“To just give hope. Hope that you are not alone, that whatever situation you are in, however horrible, you will come out if it. A better version of you. And if you allow time to heal you, you will understand that everything happens for a reason and that you survived and then you start living again.”
These lines would exactly summarise 23 year old Natasha Noel’s life. A life that has seen her battle a troubled childhood, sexual abuse and a terrible knee injury. A life where she overcame it all to become one of the most celebrated Yogini’s on Instagram as she preaches self-love and life lessons through her own experiences.
Losing her mother when she was just three and half years, Natasha’s childhood was traumatic. From being abused as a child, she had a tough time and admits that self victimisation was her best friend in her growing years. However she did manage to complete her schooling from Jamnabai Narsee school and bachelor’s in Arts, majoring in English literature from Sophia college. When she was 17 she took to dance and is trained in Jazz, Ballet and contemporary dance forms. “Dance was what saved me. It made me believe in my art and made me believe in myself again, like I was worth something. It was my catharsis, I would allow myself to feel an emotion during my choreography and dance away the sadness, anger, lust, pain tears and happiness, feelings I usually always suppressed think I always needed to be strong,” she reminisces. But a major fall in her second year of college when she was advised a week of rest that she did not heed caused her a major problem. “When I got my knee injury and the doctor told me I could never dance again that was the first time I ever experienced heart break. The first time I ever experienced the love of my life being snatched away from and depression started creeping upwards only to consume me again.”
Solace in Yoga
A year and a half during her injury, when she was scrolling through Instagram she saw pictures of yogini’s so commendable things with their body and saw pure strength which she realized she wanted too. “I wanted to be strong. I started replicating the physical aspects and realised that was easier because my body had the flexibility but I was still sad. That is when I started using the Internet for the good, I watched yoga videos and the satsangs by mooji on YouTube and read books on Osho and Swami Vivkananada. For the first time I realised that I was the seed I planted by myself for a positive well being and self love. And after three months I joined the Yoga institute for me to understand and accept my being and for one to just stop blaming myself.” She got her formal training certificate from The Yoga Institute, Santacruz East, a second teachers training course in Ashtaga Vinyasa Yoga from Mysore and an Osho Rose meditation Teacher Training course. Currently, Natasha teaches a special form of Yoga, called the Yoga-Dance with each class themed around a subject in Mumbai. So I ask her how hard was it to self train in yoga and she admits it was difficult, mentally. “To make yourself get up every day and go on the mat to exercise was hard. Also if it was to meditate or do pranayama; those were harder for me because I had to do absolutely nothing and I just had to witness myself and for me that was scary. To remove all the masks that I build over the years and to be authentic was the biggest challenge.” Each day, Natasha posts videos or pictures of her practicing asanas on Instagram with the main motive of reaching out to a wider audience and spreading the practice. Helping people through Yoga, to overcome their fears, body related issues and break the ideal-body myth.
For someone who was admittedly always a shy child, she was always a people pleaser because she wanted to be loved by all to fill the void in her life. She admits that her mother has inspired her for always teaching her to be humble and do things she is passionate about. “She always told me ‘Natasha, you can do whatever or be whoever you want in life, if you want to be a sweeper, make sure you be the best sweeper.’ I live by those words every day and it keeps me grounded to always remember where I have come from.” Natasha is candid and admits that she is honestly grateful for all the experiences she has gained. She says also that it is important that people who are abused must learn to talk about it. “I know you think it is shameful and I know you think no one will understand and you feel filthy, unwanted and un- loveable. So you keep the secret like an unlucky truth that eats you from inside. You have repressed the emotions and any trigger will spill out all the negativity and trust issues will come in the way of all your relationships. Therapy helped me over come a lot of issues and not get stuck in the rut of insecurities and self loathing.” Natasha is a firm believer of the fact that the world needs positivity and love for humanity to heal. “I always believed that I do not fit in this world, but then I released that I was born to help change the world. Life is challenging you can just be comfortable all your life or take the leap of faith and dare to believe in your dreams. And one of my dreams is to travel the world and spread my light in whatever way possible,” she signs off.
This story appeared in the Jan 28, 2017 issue of Deccan Herald Living here.