We had the good fortune of connecting with Shereen Yusuff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shereen, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
It never gets easier with time, you only get stronger. When I look back at my life – Indian Malayalee Muslim girl born and raised in the Middle East, in the 80’s, back at a time when sports wasnt necessarily a career option in my family – and there I was – trying to make it big in tennis. Fast forward, going through engineering school in India to get my Aerospace Engineering degree, while continuing my sporting lifestyle through athletics, martial arts, and ultra endurance sports including mountain climbing, triathlons and multi day hikes. I went on to living in 13 different countries, sometimes not knowing the language of the country I was in, and having to struggle to order for food. Life only kept getting harder, but surprisingly, I always felt like I was able to rise to the occasion. Today I recognize, that through discipline, and consistently exposing myself to uncomfortable situations I was training my mind and my body to take on more, to do more and to be more. Today I work in the oil and gas industry as well as teach people how to breathe and use cold as a stressor to become stronger – not only in their mind, but also in their body, for I believe that in order for us to be happy , healthy and strong, we have to be conditioned and trained not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I currently own Suda Prem Studio. “Suda Prem” means pure love. It is what Wim Hof (the iceman) called me when he got to know me, and the name stuck. At my studio, I not only teach the Wim Hof Method, but there are also classes that bring the breath practice into your yoga practice as well, and we do ice baths as well as joint mobility and functional movement classes. Starting a business to me was imperative – for I felt such a great calling to share what I had become so passionate about – breath and movement. As I kept experiencing the magic that these two elements had brought into my life – It dawned upon me that mastering your life truly starts from mastering your breath. When you understand the important of breathing right and what an impact it has on your diet, sleep, posture, your internal systems like the circulatory, nervous, endocrine and respiratory systems, we start recognizing that breath is really a super power that is consistently at our disposal. And most of us do not tap into it at all. I found a studio that is attached to my house, so that I do not waste any time to commute to get to where I teach breath and movement and it has worked wonderfully for me. It is very convenient for me to do classes twice a week and I get back from my day job and give classes in the evening as well as do workshops at Suda Prem Studio over the weekends. I have heard my studio being called a Boutique studio, because it truly is a very cute place with a lot of character. The studio space was built back in 1940.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love the water – so Galveston and Kemah Boardwalk are definitely on the list of things to do. Since I am in oil and gas, I would definitely take them to the rig museum (Ocean Star) down at Galveston. There would be a trip to the lake, up in Lake Conroe and maybe a trip to the wakeboarding park up in the north. I do enjoy eating, and so some of the restaurants that would be on my list of places to go would be “Maharaja Bhog” and “Shiv Sagar” for Indian food, Banana Leaf for Malaysian food, O Porto for Portuguese food, Mi Pueblito for Colombian food and Fogo de Chao for Brazilian food. If there was place for a few more, I would add Mongolian Hot Pot, Los Andes, Latin Bites, Green Seed Vegan and Peri Peri to the list as well. I would take them to the Art Car museum – explore Bethel Park Church , go to the Cistern at Buffalo Bayou and see the downtown lights at Waterworks park. Amongst parks, I also like Spotts Park, Memorial Hermann, Smither Park, the Waterwall and Centennial Park.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I always say in order to achieve the things that I have in the past, and also in the present, it takes a village – and I am grateful for the support that I receive from my friends on a consistent basis, who I now consider my family. I recently got married and I am very blessed that my husband is very supportive of all the things that I do. I also have friends who have been by my side through a lot – Moumita Mukherjee, Chris Shannon, Aryana Rose, Chris Franek are few of the people that I owe a lot of my success of who I am today to, for their consistent belief in me and showering me with unconditional love through my journey of self exploration and self doubt. I am also grateful to my family who currently live in Oman (my parents) and in Cambridge, UK (my brother and his family) for being patient with me while I stayed wild in my ways. In terms of books – “Forty rules of love” and “Turning towards the heart – Awakening to the Sufi way” is what led me down the path of Sufism. I read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach when I was sixteen years old, a time when I felt so different from everyone else around me. I felt a deep shift in terms of going within after reading Krishnamurti’s “The light in oneself”. “The road less travelled” by Scott Peck is a great book for people who are interested in spirituality but don’t know where to start. “A new Earth” by Eckhart Tolle definitely increased my compassion and empathy towards others recognizing that we are all carrying different pain bodies within us, that make us behave a certain way. I also love reading the Bible, it is filled with wisdom, and I attend a bible study group called “Unique Woman” once a week.
I am currently a Wim Hof Method instructor, and the friends that I have made through this method have been incredibly empowering to me. I also love dance, and the people I have met through Ecstatic dance have become some of my closest friends.
In terms of teachers who have made a profound impact on me, two stand out at the moment – Wim Hof who is the founder of the Wim Hof Method and Shane Heins, who is the fitness director at the Onnit Academy in Austin. Both of them were pivotal in terms of the teaching style that I have today – one that is based on love.
Yelp: Suda Prem Studio
Youtube: Suda Prem Studio
Other: We are on mind body as well as Suda Prem Studio
Shereen Yusuff took most of these pictures. The black and white profile picture was taken by Eric LaCour.