I met Sundhari (from Chile) last year during my Advanced Yoga Teachers’ Training Course. In a gathering like this where people came from all walks of life to live and study together in a small spiritual space for 30 days; it was really not easy for some, they got agitated easily or fell really sick (The ashram “detoxifying” us in all ways) . On the flip side, you will find 1 or 2 “Sunshine” people. In this course, there were 2 sunshine girls. They were very happy and more importantly…they were really helpful and shinning with positivity. One of these girls was Sundhari and the other is Rukmini. I spent some time chatting with Sundhari and decided to interview her to share her story on how she left her corporate job and hopped on this new journey that brought much meaning to her.
(Sundhari is in her early 40s and spent 16 years in a corporate job.)
Q1) Did you leave your corporate job and went full time traveling in Asia since early 2016? What was the main reason that you left your decent or even high paying job?
A: I left my corporate job end of September 2014 after 16 years of service. It was a very good job in a very prestigious international company, it had lots of benefits and it was the job I always wanted to have since University days. Nevertheless…what I wanted when I was in my early twenties was very DIFFERENT from what I wanted now, in my early forties; after going through a lot of different experiences in my life.
What used to make me “happy” no longer makes me happy today. This was the moment when I started analysing what I wanted to do for my future. The only thing I knew for sure, 2 years ago, was the fact that I didn’t want to end this life as a business person, doing the same type of job everyday. It was clear that I had to quit eventually but I didn’t do that right away. I first questioned myself what I wanted to do next, and once that was clear…I quit my job.
Whenever I looked back, there’s only one thing I could identify as the trigger of the change …and that’s the practice of yoga. While I was still in my corporate job, I started practicing yoga regularly. That was the only thing that helped me to stay positive and kept me going. Yoga helped me changed my mind, and showed me my purpose in life.
After I left my corporate job, I took 4 months off and the first thing I did was traveled to India to do my Yoga Teacher’s Training Course (TTC) with Sivananda. Thereafter, I spent 8 months studying in Geneva to get myself certified as a English teacher to teach Enlish as a foreign language in developing countries.
Q2) Name the places you visited since Feb 2016. What were you mainly doing?
A: Early 2016, I spent 9 months between India and Nepal. In India my main focus was studying yoga, working on my spiritual path, and traveling a bit around; and in Nepal I spent most of my time volunteering as an English and Math teacher in a rural school near Pokhara. This year, I will be volunteering to teach in Cambodia.
Q3) What changed your perspective in life and was there one incident or scenario that you wanted to share during these months of traveling?
There’s only one thing that I can identify as the factor that changed my perspective in life, and it is YOGA. Yoga made me change the way I see life, and now… I value things so differently.
During these 9 months of traveling, I lived a lot of life changing experiences, but there’s one that will stay with me forever, and there was this blissful moment when I was in this basic rural school. I was sitting at the back of the classroom, and observing my students studying hard. That was the moment when I realised that I could be an instrument to help others through teaching. These kids where actually studying in English and they would not be saying “I don’t understand Miss”. They were learning and acquiring some new knowledge that could help them in life.
Q4) What is your advice for those who want to embark on a similar journey as you?
A: You just need to go for it if you feel that it is the right thing to do. You need to sort out the basic things (i.e. not to have major responsibilities that might affect you or your family). Thereafter… you need to let it flow, and follow your heart. Don’t overthink because then, your mind takes the lead and you can get completely lost.
Q5) Do we need to have much savings to go on this similar journey?
A: You should have some savings to feel more relaxed as you go on this journey. This is to avoid getting distracted by your financial situation. Still, you need to learn how to live in a simpler and more basic way, and as you travel, you will realise that you don’t need as many things as you thought you needed. There are lots of ways to spend lesser in life. Besides this, you will also realise that life continuously helps you when you are doing something good, and help appears in ways you could have never imagined before.
Q6) Any yoga philosophy or spiritual practice that you want to share that had assisted you in this journey?
I would say that being consistant in any spiritual practice is the key factor. It’s better doing less practice on a regular basis than doing a lot, once in a while.
Once you get used to doing some spiritual practice on a regular basis, you can easily feel a difference when you are not doing it. This motivates you to get back to your practice. Recently, I read- “as you train your body to do any physical exercise, you also need to train it to meditate and the only way to do it is through regular practice.”
The other thing I would like to add is not to focus only on asanas (yoga poses), but to combine it with pranayama, and meditation. Some years ago, if I had 30 min. of time for my sadhana (spiritual practice), I would just focus on asanas. Now, if I have a short time for my sadhana, I try to focus on pranayama and meditation; and I practise the asanas as a way to prepare my body for that. I realised that this really helped me to calm down and clear my mind.
Thank you Sundhari for sharing her experiences with us. If you want to connect with her, you can find her on FB as Jimena Medina (You can drop her a message that you read this blog on Ompulence)
All of us are finding a purpose in life and I believe that we feel fulfilled when we are able to serve others truly from our hearts, be it in a small or a bigger way. Be a cup full of sunshine, positivity and light overflowing…as no one can fill it on your behalf (not even your husband or children).
Interviewed by Carol (Saraswati) from Ompulence