Anthony is from the United States but lives in Dubai and works as an attorney for a Swiss pharmaceutical company. He came to Abhinam Yoga School in Dharamsala for a 5 day beginners workshop in May. Before joining the course, Anthony had done a little bit of yoga back in Dubai (about 12 classes) so he had a basic knowledge and some experience of yoga. When we asked Anthony why he decided to come out to India to learn Ashtanga, he told us that it was because he had recently left his job, and was about to start a new job: “I had the whole month of May off,” he explained, “and I was a little bit sick of everything corporate. I needed to do something that was what I considered to be as anti-corporate as possible. I discussed this with my wife and she did some research and stumbled upon Abhinam School. She looked at 3 or 4 different places but she was adamant that this should be the one.”
Anthony admitted that before starting the course he was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to cope physically: “My life before this trip was incredibly unhealthy,” he told us, “from spending hours at work, to smoking, to not doing any sports whatsoever. So I was worried sick about my physical ability to do this.” But after five days of classes, Anthony was really glad he’d made the decision to come.
“It’s been fantastic,” he told us with a smile. “I’m pleasantly surprised with my own physical ability – but the way I’ve been able to get through these five days is because of the unwavering dedication of the teachers towards the students. They’re consistently available, they’re always there to help you out with alignment, and there’s always a smile on their faces – it’s fantastic. They love what they do and they want to extend that to their students. And they do, it’s incredible.”
As well as feeling the physical benefits, Anthony mentioned that he has benefited mentally too. “Not only has it been a physical experience, it’s been a fantastic experience from a mental perspective. I’ll go back now with a love for yoga that’s been instilled in me in only 5 days, by the teachers at Abhinam. I am miles more flexible than when I first came. There were specific parts of my body that were incredibly inflexible and that’s just not the case anymore, which is awesome. I can see a genuine difference. It’s not only physical, it’s mental as well – I’m more calm.”
As part of the course, Anthony had private classes with one of Abhinam’s senior yoga teachers, Maki, which he said were extremely helpful. “These one-on-ones were incredibly valuable. From a theoretical perspective, but also I got to practice all the actual moves as well, under supervision. It was super helpful.”
As well as benefiting from this Ashtanga yoga beginners workshop in Dharamsala, Anthony told us that he really enjoyed the camaraderie with the other students and teachers on the course. “I’ll remember you guys forever, just from 5 days! It’s crazy, it’s insane, but I really will. This has given me an appreciation of yoga which I didn’t have in the past, an appreciation that I’ve developed in these 5 days that I owe to you guys.” When Anthony returns to Dubai he plans to try and continue his yoga practice, and he hopes to return to Abhinam School again one day in the future with his wife.