Smile Please :) – Idan Kirshner

idan kirshner blog

I was working as a stock-trader until January 2017 when I decided to call it quits. I was trading stock on Israel and US markets. I didn’t really have any specific working hours … I was working all day! From 9 am to 5 pm I traded from the office in Tel Aviv on the Israeli market and then from home I continued to trade on the US market and this extended to up to 11 pm in the night. I did this for 6 days a week!

“I’d rather have a life of oh wells than a life of what ifs.”

To be a stock trader was my dream and I did everything that I could to get a job as a professional trader and trade with millions of dollars. After I completed my army service I studied BA in economics at the university, read tons of books on trading, took online courses and started trading on my own savings for a couple of years till January 2016, when finally my dream came true! A big trading firm gave me a chance in the Big Boys playground and granted me access to a million dollar trading account!

But I wasn’t happy

It was all finally happening as I had desired… work was in full-swing and I was making a good living, but I wasn’t happy. Why? Just few months down the line I began to feel empty from the inside and felt that something in me was dying. I felt physically exhausted and mentally and emotionally I wasn’t at peace, I was mostly anxious and nervous, worrying about the large amount of money that I was dealing with and the endless working hours were draining me. I knew something had to change, I had to change … but I didn’t know what and how do I bring about these changes, especially when all that I had ever dreamt of or desired was finally mine.    

“What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me.” Helen Keller.

Almost a year later a thought struck me from out of the blue! I was struggling to fall asleep…still wondering about how and what to change. I had accepted that I am not happy and realised that life is too short to be unhappy. This simple realisation hit me hard! And I decided I want to become a Yoga teacher! I decided that I am going to fly down to India and enrol in a YTTC and start teaching yoga online!

A moment can inspire everlasting changes

It is true what they say about life … that it changes the moment you take a committed decision. The end results hardly matter. You are probably wondering why a stock trader like me decided to choose yoga overnight? So here are some more facts … about an experience I had years ago and another experience later in 2016 that triggered a deep sense of purpose.

“A rigid mind is very sure but often wrong. A flexible mind is generally unsure but often right.” Vanda Scaravelli

I have been practicing yoga since 2007 but I have not been consistent in my practice. I use to practice at least once a week at the gym and slowly cut it down to once a month and then once in a blue moon! Nevertheless, I still remember how good that one session made me feel, especially Ashtanga yoga practice.

I think it was my trip to India around October 2016 with my other half, Nataliya that got me interested in Ashtanga yoga. We were at the serene beach of Agonda in Goa where we saw an amazing yogashala filled with beautiful yoginis from around the world practicing yoga. They all looked so HAPPY and FREE! That’s when Nataliya and I said to each other that one day we have to come back here and enrol for a yoga course.

And later in January 2017, after a sleepless night, I somehow garnered the confidence to walk up to my boss to thank him for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to live my dream, and then I confessed “but I must make changes in my life now. I am going to be a Yoga Teacher!”  I closed my trading account and said goodbye to my fellow traders; leaving behind a few bewildered minds to pursue my new dream and embark on a new crazy journey to become a FULL TIME YOGI!

The best month of my life!  

I searched online for a suitable teacher training course in India and finally found an amazing Ashtanga Vinyasa Shala on Patnem beach, Goa. I booked my flight tickets to India and started my 200 hour Ashtanga Vinyasa YTTC on 13 march 2017.

I won’t lie, it was super hard for me! Going from No practice to Daily practice of Ashtanga primary series every morning at 07:00 am, 6 days a week, and to add to this the humidity of Goa! The Ashtanga practice is HARD, very demanding, at times even boring to do the same thing EVERY DAY!

My body was in pain, my knees had begun to hurt in lotus posture, my shoulders were screaming for help all through the endless vinyasas. But in a very mysterious way, my mind and body were also telling me that they needed this practice to break up my old beliefs and build up a new Me!  A stronger one and a much more flexible Me! Soon, I started to feel happy, calm, creative, and joyful!

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it is going to be worth it.”

It was the BEST month of my life! It changed me physically, mentally and emotionally. Before this intense tapasya, I was a pretty shy guy, I was embarrassed with my English (I’m not a native english speaker), I was embarrassed to dance, I was embarrassed with my skinny body, and I was did not have the confidence to stand in front of a large audience.

But Yoga changed EVERYTHING for me! I found myself  speaking only in English for a month, playing guitar & singing to 40 people and even dancing like crazy on a stage with 400 people cheering me! Something had definitely changed in me 🙂

My Online Yoga Adventure

I returned home a changed man and started my online yoga adventure. My initial plan was to teach yoga online in Hebrew (my native language), but after that life changing experience in Goa I decided that I have to reach out to as many people as I can and share this AMAZING thing called YOGA with the world at large. So I started shooting videos in English.

In my videos I share tips that I discover during my personal practice, poses that I like or dislike in my practice, difficulties I have in my practice and my personal flows. It is amazing to release videos and get hundreds of messages from people all over the world telling me how I inspire their yoga practice, how I make them smile in the morning and to know that they wait for my next yoga video.

Since March 2017 I practice everyday first thing in the morning. I love outdoor practice, to be surrounded by beautiful nature and to breathe fresh air. On most days I practice Ashtanga vinyasa flows that I improvise on based on how I feel that day. On certain days I do the Ashtanga primary series, on others I do Power Interval Yoga (more of exercise than yoga) and once a week a soft Yin flow. But my favorites are definitely the Ashtanga Vinyasa flows that I continue to improvise on.

“Do your practice, and all is coming.” K Pattabhi Jois

My goal is to influence as many people as possible and to add yoga to their life and show them that you don’t have to be super spiritual or super flexible person to practice yoga.
Just do yoga, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day! Yoga changed my life from every aspect and I know it can and will change the life of many more and make them A LOT BETTER!

Idan Kirshner, fulltime Yogi

Facebook: @Idankirshneryoga

Instagram: @Idankirshner


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