Usually busy with juggling many things from teaching yoga, fitness regimes, running a business, and building fitness courses, _theyogagirl, Mayuri Salian took precious time out of her busy schedule to talk to Blue Pencil News. We had discussions with reflections on her journey and role of education and how to start the journey of being an influencer.
Please shed light on your early life and education.
To be honest, I never actually enjoyed studying (chuckles) I was always into sports, I was on the school volleyball team, athletics team, and yoga team. I just wanted to be the best and excel at any sport I took. Be it at the school level or national level. It made me feel like I belonged. As a kid, though not intentionally, people did body shame me and I was a chubby kid. It made me feel conscious, and that was the moment I started pursuing my fitness journey and sports. Another big misconception is that not being interested in studies means not being interested in learning. But it is not like I was learning the things I was interested in and it’s just that I was not interested in studying the mainstream subjects. I wanted to be a sports and PT teacher and prepared hard for the entrance exam of the Bachelor in Physical Education, post my 12board but fell short by 1 mark and had to pursue BMS in marketing. In the greater scheme of things, it worked out well for me.
How did you decide that teaching Yoga and helping people get physically fit is what you want to pursue?
Like I said in the greater scheme of things BMS in Marketing worked out well for me. During my graduation, I decided, I wanted to pursue MBA because by then I wasn’t actually playing and with parents guiding you to take degrees and stable jobs at some point in time you do consider that as well. My friend in college came to know that I was a national-level Yoga medalist and asked me to not waste my talent by forcing me back into it. My college PT teacher registered my name without me knowing into University Games in the Yoga category. So I hate losing even before I put in the effort and because of it, I started Yoga again and simultaneously, my friend also asked to start an Instagram account. And this journey, though initially about me and helping me recover mentally and physically, later became about helping other people going through a similar transformation process and become fit both mentally and physically.
How did you start your Yoga journey?
I was not into Yoga initially. During school, a very close friend of mine started doing Yoga and got selected for the school team. Back then, I was on the volleyball and the athletics team. I am a highly competitive person, to be honest, and I was motivated that if she got into the team, then so will I. That was the first instance me doing Yoga. In your childhood and teenage years, you have a lot of flexibility in your body and can quickly shape yourself into tougher positions with practice. I gave my 100% and got onto the team. It helped me better my Volleyball game, and I thoroughly started enjoying the journey from thereon. Then I went with the flow, and the universe helped me get here.
How did you convince your parents to let you into a risky career when the norm and fad are to pursue relatively known and safer careers?
With due respect, people today do not know that there are many careers out there to explore rather than everyone being an engineer, doctor, lawyer and MBA. I was from, ‘jo bhi mummy kahengi mai vo kar lungi,’ school of thought (laughs). So mummy said that if you are into sports then pursue being a Sports teacher and take the entrance exam for Bachelors in P.E, but I flunked in the entrance by a single mark. After that, my mother asked me to take up BMS in Marketing as Maths and Science were not my closest allies (chuckles), and an MBA later. Then the universe intervened and I started enjoying helping people out with my content. Even now, my mom sometimes asks me to take a stable job and monthly salary. But I guess now both my parents have come to terms with this fact after seeing me do good for myself and getting recognition and have let me be.
Your motivation to get out of bed when you started initially?
I had dropped Yoga post-school, and when you do not practise for 2 years, you’re bound to lose flexibility. I thought of joining classes but they said they only enrol kids but after a lot of convincing they let took me in. Initially, it was ego Yoga. I used to see different people and I was highly motivated to bend my back to their limits and beyond. I pushed myself so hard that I had constant back cramps for 6 months! That is something that people have not seen. They have only seen the final product which is great but not the process which yielded the product.
When did you realise that creating content is what you want to do and it has a sustainable future?
When I started there were not a lot of professional Yoga classes and courses and people just joined a few groups and did Yoga without actually knowing if the technique was right or not. I realised this and decided that I would teach people from every age group without taking time into consideration and let them progress at their own pace. When this method reaped rewards I was sure that I was on the right track, and people, when they saw this method reap rewards, they also started trusting the process.
Are there restrictions to flexibility with age?
With age, the flexibility of the body is bound to lessen. Only people with god-gifted flexibility can maintain it lifelong with consistent practice. It is important to detach yourself from the goal of lifelong flexibility and keep practising as that will keep an individual maintaining fitness standards. People with long-term injuries or health issues cannot achieve flexibility beyond ascertain level as it would bring immense harm to their health. Knowing about your body is what Yoga helps you with as well.
Where do you find inspiration from and your role models?
Talia Sutra. She is a mother of two kids, and arguably the most dedicated and consistent in her practice. Pregnancy is a life-changing event and the body is not even the same post that. Yet she has been consistently maintaining her flexibility and strength which is nothing short of an enigma and the level is just too high to achieve. I aspire to be at that level.
Coming onto your content, how do you get reach and make your content standout, when there are lakhs of influencers out there with everyone working equally hard?
Initially, I used to put 3 posts to get reach. But soon, I realised that my back bending reels, videos and photos in that order were attracting more people, and I made that my niche. I went very deep in my niche while maintaining creativity and constant innovations. Analysing what your audiences are liking and why certain categories work and some do not. So, understanding your audience, though being known to every creator is silvery underrated and finding your niche and getting neck-deep into it.
Would you like to give a little sneak peek into what you are working on next to your yoga community?
I am working toward starting a yoga studio soon and building an educational yoga and poses course with my friends for everyone who wants to get fit, be it an amateur, an intermediate or a veteran regardless of age.
A piece of advice for up-and-coming influencers?
Just be honest about your art and keep consistently working hard. People would have opinions about every single thing. Pave the way yourself and do not listen to them, it’s just noise. Had I had a follower for every time, I listened to people, I would’ve had a million of them by now. (laughs)