On June 21, the International Yoga Day, your Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, and every other social feed was filled with pictures of politicians, celebrities, and friends twisting themselves into various poses.
But we all know people for whom every day is Yoga Day! They have turned their love for yoga into their profession and have mastered this ancient practice.
Roxann D’Souza can drop into a yoga pose anywhere, anytime. This 27-year-old from Mumbai has had unconventional careers from the beginning. She first worked as a hairdresser.
“As a hairdresser, I had to lift heavy hairdryers. We would work for ten hours a day, spending most of our time on our feet. Because of this my shoulders used to hurt and my hamstrings got stiff. We were all advised to do some kind of physical activity,” Roxann said.
She joined a yoga class in her neighbourhood. “I began to really like it. It became a healthy habit that was part of my schedule and made my whole day so much better,” she said.
In fact, Roxann enjoyed it so much that she even spent time watching YouTube videos at home and practising. Soon, she started thinking of taking up yoga full-time. She added, “When I was in college, I used to rescue a lot of stray animals. But with my hectic schedule as a hairdresser, I wasn’t getting time for that. I started thinking that this was not the field for me.”
With the support and encouragement of her parents and her yoga teacher, Roxann decided to make the switch.
“It was a very scary decision because I was giving up everything I knew. I was giving up a steady income and just running on this feeling I had. It could have gone either way,” Roxann said.
But things worked out well for her. Roxann is now two years into being a full-time yoga instructor, and she is able to earn a good living. She takes both private and group classes.
Roxann is passionate about yoga and rescuing animals, and now she has enough time for both. She regularly takes in sick cats and dogs, cares for them until they’re better, and helps in finding them new, loving homes.
To anyone who wants to be a full-time yoga instructor, she says, “Go for it. There is so much to explore about yoga and the whole philosophy behind it. It talks about focusing on yourself and detaching from the exterior world. It is very spiritual.” Of course, you need to get yourself a certification first.
Roxann wants to continue taking more courses in yoga to go deeper into the field and learn. She is currently doing a course in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga from Mysore, Karnataka.
Kapotasana or Pigeon Pose
“This pose has a very deep backbend and even though I have a bendy back, I have so much fear before I get into this pose. But once I do it, I am no longer scared, and it helps me build my willpower. It is an eye-opener. It is an intense, advanced move so beginners should not try it.”
Before Ajinkya Meher became a professional yoga teacher, he used to wait tables at a Pizza Hut in Mumbai. He had started working in the restaurant to pay for a degree he was pursuing side-by-side.
“I used to work for more than 16 hours a day, and I was not happy with the way I was living my life. Handling my studies and the job at the same time was difficult,” he said.
But Ajinkya didn’t want to be a waiter anymore, so he completed a course in yoga from an institute in Mumbai and became an instructor.
“I have been a professional yoga instructor for six years now. I had nothing when I started, but now I teach more than 100 students every day. Yoga has helped me reach a balanced state of mind, be more positive and focused,” the 26-year-old said.
Natarajasana or King Dancer Pose
“I used to have a very stiff body when I started. I wasn’t able to touch my toes when I bent forward. But now I can touch my toes from behind!” Ajinkya said.
This article originally appeared on the blog, Northbound. At Northbound, we want to help people make more informed choices about their careers and professional lives. Be it your first career decision, switching to a new field or exploring an entrepreneurial journey, we want to help you make better decisions and inspire you to find your path! Follow us for new stories!