AwareNow: Issue 19: The Source Edition

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Page 40

“…a life of service is the best kind to live.”

I remember being 12 and getting an email from my Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) instructor saying that I had passed my exam and earned my certificate. After some celebration, I realized that I could now teach at a studio and charge for my classes. I am very fortunate that as a kid and teenager, I don't have to work and make money for my family. It is such an incredible blessing and I remind myself every day how lucky I am and how grateful I should be.

So with that in mind, why would I charge for classes?

What would I do with the money? Other people would need it a lot more than me.

And that's where it started.

I come from a home that has always valued giving back. My incredible mom has always said “a life of service is the best kind of life to live.'' I remember when I was around 7 or 8, before the idea of teaching yoga had even surfaced in my very imaginative young mind, my mom had introduced me to the Unstoppable Foundation. We made a pledge with them to raise money to build a school in Kenya. At 7, and still at 16, it was so shocking to me that there are kids that wake up everyday and don’t go to school. Not because they choose not to, but because they spend their day collecting water or because their village doesn't even have a school. Being able to say that I was baffled by that fact is one of my biggest blessings. I love school. I love learning new things. And even on days when it's hard and I have a lot to get done, I remind myself that school is going to open so many doors for me and give me so many opportunities. Those kids deserve those same opportunities. They deserve those same chances and those same odds. And that's something that 12 year old Natalie, fresh out of YTT, decided she wanted to help change.

Looking back on my history is so humbling. My family came to this country so I could chase my dreams. I wasn't even a concept when they moved here, yet they were already thinking of my future. I have been so blessed and it wouldn't be right if I didn't use my blessings to help others. I was put on this planet to serve. To help as many people as possible feel the true warmth of humanity. We all were. We’re all here to help, we all just go about it in different ways. Some people sell their paintings to help the polar bears. Some sing to plant trees. Some run to help fund the search for cures. And some of us teach yoga to help bring education to kids in Africa.

So there you have it. That's my why.

Now, I have to get back to my biology essay, and I'll leave you with some time to think.

What's your why? ∎


Yoga Instructor & Education Advocate Natalie Asatryan has been teaching yoga since the age of 12 and is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga with people of all ages and inspiring them to take what they love and use it to make a difference. Through the funds she receives from her donation based classes, Natalie supports various charities such as the American Red Cross, Red Nose Day, the Unstoppable Foundation, and Children of Armenia Fund. Two time global youth award winner, Natalie works to empower those around her to step out of their comfort zones and change the world.