Founder of VetYogi, which provides yoga and meditation services to the veterinary profession, Chloé Hannigan qualified as a vet from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2012, and has worked in mixed and small animal practice in the UK, Australia, and NZ. She is currently a small animal locum, and loves the variety, teamwork, and surgical opportunities which her job brings and is passionate about improving veterinary mental health and wellbeing by bridging the scientific and spiritual realms.

Please summarise your journey / biography:

  • Graduated from the RVC July 2012 – have worked in approx. 30 different vet clinics in the UK, Australia, NZ, including mixed and small animal practice (locumed since 2014). Currently small animal-only locum alongside running VetYogi.
  • Founded VetYogi in 2017 following my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Cert. in Bali.
  • Completed my 300 hour YTT Cert. in India in 2020, meaning that I am currently a RYT-500 teacher, registered with Yoga Alliance Professionals.
  • Currently teach Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Yoga Nidra and Meditation/Pranayama.
  • Teach and speak at events/conferences, run the online shop, launched the VetYogi Collective 2023.
  • Love to travel and explore new places, get out in nature, read, and usually found on the dancefloor at events!

Describe your typical day from waking to sleeping:

My schedule is so variable depending on what I am doing that I don’t really have a “typical” day as it depends on whether I am vetting, preparing for events, teaching yoga, etc. I don’t really enjoy routine, so I am happiest mixing it up with my day-to-day and value variety, but I usually try to include some form of yoga and meditation in my day whatever I am doing.

Oh, and I’m definitely a night owl, so when it’s up to me my mornings are peaceful and slow-starting, and I am often at my best in the evening.

How would others describe you in a sentence?

Here are some words provided by friends and family that they felt represented me:

Independent, free-spirited, strong-minded, entrepreneurial, yoga-loving, supportive, determined,

loyal, focused.

They were all surprisingly nice as I had to read between the lines for elements of me like stubborn, impatient and hot-headed!

What has been your top success and what have you learned from this?

It’s hard to say, as my definition of “success” has certainly changed over the years. Probably the realisation that if what I wanted to do didn’t exist, I could create it for myself, and that I didn’t have to follow the path that is typically expected. While it’s not always easy, it’s important to live and work in ways that feel authentic to who I am at that time.

What has been your biggest challenge, setback or failure and how have you overcome it? How did you grow or change as a result?

My own experiences with mental ill health are partly what inspired me to found VetYogi, but there’s no denying that dealing with depressive episodes can be very challenging. During those times where you don’t feel like yourself, everything can feel like a struggle, and you can feel mentally ‘set back’ even if things are seemingly going well from an outside perspective. Yoga has helped me massively, and has really changed how I view and engage with my inner critic. During difficult periods – or just with life in general – I find it helpful to remember that everything is temporary.   

What compromises have you had to make and what, if anything, could have helped?

Life is a constant compromise regardless of which way you do it, and it’s ok to prioritise different things at different stages of life. Overall, I felt very free in my 20s, as I was living and working abroad, travelling all over the world having the time of my life, and had no financial ties like running a business or having a mortgage. I’ve had to accept that growth in those latter areas in my 30s means less freedom for the type of lifestyle I was living previously, but what helps me is to stay open-minded about what might happen in the future, and remember my “why”. 

“While it’s not always easy, it’s important to live and work in ways that feel authentic to who I am at that time.”

What advice would you have given to your younger self, that you would now give to others wanting to follow your path?

To be honest I think it is more the other way around: it’s my younger self that I need to go back and get advice from sometimes! She was pretty fearless and backed herself all the way, so if I’m experiencing self-doubt, it’s good to remember she trusted that future me would be adaptable and be able to deal with everything one way or another, and to be fair she wasn’t wrong.

 I couldn’t have got where I am today without…

A solid support network of family, friends and colleagues. It’s pretty clichéd but the people you surround yourself with are so important, and I am so grateful for those in my life that consistently show up for me with love, honesty and encouragement.

Also yoga, caffeine and a constant flow of often questionable ideas!

What are your three top likes?

Animals – pretty surprising for a vet, I know! We really don’t deserve them…

The colour green – I am obsessed!

How it feels in those moments where you experience just utter joy and don’t want them to end, or when you’re totally overcome with laughter.

What are your three top dislikes?

Feet! Controversial for a yoga teacher, but I’ve had to work pretty hard to be comfortable around other people’s bare feet.

Feeling claustrophobic or stuck.

That life often operates with a sense of injustice. Karma can be a bit too slow for my liking sometimes!

What is the most helpful book you’ve read and why?

I’m a big reader so it would be impossible to choose just one! On reflection the genre of books that are most helpful – or certainly have the biggest impact on me– are the great works of fiction that give me no choice but to stop and fully immerse myself temporarily in that world or story. Self-help books are all well and good but ultimately that is still putting work in! What I want most out of my reading time personally is permission to rest and some escapism. But also big shout out to Fossum – that book has saved my arse surgically more times than I can count!

Many thanks to Chloé for sharing her story to inspire veterinary women to aspire and grow into their full
career potential.

What have you been working on most recently?

In April of this year we launched our brand new yoga and meditation subscription service for the wider veterinary community. The VetYogi Collective offers plenty of on-demand yoga and meditation content of varying durations and yoga/meditation styles, and membership also includes access to our monthly live classes, as well as other member benefits such as discount to the VetYogi online shop and other selected collaborating businesses. I am so proud of what we have delivered, in particular being able to offer content specific for each veterinary role – such as classes for those who work mostly on their feet like vets and nurses, to classes for those in primarily a desk-based role such as receptionists and managers. We also have content for students and non-clinical members of the vet community. It has been an incredible amount of work to prepare everything, and as with any new project, it has been a steep learning curve for me as the one managing it! There have been times where I have felt overwhelmed or let that negative inner voice speak to me about giving up, but hearing people’s responses when they first hear about it has given me that extra drive to continue, knowing that there is such a need for a service like this.

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