Mumbai-based Shraddha Iyer (31), Master Trainer at Sarva and DIVA Yoga, can weather any storm, thanks to her extensive yoga practice. It is a delight to scroll through Shraddha’s Instagram feed - she performs the toughest backbends with such grace and effortlessness. No wonder, she has a long-list of Bollywood A-listers like film critic Anupama Chopra and actors Kubbra Sait, Tamannah Bhatia, and Akanksha Ranjan, who swear by her skills.
But all was not bright and beautiful, until a few years ago - it was a serious knee injury that turned her life around, making her take the leap towards yoga. Shraddha feels that her life has gained meaning and purpose, ever since she embraced yoga.
Today, she is among the most well-known female proponents of yoga in India, and has been associated with SARVA and Diva Yoga, since June 2017. Founded in March 2016, SARVA is the brainchild of yogi-turned-entrepreneur, Sarvesh Shashi.
SARVA runs a chain of 91 yoga studios with 16,000 members across India, where yoga instructors are trained in 25 forms of yoga. The venture has also attracted the attention of foreign investors, including Hollywood actor and singer Jennifer Lopez, former Chairman of MTV networks Bill Roedy, and CEO of Pi Capital, David Giampaolo.
SARVA has also established Diva Yoga, a brand that trains women in yoga, with Bollywood celebrity Malaika Arora as a co-founder.
It was in early 2017 that Shraddha first connected with Sarvesh on Facebook, to enquire about suitable positions at SARVA. Although at that point there were none, Sarvesh reconnected with Shraddha soon after, and wanted her to train all the yoga instructors who would be inducted into the system.
In a recent chat with MAKERS India, Shraddha recounted how she spent a year and a half to develop training modules that focused on enhancing the performance of other instructors.
“I was looking to bring yoga to a larger group and that’s when I found out Sarva is on its way to do the same.. Initially when I joined Sarva, we were a small team, and I was managing the HR, hiring, training and on-boarding for yoga Instructors, and looking over operations,” she said.
Currently, Shraddha is one of the Master trainers for Diva and SARVA, and takes care of celeb classes, technical insights, and contribute wherever technical assistance is required. “I was also a part of the SARVA teacher training team, taking care of the yoga training,” she added.
But what is yoga if not a unison of the body and the mind? And that’s exactly why Shradha’s clients get treated to a ‘cellular spa’ after every session, using sound vibrations.
She elaborates, “After every session, I do sound healing, because I feel it is important to absorb the practice, and there’s no better way than using the singing bowl and the healing sound. It helps to increase the vibration of the body, and gets into each and every cell through the sound, thereby promoting relaxation.”
Sound healing or ‘a sound bath’ is popular among the likes of Hollywood celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow, and for good reason. The technique helps increase blood circulation and vibrations in the body.
Shraddha likes to understand her client’s requirements, before she offers a remedy to soothe their nerves. Brainwave therapy works like magic on those who want to release their anxiety, and feel more calm and relaxed.
“We set up bowls close to their brain, so that the brain waves reach the lowest level. This technique helps them enter a deep state of relaxation,” she says. In cases where lifestyle ailments are a cause of worry, Shraddha tackles her clients’ requests with hand and foot reflexology.
Shraddha believes that yoga is not just about physically performing exercises, but it teaches every individual to be practical and present. Shraddha practices what she preaches, and that is what makes her the guru so many count on!
(Edited by Athira Nair)