The Covelong Point Surf, Music & Yoga Festival returns for its fifth edition in Kovalam, Chennai this August 25th – 27th 2017. Yoga lovers will witness a 3-day magical and finely curated lineup of yoga classes conducted by renowned yoga and meditation instructors, sound therapists, alternative healers, martial artists conducting classes in four Yoga Shalas set-up exclusively for the festival – Beach Shala, Village Rooftop, Quiet Gardens and Aerial Space. Different energies from different parts of the world come together to share space and knowledge at a one of a kind gathering!
Like the many petals of a single lotus flower slowly unfurling towards the light – this week’s Story Of A Yogi unravels the many stories of these teachers and healers from around the world, all of them brought together by divine union – yoga.
I vividly remember being in my yoga class in Melbourne, Australia. The walls were white and so were the floors – the space felt like It was a reflection of everything I was feeling that morning. Not calm, not serene, but bare and blah – like the colour was sucked out of my life. As I lay in kapotasana on my purple mat, I felt the tears glide down my sweaty face and onto the mat. Rihanna’s “Shine bright like a diamond” was playing in the background – and I kept thinking “How? How does one shine bright like a diamond when all life wants to do is keep you down?”
I had just lost my job and had moved cities to find another one. I had found a part-time job to pay my bills as a sales girl and it ate me up that I went from working in a fancy job with the university to selling clothes. My personal life felt stuck and pretentious, and my 60 minutes on my yoga mat felt like the only place where I could be me – broken, unsure and yet trying to see the light.
“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.”
I found yoga in perhaps the lowest emotional points in my life and it has truly helped me be more authentic about who I am and what I feel. It helped shine light in wounds I did not even want to acknowledge and helped me deal with issues – slowly and gently.
ERYT200, Founder Chennai Yoga Studio.
I was in TV, theatre and the Arts for more than 10 years and what I thought served me previously gradually left me jaded, depleted, uninspired and empty with 2 failed marriages under my belt. I tried Yoga in my earlier years – but I never quite resonated with it then. I was more interested in external, temporal pleasures and thought happiness is material and could be bought and manipulated.
Fast forward 10 years ++, to a time when I was at my lowest, feeling like I could not crawl out of my rut professionally which was affecting my personal life. I was motivated by a Divine guiding hand, which led me back onto the mat and this time, everything made sense. I shed many dark layers and an inner light awakened from within.
“Life is not coming at me, it is coming from me”.
I practice and teach Jivamukti Yoga – considered as a path to enlightenment through compassion for all beings, it is grounded in the original meaning of the Sanskrit word asana as “seat, connection” – relationship to the Earth. Citing Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which states that asana should be sthira and sukham, Jivamukti Yoga maintains that one’s relationship to others (asana) should be mutually beneficial and come from a consistent (sthira) place of joy and happiness (sukham). So the practice of asana becomes more than mere physical exercise to keep one’s body fit or to increase strength or flexibility; it becomes a way to improve one’s relationship to all others and thus lead to enlightenment – the realization of the oneness of being.
Certified Jivamukti Instructor.
Being a former performing artist and dancer my work was physical and always projecting outwards – and long irregular hours of rehearsals caused stiffness, injury and deep rooted tiredness. I yearned for a physical practice which took me within, created awareness and a kind of mindfulness in my physical being. My journey started with the Sivananda practice and then there was no looking back!
“Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down”. Jigar Gor
Having experienced the ashram life during my TTC, I feel it has given me a very true and grounding experience, and a real opportunity to live the yogic lifestyle. I encourage those interested in yoga teacher training to find a yoga TTC course which gives them a similar ashram experience and covers all aspects of practice including yoga philosophy, bhakti and karma yoga – besides the raja yoga practices.
We should be able to translate our daily practice very much into our daily living. Thus a daily yoga practice is not just limited to asana and pranayama but a regular discipline of lifestyle, meditation, creativity, food habits, regular sleep, and our relationship with family and loved ones.
Co-Founder Yoga Sutra, Advanced Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition, certified in Yoga Therapy.
I found yoga in the fog of depression and self-loathing. Yoga gave me purpose and direction in life – I teach and through my teaching I serve others. Even today I look back and thank the art of Yoga for being a guiding light amidst the darkness and chaos that characterized the early years of my life.
Yoga has helped release self-hate and negativity and see myself as a divine being. I can see that my existence has a purpose beyond any suffering in the world. If I can come to this point of self-love and self-care, so can everyone. My goal is to live in a state of equilibrium.
“Know thyself and thou shalt know all the mysteries of the gods and of the universe.”
As a yoga teacher, I encourage my students to be sincere, to listen to the body and feel the emotions. It is important to always be gentle upon yourself and everything and everyone around you. Focus on comfort and health. Practice at least one of the 8 limbs of Yoga every day.
For me a yoga TTC is not just a certificate, it is about adopting a new way of life! With the certificate comes an incredible responsibility for your students and for your own self. Never impose your views and beliefs upon another – allow people and yourself to blossom at their own pace.
Hatha Yogi, trained in Crystal & Sound Healing and the Chakra system.
As a teenager, I faced deep depression and anxiety. My parents wanted to help me and went by the school’s advice and sent me to a shrink. I was immediately prescribed anti-depression pills. That’s when I started to surf – facing Mother Nature in all her glory. After a few years I decided to start traveling – one day I looked at my suitcase full of pills, and I realized these pills just aren’t me. When I was ready, yoga found me.
“It is through the alignment of the body that I discovered the alignment of my mind, self and intelligence.” B.K.S Iyengar
The body reflects our mental state and I was weak – but the genius thing, is our body can heal itself as much as it can be self destructive. You can call it mindfulness – observing the nature of the mind without fighting it. This is not easy, I’m still trying to fight it – but then I remember sometimes, to just let go. With time and practice, a transformation is happening within me. I thank Yoga – the unity of body, mind, soul.
Certified in Iyengar Yoga
I teach Hatha yoga (therapeutic and for well being), Partnering and Acroyoga. I would like to create a space for yoga and wellness for practitioners to practice yoga and meditation, exchange energies and help each other in their growth. I am open to learning other styles and I want to share my experience and enable others to learn what I have by teaching people around me. I continually strive to enhance my own growth by constantly learning from others in the field.
“Yoga can become very meaningful and significant for the modern mind because Yoga can save. It can teach you again to be here and now, how to forget past and how to forget future and how to remain in the present moment with such intensity that this moment becomes timeless. The very moment becomes eternity.” – OSHO
Acro Yogi, Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition and certified in Thai Yoga Massage.
Yoga found me when I was really young. It was the free yoga sessions for children in our village that gave me a chance to experience yoga. I tried my best to not miss these weekend classes; however, with high-school commitments I was finding it difficult to continue with my practice. That’s when Firat – a good friend, shared more information about choosing the yoga path and how I can make it an integral part of my life. I followed svadhyaya and tapas sincerely and a few months later enrolled for TTC. Seeing my progress and dedication, Firat encouraged that I complete my ATTC and was kind enough to fund my course.
“When you make a choice, you change the future.” Deepak Chopra
I am grateful and also feel very fortunate that today I am able to make a living by doing what I love to do. Yoga has transformed my life and has provided me the fulfillment I was seeking. It has inspired me to share my blessings with others and provide them the same opportunity I had as a child. Everyday I am moving closer to my goal of opening a yoga shala for the village children.
Surfer and Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition
I run a travel yoga adventure company and believe that nature is the true healer.
Doing yoga out in nature allows us to expand our spiritual awareness and deepen our connection to ourselves and the world around us, and I believe yoga is truly about understanding this intimate connection we have with nature.
“Surrender is not a weakness it is a strength. It takes tremendous strength to surrender life to the supreme – to the cosmic unfolding”. MOOJI
Certified yoga therapist and owner of Anam Cara Yoga Retreats.
When I was 20, I came down with jaundice and was wrongly treated in the hospital. They gave me medicines I was allergic to – I started yoga post that to rebuild my immunity, and it’s been phenomenal since.
I encourage students to try to fit Swami Vishnudevananda’s 5 points of yoga everyday. Proper breathing and pranayama practice, proper exercise – which is asana practice, proper relaxation, savasana or guided relaxation, or yoga nidra, proper diet – sattvic food and everything in moderation and positive thinking.
Teacher of the Sivananda Yoga tradition and certified in Thai Yoga.
Yoga found me, that’s how I believe it works – like they say a Guru finds you when you are ready! Yoga in the same way finds you when you are open for its teachings in ways you personally need it for your life. I truly believe yoga helps you open yourself into dimensions you never thought existed – you turn out to be a much happier, content and confident human being.
Certified Sivananda Teacher
“Look for the truth by meditating, not by reading books. Look at the moon in the sky, not at its reflection in the water” – ancient Persian saying.
Certified Yoga Teacher and founder of Naim Studio for Yoga and Movement.