to something greater than your own self-interests. If we all did that, we would make a huge difference in our country - and our world. -Lowry
People may refer to me as a mindful dance coach, an inspiring writer, a quirky go-getter, an imperfect student of life, a conscious entrepreneur, an out-of-the-box choreographer, or a soulful mama who can totally cry on the spot when an emotional story is shared.
BUT I WASN'T ALWAYS THIS WAY... I used to be a short-tempered, quiet, happiness and approval seeking, aggressively goal-setting (still always dancing), rat-racing perfectionist, Engineer and IT Consultant.
SO WHAT HAPPENED IN BETWEEN? Well, when I graduated High School and went to College, everyone told me I should major in Engineering because I was so good in Math. And so I did. I enjoyed learning and studying Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC. Directly out of college, I worked in IT consulting for 3 years after which I came to a breaking point within myself which I call my "quarter life crisis".
It was not a one-day-of-unhappiness type of moment. It was an "I don’t want to speak to anyone-I don’t feel like showering-I wish I didn’t have to work-I want to keep sleeping-I think I might be depressed" type of moment.
The irony was that I was actually in a place in my life where all the major checklists were checked off:
I was being promoted every year in my job
My salary was increasing every year
I had paid off my new car in full
I was living in a beautiful condo
I had a huge social life and community
I was completely self-sufficient and everything about me looked wonderful on paper
Everything in my life had told me that all of the above should make me happy and yet I was incredibly unhappy. I remember writing a note above my desk one day saying “If I still feel this way next week, I will do something about it.” And the following week I did indeed feel the same way. So I contacted my manager, told him I needed to take an unpaid leave of absence for three months and off I went into a deep inner journey, in which I cried, traveled, slept, journaled, read and spoke to my most trusted family members and friends.
And at the end of the three months, I decided to quit my job and take a risk... which was to honor my lingering passion of dance. I had some savings and I felt this was the right time for me to take this leap of courage in myself. After all, I was only responsible for myself and I had a feeling (you know that magical feeling we get in our gut) that this time would not come to me again.
LET'S REWIND A BIT! MY CURIOSITY FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SPARKED... when I was in high school and I was coping with a really bad break up by locking myself in my room for a few days and refusing to eat. Until I picked up a book which changed my entire outlook on life. This book taught me that I can CHOOSE to react differently and I get to create how I want to perceive and experience my life's circumstances. My thirst for inner work became a bottomless pit instantly. And this is when I remember thinking...
"Why hasn't anyone taught me this?!?!?!?"
My friends in high school were making extremely poor choices to cope with their own emotional rollercoasters. It was clear to me that we all NEEDED to learn this more than anything else in order to make sure we were successful AND happy.
This was when the seed was planted.
FAST FORWARD 9 YEARS, 200 STUDENTS, 5 DANCE STUDIOS, 22 YEARS OF RESEARCH ON PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT... and that seed has truly come to fruition. That seed has grown through all my commitments with a single common denominator, which is my love and commitment for children.
I have been formally teaching little humans for over 10 years now, and becoming a mother, only amplified my need for teaching inner-work. I instantly knew I wanted my daughter to be better than me… I didn’t want her to lose it as often as I did or let people’s opinions get to her the way they did to me. This was the stuff I was working on at age 30. I wanted her to be ahead of me from the age of one. I also wanted my students to learn it as soon as they walk through our dance studio's doors. It’s been the most wonderful and laborious experiences of my life seeing my students and daughter reap the benefits. They are aware in ways I never was, they have tools to help them with their emotions that I am barely developing. They are building confidence in their uniqueness that I still haven’t achieved.
And my wish is to share what I have learned with as many people as possible. I naturally love to study all this, read about it. I have an affinity for teaching kids creatively. I am incredibly imperfect and I am also an incredible mother and teacher…
I do my best for my daughter and my students and my intention here is to share my best not only with them but also with parents/teachers like you, who may have every intention to teach your little humans how to create mindful habits, emotional intelligence, personal-development, but may simply not have the bandwidth or time to figure it out.
First, I want to selfishly, create a world for my daughter in which all her fellow peers are in alignment with each other through love, kindness and truth - empowering and growing each other.
Second, I want to 'serve-ingly' give to my community the gifts I have received through my knowledge and unique experience. I deeply believe I have a grave responsibility to share what has been given to me.
I do not know everything and I am definitely not perfect. I am just deeply committed to learning, failing, learning some more, growing.... and serving.
I thank you for reading this far. With love and gratitude, Amna
HOW I SEEK TO SERVE:
Amna Dance: a mindful and conscious dance school consisting of weekly meditations, visualization and personal development
Inspire Performance Company: an annual dance production expressing complex personal-development books such as Power of Now, EQ and Gifts of Imperfection to our youth through dance
Hatch: an experience-based curriculum providing tools for children to handle the hard stuff with a happy soul
You Matter Too: a non-profit dedicated to providing free therapy and self-care to under privileged parents
Dance Goals Journal: a journal for the conscious dancer focusing on self-love and a growth mindset
Magic Moments: a children's storybook about a young girl's ordinary struggle that transforms into a 'Magic Moment' through a shift in perspective and some calming tools
Horton Hears a Who & Emotional IQ: a storybook with poems for kids and adults with insight and tools on EQ (self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, social-management) inspired by the best-selling book 'Emotional Intelligence 2.0' and Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who