Featured Teacher: Shyam
Shyam's comprehensive personal practice is living proof that yoga really is his life. Such dedication was cultivated under the guidance of his grandfather, his first yoga teacher. Since then, Shyam has put his heart and soul into every practice and class that he teaches, while still finding time for other passions that include travelling, hiking and rock climbing.
Where are you originally from?
I am from south India, a city called Chennai in Tamilnadu state. Chennai is a hot and humid city famous for having the world's second longest beach "Marina beach". A birthplace of many great Yogis, Tamilnadu is also famous for its age-old culture and tradition filled with the richness of art, music, dance and Yoga.
How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching Yoga 11 years ago, whenever I found free time during my school days. It has been my full-time profession for the past 7 years.
Who was your very first yoga teacher and what was he/she like?
My grandfather Mr. P.V. Viswanatha Iyer was my first Yoga teacher. He was a simple, sweet person who was known for his generosity and selflessness.
How long have you been practising?
I have been practising Yoga from childhood long before I could even understand what I was doing. It all started as a playful practice with me and my cousin doing postures like headstands and handstands for fun, under my grandfather's guidance.
Originally, what attracted you to yoga?
As a child, the fun of Yoga attracted me and I was highly enthusiastic to do the backbends and leg-over-the-head postures. Later, participating in and winning Yoga competitions became further motivation.
What motivates you to practise today?
It is the philosophy of Yoga (Advita: non duality) and the desire for wisdom that motivates me now to keep up my practice, not only on the physical and mental levels but also on a spiritual level.
How would you describe your personal practice?
My personal practice includes Hatha Yoga: Kriyas, Bandhas, Mudras, Asana, Pranayama and meditation, maintaining a vegan diet, Kirtan (singing spiritual songs), learning the scriptural texts of Yoga, and reading inspirational books of great Yogis.
Before you became a yoga teacher, what did you do?
I was a student when I started teaching Yoga. Upon graduation, I took on the role of Yoga teacher full-time.
What do you love about teaching?
The opportunity to help people become not only healthy and strong but also mindful of their actions towards themselves, others and Nature. It also gives me the opportunity to share and spread the message of love, peace and joy.
What do you find challenging about teaching?
Yoga is about being 100% present, but as I try to teach this to my class I also realise this is exactly what I need to work on too. But the most challenging thing has to be helping my students to conquer their fears and come out of their comfort zone.
Describe your ideal class (as a teacher).
Teaching a 2-hour class of pranayama, asana and meditation where everyone is focused and relaxed.
What teacher has had the biggest impact on your practice?
Yograj C. Poovendiran has motivated, taught and guided me a lot - for that I am grateful to him.
What is your most embarrassing moment in the studio (as a teacher or student)?
When I came late for my morning class since I had forgotten to set the alarm clock the night before - I was very embarrassed. That's one mistake I would never want to do again.
Where is the strangest place you've practised yoga?
Motorbike Yoga! Practising Yoga with my teacher while riding a motorbike at 40 km/hr. That's the craziest Yoga I ever did!
Aside from yoga, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
I like watching TV, travelling, photography, filming, hiking, rock climbing, badminton, movies and music.
Describe your most profound yoga experience.
When I listened to Advita Philosophy for the first time, a long unanswered question of mine "what is the purpose of life?" was answered. This was one of my most profound yoga experiences.
If you weren't a yoga teacher, what would you be?
If I weren't a Yoga teacher, I would be a Yoga Teacher :) . Practising and teaching Yoga is my life.