What I love the most about yoga is how I feel after the practice. With conscious movements and breathing, you not only work on your strength, but also flexibility, balance, and focus. Yoga is a life long journey, and there is always something new to try and challenge yourself with. You have a good and safe framework where you study and learn about your body and then work with it. Essentially, the practice of yoga helps you realize your true self.
My name is Kapil Arora and I currently work as a pre-sales solution engineer at HashiCorp. I have been working in Software and Cloud/IT pre-sales for many years and held positions such as Cloud Platform Architect, Cloud Solution Architect, etc. at various fortune companies like Microsoft and NetApp. In a pre-sales role, as a technical person, your job is to enable sales with your technical skills. In this position, you are responsible to explain and sell the technical value of the product to customers and help them test the products and support them during a POC (proof of concept) and implementation.
I started my career as a software developer – later, a friend introduced me to this role and also referred me for a pre-sales position in his team. In this job, you not only need good technical skills, but also great presentation and sales skills. You learn and understand technical products at a deep level and then articulate their business value to the customer. It is even more fun as you get to travel and meet many customers and understand and solve their problems. You also interact with engineering and product teams and act as a bridge between business and technology. I found this both challenging and fun; it was exactly what I wanted to do. And so far, I am really enjoying it.
I was born and brought up in a small town in the north of India. I moved south to Pune to complete my Bachelor of Engineering in Information Technology, and then further south to Bangalore for work. While I was working at NetApp as a Software Developer in Bangalore, I was keen on working outside of India and I was always on the lookout for opportunities. I discovered a job opportunity that fit my profile in NetApp Germany, and I randomly applied for it. They liked my profile and, after the interview process, offered me a job. Later, they told me they were struggling to fill that position and were not able to find any good candidates for more than 6 months.
I’ve been living in Munich, Germany for more than 7 years, and I call it home now.
Outside of my job, I love yoga. I attended my first real yoga session in May 2019, and I have been seriously into it since then. I just started going to more and more sessions and became a member of a nearby yoga studio. I used to be a regular at a functional training studio nearby before that, but I just lost interest after starting yoga. You can call it a crush, but I will call it ‘love at first movement’.
I’m interested in all kinds of yoga. I love the sweaty vinyasa flows, deep Hatha practice, and I cannot get enough of Yin yoga. I also go to Jivamukti and Ashtanga sessions regularly. The core concepts and asanas are essentially the same; hence I embrace all forms.
Yoga is an essential part of my life. I start my day with some easy stretches, joint movements, and deep breathing every day. I do a proper 1.5 to 2 hours practice session 3 to 4 times a week – the session usually includes a good warm-up, joint movements, followed by a self-created sequence of forward and back bending, balancing, warrior, inversion, hip-opening positions, and concluding with some deep stretching, cool down, and rest.
I am also a certified Yoga Teacher with RYT 200. This journey began when I travelled to Bali in the middle of June 2019 and attended a Yoga class at Yoga Saraswati in Ubud. I really enjoyed the class; after chatting with the yoga teacher, I discovered that he recently completed his Yoga training in Rishikesh. I did not know about such training before, and it was International Yoga Day when I first started to think about doing the Yoga teacher training myself.
After my vacation in Bali, I was hungry to learn more; attending a drop-in session 2-3 times a week was not enough to make any real progress. I was always unsure of what I was doing in the class (and rightly so). I convinced myself that I needed a push and intensive training to really get started. The idea of going to a school and learning all about yoga, all day, was a very attractive idea to me and I started looking at my options.
I eventually decided to go to the same school as the teacher in Bali. Thanks to my teammates and my manager who approved my 5-week vacation, I spent the whole of August learning Yoga in India at Rishikesh YTTC, where I gained the RYT200 (Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hours) certification.
As a new and inexperienced teacher, I started offering free classes to my colleagues at Microsoft after I came back from Rishikesh. I also teach and do sessions together with my friends sometimes. Recently, I started doing online Zoom sessions for my colleagues, friends, and family to help them cope with the lockdown due to Covid-19.
I usually offer full-body yoga sessions with a good warm-up and challenging sequence of asanas and relaxation. It is my own style which I developed over time. I make sure my class has all spinal and joint movements, chest and shoulder openings – many of us who have desk jobs need that the most. I put effort into making my classes both challenging and relaxing. Some recorded sessions can be found here: https://www.kaparora.com/tags/yogawithkapil/.
The most important thing I teach my students is to be present; to stay in the session with their body and mind. We have a saying in yoga: “prana (life energy) flows where our attention goes”. A great tool to achieve that is to focus on breathing. As we learn to work on the alignment of our breath and movement, we gain more awareness in our body, and positions become easier and more enjoyable.
With the help of yoga, we also want to remove the obstacles which are preventing us from realizing our true potential (obstacles which are a result of undesired posture, sedentary lifestyles, and improper breathing, etc.).
Yoga has changed my life on multiple levels. First of all, yoga has helped me understand what health really is. My posture, core strength, and flexibility have improved a lot in the last year, and I am more aware of my body and its needs. Yoga has had great effects on my mental wellbeing as well. I am even calmer and more focused at work and in the things I want to achieve in life. In my opinion, yoga is a holistic and scientific approach to health and wellbeing.
In terms of future goals on a physical and personal level, I am working on my core strength and flexibility to slowly start attempting more advanced positions. I want to continue reading more books on yoga and publish articles and videos. As a teacher, I want to continue offering free classes to my social circles. In the long term, I am also considering another teacher training to gain RYT500 and teaching in a studio in Munich.
I do see a similarity between yoga and my occupation in the sense that both of them keep me challenged. There is always something new to learn and experiment with. Both are detail-oriented fields and need theoretical as well as practical knowledge of the subject. As a Solution Engineer, I can help organizations solve their IT problems and challenges; as a Yoga Teacher, I can help people connect with themselves better.
Yoga has definitely been a benefit to my technological career. Being a yoga teacher has helped me connect with my colleagues on a personal level, which is good in the work environment. Yoga has also helped me focus on my work better – as my job requires sitting a lot in front of the screen, yoga helps me to keep my posture in check. Yoga also provides me with an escape from work into a different world.
My advice for beginners interested in yoga is to give it a fair chance with an open mind – explore beyond the physical exercises and positions by using breath as the guide. A good starting point can be a nearby studio or a YouTube video. Spend some time learning the positions, their alignment, and breathing techniques. Be patient and don’t let inflexibility discourage you. If you practice regularly, flexibility will come. Yoga is not about coming into an aesthetically-pleasing position. It is more about learning about your boundaries, touching them, and maybe going slightly over. I personally believe yoga comes to your life when you are ready for it.
For those living in Munich, yoga is a very popular activity. There are many yoga studios and almost every fitness studio offers yoga classes. Easy access to yoga and yoga teachers makes a huge difference to get started.
Finally, I think it is very important to be able to share the passions of technologists. Sharing gives a chance for you and others to learn and grow, and that is how we grow as a society. Technical jobs can be demanding, and having a passion outside of work can help balance your work and life. Sharing your passions with the world can set examples for others and show them the way to build a more fulfilling life.