My journey began while I was immersed in the cut-throat, competitive corporate world of recruitment and headhunting, working in a demanding target-driven environment. After the initial adrenaline rush of an active corporate life, frequent business travel, and work that spilled over into weekends, my body started signaling to me that I needed to re-evaluate my lifestyle. Lack of regular activity, comfort eating, and a complete lack of understanding of how these impacted my system led to weight gain, hormonal changes, and a plethora of other issues.
I figured a good gym membership will do the trick but running aimlessly on a treadmill to loud thumping background music was an ordeal for my soul. That was when I finally decided I needed a different healing modality. When I took an annual Yoga membership at a wellness studio, little did I know I was taking my first steps on a journey that would change the course of my life forever.
Introduction to Yoga
I am grateful that I was exposed to classical/ traditional Hatha Yoga from the outset. My very first teacher coincidentally, and I found this out much later, was also from the Sivananda lineage through Bihar school of Yoga and the style of practice and approach was truly holistic with a strong emphasis on breathing, pranayama, meditation apart from the usual postural/ asana practice.
I connected deeply and looked forward to my early morning classes 5 days a week. When I chose Yoga, I wasn’t looking for quick results. I was open to seeing how the consistency of practice impacted my system and while I noticed an immediate improvement in energy levels, strength, muscle flexibility and joint mobility, another 6 months down the line I also got rid of my budding thyroid issue, managed to regulate my weight and hormonal fluctuations.
“There is no noise in the world, there is no peace in the Himalayas. Both are within you.”
– Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Most importantly my mind was a lot calmer. There was more action and less reaction.
Thereafter there was no looking back! While I continued to have a hectic corporate life, I was now able to create a better work life balance through the transformations Yoga brought to the mind and body.
Interestingly I also reconnected to a part of myself that had long been stashed away. As a teenager I was very curious about spiritual sciences. I was far from religious, ran away from ritualistic practices but the philosophical and existential aspects of religion always interested me.
I remember listening to Bhagavad Gita satsangs regularly at the temple in our vicinity and pondering over several questions Arjuna raised, surprisingly resonating with each of them deeply. But soon life, studies, career and marriage caught up and pulled me in a different direction. However, it appears that we are all on a life path and every
direction is ultimately right and needed for that stage of life.
Living Yoga Everyday
I guess my calling towards Yoga was very strong and when I finished my work contract in 2016, instead of rushing to find another job I decided to invest in a Yoga Teachers training course. My first teachers training was in the Upper Himalayas in the beautiful town of Uttar Kashi and it was an experience that changed me. I was no longer “doing” Yoga for an hour on the mat, but I was beginning to live it in my day to day life. Seeing the practice extend beyond my mat has been an extremely gratifying experience. And while I did go back partially to corporate life, I managed to
find a work model that allowed me to teach a few classes each week.
The more I taught, the more I learnt and this made me long to be a student again. When this longing could no longer be put aside, I decided to do the Advanced Teachers Training course at the beautiful Sivananda Yoga Vidyapeetham in Kannur, Kerala. I have now been teaching in various studios across Dubai as well as doing occasional corporate and private training. Apart from teaching, I also enjoy creating short educational videos for my Instagram handle and writing and publishing articles on Yoga & wellness for various leading digital forums. Some of my articles have been published
on Shethepeople.tv, Yourstory Weekender and Finisher Magazine.
I have very recently begun two new courses – one on Ayurveda (with Dr David Frawley) & another Vedic chanting foundation course to deepen my understanding of the wider Vedic field. Yoga has been an integral part of my life for over six years now and if there is one crucial perspective I have to offer newbies, it is this – approach Yoga with
patience and with an objective of overall holistic wellness.
“Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”
-Swami Sivananda Saraswati
If you are purely looking to lose weight, build muscles or tone your abs there are several other modalities that may offer quick results. If you are looking for constant entertainment and adrenaline rushes, you may be initially disappointed. Having said that, I have seen many restless, jumpy beginners come to class and after the initial
adjustment, fitting in beautifully with the practice.
Being able to witness these transformations in people – from frequently flu prone to radiating health, from unconscious to mindful, from anxious to calm, from restless to still – has been one the most gratifying aspects of teaching.
As a practitioner, I am fairly consistent. Consistency will not only transform one’s body, but through the medium of the body also one’s mind & energies thereby positively enhancing the way one experiences life.
I think of Yoga as a pranic recharge for the whole system and hence it no longer is a chore for me that I need to tick off my daily to-do list. It is as important as my daily ablutions and activities that keep me alive and thriving. And it is this approach that I recommend to anyone who is looking to go deeper.
Treat the practice just as you would treat any other intense activity such as singing, painting, classical dance or learning to play an instrument. Bring in reverence, discipline and genuine interest and see how it unfolds.
Yoga is also not merely a physical & postural practice to me. Over these last few years, many deeper dimensions of Yoga have opened up in my life that I am grateful for. An inherent yearning to create something of value, to explore my creative potential, to express myself in the best way I can. All of these I am now exploring through increased
interest in activities such as cooking, gardening, writing, reading, music and more.
As a teacher, on the asana front, my teaching style includes Sivananda Yoga and Traditional/ Classical Hatha Yoga. I combine my love for classical asana practice with study & contemplation of Yogic scriptures and Vedantic philosophy, to
bring in a spiritual and holistic dimension to the experience.
Simply put, I can see so many aspects of life flowering and blooming through this sacred practice that oftentimes I feel completely humbled and happily overwhelmed
My best wishes to those who plan to embark on this journey!
Deepa Bhat, Dubai
500 hours RYT, Wellness content writer
Teacher at @AnandaYogaDubai