Hello, I'm Anjali.
I have lived my life between skins, with both the privilege and the isolation that came from fluid identity. It started by growing up in an international family, biracial in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was less common. Driving across town daily to a private school from our home in SouthWest Baltimore also provided a complex and insightful perspective on the world.
Sometimes it was all too much.
As a child and young adult, I suffered with eczema, frequent UTIs, and digestive distress all of which was rooted in anxiety. I rarely fit in; there was no seat at the table or box I could check to describe my identity. On the other hand, in order to understand the world, I became adept at translating cross-cultural ideas, and a bridge between east and west. As many people can relate, my early struggles became superpowers later in life as I embraced my wholeness and learned to love and nourish myself. I now love to teach yoga and introducing the ancient systems of eating and living into the modern world. It's been a windy road to get here.
My Story: A non-linear journey toward my dharma
I stepped into my first yoga class by following a sign on the streets of Boston into a dark carpeted space with a simple standing lamp, a room full of strangers. I had taken a break from college to focus on my own healing from sexual trauma. At this time, I was making $8 per hour, interning in a new professional theater, and living a very measured life financially. I do not remember the teacher's name, but I remember taking up a space in the far back corner of the room and realizing it was the first time I moved my body for myself, not as a performance for anyone. It was already healing and liberating.
I do remember that the teacher mentioned "Anjali mudra" when clasping her hands in a prayerful position, but her mispronunciation of this word that was also my name, reawakened my desire to study in India.
I left Boston after the 9/11 attacks when my neighborhood started to become patriotically violent. I felt particular sensitivity as an Indian man was assaulted at the corner store. I auditioned and was accepted attend the National Theater Institute at Eugene O'Neil Theater in Connecticut, outside of New York, where I especially enjoyed the movement theater and writing. I ultimately went back to college completing at Oberlin College, where I studied Theater and History with a focus on Gender and Colonialism, which felt like a continuation of my seeking and self study. After procuring more internships and jobs in publishing and theater in Washington DC post college, my eczema and anxiety were running my life. Working nights, the alcohol, and culture of the theater industry was not for me. I made the decision to take the few pennies I had to return to India to see family and to study yoga.
This is when I learned the power of yoga in a profound way and unexpectedly experienced the clear eyes of an Ayurvedic doctor. Within two weeks of daily asana, pranayama, and Ayurvedic herbs, the eczema vanished, the triggers vanished, and have remained so for the rest of my life. I began sleeping soundly, and my life course began to take a new trajectory.
I would be remiss if I didn't say it still had its ups and downs. It did for many years. However, I was passionate about returning to my hometown to share lineage-based teachings of yoga especially in disinvested communities, and anywhere I was called to teach. I started in schools, private homes, yoga centers, eventually retreat centers internationally, prison/detention centers, the Veterans Association and ultimately ran my own community spaces for fourteen years before the covid 19 pandemic closed our doors. I loved bringing community together. It was my observation that loneliness due to cultural norms of business and busyness was creating much of the dis-ease for individuals and society and so I named the place Baltimore Yoga Village. It was great benefit to me to be able to call teachers who I respected greatly to Baltimore to learn modernized approaches to adapt to the physical needs of those with Arthritis, injuries, those pregnant or in early childhood. The studios provided a venue to fundraise for causes I believed in.
With strong management, well trained teachers, and community support, the studios ran themselves and I was able pursue full time study in Ayurvedic Health Counseling at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico under Dr. Vasant Lad, in his clinics in India, and Ayurvedic Panchakarma specialist training through Charak Ayurveda Dr. Rajesh Kalwadia in Jaipur, India, in 2015 and 2016. This is when I learned to nourish myself thoroughly and profoundly, yet again, but this time in a way that integrated a depth of traditional knowledge into my everyday modern life without the asceticism that was engrained in yoga ashram culture.
I fully understand the time, patience, and compassion it takes to reach a space of living one's practice. For many of us, the path to peace and purpose feels like the ever changing cycles of day and night, at times illuminating and at time elusive. It can feel non-linear and often having a friendly professional, a clear eye of reflection, can support us to walk our unique journeys. I am forever grateful for all of my teachers. I have committed to helping others, to finding common lifestyle practices as a doorway to mindfulness in a way that feels integrated and manageable given their unique lives and lifestyles. I have been teaching for over 17 years and I am committed to walking the long haul with you to health and peace.
Now with the yoga centers closed, I continue to share with the community online and am on a track for the A.D (Ayurvedic Doctor) certificate through Kerela Ayurveda. My passion for Ayurveda will keep me engrossed in study and service likely for the rest of my life.