calling you and you ignore it it is going to stay You're gonna hear it. You're gonna feel the taps And I write about this actually in my book. There are some people who can learn by the subtle tap. I love you if you can. Good for you. I'm happy for you. I am a 2x4 learner, right?

15:09 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Imagine that you have a 5x4 right there.

15:12 - Alex

The one that like knocks you down and takes the rug out from under you and you're like, whoa, why? it's ours? Like, was it learning, right? I'm catching on a little bit of the subtle, but it's to say it's in life and in relationships and in business. If you do not pay attention of which yoga can help you pay attention because it quiets you down upstairs. Having not paying attention because we can't hear.

15:37 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

No, we're constantly moving. was talking about that with the previous guesses in our attention spans, as individuals, is continuing to get shorter and shorter and shorter, right? You talked about Susan, you call them and that's you also came from a very, it's very interesting because your background is the nonprofit world and it's very emotional in that area. So you know, women was focused very much on the breast cancer world, right? And those stories, those women's very, very touching and very challenging. And then having to transition over to yoga, which is again, still like, to your, as you mentioned, touching the heart, really trying to help individuals who put up their heart and not be in the Grinch, right? Now, how did you transition from building this brand of PR, which is a completely different target audience to building this yoga brand?

16:31 - Alex

So at the root, it feels like the skill flats are largely the same. You know, I was building a brand for other people in my kind of previous life. And when you talk about nonprofit, you're right. It's so hypersensitive in the way that everybody you're working with, for the most part, is so directly connected to a cause, like lost the sister or a mother or child or or, and so those like real life moments. at the epicenter of the business. And usually when we talk about business, it's like, let's take the personal stuff out of it. In nonprofit, it is directly related, the personal experience is why the cause exists in the first place. There are a lot of parallels with yoga. mean, yoga is not fitness. You can exercise your body through the practice. That is true. where it starts to have a lot of parallels and that cause is the deeply personal aspect of the practice. No two people show up on their mat the same way physically nor do they show up the same way emotionally or energetically. Like nobody knew what I was going through when I arrived on my yoga mat in a pile of tears. I could have had a dumb breakup or stub my toe.

17:48 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Could have been a number of things and that's where they have to be a terminal illness. Right.

17:52 - Alex

From somebody that I love and we just don't know. And what happens through these movements and these postures. It's just it's kind of a lot of unexplainable movement of energy and that really is the purpose, right? We get stuck as people whether we're feeling or we're going through something or in this like growth phase And if we don't move through it, we're gonna get in this hamster wheel of complacency or boredom Or a place you don't want to be right we want to be over here How to be over here because we're over here and the only way to do is just start moving right you got to move toward the Manifestations so that the stuck energy can get out of the way and make the physical and energetic and emotional space For what truly is meant for you and your purpose Back to the business part Branding is branding right what's your mission? What's your vision? What are your core values and what's your core product? Defining that for yourself can sometimes be a little bit more challenging than doing it for others But it came really easily I wrote the business plan not to like to my own horn But in three hours on an airplane and it was like it just kind of came out and I was like wow all right I guess we're gonna do this.

19:02 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And it just flowed.

19:04 - Alex

you know the things that, you know, again, like it is, it's such a deeply personal practice. The challenge that I think all business owners would say is the greatest is the people, right? It's a good matter and different, right? But it's like when you're working with somebody as like intimate personal life, and in a way yoga very much is, it's all custom. There's very little rinse and repeat like in those dialogues. And so it's time consuming. You can't automate that. It is, it's very like we lead from these whole-hearted, heart-centric places because that's why people are coming to the door, right?

19:46 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

It's all coming from the heart. And I think that's what you're gonna see. And I think this is the theme that you're gonna probably hear throughout this podcast, folks that are listening. This is not the first guest, and probably will not be the last guest. It's talking about the need to really... like when you're focusing on your target audience, really pulling out their heartstrings, what is valuable to them, right? How to identify that value and then really exploit that value from a brand's perspective, right? that's so you're, you know, Alex has mentioned the value proposition, right? Could create the value proposition statement, right? And making sure that you kind of lead by that. And because when people think about your brand, they also want to feel a certain way, right? And I think that's exactly how you build it. And how, what is your value proposition?

20:33 - Alex

Yeah. So we, I'm just in the process now of revisiting, finalizing the mission statement. Cause it's different. Like the business model of Soldive Yoga is different from most studios. And I'm not quite ready to share all the details there, but I will tell you that mission is to, we created a really beautiful space that is a very blank canvas. You could walk into Soldive and be like, wow, this would be a great Great art gallery or raw event space. You can have a beautiful dinner party in it. And it's that way on purpose. It's not loaded with any iconography or a lot of imagery. There's one wall that has my record collection on it. We're a very music driven studio. the reason for that is we want is the community to come in for class or otherwise. Pick a record and play it so that the next person that comes in is like, oh, sweet. That was my song from whatever, my wedding, or my parents here is on whatever it is. So then they're connecting on something real. And we're not reporting the weather. We're in Palm Desert. The sun comes out every day. Well, if you do, I'm from Chicago, and the sun never comes out. We don't even talk about it. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. And so the space is just really clean and clear capsule. And it's just it's there. a blank canvas. So people come in and move. create in whatever way they are inspired to do. But at the root of it, we've created a space where you can come as you are any way, shape, or form to simply beat. You don't have to move, you don't have to take the postures, you don't have to do 8 million chaturungas. If you laid down on your mat for the duration of the class, you did it because you got yourself through the door, you arrived and you took an hour for yourself without the outside world coming at you. And we've had people take us up on that. mean, it's weird, right? if I were a show for class, I'd be like, I'm going to sit this one out, just going to lay here. Even I would maybe feel uncomfortable despite the fact that I have created a space to do just that. We want people to feel like they have a place to go. timing of this all, we opened on the heels of the pandemic, right?

22:48 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And I'm like over talking about COVID, so this is not a COVID story necessarily.

22:51 - Alex

But what COVID did is took us out of connection and community. And personally, I loved a little bit of isolation. in a big city, I was constantly on the go. I was like, thank God, you've taken away my FOMO and I can just chill for a minute. But big picture after three years of that ish, we took people out of connection with each other and we are humans, we are meant to be in connection in community, we weren't meant to be isolated and doing it alone. And so when studios say we're rooted in community, they mean it, right? And different communities have different vibes, of course, because of the people who are one thing we can't control, right? We set a vibe, we hold the space, meaning that it is like a clear, beautiful container free of any negative self-talk, drama, whatever, keep that out so that it's just this pure capsule where you can come in and be just as you are and create and take whatever you need from the experience.

23:50 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, yeah, no, that's a great, great point. No, you know, you had a lot of experience, I think, within an entrepreneurship world, you have two different companies now. Thinking back on some of the... difficulties, what would you say would some of those difficult parts that you've kind of went through throughout your role that you're kind of glad you went through because it taught you a lot?

24:10 - Alex

That's a long list. You know, I kind of came, I rose in my career as a female business owner, which I'm super grateful for because a lot of that I just kind of learned as I went. But I will say because I started my first company when I was 25, when you then become the boss at such a young age, you lose your mentors a little bit or the people who like are your checks and balances. And so I had to make a conscious effort to continually find my mentors and the people that I felt would provide value to learn from. Over time, that has kind of evolved into business coach retreat, you know, different circles of like where, what tables are you going to put yourself at because you belong there, because you're enough, because you're capable, right? Getting rid of the imposter syndrome of, oh, I'm not good enough. And actually like surrounding yourself, if people that can really help elevate you and what you're doing, and in return, you can do that back, right? women are, there's a lot of conversation in the women business world where it's like, we need to adjust each other's crown, not tear them down. And I think just sort of navigating the space of like just finding the right tables to arrive so that we can, you know, we can kind of collectively rise and elevate is it's a challenge, but it's a good problem to have. I mean, it's a good challenge to have people, right? when you look at scaling and hiring, we scaled quickly, right? Like I had no desire to be in the weeds of running a yoga studio for years. I have kind of a bigger plan ahead of me and a book coming out June 16th. So I brought on a studio manager in August. And, you know, once you do that, it's kind of open the floodgates of like, well, then we need this role and this role and this role and this role. Oh my gosh. Like, how do you go through the process of getting the right, the right person in the right seat with the right scope and the, you know, and the right money and the, and the whole thing. It's like, I, I didn't have that experience in corporate America. Right. I only scaled my losses and so, so far. So it's like, it's really, it's like kind of assessing where you're at and then going and finding the people who do specialize in that and then putting them at the table to help you get there. It always comes back to people. I mean, it's hard to challenge.

26:44 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

It does.

26:45 - Alex

feel like, you know, throughout this podcast, you know, we did it in almost three years.

26:49 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

One of the things I'm always consistent with hammering home to listeners is the importance of networking, right? The importance of building your network, finding mentors is super important. important. In fact, folks listening, if there's a lot of mentees out there, I don't think there's nothing mentors out there. And I think that's because some people don't think they have value to give some money. But I think you do. So folks listening, you know, I think there's a lot of people that you can actually provide a lot of value to. You just got to be willing to kind of put yourself out there as well. Because there's a lot of people asking for help as a mentee, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of mentors answering that phone. And so I would encourage those folks to kind of dig deep inside of them. I think you do have a lot of value to add to a lot of these folks and just go with it, you know, open up your heart, as Alex been said, right? Oh, don't be a Grinch. Back to your heart open.

27:41 - Alex

I will say this, nothing bad ever came over a 45 minute coffee.

27:45 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, I agree.

27:48 - Alex

There's a there is a stark difference between I'm going to spend three hours a week with you, and I'm going to spend 30, 45 minutes, like just sharing, right? And there's there's also a lot of great I started working with a business coach last June. And to say it was life changing is a dramatic understatement. expectations were like, okay, you know, maybe it's going to provide some value. Maybe not. I mean, I'm not necessarily like super dialed in on like numbers and spreadsheets. And so I think I could use a little bit of support here and there. I'll be honest, this woman opened up the floodgates for me. And it would, it was what I'm trying to do wouldn't be possible without somebody coming in a checking your blind spots. Because we all have and if you don't think you do, you got it. Just work, you're in good company. And number two, like we can, and this is, this was where it like, this was really the pivotal like business moment for me in the last six months. I can hack away at this and make this business successful. No doubt. Do I want to do it in 10 years alone and like just chip away and chip away and chip away? Or do I want to do it in two years with the right support? And like the like the metaphorical visual if you've ever played Super Mario Brothers and it's like Mario's going along going along and sees that too. He gets in the tube and it's like up he goes. That's it right like it's it's it's you know we talk about like investing in yourself and resources and you know are you funded or not funded and all those things we sold I was. Created from scratch a lot of studios are like inherited or kind of change ownership this was built literally from the dirt. And I funded it and now I'm funding you know myself and the expansion of not only this brand but others because I'm investing in me so. That can be uncomfortable I can tell you when I got the business coach on board I was like feels like. A lot you know it's like well I think I'm worth it if it was like do I want to buy myself a handbag and I go heck yeah you know like. When it's like well I want to I want somebody to like sit at table and provide value like. I don't know why I don't know why it was there but I was like all right no no no. I'm going to do it. I've been thinking about it and I'm going to do it. And that was just the beginning. I mean, the investment by the end of this like 2024 calendar year could be six figures in what I'm willing to put back in to like the bigger vision and the brand. And sure, I could say, well, I didn't go to business school. It's okay to invest the money now.

30:20 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

You don't even need to make that excuse.

30:23 - Alex

You invest yourself because it's your biggest asset. And it's I just I have a byline column in entrepreneur magazine and my and my first piece with the bottom posture syndrome. Oh, yeah. And it's big.

30:37 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

It's real. I think it is great.

30:38 - Alex

COVID. is the epidemic. We should all be worried about, right? self doubt and those nagging feelings like we can't do it and rock good enough. You're good enough. If it's your purpose and you're approaching it with passion, you got it. It's literally it's like you're divine calling. If it's waking up in middle of the night, it's not for nothing. Right? Don't let it don't let the. to my brain. She had head.

31:01 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

And I always got people trying to run through a wall on this podcast.

31:04 - Alex

I love it.

31:05 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Oh, but it's true. You know, it truly is true. I think nobody starts at the finish line. You know, I talk about this often as everybody started somewhere and in that and posture syndrome too really does kind of kill bring down yourself a team sometime. Now one thing I'd also encourage you. one thing I'm always asking folks is like how to property pronounce your names. That's also another important thing, especially when you're working with different ethnicities and in your different, especially if you're going global with your business pronouncing somebody's name and taking the time to really pronounce it is really going to help them become the better themselves of themselves as well. It also helps you just kind of, you know, feeds into that, you know, that heart thing, right? of open up your heart to help others. It really does. Now one of the things Alex, you also talked about, you know, five years and then at the end of 2024. So first I want to talk about, you mentioned it. I'm sorry about the thumbs up just came up. But you mentioned the book that's coming out in June. So first, what is the book about? Tell us about the book and it's coming out in June. And then secondly, I'd love to hear about what Alex's future looks like.

32:11 - Alex

Yeah, so the book is memoir style and it really is rooted in my like lived life experience and the biggest two by four moment that I hope I will ever have in this life. It really all started with, it was on my 33rd birthday. My boyfriend turned fiance was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. And at the time, it's like, oh my gosh, like I'm losing the person I love. you know, what really was happening is the life I had dreamed for myself. This like perfect relationship and the beautiful wedding and building a family and living in a Lincoln Park, Brownstone in Chicago. I mean, it all this sudden got lit on fire, right? And we don't realize I didn't see that. at the time, but it literally was my whole life burning down, not just like this small moment. And so that's kind of how it starts. it of course is like a little bit where I've come from and where I'm going, but it's largely rooted in that. And what do you do? what happens when that, when something's that big? And it's not just unique to death, right?

33:23 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

We experience a form of death all the time. I've gotten quite comfortable with death over the years.

33:28 - Alex

Because I mean, look, we leave a party. It's a form of death, right? We're walking away.

33:33 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

It's the act of leaving. And as humans, we love to overstay.

33:37 - Alex

We overstay everywhere, relationships, right? I mean, we just do because we're so uncomfortable with endings, because it's a form of death, right? And so I realized at the time, I was so ill. I mean, I realize now I was so ill equipped to deal with life. I mean, everything that happened was like very real life. Now I was very young to... experience it. It's insanely tragic and it's like a story suited for a lifetime movie, for sure, no doubt. But it taught me a lot and it showed me that I and many many like me are resilient. It showed me that it's you're never anywhere forever. I didn't know. mean, I have about six weeks after he was diagnosed. My job also went on bed rest. So again, I mean, I'm telling you, right? And I remember the dog was like had a neck injury and so the dog had a neurologist obviously the fiance had many neurologists and you know, so I have the dog outside in this little patch of grass that was outside my building in Chicago. It was in the West Loop, so there wasn't lot of grass, but and I had gone down to my neighbor's house and made like a margarita or something because I had to take all the alcohol out of my home and I was like, all right, this I'm out here for while because the dog's gonna hobble around and I was sitting there and I was like Okay, I think I'm at the bottom. Like, I truly think that I could lose a parent and it wouldn't be this bad. Because what was like really what was being lost for me was my future and everything that I thought I was going to have. And it was really sitting there and having the awareness that I was at the bottom that I got to say, okay, like here I am. Nice to see you. I know it's not going to be forever, but it is for now. And eventually I'm going to be on the other side. And I'll tell you, it launched literally a five year process where everything that I attached to my identity, my friends, my relationships, my community, my home in Chicago, my business burned to the ground. All of it. And it wasn't overnight and it was like one little fire, fire, fire, fire, And it just all kind of happened. it wasn't until literally my 38th birthday, which was this past June that I woke up and I was like, I think it all stopped or at least, you know, like the wave, right? It's over and I can look back with, you know, with a lot of gratitude, which I have found over the years. will tell you my fiance, former fiance died on September 14th, 2022, which was the day I got the keys to sold IVOV and took possession of the space. So there was, there was so like we never know the seeds of our future being planted in certain instances, right? Like without him going through it, like without us sitting in the hospital room and like hearing what we heard and then me going through this like process of being his caregiver and finding Salas and the yoga studio and having all of these things kind of shift, right?

36:43 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Like sold IVOV was planted way before that least dropped in my inbox, okay? Right, right.

36:48 - Alex

And it is for others too, right? doesn't, nobody has to die. this is the good news, somebody did, right? And that's okay. And I've processed through, you know, a lot of those emotions and... and kind of come out on the other side with a different perspective. But it doesn't have to go there. And in many cases, like people's story of heartache and heartbreak in those really tough, traumatic moments, they're no different from mine, right? we all feel. And to take a page out of Bernay Brown's book, which I love, she defines empathy as connecting to the emotion, underpinning the experience. And what was different then that it is now, like, then I was like, I'm 33, nobody, like nobody's like me. I am alone, right? You feel very isolated and like only eight year olds are taking care of their six spouse, right? And here I was like 33 thinking I was going to sooner hat, like take care of a baby, not the guy. And now using that definition of empathy, we really have a greater ability to connect with people when we realize we're not alone. And that sadness. and grief and heartache and you know those emotions are frequent. They come like they come in waves right like every day and it doesn't have to be centered around a death or anything I can be for anything. And a yoga studio is one of the only places you can go where you just like put all that on the floor right. can like take it from your hands and put it down on your mat and say I don't want to walk out with this today. It might come back and then I come back tomorrow and I work through it again. But it is a space where it's just it's free of the expectations and the judgments and the shiz or the obligation. It's like I think there's none of that there. If you're walking in with it it's like truly you and you've got to leave it at the door and we'll help you do it. But it's just a place where you can simply be and work through it. And that's what it was for me and it really set me up to be able to hold the space for others to come in and have that same little mini soul dive experience right there. Their soul dive doesn't have to be a year and a half like my husband or five year birthday. It can be an hour class. We can take the pressure off and just work through it as we need it and continue just to show up. All you gotta do is come through the door. That's it.

39:09 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah. In fact, the hardest part, folks, is like showing up. I think celebrating those wins as well. Alex, you kind of mentioned it too. You can just come there and you don't even have to just show enough. don't actually have to. You can just lay there, do Dead's Man's Pose, and just take it all in for a while. I always loved the Man's Pose after a nice like, you know, 30, 45 minute, you know, because then you're just like really soaking it all in and like letting it kind of you're letting all of your juices still flow. But it's like a very calm relaxation. You're really kind of finding time to find tune with yourself and find purpose for you the day. You know, one of the things I actually created at 2024 motto. It's it's I'm going to read it off. Yeah, I put over my whiteboard. Some of the read it's embrace growth, seek knowledge and lead with purpose. And so that's my 2024 model. And what really what I mean is one. I really want to embrace my own personal growth, right? As an individual, as a professional, and as in my social world, right? Trying to build up that, but also continue to seek out knowledge, right? How do I continue to be a better, you know, learn more by learning for individuals like Alex and other folks that are bringing on the show, but then lead with purpose, right? Our voice, the strongest weapon we have is our words and those, you know, the way we use them with people and for people is very important. How we build each other up is very important. I truly believe that when we fall down the corporate ladder, someone's going to be there to re-achound and catch you because there's the ones that you helped up. so, you know, doing good for other people is always important. Now, Alex, what's the next five years for Alex looks like?

40:47 - Alex

Where are you going in the next five years? Where do you see the yoga studio or the book? Where do you want to be? Um, well, the yoga studio is... It's going to be a staple in the Palm Desert community for decades to come. I feel that it's really rooted. It's become this kind of like sanctuary for glib trotters and locals to like, which is a different type of community, right? we think super hyper locals, a little bit more. We're on El Paseo, like the Rodeo Drive of the desert, right? people find us and they come and they practice. And so weather, soul dive stays just in Palm Desert or there's a possibility of taking it somewhere else, you know, to kind of build that same type of community there. Super open to that. I don't know that that's my solo, self-funded calling if you get my drift. So if anybody's listening to this and it's like, oh, I'd love to infuse money behind that woman. Hit me up. But as far as me, I have been divinely called. to share my experience in a bigger way. And so the book is the start, right? It is chronicling what I went through in many ways, right? Like not, I mean, not just the caregiver, although that was the awakening moment. And so that will take me to bigger audiences, right? mean, I can communicate with a lot of people in the yoga room.

42:23 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I can communicate with a lot more at a conference. Yeah.

42:26 - Alex

So I think, and without saying, put your right arm in the air, lift your left leg, you know what I mean? Like when we kind of take the, we can certainly do some yoga, then we really get down into the storytelling and the sharing, you know, removing some of that cueing might be helpful. I am seeing an amazing event in Santa Barbara in April. And I share it with you because it's like it just hits, right? just lands. It's called Sun Sender. And the headline DJ is Shilu. And if you don't know, do you know Shilu?

42:59 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Yeah, I do. You.

43:00 - Alex

Yes. Sick. So I'm going to tell him this when I meet him, but I'm pretty sure the yoga community made him famous.

43:07 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

I feel like I've heard of Anna yoga class maybe.,000%. It's like it's Ivy and Jamie and whatever.

43:14 - Alex

I mean, I've been obsessed with him for a long time, and he's going to be like, this is weird.

43:18 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Sun Senders mission is to really bring this idea of movement and community and celebration to the daytime.

43:27 - Alex

So it's at 9 AM yoga class, and the dance party begins at 10. And I'll be seeing the entire event. And I'm doing it with in collaboration with a dear friend of mine and owner of her name's Adrian Smith. She owns Power of Your Own in Santa Barbara. She'll be leading the yoga, and I'll be kind of keeping it moving all day. mean, that really feels aligned with me. So events like that were the ability to share and inspire.

44:00 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

large person.

44:01 - Alex

And then we can still love it at 8 p.m.

44:03 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

because let's be honest, like I don't party at night because I literally can't stay up. Yeah, no, I once it's like 9 30. Yeah, good luck. Once the double digits, like the double digits hit 10 o'clock and like, Oh my god, I'm going.

44:15 - Alex

So Alex, for folks that are maybe interested, maybe we have some folks are listening that do in fact want to put some money behind Alex or maybe want to maybe Alex decides to franchise one day and they're interested. How can folks contact you? What's the best way to get in holding you? You can reach me at Alex at soldive So I have the website soldive my personal brand and website. It's not quite live yet, but I will share it when it is at Alex Sebak on Instagram at soldive yoga on Instagram. Or if all else fails drop Mr Gabriel for as a note.

44:54 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

There you go.

44:55 - Alex


44:56 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

In fact, this is a great time to plug the news. All this information, all of Alex information will be on the Shades of Entrepreneurship newsletter. You can subscribe by visiting You can always follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, And you will be able to see this episode on YouTube when it airs.

45:16 - Alex

So Alex, is there anything else you'd like to let the guests know before leave? I'm just really grateful you had me. So I appreciate it. And I know a lot of people travel the Palm Desert in the winter. So please come visit Soldivioga, whether you're up for tennis or Coachella or stage coach. You know, we have a full schedule that's rocking 12 months a year.

45:37 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

So I love it. And I'm telling you folks that living in the living in the Pacific Northwest area after this winter, I think you're going to probably see a lot more people out there during the winter time because this winter kicked our butt. Alex, thank you again so much for being on the show. Folks listening again, please follow us at or you can visit all of our social sites.

45:58 - Alex

Thank you and have a great. Night. Thank you.

46:04 - Gabriel Flores (The Shades of Entrepreneurship)

Great job.

46:05 - Alex

Thank you.

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