Coconut Feature June – Meet
Saleena Sathyan!

Sharvani Chandvale

Sharvani Chandvale

Each one of us has a tiny voice in our head telling us that our life can be so much more than what it is today. Not everyone takes heed of it, but some do and end up stumbling upon bigger, better dreams. Saleena Sathyan, a NomadGao coconut came along as a reminder to listen to that voice. She is a yoga instructor and entrepreneur, currently freelancing and conducting her own private yoga courses remotely. She took leaps that have led her to discover a different kind of lifestyle – one that allows her to follow her heart wherever it takes her.

Sal Sathyan’s professional journey began at HP (Not Himachal Pradesh, the other kind with a logo) where she worked as a soft skills instructor. She had no qualms about her job in Bengaluru. Living in the heart of the city with her company a stone’s throw away, meant she didn’t even have to worry about the city’s never-ending traffic. When asked whether she had travelled a lot, she responded, “I only travelled for small vacations. I had to take a leave from the company and then I’d go on these trips around the world.” Around the same time, she was introduced to yoga.

“I always thought yoga was just stretching, but it’s only after I got my certification that I realised it isn’t.”

She started her training journey with Sivananda Yoga, eventually moving on to mastering the nuances of Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Vinayasa Yoga. She has learnt and inculcated the very soul of yogic practice under traditional masters, to not just teach but inculcate personally the practices of pranayamaasanas and dhyana. Everything she’d learnt, she was eager to share. Saleena completed her first certification with Sivananda Yoga from Kerala in 2018. After this, she hoped to explore being a part-time yoga teacher while working her day job at HP. However, this path was perhaps more daunting than it sounded. Getting students is no cakewalk and that’s when she came across Cult.

They were looking to hire someone full time, which meant Saleena would have to quit her job at HP. So she did! She took a leap of faith into the unknown to explore something that her heart desired. Eventually, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cult went online and so did Saleena. Around 2.5 years ago, she quit her job at Cult and kickstarted her own yoga course, while continuing to freelance with her previous employer. Today, she is a full-fledged remote yoga teacher who is currently offering training through the NomadGao space in Dharamkot. Where will she be tomorrow? No one knows.

When we asked her whether she prefers being remote over her office job, she replies with a quick “yes!”, provided there is good Wifi wherever she goes.

“Remote work has opened up the world to me. I have international students from different time zones and never have to apply for leave again. My time is my own to claim and I can do what I want with it. I get to be in more places, see more things and don’t have to sacrifice anything in the process. This really matters – spending quality time with yourself, nurturing your soul to be able to better share your time with others.”

However, remote work isn’t all fun and games. Saleena encountered all kinds of hiccups during her stay in Dharamkot.

“My work is all online and I need to be able to have meetings through videos to be able to teach and engage properly. Without a high internet bandwidth, it is impossible for me to do it. Moreover, in places like Dharamkot electricity backup is also so important. Just imagine having to stop mid-session because of a power cut. That’s why I dreaded travelling to work and preferred working from my home in Bengaluru.”

“This is the time to do it, since the entire world went remote for so long, it offers the possibility to do it. We can’t go back anymore because everyone knows this can be done and many are choosing to continue doing it. If you want to tell a story, you need to travel. For that, the best time is right now. Companies are realising that employees need this space and some are trying to go fully remote, organising team retreats as and when possible.

If you want to tell a pretty story about yourself, if you want to make it good, you have to travel. Travelling opens you up to so many new experiences and people bring you closer to understanding the world a little more.”

What does she like about NomadGao Dharamkot?

“That it isn’t just a coliving space, it offers coworking too and not just to its residents. Anyone can be a part of the coconut community. For women especially, the community can be such a wonderful thing. You can travel solo and still feel safe, or you can choose to travel with your female colleagues and share this space and experience together. Moreover, NomadGao has managed to have such wonderful connectivity in a remote village like Dharamkot.”

Saleena’s journey was another reminder for us to keep chasing our dreams and never settle for anything, even if it seems to be “as good as it can get”. There is always something more waiting for you outside of your comfort zone and it will only push you a little more, to grow a little taller.