Yoga teacher Rinku Suri says she is using yoga to guide, “many a time-battered city dwellers and soul searchers towards a united body and soul.” Tucked in a leafy tranquil corner of Mumbai is her sanctum that is called Yoga 101.
What makes Yoga 101 unique is its friendly atmosphere and the deep dedication you find in its handpicked group of teachers from around the world who bring their rich knowledge of numerous forms of yoga under one roof. “People take up yoga for various reasons but gradually their relation with it undergoes a transformation. From exercise it becomes a journey about mental fitness and leads them onto a path, which is spiritual and beautiful. Yoga becomes a way of life in, deed, speech and awareness. This is not just my story but everybody’s,” says Rinku.
Her own tryst with yoga began eight years ago when she was advised to do it for health and fitness. Over the years her experience and interaction with yoga underwent a transformation. “It was no longer about exercise and fitness but about a more meaningful life,” she explains. In August, 2012, Rinku traveled to Cambodia, and even while on vacation she could not resist practicing yoga. In Cambodia, she discovered a beautiful yoga café amidst natural setting. This discovery was to become the inspiration behind Yoga 101.
HerStory spoke to this very passionate yoga teacher and entrepreneur to find out more about her intriguing journey:
As a practitioner and teacher of yoga I can list out its multiple benefits. These are not just physical but also mental. Given our sedentary lifestyle yoga is the best way to beat sluggishness. It is the only form of exercise in the world that takes care of the entire body, all its organs and also the mind and the spirit. Yoga reverses your age. It makes you younger, both on the inside and outside. It is useful to many people who are struggling to give up on an addiction or learning to control their temper or lose weight. It is just one tool with so many benefits.
Yoga helps you to be strong and positive and surrender all doubts and inhibitions. Those who practice yoga have a more positive approach towards life.
The path to yoga
Born and brought up in Mumbai in a protective family, Rinku always wanted to be a teacher. Her mother did not want her to get into teaching so when she grew up she opted for commerce instead of arts and after college got into marketing. She joined CNBC and was with them for 12 years. She is grateful to CNBC for her job involved travelling and photography, both of which she loves. Over the years her passion for yoga grew, especially when she realized its “magical” benefits. Today she is a yoga teacher. Her students come from different age groups and all walks of life.
After returning from Cambodia, Rinku approached one of the big yoga studios in Mumbai for a franchise but when she did not receive any response she decided to get started on her own. Things began to fall into place when her family decided to move out and rent out the bungalow they had been residingin for years. Instead of renting it out,Rinku decided to use it to realize her dreams. She started work on the studio in December 2012. In July 2013 Yoga 101 was up and running. Rinku was actively involvedin designing the studio. The studio contains common areas where people can sit and read books picked upfrom the library, which is stocked with books donated by people. The studio has a separate section for wellness and yoga products like incense, oils, yoga mats and books; as well as a collection of yoga wear designed by Rinku herself.
I would say where there’s a will there’s a way. Even though people have very little time, they still exercise which goes on to show that awareness exists. Yoga has always been a part of Indian homes but the difference is that you now come to studios where you look at the teacher andare motivated to be like him or her. The challenge I face is in pulling potential clients (people who have been practicing yoga at their respective homes or from their comfort zone) and convincing them to do yoga in a studio. I tell everyone it’s a different ball game when you do yoga alone and when you do it in a group. The energies are different and there is always a subtle push to give a hundred percent.
Response to Yoga 101
Once the members of my studio receive exposure to the different forms of yoga, it is all they want to do. Yoga was seen as a form of exercise for old people or recommended to those suffering from ailments. Yoga for many was boring and slow. Now with multiple varieties and variations,yoga is fast gaining popularity. I see more and more people walking into the gates that lead to yoga.
Yoga and the west
The west has not diluted yoga. They have adapted it and given it a different form. While keeping the philosophy of yoga intact the west has made it interesting and fun. You need to start somewhere and starting with a dynamic form like vinayasa with some music is great.
Come 2015 I will also have a café up and running. The plan is to have healthy food and drinks on the menu.
Rinku lives and breathes yoga. There are days when she does question herself but the doubts “disappear when I reflect upon what I am doing through Yoga 101,” she confesses happily.
She derives her strength from reaching out to more and more people.She gets calls, messages and emails from her friends all over the country and the world asking for help. Those in distress seek help through yoga and yet others who are spreading yoga call to ask for help with setting up a studio. “It is their journey and I am glad that I am there to guide and motivate them,” she says.