#LoveYourself: Deepika Mehta On Connecting To Your Bliss
We’re celebrating Love Yourself Month all of February on Hauterfly. Apart from a fun series on cool things to do and buy to show yourself some love, we’ll have some of our favourite #GirlBosses tell you a little something about loving yourself a little more. How’s that for self-love and self-expression? #LoveYourself
In the world of yoga and healthy living, Deepika Mehta needs no introduction. The celebrity yogini’s client roster reads like a veritable who’s who of Bollywood. Everyone from Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra to Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez and Lisa Haydon have trained with her, and she’s one of India’s best-known female yoga proponents.
What’s more, she’s become something of an Instagram star thanks to her exotic travels and the feats she can achieve with her body. But more than that, it’s the simple life lessons she imparts along the way that make people keep coming back for more. This, from a woman who was once told she would never be able to walk again.
Back in 1997, Deepika met with a near fatal accident while rock climbing with friends when she fell from a height of over 40 feet. Doctors told her then that she would probably never walk without the help of crutches again. The fighter in her then took over, and the story of how she overcame personal tragedy to become one of India’s hottest health gurus is a story worth re-telling. And none of this would have been possible if she hadn’t learned to love herself first, then defy all odds to pursue a life dedicated to a healthy mind, body and spirit.
As she says, “I was just another woman figuring my way through life when the rock climbing accident happened. I was bedridden for a year and it was a painful experience both physically and emotionally. But in that journey to heal myself I discovered what I loved. Yoga helped me in more ways than one: It made me physically, emotionally and spiritually stronger. When I discovered how much it had helped me, it became something I wanted to share with the world.”
Deepika started practising yoga in the Sivananda style and eventually found her way to Mysore, where she studied Ashtanga yoga with the legendary Shri K Pattabhi Jois many years ago. That’s where she had a breakthrough of sorts on what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Through sheer dedication and love for her practice, she went on to become one of the very few authorised Ashtanga yoga teachers in the world.
To this very day, she makes it a point to travel to Mysore to practice and learn with her guru Sharath Jois, the grandson of the Late Pattabhi Jois. “Loving yourself is a process — more like a journey than the destination — and this is something I learned from my practice. It’s about being grateful for who you are just the way you are. My way of loving myself is feeding myself the things that make me feel good from within. Exercising daily makes me feel good right to my very core. I also make it a point to take time out for myself every single day, where I sit by myself and write in my journal, or connect with nature in the most serene way,” says the yogini.
What’s more, it’s the simple things in life that give her inspiration. You just need to skim through her Instagram feed to get inspired by her personal life lessons, especially when it comes to learning to love yourself, your limitations, your flaws and celebrating life with a free and open mind. “I spend every single day doing the things I love — like dancing, for example. It’s silly when people say this is selfish. To me, this is a way of life. I strongly believe that when I am connected to my bliss, only then can I attract good things and love others unconditionally. I’m not dependent on anyone to make me happy; I live for myself. I don’t depend on another person to define my life’s happiness or purpose. This way I have no expectations from anyone. Instead, there is a childlike sense of joy and love towards everyone.”
Today, the yoga guru travels the world teaching workshops in several parts of America, Brazil, China, Thailand, Dubai, and of course, India, spreading her message of self-love and self-belief, as well as her infectious zest for life. “Through my workshops, I want to pass on to people what yoga did for me. It helped me triumph through one of the most trying times of my life, helped me find a purpose, and taught me how to connect with myself, and then with other people and then with nature and the incredible world around me. Yoga connects you to your truth, and the silence helps you find a sense of joy and peace within your own self. I live my truth every single day, in the best way that I know how,” says Deepika.
Now if that isn’t a life well-lived, we don’t know what is!