(NEW YORK) — Yoga is an ancient mental, physical and spiritual practice that can be done anywhere by anyone.
Today, it’s globally recognized and beloved by many, including devoted yoga practitioner, entrepreneur and business mentor Melissa Ruiz.
Ruiz traded her former life as a busy television producer to for a yoga-inspired entrepreneurial lifestyle that has left her fulfilled and joyful.
In 2018, she traveled to Morocco while still working full time, received her yoga certification, and the trajectory of her life completely changed.
When she returned to the U.S., she started teaching yoga full time, quit going into the office and only took part-time TV gigs that could be done from home.
“I traveled, became vegan, gave up alcohol and moved into a 480-square-foot tiny-home community made for minimalist living,” Ruiz told “GMA.” “I started to clarify how I wanted to live my life from that moment forward. Everything that happened afterward has genuinely been a manifestation of my wildest dreams.”
The following year, she launched her first six-week online yoga and mediation program with eight people, and since that moment she’s been on the path of expansion.
“It’s pretty wild, but you can’t trick the soul, it just knows what it’s supposed to be doing, sort of like when you meet your forever partner,” she said.
Just in time for International Yoga Day, “Good Morning America” caught up with Ruiz to learn more about her journey, hardships, success and the best lessons she learned along the way.
What initially attracted you to yoga and meditation?
I started a yoga practice was to lower my anxiety. I worked as a TV producer for so long that I lived in a heightened state of stress and obsessing with the future. I found myself in a constant state of dissatisfaction with life, my career and my relationships. It felt like the more things I achieved, the further away I felt from myself.
In the mix of questioning myself, the thought came up one night, “What if I could hit restart and do it all over again.” Well, that’s precisely what I did. I got a divorce, sold my home to my ex-spouse, went to Morocco to do a three-week yoga training, and quit being a full-time TV producer.
In the mix of traveling, I discovered a more profound meditation practice, and it completely changed my life.
After 13 years, what motivated you to leave behind your six-figure career to become a business coach?
My biggest motivation was to search for happiness. I was drinking alcohol at that time, smoking cigarettes to deal with anxiety, and was attracting all the wrong partners in my life. I wanted more for myself, and the desire that was the driving force behind all of it was wanting to change my circumstances simply.
How do yoga and meditation play a role in your life as well as your business now?
Yoga, meditation and the practice of non-manipulation, truthfulness, non-harming and, most importantly, the practice of contentment have radically changed my life. I often joke and say I can’t remember who I was before all of this, but all I can say is I’m not the same person — not physically, mentally or spiritually.
I have access to my happiness, no matter where I go or what I do, and it will always be there.
Have you had to overcome any obstacles since leaving behind your career?
I had to face was ego and identity death. I still remember bathroom meltdowns and staying up all night asking myself questions such as “Who am I now? What will I do without this title? What will people think of me? What do I feel about myself?”
I had to witness this egotist part of me melt away while I came up with the conclusion that I know everything yet nothing at all. It took relearning myself, reparenting myself and lots of shadow work. Little by little, I untangled many limiting beliefs that I put on myself because I was the daughter of immigrants, or because I was gay, brown or that I grew up not having much.
Can you share any details or critical steps you took to earn nearly $900,000 within the last two years?
These are four practices I’ve implemented in my soul business to operate a divine feminine approach to business:
- Trust that the seeds you planted will grow into fruition, and that there’s nothing else you need to do.
- Surrender to the present moment without predicting the future and the past and practice becoming best friends with the present moment.
- Non-attachment to whatever goal and desire you have set for yourself and remember that nothing you attain in the future will give you peace, joy and abundance.
- Release control and know that you are safe to release the heavy burden no matter how good you are at predicting, organizing and controlling circumstances.
What are a few top tips you would give to entrepreneurs eager to enter the wellness space?
Create the spaces you so desire to see in your industry, even if they don’t exist. Also, don’t try and copy the people in your industry. What works for them usually only works for them.
Another tip is that integrating all aspects of yourself can indeed be a huge opportunity to create a brand that stands out from the rest.
My final tip would be to remember the human comes before the business. This is what I call a soul lesson in leadership. We often think of people crushing it in the industry are working around the clock, but it’s all about how much rest, grace and non-attachment we practice.
Would you ever consider going back to your TV producer life?
When the veil lifts and you see yourself in your truth and the limitless potential that we all hold, you can’t unsee that truth and go back to anything that promotes toxic behavior in oneself or others.
I don’t plan on going back to being a TV producer. I am so much more fulfilled now than I ever was, and I am just getting started.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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