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Meet Michelle Giun Ji of Rose Romance in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Giun Ji.

Michelle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
One day, I walked into orientation for Yoga Teacher Training led by Vytas Baskauskas. I still had my passport in my Chanel bag from landing from South Korea a week ago. Wearing Burberry jacket, Gangnam style hair, Cartier and diamonds, I was feeling something is missing. I was feeling a loss I can’t comprehend.

When I landed in Santa Monica, everything was new to me again. Even the ingredient labels in English at the grocery store seemed so foreign to me after spending 8 years of my life speaking Korean in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea.

The reason why I came here was because of the thickening fine dust in the air of Korea that turned out to be so severe, I was no longer able to breath without wearing a mask outside. For about last 2 years in Seoul, I was living an underground life, moving in and out from parking lot to parking lot, moving from indoor to indoor. I had three air purifiers at home running full time. The sky was grey, and the high- rise buildings were invisible from distance due to covering dust in the air.

With all the world event being shared in the news, I was already sad then. To me, riches seemed obsessed, politicians mad, and activist angry.

And there I was, married, with two children, being nobody, dependent and limited. I was utterly unsatisfied with myself and my world.

So, I had to yoga and breath. I had to re-align myself. When it started, there was no going back, and that’s how I got to where I am today and I’m still on the road.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Along the road of yoga training, I had to face my traumas.

Until I was bursting out in tears and silent screaming in class, I didn’t know I have triggers to traumas. I was stuck in the red subway line 2 train on the day of 9/11 collapse in New York. I was on my way to high school, and I spent a night in the bank lobby because I couldn’t get home. The bridges to Brooklyn were all locked down. That night I ran from one side of Manhattan to other and the whole city was dark. I didn’t know until very recently, that it could be something I could be crying about as if it happened only yesterday.

Yoga courses for training as teacher was actually full of triggers and challenges that made me face what I most fear because that was the exactly the part that I had to let go. I had to use that new energy, reserved from draining, to push myself one more time and achieve myself to become who I want to be.

I have a heart murmur that I am born with. Before I come here to Santa Monica, my doctor in Korea told me, “You can now live a normal life” after living my 34 years of life. I just thought, ‘if I only knew that just like 10 years ago, my life could have been so much different’. I was living quiet restricted life and I felt like I have so much more freedom suddenly. So, I started yoga to pursue my passion, and I had to overcome the limits of my body. I had to build muscle and eat better. My weak thoughts dissolved as my weak body regained strength. My weight teacher, Rich Minzer at Gold’s Gym Venice always emphasizes to me about “the mindset and consistency of training.” When I needed support, I was very lucky to be around the best of the best. My teachers like Vytas Baskauskas, Rachel Davidson, Tiffany Russo, and my boss Kasia Fraser showed me a way to overcome what I want to overcome. I feel very grateful.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rose Romance story. Tell us more about the business.
I think body is our first clothing to our soul. I am a fashion designer, and I am also teaching yoga as a yoga instructor because I want people’s soul to be in their best possible outfit, their body. My profession as yoga teacher is my secondary character and it has been suiting me surprisingly well. I enjoy putting my friends and family in down dog and aligning their spine. No words do better than action.

My business is to make clothes and to fulfill my duty as an artist, creating good things for this place. I just want to be able to continue my work with strength again, so I had to yoga, and find my missing puzzle piece of my inspiration.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Covid has been a reason why I started to teach yoga to all my friends around in my neighborhood. I was teaching at Art of Living Studio before covid, and after the pandemic I’ve been teaching outdoor yoga.

I am moving to New Jersey to get closer, back to where I left off.

Covid made think about life more in depth. I rearranged priorities and values. Now I feel ready to discover the new way to interact and communicate with the world.


  • I encouraged my yogis to exercise 2-3 times a week and gave them a special first month discount if they are willing to exercise 3 times a week.
  • I encouraged my yogis to bring their partner into class for free of charge.
  • When my yogis need to strengthen certain part of their body, I gave them extra bonus time of teaching to repeat the movement and to review the exercise.

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