This International Women's Day 2021, Tatler Singapore speaks with some of Singapore's most impressive female tastemakers. Meet Alicia Pan, a singer-songwriter turned co-founder of Yoga Movement, who is also an accidental entrepreneur

Before the age of 30, Alicia Pan had signed on with a record label, released a Mandarin EP, pursued a singing career in Taiwan, and—even though she didn’t know it then—seeded the beginnings of a successful business. Now, at a few years shy of 40, she is the co-founder and woman at the helm of Yoga Movement (YM), the fitness empire that she “accidentally” built from scratch, and mother to two children.

The success of YM wasn’t something Pan ever dreamt of or aimed for. “The idea of keeping it simple now seems like a long time ago. Almost nine years now, to be exact,” professes Pan.

What had started out as a single studio she had hoped would eventually run itself and give her the freedom to migrate to Australia to live with her husband has turned into a chain of six studios that keeps her plate a lot fuller than she had initially envisioned. To date, more than 100,000 yoga enthusiasts have visited YM, collectively clocking around 25,000 visits every month. 

Rather than being fazed by the business’ growth, Pan has chosen to roll with the punches and take the challenges as they come, a trait she believes she has honed since her days in the entertainment industry. “I’ve always been open to changes and to adapting to them,” she says. “I moved to Taipei at the tender age of 19 when I got offered a recording contract, despite not having been there before. It was quite scary to take a step into the unknown, but I adapted and learnt new things quickly.”

Clearly an ambitious multi-hyphenate who wants to have her cake and eat it, too, Pan shares how she runs a business and her singing career, and embraces motherhood, in her own words.

We Don’t Always Get to Choose Our Moments

“I have accepted that there will never be a ‘right time’ for anything. There’s never a ‘right time’ to start a business, or a ‘right time’ to have kids. You just do it and know that you are capable of adaptation. The only thing constant in life is change, and adaptation is the only way we can survive the lemons that life throws at us!”

Finding Balance is Easier Said Than Done

“YM definitely comes first when I am being addressed. The business owner life is as hectic as it is rewarding, and it was only expected that my music career would have to take a backseat while we grew the business. Being more active in YM than in music doesn’t mean I’m done with being ‘singer-songwriter Alicia’ though! Music is and always will be the first love that will stick with me through life. I reconcile these two roles by curating special playlists for the classes that I teach. These are playlists that have inspired me as a songwriter.”

The Unexpected Transferable Skills That Connect Music and Fitness

“The process of curating the YM experience is similar to that of making music and performing. There is a specific end goal in mind, and that is the effect that you want to achieve with the person who is experiencing it. It defines the entire making process and the details that you need to piece together to achieve that.”

And the Natural Connections Between the Two

“My favourite music to practise yoga to is anything soulful. It must also have a good groove that keeps me on my feet. I have a playlist curated on Yoga Movement’s Spotify channel for a taster. A good playlist is a game-changer. It can get you into the right mood and frame of mind and is definitely a huge motivator.”

(Related: 8 of the Most Stylish Yoga Clothing Brands to Wear in 2021)

It’s Always Worth it

“The most challenging part of having multiple roles is time. I forget things occasionally because the lines between work and home are often blurred. But everything feels worth it when I see my labour come to fruition—the business doing well and the kids and family growing healthily. I have to make an effort to set aside time to do music again though!”

(Related: 12 Things to Do With Your Kids Over the March School Holidays in Singapore)

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