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  • Writer's pictureSona Vyas

My Journey from Desk to Mat

Updated: Aug 12, 2018

In my first blog, I want to share with you my story of how I became a Yogi. Before I started Hatha Yoga Kula, I worked in the finance industry for over 14 years and have a firsthand appreciation for the stressors that cause poor mental and physical health. I started my career at one of the big four accounting firms as an Auditor where for the first three years of my career, I worked 70+ hours per week. Work pressure lead to unhealthy diet and sleep habits which took a toll on my health. I started experiencing adverse health issues related to stress, increase in anger, and lack of concentration. This spiraled into weight gain, hypothyroidism, and carpel tunnel syndrome.

In 2007, I was blessed with beautiful baby boy but the additional responsibility of newborn paired with increasing workload, travel, and hectic schedule resulted in worsening health. The lowest point came in 2009 when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease … and there was no escape. This was a turning point in my life and I was determined to spend quality time with my son and family and not let stressors of life defeat me.

I took 3 months off from work and completely focused on my eating and sleeping habits. I started a structured daily regimen of meditation and yoga. Within 2 months, I started to feel energetic, physically strong, and mentally focused. Thyroid and autoimmune disease were in control without medications and carpel tunnel symptoms were alleviated. I was surprised and intrigued at the same time.

When I came back to work, I started to deal with stressful situations at work with balanced mind. My emotions were in check and there was peace within along with a sense of sharpness to do my work more effectively and efficiently. My energy levels were high and it stayed like that for the rest of the day. Looking at the improvement happening from within, I decided to find a job which allowed more flexibility and better work life balance. I joined a financial firm with great work-life policy and wonderful managers, I was also able to focus more on my daily meditation practice and experience even greater benefits at work.

I started to read books about meditation for my self-development and to deepen my understanding. I wanted to share the joy I was experiencing with others and started investigating Teacher Training Programs. My ideal school of choice was in India but given that most India based programs had 2-5 months residence requirement, I decided to enroll in a U.S. based program and completed a 200 hour teacher training program (RYT® 200) accredited by Yoga Alliance. The training program gave me an appreciation for how yoga impacts human physiology. I furthered my training be getting certified as a children's Yoga teacher (RCYT®) and prenatal yoga teacher (RPYT®) though Yoga Alliance accredited schools.

In 2016, I founded Hatha Yoga Kula (HYK) which allowed me to teach yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to the masses and conduct philanthropic work. However, I was still not satisfied and I wanted to experience and understand the deeper dimensions of these ancient techniques. As fate would have it, I got to see the founder of Isha Yoga Center, Sadhguru, during his Inner Engineering book release in New Jersey. He explained principles of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in a very scientific and logical way. After seeing him, I wanted to go to India to train under his tutelage.

Isha Teacher Training program is an intense 1,750 hours of immersive teacher training program that is unparalleled in this world. It requires 5 months of training at an Ashram in India. As a family, we decided that this training was once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be passed up. I applied to the program and went through the rigorous interview process. From a worldwide candidate pool of thousands, I was lucky enough to be selected for the training program. My Managing Director at Bank of America approved leave of absence for me and I was off to the time of my life!

Isha Yoga Teacher Training program was one of the most intense experiences of my life that was out of this world. For five months, I lived the life of a monk - without luxuries, family, job, exotic food, and fancy clothing. I was completely focused on deepening the experience of life through hours of meditation and yoga every day. My days began at 4 AM and ended between 11 PM and midnight. The training made me physically and mentally strong and allowed me to experience intense energies that helped me shed any deepest fears and overcome self-doubt. Completing the training helped me crystalize my life goal – to help others experience the benefits of meditation as I had experienced.

After returning home, I went back to work at BofA. I started to notice how work and stress was weighing down my co-workers. With numerous organizational change, they had trouble focusing on work, and moral was low. I was shocked to see people around me being tired, lethargic, and stressed with no control over their emotions. I realized that I was seeing the same stressors that negatively impacted my life playing out in the lives of my colleagues in finance industry.

I came up with a program focused on mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and healthy eating as the core offering of Hatha Yoga Kula. Daily practice of yoga, meditation and healthy eating have been shown to reverse the negative effects of stress and promote growth and healing. These programs empower individuals to cope with stress and make their lives joyful. It is my mission to teach this ancient technology to as many people as I can so that it can help them take control of their wellbeing.

Be. Breathe. Blossom.

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