•  Congratulations, Vivek Nautiyal!

    Vivek, after five years as a yoga practitioner, what inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

    I started to have a strong feeling of wanting to share the things I experienced when practicing yoga with others. I was fortunate enough to live in Rishikesh where there is abundant opportunity to learn the art of yoga teaching, so I joined a program and was inspired further by my teachers in my training program.

    After five years as a teacher, how has your practice changed?

    In the beginning, most of the things I shared with my students came from things I read in books or heard from others but as I started to have my own profound experience as a teacher and fellow yogi, I started to share stories and life lessons based on my own personal experiences. I would say my yoga practice has become part of who I am which allows me to speak from my heart to my students. I often tell my students yoga is not about bending the body but bending the mind. I often try to connect the flexibility we can find on the mat to our ability to experience life with a flexible mind and an open heart.

    Your life has taken you across the globe. How has yoga aided in your transitions to new areas, new cultures?

    As I mentioned, yoga has helped me to see the beauty and power of a flexible mind. One of my teachers told me once, "Do not accept me but also do not reject me." I moved to Georgia and the USA without accepting or rejecting anything and just simply went with it and made the best out of the new experience.

    What is your personal philosophy about maintaining a yoga practice with a busy lifestyle?

    The busier you are, the more essential it is to give time to yourself. The alone time we find with our body on the mat is comprised of precious moments needed to nurture our soul and spirit. B.K.S. Iyengar practiced yoga every day and discovered something new about himself - everyday. These new discoveries will help you understand life; as everything in life comes from awareness and knowledge.

    Please tell us a little about yourself: career, family, background and anything else interesting you would like us to know.

    I was born and raised in Rishikesh India with two older siblings and very supportive parents. I tried to get into engineering but somehow couldn't make it happen and was inspired by my brother to go into hospitality. I have a bachelor of art in hotel management and worked as a chef and catering manager. I hope to combine my skill and passion for culinary art with my yoga practice someday by opening a holistic retreat center with my wife who shares the same desire to help others to heal and balance the body, mind and emotion.