Not everything in life goes according to a plan: Our NJMOMpreneur of the week, Roma Bajaj Kohli knows this all too well. An unexpected pregnancy derailed a career in fashion design, but as she later found out, it was never her true calling. In fact, a crisis rebooted her—suffering from deep postpartum depression, she melded yoga and her love of cooking together to create a holistic approach to her life, which sparked a new path towards helping moms find their inner strength. Now, Roma gives others what she has learned on her personal spiritual journey. At Wellness by Roma studio, she helps women connect with themselves and pay more attention to their mind, body and spirit, as well as teaching them to cook and eat more mindfully. We sat down to chat with her about this healing approach, how to thrive with a busy family and the go-to spot where she and the fam head to when she’s not cooking in the kitchen.
featured image via Mallika Malhotra
Creator of Wellness by Roma & NJMOMpreneur Roma Bajaj Kohli
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Roma: My mission is to inspire time-starved moms to instill the art of self-love, to help gain confidence and clarity to lead from within, and to keep challenging the status quo by being curious and gritty. I want them to live every moment of life with intention and purpose, and leave behind a legacy of wellness to their kids. I offer yoga sessions at my boutique-style Wellness by Roma studio. My sessions are customizable for very small groups and private classes in a combination of asana, pranayama, deep relaxation, chanting and meditation. I also offer a unique “Mind + Body” 2 hour workshop which is a combination of yoga for an hour followed by assembling a healthy drink and snack for consumption after the class.
Stop procrastinating and follow your heart. There are plenty of others doing what you do but there is only one of you and the world needs to hear it from you even if it has been said a million times before.” – NJMOMpreneur Roma Bajaj Kohli
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Roma: I am a former international Fashion Apparel Designer and came to the United States in 2012 along with my husband and our 2 year old son. I had wanted to pursue an MBA, but I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child. That was a huge surprise as we were not planning to have a baby! Anyway, the baby stayed and the MBA flew out of the window, leaving me as a clueless stay-at-home mom.
After the birth of my daughter, I suffered from postpartum depression, in addition to anxiety and a severe identity crisis, I discovered that being a stay at home mom was not that easy. It took me almost a year to recover from the self-destructive patterns of burnout, weakness and victimization.
During this time, I discovered yoga and the joy of cooking and emerged out of the deep rut I was in. I went for my yoga teacher training in one of the best schools in India and that lit the spark which led me to my true calling. I no longer felt suffocated with my life and discovered that my purpose was to help others dig deep within themselves. The combination of food, love and yoga led me to discover the answers — to reconnect, rise and shine. This made me realize that if I was able to do it myself, I could help others reset, recharge and revitalize too.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Roma: My favorite part is when I conduct in-person inspirational and experiential workshops for individuals.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Roma: My previous proud moment was when I was exhibiting my apparel designs at pret-a porter Paris in 2008, and this was when I was just starting with my designing career. With time, I have realized that I am more proud of my ability to evolve, grow and change no matter where life takes me than about a specific achievement. Though I know my proudest moment is yet to come, when I author my first book.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Roma: Few people know that I am an introvert and have lived and worked in 5 countries and traveled to more than 15 countries before I turned 30.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Roma: Professionally, I am writing my book “Confusedpreneur -to- Entrepreneur” and looking forward to finishing it. Personally, I want to be able to take my family to visit two other countries next year.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Roma: Providing food, shelter, clothes and education to unwanted girls in India.
NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Roma: For the longest time my role model has been my mother. Yet very recently I discovered that my role model is my husband because I haven’t seen a man in my culture as supportive, courageous, wise, giving and nurturing as him!
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Roma: My mother who is a true warrior has always lived by example of this advice: Cry as much as you need and want to but do not dwell for too long. Get up and take charge again. You and only you are the creator of your own reality.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Roma: Yes, there are two that I absolutely live by! “Fall seven, rise eight.” – Unknown. This quote taught me to celebrate my failures, and to be grounded and humble when I am rising and shining.
To see with eyes open is to dream, but to see with closed eyes inwards is to actually awaken.” – Unknown
I have spent all my life looking for acceptance, approval and my worth in things, people and situations outside of me. This quote showed me that a whole new universe resided within me that I didn’t know existed.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Roma: In 2012 we moved from Switzerland to New Jersey. The serenity and tranquility of the Alps and the beauty in Switzerland was still very much alive in my heart. I believed that I would never find anything like that ever. I wasn’t a fan of NJ at first, but slowly this Garden State, with its dense greenery, vividness and variety of all four seasons, grew on me to love it. Some of our favorite spots are summers in Asbury Park. In the spring, fall, and summer we love the Turtle Back Zoo and their movie nights. The boating and hiking trails around the South Mountain Reservation are our favorite family activities to do all year round. My son and husband are into biking and they really love exploring biking trails all over the ‘burbs like the Loantaka trail and Freedom Trail in Morristown.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Roma: Being a mother has been a blessing in many ways: My kids have taught me to remain curious, be patient and enjoy each moment of life.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Roma: Saigon Cafe in Millburn is my go-to for Pho bowls. Liberty Science Center is great to spend time with the family in the winter. The Mall at Short Hills is another favorite place for us when family visits us from India.
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Roma: We live in Livingston and vacation at the Jersey Shore. Avalon is our favorite location for a quick weekend getaway.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Roma: Go all in and stay there until you get what you want to get.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Roma: Stop procrastinating and follow your heart. There are plenty of others doing what you do but there is only one of you and the world needs to hear it from you even if it has been said a million times before.