From Optometry to the Sistership Circle - the story of Bhavna Ram
This month Community Bridges interviewed a talented yoga teacher, ex-optician and one of the facilitators of the Sistership Circle in South London. We asked Bhavna Ram a few questions about what motivated her to change careers and what her new passion is all about.
CB: What sparked your interest in yoga and how did you come to the Sistership Circle?
Bhavna: My background is in Optometry. Prior to stepping into the world of wellness, I was working as an Optometrist in different high street clinics. Loved connecting to a variety of people from different ages, fields and ethnic backgrounds and every day felt like a discovery of who sits in the patient's chair. However, time constraints and having to meet certain targets diminished the value of the human experience and caused more anxiety than connection. Looking for ways to reconnect to myself, going to the gym and regular yoga practices became accessible tools to invest into so as to bring stability within.
Now I know, deep down, I wanted to escape the rat-race of the career ladder as well as the incessant chase towards more financial goals. Hence my first escape was 200 hours of teacher training at Hot Yoga Academy in Barcelona, Spain in 2019 which felt very close to home, Mauritius.
Returning back to society, it felt disjointed and I had a yearning for more. After a few months, another teacher training in Rishikesh was booked for a more immersive experience into philosophy and deeper embodiment. Lockdown struck and what was a 2 months visit to India became a 9 months trip into India and what this land revealed to me felt life-changing. The resources that I left with gave me more power to embrace my emotions and more sovereignty to express my needs.
Post pandemic returning home to Mauritius was a beautiful opportunity to rewire connection to roots: family and realign with what my passion is. Teaching online yoga felt very purposeful and meeting teachers from different parts of the world. Genuine friendships were made and connection to the body was not only an act of self-care and also a way to experience others' teachings as well as grow together.
Yoga became a foundation for connection. Looking for a tribe of women that were on the same path as I was, I found @sistershipcircle and went through a 13-week journey with 9 women around the world and these weekly sharings have given me a new sense of depth and insight into who I am and what type of woman I would aspire to be. From an early age, the comparison and competition were quite strongly felt. The container created by Sistership Circle to become a women's circle facilitator felt transformational as to how I view my female relationships: from motherhood to friendships. Healing as it was, I also connected to a new network of women whereby open communication, triggers, shame, success: all of it are shared unconditionally in a judgement-free space. This is what women's circles are about: a safe space where any woman can come as they are and be without any expectations. Holding space for women to feel this unwavering support has been a wonderful gift to share and it really lights me up.
CB: This must be really inspiring for many women. Were there any interesting stories from the women that attended it? And what do you hope Sistership Circle is going to achieve?
Bhavna: From my personal story, what I have gained from this experience of connection within has been and what I share in my offerings, these are the gifts:
Connection to self which led to self-acceptance. More self-love pertains to self-esteem which upholds one's self-worth.
Only when you know and value yourself, can one follow their heart's desire fully and that is everyone's birthright.
Moreover, the ability to be different, weird, non-conformist, the black sheep: all those terms that ostracize one from the common mass are beautiful reminders that accepting yourself does not mean that everyone will be okay with that and that is okay. For if you lead from your heart, the right soul connection will find its way to you.
Every woman that joins us discovers something new within herself. I have a Facebook page where women leave feedback about their experiences.
CB: Why do you think Sistership Circles are important in our communities?
Bhavna: These resources are important for the community because the world has got into a position of incessant 'doings' and stalled on 'beings'. What I mean is that there is always a constant race to get somewhere, achieve something and be someone which are expansive ways to grow. However, in the midst of those meanderings, the body does need a respite to breathe and express itself so that it can pause to relaunch with even more might and charge with passion. My intention of sharing what I provide is to come to an inner alignment with mind and body so that both are respected and honoured. With the beauty of balance, more can be felt and more can be achieved.
CB: With your experience in wellbeing, what tips would you give to people on how to look after their health?
Before any other commitment, prioritise your health for it is your wealth, so take care of your body. That may come in many different modalities: yoga, tai chi, dance, Qi Gong. Moving energy through the body is healing.
Look after your mind: we have endless thoughts streaming throughout the day so to cleanse it activities like journaling, talking to a friend, getting in the body and out of the mind are useful ways to find more objectivity and less reactivity in everyday life and the challenges it may bring.
Breathe consciously: the breath is a wonderful bridge between the mind and the body so take time to breathe in the morning and it shall change your life!
Embrace all emotions: there are no good and bad, allow them to pass through.
Shift the perspective of routine into rituals and set time aside to do the above.
Get an accountability buddy to enjoy the journey.
More about Sistership Circles and their principles can be found on their website here.
If you are interested in attending Sistership Circle, Bhavna will be hosting an online event on the 24th of April, follow this link to learn more about it.
More about Bhavna and her yoga classes here.