OxyTrainer of the Week: Dounia
Dounia fills Oxygen Studio with positive energy! She began with the company when the studio was under construction and says Oxygen is her oxygen. Her passion for helping others makes her a positive asset to the team. She is always willing to help her students reach their full potential and introduce new students to the Oxygen feel.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m half-Swiss and half-Tunisian so I have a half-European and half- African background. I lived in Switzerland and moved to Tunisia for about 7 years and then came back to Switzerland where I studied in high school and college. I decided to travel around the world to get to know myself and other people a little more. I’ve been to South America, Asia, Africa and North America. I studied a masters in socio-economics with a major in development.
I did internships in South America, but then I got involved into yoga, dancing and boxing. So I used to work out and study a lot while studying for my college degrees and then I ended up falling in love with yoga three years ago in Brazil where I first tried my first yoga class.
It was all in Brazilian Portuguese; I had no idea what the instructor was doing. It was tough and I hated it, but then I kept taking classes. And when I went back to Switzerland, my friend opened her own studio so I started taking classes and that’s where my love for yoga started.
And then I started teaching classes in San Diego, got married to a born and raised San Diegan and moved here. That’s when I got more involved in yoga and certified to teach it. Now I teach yoga for 11 hours a week and work as the Assistant Manager at Oxygen Studio.
What is your passion outside of teaching yoga?
I went to school to work in international organizations and NGO’s. My focus was on women and children. I really wanted to help regarding the laws and discrimination that the world has toward them. So I did work as a volunteer at the Red Cross here and back home. Besides working at Oxygen Studio, I also work as an interpreter for survivors of torture.
I love doing that and that’s what I always wanted to do. Even though I am more into sports and health, I feel like I’m helping people as well and I’m always doing something related to the field that I studied.
I think yoga and teaching people in general can really help some people touch hearts with a good intention you. My main goal is to make people smile and make them happier when they get out of my classes so that’s also why.
What motivated you to want to help people?
I remember my mom always said to dream about saving the world and becoming the leader woman of the world who helps everyone instead of dreaming of getting married and having kids. So I think it started really young, but when I traveled by myself in Africa I saw poverty and talked and lived with people from there. That’s where I saw the big gap between men and women in those countries. And then traveling for two years really opened my eyes.
I was in Argentina working in the worst areas of Buenos Aires and I was talking to people who had broken houses to live in. They would say, ‘We are so grateful because we can eat and have a roof over our heads. We think about our brothers and sisters in Africa every day.’ It really touched me and made me want to do something. I hope in the future I will be able to help more. It just didn’t work out for me because those are jobs that don’t pay or are considered volunteer work. I’m thinking more about making money and helping as many people as I can right now.
What inspired your passion for yoga?
My passion for yoga is incredibly growing everyday. When I first started it was awkward and hard. I was like ‘Nope, I’m not going to practice yoga – this is not for me.”
I went to visit a friend in Rio de Janeiro who went to yoga every morning so she asked me to go with her one day. I took the class with her and I’m super energetic so I usually don’t like calm music. I was a dancer and into boxing so that was hard and boring for me the first time — especially because I didn’t understand anything.
But then when I started seeing the values of how you actually work on yourself and try to find your inner strength, I realized it really helps for meditation.
In my religious background I was always trying to meditate and get to the best version of myself everyday. Yoga actually helped me with that.
So I improved in my religion and in my health by being more aware and conscious of what we should do for our body. It also helped me for my mind and meditation side by letting go of what didn’t serve me anymore and being present on my mat.
When did you start yoga?
I started yoga consistently every day starting a year ago when I moved here. I started teaching in March 2017. I’m currently training for yoga sculpt with weights and it’s more into fitness. That’s coming back to my energetic side. And I am currently training to teach indoor cycling at Oxygen.
What is your favorite thing about Oxygen Studio?
Oxygen is my oxygen.
I started with Oxygen when I started applying to jobs in January and got certified in yoga. I started applying for yoga classes. Then I started working at an NGO for people with handicaps. No later than a month after that I received a call — which was from Bam.
She asked me to come to the studio to teach yoga classes. So I came the next day, we met and she told me she needed someone right away to help her out at the studio. I said ‘let’s do it.’ When I have a good feeling with a good person, I’ll just jump into it. And since then, I haven’t had any regrets.
I just love the energy that Bam is trying to spread here at the studio. I love the people I’m working with. Even if we have hard times, we always stay up and we always stay together. And I love that unity and community we’re building. I love that our classes are all mindset-focused so we contain values that we want to share and spread. That is also what we do in our own classes and why I’m connected so much to the studio.
How do you want the people in your classes to feel at the end of them?
I want them to feel light. I want them to let go of whatever they have on their minds or their hearts.
I want to help them to work on themselves, not only as a workout for their bodies but also for their mindset. To achieve the best of yourself. One of my main goals is to wake up in the morning with an intention and go back to sleep at night knowing that you’re better now than you were this morning when you woke up. So that’s why I’m trying to help my students with – helping them find the best version of themselves.
What are your favorite songs to workout to?
There are a lot of French songs. Upbeat songs. I’m the type to wake up in the morning, turn on music and just move around, do my bed and get ready.
Listen to her playlist on Spotify:
Reserve your spot for one of Dounia’s classes at Oxygen Studio!