A collection of real life stories from yoga teachers before they became teachers.
"I was two weeks into my training when I understood that there was a timeless and precious meaning to the things I learned – something that went far beyond the physical sphere and flexible hamstrings."
Yoga Teacher, Cyclist, Vegan,
Nationality : German
Current Location : Melbourne, Australia
Jessica Keim is an avid cyclist vegan yoga teacher. Gliding gracefully into handstands and using her bicycle as her main mode of transportation to power her travels around the world, she defies every myth that you need meat to be strong.
Read her story below.
It has been two-and-a-half years now that I decided to complete my first YTT and I still remember struggling to decide on a suitable school. My two main reasons for doing it were:
First of all, I became really passionate about Yoga (or sweating it out doing asanas, trying to perform contortion-like postures and handstands as my new favourite hobby). And secondly –I didn’t know what else to do.
If that is not material for successful teaching stories, I don´t know what is.
I knew that Yoga is more than physical exercise and OM chanting, however, I was not willing to go a step further and learn the “Yoga Styles” of Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar and so forth. In fact, I was pretty worried about learning gentle Hatha Yoga and that I would not be able to “get my practice to the next level”. Oh boy...
I was two weeks into my training when I understood that there was a timeless and precious meaning to the things I learned – something that went far beyond the physical sphere and flexible hamstrings.
The very essence of everything that has always been important in the world – something that can be a powerful tool if you just take your time and dedication to it.
I learned how to deal with life in a better way and I mean it literally dealing, coping with being alive and sentient in this world. How to show respect to yourself and others, how to fulfil your duties towards yourself, your family, friends, the community, the whole world and entire universe, without getting lost in this inner world of thoughts, your own reality in the head. I have learned the hard way before in my life, what incredible power our own thoughts can have and how they can leave you with a limited, sometimes disruptive perception of yourself, your skills and strengths.
The practice of Yoga as a whole has made me aware of the patterns of the mind and, most importantly, provided me with the ability to create my own techniques to stop the circle of rumination, senseless assumptions and depression.
I understood that I jumped head over heals into a purely physical practice of Yoga, because I wanted to get out of my head first, before I was ready to dive deeper into it and face the real cause of my problems – my untethered thoughts.
My decision for a YTT was one of the best in my life, setting me up for knowledge and wisdom, which nobody would ever teach you in school; preparing me for life in a unique matter, by opening doors and leading the way, leaving me so curious and eager to go through that all voices of fear or failure are silenced.
It is that very feeling I like to provoke in other people now, when I am not only acting as a student, but also a teacher.
Follow Jessica on Social Media for inspiring posts on yoga and vegan lifestyle
Instagram : @vegabonde
Yoga Teacher, Photographer & Filmmaker
Nationality : Indian | Current Location : Dharamsala, India
Kunal Raj Shah is part of Eka Bhumi's team of teachers currently based in Dharamsala, India. He has his own studio there offering sound healing, mudra meditations, in addition to his regular yoga classes and workshops.
His calming voice and soft giggles puts everyone at ease in his presence. He also has a keen eye for photography and videography.
Read his story below.
"My favourite thing about teaching yoga is to see how relaxed a person is after a yoga class. That, brings me so much joy."
I discovered yoga in 2015 at the age of 25. That was a time in my life when I was quite confused regarding my studies, career, diet, health and relationships. I knew I had to improve my health but I was not fond of working out at gyms and chugging protein shakes so I decided to give yoga a try and fell in love with the practice.
With regular practice brought drastic changes in my health, my energy levels, my digestion, my mood and my overall outlook improved tremendously. I could see my focus improving and my thyroid issues was cured within just a few months. I started to read and learn more about yoga philosophy which proved to be a great guideline in understanding life and its laws. Yoga was indeed an entire way of life.
I desired to help others improve their health the same way yoga helped me, and knowing that a growing number of people suffer from the kind of ailments that can be cured by yoga made me decide to become a teacher.
My favourite thing about teaching yoga is to see how relaxed a person is after a yoga class. That, brings me so much joy.
Right now, I am very excited to share more practices of pranayama and meditation with people after having explored their effects in the mental and emotional aspects of the body.
Follow Kunal on Social Media to see what he's up to and his offerings
Instagram : @kunalshahyoga
Dharamsala Studio Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/kunalshahyoga
Yoga Teacher, Adventure Lover & Musician
Nationality : Malaysian
Current Location : Vancouver, Canada
Evelyn Loh is Course Director of Eka Bhumi Yoga and although she is currently in Canada, she loves splitting her time between Canada, Thailand and India open to unexpected adventures, all the while pondering the meaning of life.
Read her story below.
"I took my first teacher training and that changed my life. The daily routine, learning about history and philosophy, the sense of peace and encouragement and community is possibly one of the most memorable experiences in my life."
My spiritual journey started at a young age where I grew up in a Buddhist family where we often visited temples and we as a family travelled to worship large Buddha statues all over Asia. We had an altar at the entrance of my home where I saw my father chanting and meditating first thing in the morning, every morning without fail to this day.
Our bookshelves were filled with Buddhist philosophy books and my parents often preached to us that the world we know is just an illusion (maya). These talks often ensued a flood of questions from me being ever curious about the greater meanings of life.
I discovered yoga as exercise at the age of 18 when I tagged along for a yoga class with my aunt. Like many people, I took it as a sort of group fitness class thinking it was for older women. I was blown away. And as I dug deeper, I found huge similarities between the two philosophies of Buddhism and Yoga, and because yoga predated Buddhism by 4,500 years, I was in love.
In my mid-twenties, I was looking for a change to my high-stress corporate job and I was going for yoga classes across the street twice (sometimes thrice) a day to escape. I realized that I had memorized all of the Sanskrit names to the postures just by pure exposure. I knew I needed to study more about this.
I took my first teacher training and that changed my life. The daily routine, learning about history and philosophy, the sense of peace and encouragement and community is possibly one of the most memorable experiences in my life.
What I love most about teaching is seeing my students achieve something the thought they could not at the beginning mentally. I still remember the first time I got up into a headstand and thinking, “Well what else can I achieve that I think I cannot?”
Yoga has improved my life tremendously in every way. But the biggest thing for me was confidence, not only in myself and my abilities, but in that the current situation needs to take place so the future one can.
Follow Evelyn on Social Media for her whereabouts and her inspiring posts on yoga
Yoga Teacher, Actor,
Craft Theatre Company Member
Nationality : Danish / British
Current Location : London, United Kingdom
Thomas is a yoga teacher based in London, England who also has a diverse career in Film, TV and both classical and modern Theatre.
He uses yoga as an additional tool to help and train actors at the Craft Theatre in
Read his yoga story below.
"I would say that I wouldn’t be alive today if it was not for yoga. I was diagnosed with HIV in a time where there were no treatment options, and I felt helpless. Yoga gave me tools to cope with the physical and mental lows."
I first discovered yoga in drama school where my head of movement was Edd Clark, (founder of the tripsichore yoga movement), and he was using these series of movements that were dance-like that really captivated me. Then one day I was practicing these movements and somebody said, “You’re a yogi!” Turns out that the movements were from sun salutations. And thus, my journey to discovering yoga began.
After some time, I went to a Sivananda ashram in Putney. There was also an Iyengar close by, so I started practicing all these “styles” of yoga before discovering vinyasa with Rebecca Parker, which I could really identify with.
I didn’t really plan on becoming a teacher. I sort of fell into it. I was doing a lot of classes and training with Rebecca and decided to take a teacher training with her to deepen my practice. It was a “Shiva Rea” Vinyasa style where she felt the movements as they came, sort of making them up along the way. I completed the training, with a trip to the 2010 Kumbh Mela in Rishikesh, where I also got to meet and work with teachers like: Surinder Sing and Shyam Das. Rebecca subsequently got me covering her classes. Her style was very specific and I still felt a little insecure as a teacher.
It was not until I took another 200-hour course with Yoga London which was more foundational I found the tools I needed to teach a class confidently. We practiced teaching a lot with each other which helped a lot and now I currently teach in London and train actors at Craft Theatre.
I have since then done further training with: Patric Beach, Norman Blair, Dylan Werner and Jamie Clark (the yoga people) to name a few.
Yoga has improved my life immensely. I would say that I wouldn’t be alive today if it was not for yoga. I was diagnosed with HIV in a time where there were no treatment options, and I felt helpless. Yoga gave me tools to cope with the physical and metal lows. Especially through its physical practice, I was able to better cope and eventually rebuild my health.
What I love most about teaching yoga is watching my students find the breakthrough moment. Everyone goes through it a little differently but it is spectacular to watch. Whether they are well-trained dancers or office workers, yoga allows them to find another level, a deeper level of connection with their bodies, minds and selves.
Follow Thomas on Social Media to see what he's up to and his offerings
Instagram : @greatdaneyoga
"I was really surprised how many opportunities opened up along the way after my yoga teacher training "
Yoga Teacher, Vegan Cook
& Yogi Entrepreneur
Nationality : Austrian
Current Location : Penticton, Canada
Daniela is a yoga teacher, now based in Canada and has run retreats in Europe and is currently working on multiple projects including a vegan cooking blog, a yoga lifestyle blog and an online yoga support network. Her aim is to help people through eco-living, yoga principles and healthy eating.
Read her story below :
I first discovered yoga in the traditional sense at my 200-hour yoga teacher training course at Wise Living Academy in February 2014. It was never planned and it was a complete coincidence, but I needed a safe place after something really bad happened and this place was where I went. It was a life changing experience. I started with a 200-hour yoga teacher training course, then followed by an immersion one year later, a 300-hour course and a 500-hour yoga therapy course and finally completing 1000-hours of yoga training.
At first, I completed the teacher training for my own education and not to be a teacher but then it changed into something else. I’m a scientist originally and I really like the fact that traditional yoga is a practical science and experience based and it makes very good observations. I realized that it is so beneficial that I needed to share this knowledge.
I started to teach yoga in Vienna right away, at first privately to friends, family and classes by donation. It was nice to unfold as a teacher because learning how to teach in the trainings was one thing but you still need experience in instructing the class, guiding students and applying what you learn.
I believe that the practice of yoga is really effective and I feel like I can connect with the people on a deeper level. It such a nice feeling that you can help and support people by passing on this knowledge.
I studied nutritional science and food was always an important in life to be. At the teacher training, I started to eat a plant-based diet and that was a really big change and I felt completely different. Along with sustainable living, it caused me to see food differently and understand the relationship to my own body. I feel much more empowered for my personal stress and emotional management.
I was really surprised how many opportunities opened up along the way after my yoga teacher training and I’d like to encourage anyone who has completed their yoga teacher trainings to open up and share what they are passionate about. For me, I found so many opportunities this way. I met my husband during my training and I met people who I now run yoga retreats with and planning to do many more yoga collaborations there.
Daniela is currently working on a project called Zen'n'Zest – Body, Mind, Health with a group of other yogis that she went to the same training with. All of them share a love for yoga, food, life, travelling and selfless service. They wanted to make a difference and a business with purpose, where they combine the ancient techniques of Yoga with scientific facts.
It is an online platform to support other people with free content on the one hand and on the other hand purchasable packages for self-development. In the free content section will share topics about the body, mind, eco-living, nutrition and other things that inspire us. we will start with this on a separate website and on a Facebook Page that will be launched hopefully the next days.
Other projects that are very dear to her are also her vegan cooking blog, ‘Vegan Cooking with Love’ and also her Facebook page Yoga 4 Living where her and her husband Anton post all about yoga, their classes and other adventures.
Follow Daniela on Social Media to see what she's up to and her offerings
Facebook Group : Vegan Cooking with Love