Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Makes Women Happy: An International Yogini’s View

I am posting an interview which was conducted by the lovely Danielle from HeartWork.

Danielle is a women's coach who has helped women with their career since 2011. To stop comparing themselves to outward standards. To start recognizing their own talents. To stop routinely putting themselves down. To start listening to their hearts and start leading their lives with who-THEY-want-to-be in mind.

From 2011 to 2013, she helped women rediscover their own talents as a social worker. In 2013, she founded her own business, HeartWork, to inspire and coach women from across the world to realize their ideal lives. She does this through online and face to face coaching, in which she helps women overcome their gremlins and start to craft their work & personal lives with who-they-want-to-be in mind.

For more info, contact her at, or visit

Read the interview below:
Hey Lakshya, seeing as we haven’t met before, what’s your story?
Hi Danielle! My story goes a long way back! Just like you I grew up as an expat kid, living in Canada, Nigeria, Oman, Holland and Dubai. This  lifestyle of moving every few years has definitely cultivated my love for traveling and interest in languages. After finishing my university degree in Business, I came back to Dubai to work.
I was working in marketing for an interior design company, for about 1.5 years. Everyday I would be doing the same routine. Waking up early, going to work, coming home late, having dinner, and going to bed. Looking around me, I saw that pretty much everyone in Dubai was living the same life. Living to work. From the very beginning I knew that this is something I could not sustain, because life is so much more than just working. I wanted something different, something meaningful, something that I could have with me for my whole life. I could see that living an ordinary life would not bring this to me, and thus I decided to come to India and pursue a spiritual life.
Being an active yoginī since my teen years, I came to India to pursue a yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Institute, Kerala in 2010. Upon completing this, I knew that my journey was only at the beginning, and that there was an ocean of knowledge in front of me. That is how I came to my Guru, Swami Dayananda Saraswati,  and got the opportunity to join a 3 year course on Vedanta, Sanskrit and Vedic chanting. Just last week, the course finished.
Are you happy (being a woman)?
Oh yes, definitely. I think being a woman, we are naturally more sensitive  to our surroundings and to  people. Sometimes this can be challenging because we feel fragile,  but at the same time, being sensitive allows for tremendous learning and growth. We pick up on things quickly and learn from  experiences. For me, I think I found my happiness here in India. Always looking externally for happiness, it is here that I  learned that happiness is within me already!
What brings you happiness, or inspires you these days? Is this something different from what brought you joy as a 20-year old?
What inspires me is to see the life of people here in India. Many live a very simple life,  with a small house and minimal expenditures. They sleep on the floor and eat rice and lentils every day. But you know what, they are happy and satisfied. This inspires me a lot, we can gain a lot more peace from a simple lifestyle.
When I was 20 years old, I definitely couldn’t see this. Life was about fashion, shopping, going out, and spending money. Happiness came from purchases, tropical holidays and elaborate meals. It was all taken for granted actually.
What is most important to you in your life? And what was this like for your 20-year old self?
Living a life of yoga is important to me. Yoga doesn’t mean just physical postures, that’s only one aspect of it. Yoga is about the right attitudes and cultivating values in life. Having compassion for all beings, living in a way that causes least disturbance to those around, and appreciating this magnificent world we live in.
When I was twenty, it was more important for me to get a higher education (masters degree), a good job, a nice boyfriend, etc. Probably something most 20 year olds are seeking.
Can you tell us a little about your current work/life situation? How did you get to where you are now?
I have just completed a 3 year course on Vedanta, Sanskrit, and Vedic chanting. Vedanta can be described  as the teaching of life, and the understanding of realities. It comes from ancient Indian scriptures, which are thousands of years old, and hold  a very important message: we are all one. Meaning, the essence of you is the essence of me. These scriptures are written in Sanskrit language, and so it’s important to understand the language.
Having finished this  incredible course, I will start teaching. Mainly yoga and Vedanta, and of course Sanskrit to those who are brave enough to take up this tough challenge! I will be based both in Dubai and India.
What do you enjoy most in your ‘work’? What do you dislike the most?
I enjoy sharing what I have learned with  others,  and seeing them benefit tremendously from this. Be it yoga, or Vedanta- physical or mental benefits- whatever service I can do to society I am so grateful for. There’s really nothing that I dislike about it, because my ‘work’ is my life.
What do you hope to accomplish in your work/life?
I don’t teach with the mindset of accomplishing or gaining anything. Whatever I can do from my side I will do and only hope that my students can pick up from it.
If you could give yourself some advice right now, what would it be? And if you could send a message back to your 20-year old self, what would it contain?
“One day at a time”. Live in the present and enjoy each moment. Sometimes our minds can dwell of to the future and worries, and this is such an unhealthy habit. If we can live in the moment, and have the faith that everything will work out, then life will be very joyous.
I would tell my 20-year old self to know that everything happens for a reason and to trust that our journey of life will take us to the right destination.
Can you paint us a picture of your life in 20 years time? Who you’ll be sharing your life with, where you’ll be living, what a regular day will look like..
Well, this is only what I  dream for… To have  my own center or ashram in India, and live a life devoted to teaching, along with a spiritual partner. A regular day will have yoga classes, Vedanta classes, Vedic prayers in our small temple, organic and healthy vegetarian meals with vegetables from our own garden.
Early morning walks with sunrise and evening walks with sunset. Having students from around the world stay with us and get a glimpse of Vedic culture.
This is my sincere prayer.

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