Yogini Wadie Sumanteri stretches out a helping hand for those in need

As a child, Wadie Sumanteri was body shamed by some friends. It hit her hard, and it took her a while to regain her confidence.

Despite the trauma, Wadie refused to let the negativity define her and is now a successful entrepreneur, having started a business in building, construction, and interior design in 2006.

“I was body shamed when I was younger. It took me a while to realise that that was not who I was. It made me determined to be successful,” said Wadie.

Wadie added she put on weight following the birth of her second child 10 years ago, which made her scoliosis worse.

She had to go for acupuncture twice a week to reduce the numbness and backache. She needed to find a way to stop her misery as she did not want to be “needled every week”.

In 2016, a friend invited her to a yoga session which changed her life.

Wadie’s desire to beat the odds saw her build her yoga studio – Nadi Tenang – at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, which has now grown into a dedicated community of yogis who have become like a family to her.

That ‘family’ helped her through hardship for two years, and it is only in the past year that the studio started making it.

“I designed and renovated the studio space at the start of 2020. Before we could complete it, Malaysia entered the Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the pandemic,” said Wadie.

“It was a tough time. My other business was also on hold as no one could renovate their homes.

“I took a big financial hit, but thank goodness we managed to weather the storm.”

Before starting her business, Wadie worked in a bank for seven years, and used that knowledge to help her survive during the pandemic.

Wadie said that contrary to popular belief, yoga is not about bending and twisting one’s body into a pretzel. It’s about getting in touch with your inner self.

“For someone who had never worked out before, it was an amazing feeling,” she added.

To give back to society, the mother of two daughters works closely with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), providing restorative yoga for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

“The restorative yoga classes are every Wednesday. I also offer free classes every Monday to NCSM members,” said Wadie, who is also an active member of Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Action Recovery Plan, Malaysia.

“The response is quite good as we have regular members for both classes. That makes me happy.

“Yoga connects me with so many beautiful souls. It got me in touch with my body and developed my physical and mental strength. It made my life better.

“That is why I organise yoga events, as I want to get more people to try it.”

One such event is the ‘Gogh & Flow Immersive Yoga and Pilates’ on March 17 in conjunction with the ‘Van Gogh Alive Exhibit’ at Pavilion Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.

“The classes will be in the exhibition hall itself, so you can enjoy van Gogh’s art and the art of yoga,” said Wadie, who thanked the organisers for allowing Nadi Tenang to hold five private classes on Friday.

“The public exhibition ends on Thursday, so our classes are only for those who sign up for yoga. That way, we do not disrupt anyone.

“You can get immersed in art, yoga and your feelings. It will be a wonderful experience.”

The 360-degree, immersive exhibition is a wall-to-floor, larger-than-life projection of the Dutch artist’s famous paintings and has attracted 8.5 million visitors in over 80 cities.

It arrived in Malaysia last December and is in a specially designed and constructed gallery measuring nearly 1,900sq m.

With a combination of replicas, cutting-edge digital projections, virtual reality, and evocative light and sound, the exhibition showcases more than 300 of van Gogh’s works.

To participate in this unique experience, contact Nadi Tenang at +6012-663 9499, or email hello@naditenang.com.