It was a standard job interview that switched the gears of my life. It was September 2014 and I was 27 years old.
Where do you see yourself in a few years from now? asked the Head of Operations of the tech firm I had applied to.
I looked out through the glass walls of his cabin and stared at rows of busy employees.
I had known enough struggle in my young life to appreciate the security and validation that this managerial position could give me. All I had to do was commit to it, to this company and to its aspirations for me.
I hesitated. And then I found myself calmly saying : I would like to practice yoga, to heal myself physically and be fit.
I was surprised by this moment of honest self realization, because I had no substantial training in yoga. As is common in most conventional Indian families, I was expected to study engineering or finance. In 2007, after graduating from the University of Delhi, I began working at an entry-level position with a multinational company. With this job, I wanted to not only save for my further education but also contribute to my family's income.
At first, the fast-paced corporate culture was exciting. I was appreciated for my skills, learnt well, and made steady progress for my efforts. My colleagues became friends, and I enjoyed socializing after company hours. I loved having a high disposable income and fancy perks. But that was not all. I worked very hard to achieve, and along the way, also completed my MBA degree.
I cannot say when things started to change for me. I was just in my mid twenties, but I had begun to feel like a rusty, middle-aged wheel stuck in a muddy rut. I sensed the need for a deeper goal, but I could not see it clearly yet. Meanwhile, my health was suffering. The high levels of stress in daily life had given me careless habits, and I made no time to exercise, eat sensibly or rest adequately. By the summer of 2014, I was shocked that my weight had shot up to 86 kgs.
I knew then that what I wanted most, more than the next cash bonus or career milestone, was to be physically fit and emotionally alive. In early 2015, I found myself at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Kerala, south India. The atmosphere of discipline and devotion that I absorbed there gave me peace and time to introspect.
Even so, I had always been fascinated by the Ashtanga Yoga method. I was familiar with the basics, which my brother Yogesh had taught me in earlier years. Upon my return to Delhi, I began a committed period of learning from Ajay Tokas, a dedicated teacher and a family friend. From him, I slowly and patiently deepened my understanding of this traditional and powerful practice. Over time, I saw positive changes to my emotional and physical health weight loss, increased bodily strength and flexibility, improved breathing, better sleep and reduced anxiety.
In January 2019, I became authorized to teach the Ashtanga Yoga method by the Krishna Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), in Mysore, south India.
I am very grateful to be able to share this practice, and all its benefits, with others.