Meet tejal + Jesal
Yoga is Dead was years in the making…
We met years ago in a training in NYC. Each of us was relieved to finally make a Desi yoga teacher friend who could relate to the other’s experiences with yoga in America vs. yoga in India, and to have someone to bitch to about the cultural appropriation, racism, exploitation and general belittling that we experienced in that training and in many others. But after a few years of having these conversations in hushed tones so as not to offend our white colleagues, we decided it was high time our voices and experiences were heard. We created the Yoga is Dead podcast as a way to jumpstart critical conversations, elevate oppressed voices and perspectives and to expose the problems felt by anyone who isn’t in the “in” crowd of the yoga industry.
Tejal quit her consumer finance job a year after her first teacher training. After returning from six months of travel and more yoga study, she learned how to budget on way lower pay (thanks to 10yrs of excel!) and dove into teaching yoga. During that first year, she worked at countless studios while creating and growing her own yoga offerings at tejalyoga.com - something she felt opened the doors of yoga to more people. The good outweighed the bad by far, but she was shocked to work in an industry seemingly of peace and love and discover a very pervasive culture of spiritual by-passing, greed, racism, narcissism, and abuse of power & privilege. She decided to use this newfound knowledge to empower herself and others.
She is trained in trauma-informed mindfulness based practices through the Lineage Project, studies Prenatal techniques and pelvic floor with Living Now Yoga, and traveled from NY to Kerala, India for several yoga teacher trainings focused on vinyasa, hatha, and restorative yoga.
She started POC + Allies Collective Yoga to honor inclusivity and diversity and leads free Yoga for All in The Battery in New York's landmark 25-acre public park, now in its sixth year. She leads retreats with topics covering asana workshops, trauma informed practices, and pelvic floor anatomy. She is the creator of abcdyogi village, an international community for any born conscientious desi yogi of South Asian descent to reclaim the yoga and mindfulness space by sharing their personal stories and practices with the world. She was featured as 19 Women of Color to Watch in the Yoga World in 2019. Tejal also offers group vinyasa and restorative yoga classes at Humming Puppy NYC and private yoga and reiki sessions.
See everything Tejal is working on at www.tejalyoga.com/now
A decade ago, Jesal quit her corporate job to become a yoga teacher and dedicate more time to unraveling unhealthy patterns and family relationships in order to lead a healthier and happier life. But she had no idea what she was in for. Teaching yoga and interacting with students invigorated her and brought her joy. But this new career path came with a shocking measure of racism, cultural insensitivity, unprofessionalism, exploitative business practices and sexual harassment. The hypocrisy of the yoga community was disappointing and disillusioning to say the least.
As a means to create some healthy distance from the worst offenses of the yoga and wellness industry, to get the best results for her clients and to provide the most caring and careful guidance, mentorship and movement education to other teachers, Jesal created her own business under the brand Yogawalla.
She also teaches on staff at Maha Mama, frequently offering free prenatal classes through the alumni program, as well as volunteering with World Spine Care Yoga Project. She co-created the list of 19 Women of Color to Watch in the Yoga World in 2019 and she is proud member of the abdcyogi community.
See all of Jesal’s latest projects at https://linktr.ee/yogawalla