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Yoga Transforms Businesswoman's Life

Yoga is a centuries-old practice that proponents say enriches the body, mind and spirit. For a central Ohio businesswoman, her encounter with Yoga has been transformational. Two dozen students lie on yoga mats in a studio in Dublin. They listen as instructor Chan Hemintranont, a native of Thailand, leads them in movement and guides them in breathing techniques. Hemintranont had not planned on becoming a Yoga instructor. “Even though I had everything in my life I feel like something is missing in my life,” she says. She came to the U.S. to study at Case Western Reserve University. After earning an MBA, she went to work for a firm in Cleveland and was later named to its board of directors. Her career provided financial well-being but she was searching for something else. “I feel that my life wasn’t that meaningful. And I feel like my life is meant to do more,” says Hemintranont. A trip back to Thailand helped plant seeds of change. Hemintranont says she was overwhelmed by the fast-paced life in Bangkok. She decided to visit a small village called Pai. “I went there by myself and I felt like, everything there is just so simple. People over there were so happy with the little things that they need. And I looked back upon my life and I thought, ‘I have so many things but I don’t think I’m that happy.’ Maybe I needed to change something,” she says. She did. Hemintranont enrolled in a yoga class. “At that time I got hooked. After the class I felt so refreshed. I also feel a new sense of being, of completeness. I walk out of the class, I feel that I am complete; that what I have is enough,” Hemintranont says. The experience was so powerful that Hemintranont studied to become a Yoga instructor. She was certified in 2010. She quit her job in Cleveland and moved to Central Ohio where she opened her own Yoga studio in Dublin. She named her Yoga business after the village of Pai. “Pai provides space for other people to remember who they are. To remember that it’s not a big house that they need; it’s not a nicer car that they need, but how they are to people they love because the only thing they can take away when they leave this place is the quality of the relationship they have with the people that they love,” she says. Hemintranont used her Yoga experience to build a business model. “Show them that you are nicer from practicing yoga. Because you can be the most flexible and angry woman in the classroom. But you can also be the happiest inflexible man in the room. So which one would you rather be?” Pai Yoga and Fitness offers a variety of yoga and other fitness classes. Current enrollment is about 1200 students. Pai’s Gahanna location opens in February.