Yoga Is Here For A Reason – Sai Gowri

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My yoga journey started when I found myself deep-rooted in anger and hurtful emotions that remained unresolved from my childhood. I found myself struggling with severe anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and heartbreaks. And in 2016, the bad phase in my life had become quite evident. Mentally I was in an extremely dark place, very, very dark. 

I was struggling to sleep at night. Anxiety kept me awake. At this time, I had no idea about “Yoga”. Thus, I never looked up Yoga for better sleep or to resolve my anxiety attacks. No one around me had any idea about this practice and it had never come up in discussions, until this one day, when a cousin of mine mentioned that she just started attending yoga classes. 

The first mention

That very first mention struck a chord in me instantly. Though I was not an athlete or a sports person, I felt strongly about this practice and wanted to know more. I looked up a few options and went ahead and inquired about yoga classes at this center called ‘Rashtrotthana’. They teach traditional style yoga.  

I enrolled for their last batch of the day, hoping that ending my day with yoga and pranayama will help me sleep at night. I absolutely lucked out on my first class as I got to learn from two Gurus and both of them were absolutely divine. I fell in love with this art and became a regular student of course. A few days later, I actually forgot the reason why I had even started. All I could think of every day was to get to my 6.30 pm class on time and without fail. 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu

I made up my mind to pursue my Masters in Engineering in Sweden. By August 2017, I had completed my first year of studies in Sweden. I had a plan for my career and the profession I want to be in; I was at it but still, suddenly, I felt that I had left something unfinished. I felt that the voice inside kept telling me to do something else. I paid heed to the inner voice and it wasn’t easy. 

It was tough to drop out of the course halfway and take a decision to go back to India to do something else, without knowing what is it that I really want to do. But I knew that my heart desired it and my mind was yet to decipher the path. So I was back home in 2017 with ‘I don’t know what to do with my life’ mindset. 

Continue what you do best

I continued with my yoga practice but had no intention of becoming an instructor. I never judged my practice as good or bad, I just continued with it because of how it made me feel. It made me feel at peace and complete. However, my father had a suggestion for me and it changed my life. He suggested that I consider doing a Yoga Teacher Training Course (YTTC). At first, I showed no interest in it. 

But he kept bringing the topic up and made me realize that I am good at it and that I should give it a second thought. So finally, in March 2018 I decided to enroll for a 200 hours TTC (RYT 200) in Hatha Yoga at a1000 Yoga Academy in Bangalore. I wanted to stay close to home so I did not look for courses in any other city.   

“Yoga is like a geologist for the soul; it can show you where to dig, and what to dig for, but the digging you must do yourself…”

The first day of my TTC was magical, the vibe, the energy, it was all so pure and beautiful. I fell in LOVE again, this time with the concept and scriptures of Yoga as a whole, as a philosophy, as a tool that can help everyone to lead a healthier and happy life. At that moment, things became very clear and I just knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. 

I want to practice, learn and spread this knowledge. I want to reach out to as many people as I can and make them fall in love with this beautiful art that changed my life for the better. I completed my YTTC and started teaching immediately and so far, it has been a wonderful journey. Somehow I know that it will always be so. 

A practice beyond asana 

With daily practice, yoga revealed itself as something beyond just asana practice – it appeared as a way of life. My daily practice is not limited to my time on my mat alone. There are days I need to find my peace and sanity and I am aware that just asana practice will not help me. I am aware that I will find peace and love I am looking for by spending time with my dogs and this is precisely what Yoga is to me.

Yoga to me is this awareness, of knowing what is best for your body, mind, and soul. I have a very loud mind which overpowers everything in my life. What I mean is that at times I feel it easily believes rather reacts to everything, as if it has a mind of its own and I have no control over it. Thus stillness is something that I still struggle with. I am a vinyasa person, very fast-moving and powerful and this gives my mind no time to think. However, the moment I finish my practice and sit down for Kaya Sthairyam it becomes extremely challenging. 

My Guru had once mentioned in our class, “When you focus on your breath your thoughts start to decrease.” 

This really helped me connect with my breathing and I slowly learned to redirect my thoughts to my breath, and gradually, the number of thoughts reduced. It is definitely a lot easier said than done but once you understand the connection, you realize it is actually such a simple thing to do. Breath is so important and is a simple solution to most of our body and mind issues. 

I am passionate about music and also a musician by profession (percussionist). I play the drums and it gives me immense peace and happiness to play with my band and this is also Yoga to me. And then there are days when I need to feel grounded and I know that a routine, a vinyasa or repetition of sequences and finding my focus and discipline on the mat will help me realign with myself and feel recharged and determined when I am off the mat.   

“Yoga uses the body to discipline the mind and to reach the soul.”

– B.K.S.Iyengar

This awareness also reflects in my style of teaching which depends on the group and varies as per the class’s requirement. I believe that the discipline on the mat should be your guide even when you are off the mat. When I teach, it is all about crushing individual egos and breaking barriers and beliefs. I believe in energy. I believe that I give my energy to each and everyone present in my class. 

I may come across as a strict teacher to many but I am also extremely caring and compassionate. I am aware and accept that every student in my class is my responsibility and that they absorb my energy. I am thus very conscious of the fact that I cannot lead a class with a bad headspace. Every time I enter a class with this awareness and after every class of mine, I am on a high; I feel absolutely content. It just makes me feel so good and happy   

It will all fall into place 

If you are contemplating on whether to start a yoga practice or to become a yoga teacher, be rest assured that once you take the first step, it will all fall into place. My long term plans with yoga are very clear and simple. I want to become a better practitioner and this will take care of the rest. I want to study more. I want to explore different styles of Yoga and also study Ayurveda. 

I have plans of traveling as a yogi and put myself out there, outside of my comfort zone and teach and grow. I want to run my own studio and host my own retreats, I want to connect with more people and allow them to be their true self, I want to help them in their journey of self-love and self-acceptance. The list may seem endless, but I just know that all that matters now is that I am on the path of Yoga and rest will fall into place.  

If Yoga is a part of your life today then it is here for a reason and the reason is You. 

Let us remember every time we step on the mat to practice or to teach, that we are not here by accident. Yoga found me when I needed it. Yoga doesn’t come to us randomly. If it is a part of your life, there is always a purpose in its presence. There is always a reason why it is here. And that reason is You. Yoga is here to help you discover the real You.

Yoga is definitely a calling. Yoga saved my life, and it continues to save me every single day.

Gowri 

Yoga instructor, Drummer, Animal Rights Activist.

Instagram: @gowrivation 

Youtube: www.youtube.com/gowrivation  

Also Read: https://www.juruyoga.com/yoga-journey-creative-difference/

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