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 avatarJ
Aadi Anand: Student of Life, (Step) Father, Dog lover, Spontaneous singer, Photographer, ‘Games of Thrones’ fan
Life has a way of nudging us down paths that seem crazy and dangerous at the time but reveal hidden treasures, a hundred times more fulfilling in the long run than preferred ‘safe’ choices. I was at such a crossroad in early 2015—it was time to move up the corporate ladder, a position I had worked towards for a long time was up for grabs. But when I sat down to apply I was surprised to discover I was more confused than excited. A big part of me wanted to join Tara at our yoga & wellness studio, Dhyana, full-time. Doing this would mean giving up our main source of income, forgoing my corporate ambitions and dipping into our savings.
Knowing the answer was within me I decided to give my mind a break and listen to my heart. The moment I tuned in I laughed out loud. To add conviction to my realisation, just then an ex-team member walked by waving at me. I recalled how she had been on the verge of losing her job because she lacked fluency in English. Knowing she had it in her I had taken it upon myself to coach her–motivating her to watch English sitcoms, read the paper every day and speak to me only in English even if it was uncomfortable—within a short while her performance had turned around. Mentoring people was what got me out of bed every morning, not meeting the numbers.
I firmly believe anyone willing to dig deep and commit to the process can break free from limiting beliefs, patterns and societal conditioning. Nothing can compare to the way a person looks when they discover the root of an issue and feel the power within to change it—the fire in their eyes says it all.
I faced many difficult moments in my late twenties such as dealing with debt, divorce (within a year) and being unemployed, forcing me to take stock of my life. I realised my smoking, drinking, over spending on credit cards and angry episodes stemmed from repressed emotions. I trained in a few alternate healing techniques—Reiki, Rebirthing, Theta Healing, Angel Therapy—to work on myself but nothing could beat the power of Classical Ashtanga Yoga, a way of life which empowered me to live life and not sleep walk through it. This is what healed ‘what was’, awakened me to ‘what is’, and prepared me for ‘what was to come’.
My formal introduction to Yoga took place after meeting my spiritual teacher Sri M. The sweetness I felt while practicing and the way my body responded made me feel I had found an old friend. As my practice continued, I was gently and steadily drawn to the deeper aspects of Yoga. Delving deeper into classical Ashtanga Yoga and using its core principles in daily life started bringing about a change in some long standing issues I had been battling for years now—anger, resentment, arrogance and a battered self-esteem stemming from my traumatic childhood (depressed by the physical beatings I even decided to dropout of school for a year).
My relationships with Tara and my (step) daughter which had been ripped apart several times in the past due to these issues, now began to heal and blossom. I realised just how far I had come when my (step) daughter handed me a letter after an argument saying, “I can’t imagine how my life would have been without you Dad. You are worth a lot to me.”
I formally started coaching & counseling people once my spiritual teacher gave me the green signal in the form of a certificate. The journey of transformation is not the easiest but I would love to support you through the process.