Welcome back to How I Made It, Metro.co.uk’s weekly career journey series.
This week we’re chatting with Anisha Kotecha, a yoga teacher who made a career change after a battle with sepsis.
Hosting classes through Sportsession.com, the 31-year-old now feels she’s found her calling.
Switching careers hasn’t been easy though, and she balances this new role with a part-time job elsewhere to keep the money coming in.
Here’s how she made it happen.
Hey Anisha. What did you do before yoga for work?
I managed projects and events for a climate change team.
I hold a degree in Biology, so I’ve always been interested in the environment and the human body. I also worked in diversity and inclusion in my former company.
What made you ‘discover’ yoga for yourself?
I am Indian by background, so yoga was a part of my upbringing.
Perhaps not so much the physical asana (poses), but I was exposed to yogic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and other elements of yoga, such as chanting mantras and meditation.
My grandfather, with whom I grew up, was a huge positive influence on me. He often went on Brahma Kumari spiritual retreats and he would meditate every day.
He was calm in nature and very inquisitive. I still have some of the books on energy and mindfulness that he passed on to me.
I have always been a spiritual soul, but I only understood and recognised this in my twenties after I faced some challenging life experiences, which resulted in me struggling with anxiety and depression.
I dedicated myself to a regular yoga practise in order to access a state of inner peace, where I was able to heal and discover a new perspective and way of life.
What made you decide to share that with others and make it a career?
I contracted sepsis a few years ago. It was a close call, but I survived and recovered.
I was debilitated and my confidence was shattered. It took me a few months to rebuild my mental and physical health, which yoga played an imperative role in.
Returning to classes with limited physical ability was also a blessing in disguise, as I was able to truly appreciate the importance of accessibility in yoga.
At this point, I decided to apply for my yoga teacher training.
I had found a new purpose and calling for my life, to access the teachings of yoga for not only my personal benefit but to also help others: physically, spiritually and mentally.
What training did you have to do?
In order to teach, you generally need a 200-hour qualification covering the fundamentals.
Once I qualified with this, I trained further to incorporate pregnant and post-natal women into my classes and then I specialised to teach Yin Yoga and mindfulness meditation.
Given my lived experience, my passion lies with mental health awareness, so I have specialised in yoga therapy for anxiety.
How did you find career switching – were there any tricky elements? Was it hard to build up a client list and have a steady income at first?
Switching careers was a risk and it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing.
Soon after I left my corporate job, the Covid omicron variant caused London to shut down, which meant I couldn’t do much.
When studios did re-open, I was able to audition for jobs but I had to transition from teaching online to in-person which took some time.
I now have a steady income flow, but it is supplemented by a part time corporate job.
I am transitioning to teaching full time and pouring all of my efforts towards this, but realistically it takes time to reach a place where you are earning sustainably solely from yoga.
An average day in the working life of Anisha Kotecha
9am: The day begins with replying to emails, networking, practicing and creating content.
1pm: Anish teaches a lunch time class.
6pm onwards: She teaches more classes and some private sessions.
Around this, she works a part-time corporate job.
Do you still practice yoga for fun? How to get the balance there?
Yes! In fact, I have just returned from a wellness retreat in Thailand with some wonderful teachers.
Truthfully, it is quite hard to find that day to day balance as I get so immersed in my class planning, teaching and studying that I often never find enough time to practise for myself.
One of my resolutions is to attend yoga classes more often – after all, whilst I am a yoga teacher, the journey of learning never ends so I will always be a student and can gain knowledge from others.
What do you love most about your job?
I am able to deeply connect with others and truly be of service to them, whether it’s mentally, spiritually or physically.
This is when I am my happiest.
It is an honour to hold space for my students to practise and to be able to give back meaningfully, share and explore the teachings of yoga with others which is embedded in my roots.
What do you like the least?
I know it sounds cliché, but there is never enough time to explore and cover the vastness of yoga or go in-depth with a specific theme!
So much to learn, so little time. My students have requested more in-depth offerings outside of time-restricted classes, so I’m looking into more hosting more retreats and workshops.
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