How Yoga taught this young Yogini the art of letting go and embracing the future

Shivali worked under a designer for a year and was all set to pursue her Master's in Architecture abroad when she changed her mind and went back to Lonavla
Striking an asana | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)
Striking an asana | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)

Once one truly understands the essence of yoga, it gets very difficult to relate to the world and its materialistic ways. And this is what happened with Shivali Shukla. This Hyderabadi girl undertook her first ten-month course in yoga at Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute and Research Center in Lonavla in 2010. "My father is a great believer when it comes to yoga and he encouraged me to take up the course," says the youngster. From there to today, yoga took her to Lonavla, Rishikesh, Mysuru and now, she is in Thailand, teaching the art form. "I am not sure what will happen next, I am just going with the flow. And even this, I learnt through yoga. I used to try and control things, but now, I've learnt to let go. And life has surprised me every time," she says with a smile.

On point: Shivali doing what she does best | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)

Like every good yoga instructor, Shivali too advocates the fact that yoga needs to go beyond asanas, though she also acknowledges that it is a difficult task to inculcate in students. "Most of the current generation thinks that yoga is boring and for old people. So to make it a disciplined lifestyle among them is a difficult task. What we could do is give them what they want first, which are asanas, and slowly start teaching them about the core aspects," offers the 26-year-old and explains, "They want to do Instagram-worthy asanas, so it's okay to start with focusing on physical fitness and then drive them to see the other benefits."

Shivali worked with CultFit briefly and taught yoga there. She has also freelanced and taken classes on her own  

And what about goat yoga and puppy yoga, videos of which are going viral on social media? Shivali laughs and says, "I am not completely against or for it, but it's definitely a distraction. If you want more awareness and there is a puppy in the room, how will you focus on self? It just reduces the form to an interesting way of doing a physical workout," she opined. Shivali asserts, again and again, that yoga is about you and your mat. "Eventually, a sense of detachment develops which helps one cope with anxiety," says Shivali who has a Bachelor's in Design degree from Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad. 

Acing the game: Shivali doing yoga outdoors | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)

Shival says that you need to keep practicing it, even when on a few days, one might feel agitated or unfocused. Persistently sticking to the art form will help reveal its benefits. "Over time, you will learn to carry this motivation throughout the day," she says. Talking about the International Day of Yoga, she says that yoga is the need of the hour, especially in a world which is wrought with stress and anxiety. "It is important to spread awareness about yoga and let the world know the benefits of adopting it as a lifestyle," she says.   

All in a day:
Some asanas as performed by Shivali

MALASANA: Also known as the Garland Pose, it helps stretch the back and legs | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)

PARIVRTTA PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA: This strengthens hamstrings, thighs and calf muscles

PARIVRTTA JANU SIRSASANA: This asana stimulates the liver, kidneys and other organs | (Pic: Shivali Shukla)

Tracing the yogini's journey 
Yoga has taken Shivali to a lot of places. Let's see what she learnt from where:

- Lonavla
After pursuing a short course in 2010, she went back to the city to complete her PG Diploma in Yoga. "My batch had advanced practitioners and I would judge myself too much," she recalls.

- Rishikesh
So, she went away to Rishikesh for self-practice and fell in love with the place, says the 26-year-old. She taught and practiced here.

- Mysuru
Then yoga took her to Mysuru, to Ashtanga Yoga Mysore to be exact, where she taught Ashtanga Yoga. But felt like she needed to learn more. So she went to another centre in the city, Mysore Hatha Yoga Kendra and here came the turning point of her life. "My mindset changed and my practice got better. This began to reflect in my ways. I will never forget those four months," she says  

For more on her, click on

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