Featuring Divya Kaushik from India

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga


For thirty-five-year-old Divya Kaushik from Rishikesh in India, yoga is her life. It is her livelihood, connection to her cultural heritage and a bonding family activity. Divya was first introduced to yoga 14 years ago when she participated in a yoga camp in her hometown. Although that initial encounter was brief, she found herself completely drawn to it.
"My inspiration goes to my father who always supported me. He passed away last year and I cherish every memory of him."
When Divya was growing up, life was very difficult financially. Her father, being the sole bread winner in her family, worked long hours at a local sugar factory, making sure that he provided for anything Divya, her mum and her siblings needed. He always encouraged Divya to follow her dreams and did his best to support her with the limited finances he had. Through his support, Divya was able to complete her Master’s degree in Yogic Sciences. Divya studied yoga at the postgraduate level at Uttarakhand Sanskrit University in Haridwar, India. The course was taught in Hindi and took two years to complete. She studied and practiced yoga in a very classical format under the guidance of her teachers. Comparing her studies of yoga and the experience she has had interacting with her international students, Divya has observed a that there is a considerable difference between the way yoga is practiced in India and in the west. Through the yoga school Jeevmoksha Yoga Gurukul, she and her husband Vinay Kaushik run, they try to teach yoga to westerners in its most authentic form, incorporating pranayama (breathing), shatkarma (cleansing) and meditation with asana practice.

"Yoga has been extremely helpful to me on a lot of planes. I found my body being more stable, my mind more calm and emotions coming in more smooth since I started practicing yoga."
One of the benefits of practicing yoga, that Divya has observed in her own body, is that her menstrual issues got corrected. She no longer experiences menstrual cramps and her cycle has improved.  When Divya went through her difficult pregnancy and had to be in labour for a long period of time, the yoga techniques she had learnt to calm her mind really helped her. She feels that the level of fitness her body was in as a result of her habitual yoga practice helped her have a normal delivery and recuperate more easily afterwards. Over the years, yoga has helped her cope with so many stressful experiences in her life. When her husband was bedridden for 4 months due to a serious motor vehicle accident, Divya believes that she was able to support and care for him, physically and mentally, only with the help of yoga. 
"I definitely find a lot of change and transformation in myself when I look back at the early days of my life and now. My understanding, depth of thinking, self control and physical health all went through a healthy transformation with my practice."

Divya's favourite yoga postures are the backward bends and balances as she feels they allow for a full expansion and control over her body and mind. She finds headstands and arm balances to be the most challenging.  She has found that, after having a child, her body still struggles to have the required strength and control it used to have. Divya is slowly working her way through these challenges to improve her core strength and technique once again. From a mental perspective, yoga has taught her how to be stable and firm in the middle of the transitional nature of this world. 

 
"As we move along our lives a lot of things happen to give us experiences. How we take those experiences depends upon our physical, mental and spiritual development. I feel I was able to stay balanced through ups and down just because yoga was there. And above all, I learnt to have trust in myself."
Divya used to practice her asanas almost everyday, but due some major changes which have taken place in her life due to the Covid19 pandemic, she now has to practice when she can find the time or space to do it. The impact that the lockdown has had on India's yoga schools has been almost catastrophic. The industry which relied on the hundreds of thousands of international yoga students, descending upon Indian yoga schools year-long, has been hit a huge blow. Divya and her husband's yoga school Jeevmoksha Yoga Gurukul has not been immune to these disastrous effects. The school was unable to accept new students since March, when India imposed its lockdown and closed its borders. Unable to earn an income, Divya and her husband tried to build up their online Yoga Teach Training (YTT) platform. Unfortunately, a lot of students still feel that yoga is a face-to-face or contact type of course and so registration for the online course was dismal. Perceptions around online learning will slowly change and hopefully so will their registrations. Forced to move out of their ashram in which they had rented for several years, they have now relocated to a much smaller setup and hope to restart their yoga school once the lockdown is over and the pandemic has subsided.
"We have find our way out of tough situations. Things are not always favourable in life and there are tough times too. That’s what yoga teaches us  - how to rise above the effects of the negatives and positives and live a harmonious life."

Family is everything to Divya and being able to practice it with her son and husband is extremely special. Her husband being a yoga teacher as well, makes the learning experience an ongoing one where they are able to grow and advance in their practice, together.

Yogi Divya Kaushik's final message is for you to love yourself and love all others the way you love yourself. One should take care of the small things in life because they add up and make your life what it is. She believes that one should always try to remain balanced in whatever one does, always ensuring that your ego stays in check, on the mat and off the mat.

3 comments

  1. Yoga is a game, where no one loses ...
    Jai shree Ram

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats Divya. Wishing you always success, happy, harmonious and prosperous life.

    ReplyDelete

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