I have been practicing for over 15 years but I haven’t always done yoga. In fact, growing up I was forbidden by my conservative grandmother to do yoga. I was a skinny person until I had children. On one particular visit, the doctor told me that with my personal and family medical history if I didn’t watch my health I was looking at a difficult and bleak future.
I started going to the gym, did all the right things and I lost the excess weight. I got perfect scores in all the health tests. But I knew that to sustain good health, I needed a holistic solution. I started learning yoga from “Krishnamacarya yoga mandiram (KYM)”. I stopped going to the gym and began only practicing yoga. What I liked about KYM was there was no preaching or “guru” to follow. They taught just the practices. This allowed me to experience the effects of the practices for myself without any kind of adulteration.
To make a long story short, I ended up at a teacher training at KYM.
It was a life-changing and eye-opening experience. Now I avoid saying “I do yoga” because I realized that doing yoga is not just practicing asanas. It is a state of being, a way of being and just being in the here and now. If you were to ask me “do you do yoga?” I would respond “Yes, I practice.” I continue to learn and practice this vast ocean of knowledge.
I always knew I was destined to be a teacher. Growing up, I was always the teacher in role-playing games. Through my adult life, I have taught various languages including foreign and Indian, which is another passion of mine. But I never thought of myself as a yoga teacher even though I did the teacher training. Yet, when the students responded to my teaching and started asking for me to teach again, I realised I had something of value to share. I was able to connect with the students and allow the practices to do their magic for them just like it did for me. I will forever be thankful to my teachers at KYM for enabling me to do this very rewarding work.
I continue to be a student as I work my way towards learning yoga therapy but more importantly as I teach. I look at every class as a learning experience. I prepare before I go into a class and I reflect after the class. To me, self-practice and study is a must for a teacher. As Sri Pattabhi Jois famously said “Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory.” If I didn’t practice that day, I would feel unworthy of walking in and teaching. Even on difficult days, I sit down and work with my breath before class.
The very first sutra of Patanjali speaks to me more than anything:
“atha yoga anusasanam” translated as “Now I follow yoga.”Patanjali
It brings me back to the present and now. I don’t know what I want to do or where I want to be 5 years or 10 years from now. But I know I am going to practice yoga in the next moment. This is the only advice I give to my students. Someone feels guilty they didn’t do their practice yesterday or the past few days or someone wants to be able to do a handstand at a certain future date. I believe, if we are able to bring ourselves to “atha” (now), yoga will give us the clarity and ability to be our best selves.
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