My teachings are multidisciplinary, reflecting the richness of my educational background and creativity in integrating many realms of knowledge.
As a classically trained Bharatnatyam dancer, I was immersed in the poetic science of ancient Indian movement. The postures, so similar to yoga postures, are simultaneously meaningful and precise, giving fresh life to ancient stories of Indian gods and goddesses.
I was on stage dancing Bharatnatyam many, many times each year from childhood through my second year of college. When I was 16, I completed my Arengetram. It was a two-hour long solo dance performance accompanied by extraordinarily talented classically trained Indian musicians. We had an audience of over 200 people in New York. I also began teaching Bharatnatyam that year and performed at Madison Square Garden the following year.
I was, simultaneously, winning science fairs and National History Day contests, assisting microbiology research at Brookhaven National Laboratories, and tutoring peers in math and SAT prep, which is what led me to Duke University as a pre-med Neuroscience major.
The freedom of intellectual exploration at Duke was a gift. I discovered Ashtanga yoga, which felt like a natural extension of my Bharatnatyam training, and also opened me to revolutionary ways of witnessing the inner workings of the body. During those years at Duke, I also studied Pilates and began teaching group fitness classes while I was learning Organic Chemistry, Anatomy, Human Evolution, and immersing myself in Cognitive Neuroscience research. As I integrated these diverse realms of knowledge, I began to envision a more holistic view of health.
Just after graduation, I moved to DC and spent a few years studying and working in Georgetown University. My focus was using fMRI to study the cognitive and neural effects of exercise. Later, I began working with the Georgetown Cognitive Neurogenetics Laboratory to conduct my own project on creativity and spirituality. Also during those years, I discovered, trained, and taught barre classes. I also delved into exploring the yoga “styles,” systematically spending months at a time immersing myself in: Ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, prana flow yoga, hot yoga, and Rocket yoga. They all had similarities to Bharatnatyam, but Ashtanga felt most true to me. I began practicing Mysore, which is the traditional way that Ashtanga yoga is taught in Mysore, India.
(Culturally, this has all been very bizarre to me. There are very few Indians in the US yoga scene and in the dozen times I have visited my family in India, I had never once seen a yoga studio.)
Alongside my exploration of the physical aspects of yoga, I began independent studies of the ancient yogic texts, which were particularly interesting because my ancestors wrote them. Patanjali’s sutras wove through my mind as I was designing neuroscience experiments to discover the neural correlates of creativity and spirituality.
Yoga and science have always been intertwined in my life. I see the physical aspects of yoga as indivisible from the mental aspects of yoga, which creates a kind of fitness that is seen as clarity, focus, and creativity. I felt the pull of following a conventional path for employment in the sciences, but I knew too that I spent all day waiting to teach my next class. I just loved to teach. It felt like the holistic healing I was thinking of as an undergraduate. I wanted to teach people how to feel better and best in their bodies, and I wanted to spend my days learning more, practicing more.
I left Georgetown in June of 2013 to live fully as a yogi.
Life has been quite the adventure ever since.