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Tara Anand

 Student of Life, Mother, Stargazer, Poet, Garfield fan, Salsa enthusiast

I have always been an empath—apparently on my first day of pre-school when I was barely three, I told my surprised mother, “I know you’ll miss me … but don’t cry when you’re alone, I’ll be home soon.” I am used to being the go-to person for advice and support not just for family & friends but sometimes even for complete strangers—a young man came up to me in Ladakh (travelling alone, I was naturally wary) saying he had an inexplicable urge to talk to me about his broken heart!

Nonetheless, I didn’t consider taking up counseling or coaching professionally until my mid-thirties after emerging from a crushingly lonely & scary four-year period that razed my earlier life to the ground. To my dismay, neither friends nor family and not even the few alternate healers, therapists I met could keep an open mind about my need to honour my inner voice and walk out of my marriage. Turned out my decision to take a leap in the dark—anchored only to my inner guide—was the best gift I could have given my daughter and myself.

I’ve learnt that our darkest moments can prove to be game-changers if we mindfully nurture self-acceptance, rise above societal conditioning of what ‘should’ be done and clear harmful emotions such as guilt, shame & fear. When a client slowly opens her eyes and I see awed disbelief there instead of confusion & emptiness, it’s a magical moment–I know she has found the pearl of self-conviction by diving deep into her heart.

Having lived with domestic violence, abuse and absentee parents through my growing years, I know the damaging effect a shattered self-esteem can have on one’s confidence and quality of life. I have learnt the importance of yoking within to feel secure, loved, calm and for making wise choices. I strongly believe there is no truer friend or mentor than our higher self and I care deeply about helping others listen to this loving voice rather than to outside opinion.

After extensively studying the mind-body connection and training in several alternate healing techniques—Theta Healing, Pranic Healing & Psychotherapy, Spiritual Response Technique, Access Bars to name a few—for dealing with my low self-worth and dysfunctional relationships, I found Classical Ashtanga Yoga the most holistic & systematic method for healing past baggage and flowing with life gracefully and fearlessly.

Though I have been practicing yoga postures since my teens, I took up formal training in Ashtanga Yoga as well as Counseling in 2013 following the guidance of my spiritual teacher, Sri M. A year later, I left my corporate career spanning over fifteen years, to follow my newfound passion by starting my studio for yoga & wellness. However, I soon realised Yoga is highly misunderstood in today’s times­­—physical fitness or relaxation is not the core purpose.

Over the next two years I despaired more and more, unable to engage with my yoga students at a deeper level. I wanted for them what Yoga had done for me­–a profound inner transformation of consciousness with ripples spreading across all areas of my life. Since my husband, Aadi (who had joined me by then) and I were finding our parallel counseling practice much more gratifying, we decided to make it the focus of our work.

Although I am not a ‘certified’ Life-Coach, I believe a sincere practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga bears the hallmarks of an authentic coach—compassion, integrity, humility and an intuitive understanding of the subtle mind & ego. And of course, there’s nothing quite like firsthand life experience.

P.S. I legally changed my name in 2015 (yes, that’s right… to honour my inner voice) so don’t be baffled if you find published articles in our blog written by ‘Charu’––my former avatar.

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Her book ‘Why The Lotus Blooms’ : Choosing to Stand Tall is now available on Amazon.com. Kindle edition releasing soon.

Click here to read the excerpt