Stressful careers and jobs that are less than enjoyed— that’s life for most people. Alia Khan decided that wouldn’t be the truth of her existence. Khan was an attorney, practicing corporate law in Washington D.C. when she found her true passion.
“I left law to find my true calling,” said Khan. “I explored for 2 years.”
Khan found her true calling to be yoga. She became a certified yoga teacher in 2012 and began her own yoga practice in 2015 when she opened her Oak + Lotus Yoga Studio in D.C. Since then, she has also opened a studio in Austin, Texas.
“The way that I feel when I am working on my studio, I have never felt that way about anything else,” said Khan. “I never get tired of it. I am constantly inspired and fulfilled in this work. I always have clients telling me what a difference I made in their lives.”
Khan says yoga offers a number of mental and physical benefits. She says the physical benefits are what people feel first because most people are sedentary and sitting all day at work. Not only does yoga help the bodies of people who have been seated at their desks all day, but it’s helpful for athletes as well.
“Our body wasn’t made for that so there are a lot of negative effects of sitting all day,” said Khan. “If you’re an athlete who does workouts that keep stress and tension in the body, it’s good for recovery and yoga can help prevent injury by stretching out and getting rid of some of that tension in the body.”
The mental benefits of yoga are also said to be incredibly important. Khan says her studio plays music to help her clients mentally.
“Yoga makes you really pay attention to what is happening with your body at that moment. It forces you to be in the present,” said Khan.
Oak + Lotus provides two types of yoga and several types of yoga classes. Classes including Yin Yoga, Breath + Flow, Relaxed Flow, Energetic Flow, and Slow Flow. Oak + Lotus does not heat their classes and they offer modifications and props so that class attendees can tailor the practice to their personal needs and goals.
“A lot of what’s out there about yoga seems very intimidating. Most people think it’s for people who are strong and flexible and want to sit in the heat all day,” said Khan. “Sure that’s one part, but that’s not all my studio is about.”
Khan says only about 5% of her day is teaching a yoga class. The majority of her day consists of creating a space where people want to spend time, can feel welcome, and feel comfortable. She also oversees the marketing, external outreach, and programming of her business. Khan describes her work as rewarding and magical, helping people who are elderly, stressed, or dealing with chronic illness.
“To be able to provide people who are dealing with stressful work an outlet, it feels great because I can relate to having a stressful job. It’s truly magical. It makes me feel good about what I’m doing in this world,” said Khan. “We have some clients in Austin who are dealing with chronic illness and have given up on fitness and their bodies. It was scary for them so for them to find a class and teacher who can help them, it is amazing. Women have come to me in tears.”
Khan has a blog and website, aliajkhan.com, that she uses to educate people about yoga and how it’s useful in day to day life. Khan plans to offer online yoga classes in the near future.
Visit Oak + Lotus for your next yoga session.