Consulting for Professionals
Specialized services for mental health professionals and yoga studios
Consulting for Mental Health Professionals
1:1 Clinical Supervision for Social Workers | Curriculum Development | Training and Facilitation
Program Development and Consultation
Trauma-informed | Culturally-sensitive | Anti-racist
Mindfulness | Dementia | Caregivers | Seniors
Engage my services for:
* Reviewing existing programs or creating culturally-sensitive, holistic programs for a variety of audiences, e.g. people living with dementia, seniors, caregivers, BIWOC
* Co-facilitating mindfulness programs
* Conducting 1/2 or full day programs for staff on a range of topics including person-centred care, anti-racist approaches to care
* Ongoing staff mentorship as new programs are rolled out
Consulting for Yoga Teacher Training Programs
Content development | Review of curriculum | Facilitation of philosophy / mindfulness meditation modules
Content Development and Review
Trauma-informed | Culturally-sensitive | Anti-racist
Engage my services to ensure that your YTT curriculum:
* Offers a decolonized, culturally-rooted perspective that involves correct usage of symbols, language, pronunciation
* Provides an overview of yoga history and current-day issues that connect the issues in the West with those in South Asia
* Allows trainees to practice engaged yoga, responsive to the needs of society
My Yoga & Mindfulness Journey
I grew up in India in a Gujarati Jain and Konkani Hindu household. Since I was a child, I saw my parents and grandparents using different aspects of yogic philosophy, Ayurveda and mindfulness, albeit we did not think about it in those terms. For instance, my mom would meditate twice a day diligently. My earliest memories involve feeling her presence next to me, before dawn, sitting cross-legged. In the darkness, I would watch her chanting silently. The meals in our home, I now realize, were cooked as per Ayurveda. My mom and I would sit in Vajrasana for ten minutes after meals to aid digestion. Fasting during Paryushan, a week of spiritual awareness observed by Jains, was an integral part of my growing up.
I did not formally learn asana, meditation or Ayurvedic recipes. They were handed down to me informally.
Unfortunately for me, I could not learn a lot from my mom as she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her 40s, when I was only thirteen or fourteen years old. Young Onset Alzheimer’s is not easy to manage even in the 2020s in Canada; needless to say it was extremely challenging in the 90s in a small town in India. It was hard to balance being a teen and being solely responsible for a human’s well-being. The aftermath of which took hold of me for a long time.
In 2006, I was twenty-three years old and experiencing a difficult break-up. My depression and PTSD from years of caregiving for my mom caught up with me. I was unable to function. Teary-eyed I approached my boss one day; he was fondly called Bhagwan (God) in our office. I asked him how he was so calm in the face of stress and turmoil. It was then that he introduced me to Vipassana.
I went to my first Vipassana retreat in 2007 - it was free, based on donations. I consider this my induction into a life-long process of healing. I did not continue meditating in this tradition because I experienced many difficulties. I understand that this is common with people who have experienced trauma. However, with a little bit of guidance, one can easily progress on this path fearlessly. Sadly, I did not have this type of support.
I dabbled with several other mindfulness and healing systems like Reiki and Pranic Healing. A particular practice that I learned during my Pranic Healing training became pivotal in my wellness journey for over a decade.
In 2008, I started practicing asana formally as I had begun experiencing debilitating chronic pain. I had a simple Gujarati male yoga teacher come home. Using gentle asana sequences, and pranayama, he helped me manage my pain effectively. My understanding of yoga was that it was a practical tool to lead an overall healthy and fruitful life.
I moved to North America in 2011 and got thrown into the world of capitalistic yoga. Expensive memberships to studio chains, high-end pricey yoga clothing and accessories, problematic diet culture practices, reduction of yoga to physical asana meant for weight loss and doing acrobatics, ableism, pervasive cultural appropriation, erasure of South Asian and other BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color), silence on key social issues are just some of the problems Western yoga is plagued with.
For nine years, I felt unsafe and unable to address these issues in the communities I was part of. I noticed that BIPOC would talk in hushed tones secretly, but no one would bring up these issues with the management. This is not to demonize any one community - I saw this across the US and Canada.
In the West, I find mindfulness programs "borrow" heavily from Eastern traditions, especially Buddhism, but fail to include ethical considerations. You can call it cultural appropriation or adaptation, or simply naivete. This does not sit well with me. My culture and traditions are reduced to certifications and strategies, peddled out to anyone that can afford to pay the hefty fees, leaving out those who have practiced these generationally. I am forced to pay for courses in psychotherapy to prove that I am worthy of doing this work, when it is my daily practice, in my DNA. What is heartbreaking is that I almost never see someone that looks like me leading these courses.
I used to feel disheartened and angry. But my path, my practice has brought me to the point where I want to offer concrete solutions to people who are genuinely interested in making a difference, and honoring the roots of these practices.
My story and struggle is shared by South and South-East Asians everywhere. I am positioned uniquely to leverage my lived experience, my culture, professional education and work to bring intersectional and holistic approaches to programs.
I offer anti-racist, trauma-informed, culturally-rooted content creation / facilitation and consultation services to mental health professionals, non-profit organizations and yoga trainers.
Together, let’s create a world that is inclusive, accessible and empowering!