We sat down with Shebani Shah, a Masters in International Journalism from City University, London, originally from New Jersey. She has done a Certified Yoga Teacher RYT® from Gokulam, Mysore, India. She has trained 250+ hours in anatomy, theory,
philosophy, therapy, and posture practice centered around mind-body-soul wellness at Yogadarshanam and is actively teaching and practicing yoga in Mumbai now.
- What inspired you to pursue yoga?
Shebani – We used to do yoga when I was younger as a family because my parents would practice it. Then, it was like a fun game where my sister and I could just bend around randomly. I was never actively inspired, but when I did the course, it was because I believed it was a very interesting art. Gradually, through the course and my own practice, I began to like how yoga made me feel, and started becoming more inspired. The deeper I went into the practice, I realised it is so much more than just asanas, it is about the breath, concentration and very importantly, about awareness.
- What style of yoga do you practice/teach?
Shebani – I practice and teach both Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga – Hatha is more about holding the pose and strengthening the muscles, while Ashtanga Vinyasa is about the flow and can be faster or slower. I practice them according to what my body and mind need because both have their own benefits.
- How has your life changed since you started practicing yoga regularly?
Shebani – For me, yoga is more of a necessity than a hobby, almost as necessary as drinking water in the morning. You can practice yoga at any time of the day, if I want to relax and calm down or energise and power up – yoga is my go-to.
- What would you recommend to someone who wants to jump in to the yogi lifestyle?
Shebani – I would say don’t get caught up in commercial yoga. This has been a huge lesson for me. Yoga is not a show about fancy poses, it is so much deeper than that. To understand what yoga is, you need to learn from a proper yoga teacher who has experience and knowledge, someone who has studied it in depth. It is way more than muscle strengthening, I still believe I have so much more to learn. I’d say one thing, if the changes is are merely external, it is not working, but if you see an all-round change then yoga is working.
- Who are your female role models?
Shebani – Honestly, I like to learn from everyone, not just in yoga, but in life, as long as they have studied the subject in-depth.
- What is your favourite activity or yoga pose to do during your period?
Shebani – Here’s the best thing about yoga, it can be your dessert, your feeling of listening to music, your power bank, essentially tailor it to whatever you want it to be, but not inversions, just don’t do inversions, stretch a little, do sitting asanas. Just do a longer shavasana and lay in bed.