This week get to know health expert Fatema Rajkotwala and learn the secrets of wellness in her own words. We are glad to bring you excerpts of our discussion with Fatema, who found her inner peace after rediscovering her passion for an active & holistic lifestyle! While Fatema herself connected the dots of nearly all aspects of overall well being, she has started on a journey to empower others around her. She is transforming the lifestyles of people in Mumbai – one of the busiest cities of the world. So, here we go! Learn from Fatema Rajkotwala – a health expert, passionate martial arts & yoga practitioner, and a connoisseur of simple yet super nutritious foods!!
Tell us something about yourself.
I started practicing yoga in 2009, when the erratic demands of journalism started affecting my sleep patterns. Having been fond of martial arts as a child, yoga’s philosophy synced in perfectly with my sensibilities and that’s how the journey to a life long practice began. In 2014, when I decided to take a sabbatical, I started to study this vast subject formally and undertook detailed teacher training course at world’s oldest yoga centre, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz.
I am currently pursuing a part-time yoga instructor course and Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anushadhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Bangalore. I am also associated with Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation and have conducted International Yoga Day trainings across Mumbai in 2016.
I take classes in the South Mumbai area for all age groups, including children. I practice Tai Chi and have completed the introductory course of Dhamma Vipassana. I am also a children’s fitness instructor with Banoo’s FitKids Factory.
In 2016, I have started with my won venture Yoga Tattva to introduce yoga’s timeless techniques for modern living. Tattva – means the essence, the core! It incorporates my vision and approach to help heal modern ailments through Yoga.
What are your area of specialization and which segment do you currently work in?
Hatha Yoga and Yoga as Therapy. I teach classical Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga as a physical, psychological and spiritual practice, Aqua Yoga, Relaxation, Pranayama, Kriya Yoga. I also conduct workshops for corporates and children.
What excites you the most about your role/industry?
There’s everything about health and wellness that’s exciting! Knowing you’re eating what’s good for you, correcting what’s problematic, moving the way your body wants, shutting down the way your mind needs to. Resting, thinking and eventually living the way is best for you.
As a yoga instructor, I share with my students my own experience with yoga and how it has helped me transform my lifestyle. By allowing to make small changes in my student’s routine, I can see how yoga practice begins to become a tool for inner transformation for them. And this is perhaps the most satisfying trait of my profession.
What is your view on holistic health, wholesome nutrition, and an active lifestyle?
My approach is one of respectful reverence to classical and traditional Hatha Yoga. I apply yoga therapeutically with the help of BKS Iyengar school’s techniques. I share from personal experience and believe in practically incorporating yoga into our daily routines.
What is the best advise you have gotten from your mentors/industry experts to upkeep with your health?
- Wake up 2 hours before sunrise for your personal practice
- Be flexible and tolerant – Has helped me to navigate better and maintain inner peace
How do you maintain your health and your lifestyle?
I started living healthy as I started my journey with yoga. I’ve been lucky to have a few basic healthy habits such as loving water, eating light, and loving simple foods. So, some things come easy to me. I tend to be enthusiast about things I respect so I mix up my high energy daily routine with Yoga, swimming or martial arts.
Which are your favorite foods, places to eat, places to travel?
Foods: Eggs, Bananas, Fish, Coconut water, dates, home cooked food
Places to eat: I don’t eat out often but when I travel, I love eating local foods. In Bombay, I love salads at La Folie. I like LPQ and the Kala Ghoda cafe too. And I love eating at Irani cafes!
Travel: I’ve too many places on the list and I usually fall in love with every place I visit. I love trekking and camping too.
Please share a quick super nutritious recipe to power yourself during demanding days.
Wheat grass or any milkshake, if dairy suits you. I find dry fruits and nuts to be a good addition during the day.
Please share a wellness and fitness tip that you employ on daily basis to stay in shape and be active.
I have warm water with fennel seeds and whichever other suitable herb I find. I practice and conduct classes in the morning so this helps the alkalinity of the system and is absorbed in the body very well.
Which is your favorite food ingredient and how do you use it the most?
My favourite would have to be cinnamon, which mostly goes in my herbal tea concoctions (which is basically, warm water and whole spices, ginger, lime etc.) I also swear by curd and eggs in all forms.
We come across multiple stressful situations on daily basis as working professionals and in society. What is your favourite way to release tension and relax?
I love dancing! And swimming and water related activities, so yes a long bath is nice too. Then again, I also like sleeping in some of my favourite restorative poses with rose water eye pads. People who love singing, sing away. It improves lung capacity too. Finding a song on the radio can also be a pleasant surprise and stress reliever.
What would you advise our audience to stay healthy while pursuing modern lifestyle?
I try to advise less and portray or share more. I believe we all know what’s good and bad for us but somewhere the struggle became so difficult, we decided not to try. I’ve seen various personalities dealing with stress in different ways. I’ve learnt from my own struggles. At the end of the day, we all want to feel good. Some of this we learn and taste through yoga asanas on the mat, other things we learn beyond the mat. I always encourage any form of exercise or sport than no exercise. Pick a class close to you so you don’t bunk. Love yourself. Be practical and reasonable while setting a health schedule or goal. Love yourself again! Other kinds of health advice we all know.
Connect with Health Expert – Fatema Rajkotwala
Fatema can be reached at Yoga Tattva via Urbanclap.