Baruch alumnus Philip Adikimenakis (’14, MS ’15) is a full-time tax CPA at a mid-sized accounting firm in Whitestone, Queens. But his interests reach well beyond just taxation. For starters, he is a chair yoga instructor and, as the founder of Relaxation Zensation, is an inspirational voice and advocate for the power of ancient self-preserving practices. He has provided therapies to hundreds of seniors to share his insight on how Tai Chi can impact people’s lives. We sat down with Adikimenakis to chat about his time at Baruch and the story behind his side hustle.
What first inspired you to create Relaxation Zensation? On the surface, it couldn’t seem further from your day job as a CPA.
Baruch taught me the immense value of hard work, striving for excellence in every facet, and being a role model in a world where we need it the most. My desire to bring vitality, energy, and movement to the elderly originated from the strong bond I share with my grandmother who is the very reason why I founded Relaxation Zensation. I learned so much from her stories and struggles coming to America that it made me a better and more appreciative person having known that she became stronger herself from the obstacles she overcame.
How has Relaxation Zensation grown since you first founded it? What about it do you find rewarding?
We began humbly with about two nursing homes our first year which were open minded enough to allow our chair yoga and Tai Chi instructional programs for one or two times per month. Now we have grown to well over 10+ nursing homes in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx and we are constantly being referred to other centers in need. We were really excited to announce our new partnership with Aetna Better Health and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield to expand our senior wellness programs to all five boroughs as well as a potential research opportunity with top New York universities interested in measuring the transformative results of our Tai Chi program.
We have seen a visible, upbeat shift in our seniors’ attitudes and demeanor after each session. Nursing home staffs have reported that their clients are happier and more energetic, and even the staff members enjoy participating in the lessons with us.
How does your day job as a CPA help to inform your side hustle with Relaxation Zensation? Do you have transferable skills as a CPA that carry over into your other wellness work?
Absolutely, 100%. Having learned the intricacies of accounting during my time at Baruch, then auditing at Deloitte, and now my experience with tax law, has all given me a well-rounded understanding of how to run my business. Beginning from its inception, I had to choose to form either an LLC, Corporation, Partnership, etc., then filing the correct IRS tax forms, creating a bank account, allocating ownership percentages, submitting invoices, hiring subcontractors, using QuickBooks, filing out 1099 forms, and ultimately the tax return. Having performed all of these services for clients only sharpened my ability to do it for myself and his given me confidence to look far ahead and anticipate the needs that may arise in the future.
What are your future plans with your side hustle, as well as with your full-time career as a CPA?
We hope to continue growing the wellness program with our team of five wellness ambassadors and ultimately partner with geriatric hospital programs, troubled/at-risk youth in schools, and veterans and police officers facing PTSD. All of this is our way of even more broadly sharing this healing power that has scientifically been researched and proven to have life-changing effects on the body, mind, and spirit.