Welcome to Yoganjali

Yoga is much more than making shapes on a mat. It is about seeking, exploring, and finding a connection within and out.

Yoga is a multi-dimensional practice with the potential to enrich our lives in every way and should be made accessible to everyone. It can be profoundly transformative, helping lead lives of balance, self-awareness, clarity, and joy. The practice on the mat can help us reveal who we are off the mat.

I discovered yoga after undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer. By the end of my first class, I was in love! The experience gave me an intimate connection with my body, which needed healing from within. 

I knew that this practice would be in my life forever and truly started my journey. After completing the 200-hours Yoga Teacher Training at Mind Body Zone, my goal of helping others overcome health challenges brought me to an apprenticeship with my teacher and mentor: Lorien Neargarder, who taught "Yoga for Cancer Survivors and Patients" at the Stanford Cancer Care Program. After completing the 500-hours Yoga Teacher Training at Breathe Together with Jennifer Prugh who has influenced my life deeply, both on and off the mat, I now am on the faculty of teacher training programs, focussing on Yoga Philosophy

My teaching incorporates all that I learn in human anatomy, yoga philosophy, mindfulness practices, and abiding love of Indian classical dance. I teach Yoga Basics for Stanford Cancer Care, Wellness Yoga at Washington Hospital, and Vinyasa Yoga for corporate and private clients in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I believe in “seva” (service): giving back to the community. Volunteering with grass-root level organizations especially for women and participating as a citizen are integral parts of my life. I am a Board Member at HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that serves patients and survivors from all walks of life. 

My intention is to continue sharing what I know, empowering you and me on our paths and learning as long as I live. 

Thank you for reading. Namaste. 

Anjali Rao

 
 
  • Anjali Rao

Of Chaturanga and Pupas

Butterflies are beautiful. Butterflies are a symbol of resurrection, change, and hope. They have, after all, victoriously emerged from the ugly slothful Pupa. Change is meant to be a good thing, needed for growth; one is always told that one should embrace it with courage and it’s the one truth of life. Change. All true. All platitudes for those who are going through it and are bang in the middle of the crazy, heady, churn and burn that is change. Yoga to me, always has been about the mind. Yes, I want to tone and look and feel good, but the lessons off the mat have been more valuable, and I will carry this within, internalized until the time comes when I can no longer touch my toes.

I have learned a few valuable lessons off the mat about transitions and change. It’s not meant to create a roadmap for any other, but to document my own, while I am in the midst of this. Chaturanga, the four limbed staffed staff pose, has always been my yoga nemesis. One always powers through this pose in a Vinyasa or a flow sequence. It’s the transition pose from plank to cobra. And ironically, a hard one for me to stay in for more than a breath due to surgery. I work on this everyday, and in this journey to that “perfect” Chaturanga have learned about how I deal with change and transition.

Change churns and burns. It’s not pretty. Yes, one breathes through it, but it creates dissonance, all that we have heard to be true, felt to be true, perhaps known to be true, can be no longer perceived as immutable. One questions, one seeks answers, one causes conflict within. Transitions are necessary when the present is no longer useful or tolerable or optimal to oneself, or it is necessary to get to the next level, like my Chaturanga. It is a doing away of the present, and that is not easy and may not be smooth. One falls flat on the face several times before the decisive step forwards can happen. And even if the next step forward does happen, one can go back a few times, again and again. And that’s ok. For in the falling down, one knows that one has to, just has to, get back up. There is no other way but up. One has to embrace the churn and it’s inevitable fallouts. In all the platitudes of the beautiful butterfly, one has to remember the dead pupa. The process of change is not pretty.

Have a plan. Have a plan  to accentuate your strengths, and that can help transform your weaknesses or challenges. Reducing ambiguity, reduces fear of the unknown. The pupa attaches itself to a plant that nourishes it, and can sustain its evolution. In my toughest hours, surrounding myself with those and with elements that replenish rather than diminish has worked for me.

My triceps and core are the spots that I need to work on, and I have the shoulders and the leg strength for that smooth Chaturanga. I know now my left shoulder is stronger, and my right caves in slightly. I now have more insight into the nuances of my body because of this effort and practice. No one else owns or understands this better than me. Not my teacher, not my student, not my fellow practitioner. In this journey of change, off the mat, one does get to know rather intimately the inner recesses of one’s mind if one pays attention to it. If one listens and not evaluates, if one reflects, and not judges oneself harshly. One knows which or who are the triggers, and which or who are the catalysts, what makes one angry or grieve, or gives one joy. Self awareness is a sexy side effect.

The butterfly is beautiful. The butterfly is colorful and bright but the pupa is dead. The pupa made the butterfly. The scars of the pupa are the colors of the butterfly. Change is harsh, raw, hard, devastating, necessary, inevitable, and needed. It may not be good, it may not be bad. It just is. Inevitable.

Upcoming events you don't want to miss!

 

Introducing The Refresh

Daily Self-Care practices @ Work

A self-care workshop designed for the busy professional bringing together ancient Yoga practices to create a self-care plan that works for you. We will create, discuss, and apply specific breathing exercises, simple movements, and mindfulness techniques to cultivate a  sense of well being.

Contact yoganjali@gmail.com for more info and to sign up!

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I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for your interest in Yoganjali. For more information, feel free to get in touch and I will get back to you soon!

 
 

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