Yoga Mittra graduate Sharan Chahal

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Yoga had come in and out of Sharan Chahal’s life. It provided stability and was, as she said recently, “something I could always return to in times of stress.” But the broader life benefits of a consistent practice remained hidden to her until this year.

Chahal is a graduate of the 2016 Yoga Mittra Class. She stumbled on the Yoga Loft through the recommendation of a co-worker, and took a chance on a studio with which she had little familiarity. The risk, she said, has been immensely rewarding.

Chahal saw significant improvements in her physical practice. The techniques and approaches that the program provides unlocked aspects of classes that had once seemed off limits.

“Coming face to face with what scares you, but realizing that it’s actually safe, that you already have what it takes inside you…I’m talking about inversions,” she said.

Working in the world of physical therapy, yoga has been a big help in Chahal’s career. She took the lessons of teacher training, and applied them to the people she helps rehabilitate.

“It’s so complimentary. The ideals of physical therapy fit right in to yoga. The connection to alignment and openness, can really open a new door to healing.” she said.

In her daily life, Chahal appreciates the way Yoga Mittra has endowed her with greater “spiritual depth and tolerance.” In a sentiment to which many yogis can relate, she often finds herself evangelizing for the benefits of yoga to everyone she encounters.

Though many people enter Yoga Mittra not intending to ever teach, the program does provide opportunities to team teach several classes. These experiences take new teachers thoroughly out of their element. The result is often a growth in personal practice that is both rapid and unexpected.

Shortly after finishing the training, Chahal taught a Karma class, a free Sunday class the Loft occasionally offers to introduce students to teachers who are new to the studio. Looking back on the class, she recounted tiny mistakes, but knew they were things that “only I would notice.” The experience, she said, reaffirmed all that she had learned about postures and breath. But more importantly, her ability to teach revealed another legacy of the program: an inner strength to intelligently overcome challenges.

“There was a wave of self-doubt. I was scared in the moment, but I had learned how to work through it. I knew how to use that fear in a productive way,” she said.

Yoga Mittra begins Jan. 27. Sign up here.

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