‘Rising above ones’ disabilities

Half-body almost paralyzed, battling with addiction and psychological problems, suffering from extreme low blood pressure, and chronic ulcer – she had endured the worst ordeal of her life growing up.

With several maladies inflicting her body and mind, and medical treatment proving to be futile, she was on the verge of giving up when her husband suggested her yoga as a last resort.

From there she set out on a journey into the unknown world of yoga, beginning with 18-day retreat at Baba Ram Dev’s Ashram. From there her quest took her to Dev Sanskriti University in Uttrakhand, India, where she took nine months course in pranic healing, acupressure and naturopathy.

“Miraculously, I was healed after practicing seriously for a year,” she added.

After the birth of her first child, she returned to the university to pursue her master’s degree in yoga, where she won the gold medal for best academic performer.  

Later she went on to win a silver medal during a state level yoga championship in Dehradun, India, in 2014, while standing fifth at the All India Yoga Championship in Hariyana in the same year. The following year she hit another milestone when she bagged a Gold medal at the International Yoga Championship in Pondichery, Chennai, in 2015.

She practices raj yoga (astanga yoga/eight limbs of yoga), hatha yoga, science of physical purification to prepare oneself for raj yoga, including Buddha’s sacred teaching.

Her daily practice also includes hydro therapy (yoga/tai chi in the water), Iyengar yoga (the path to holistic health considered most difficult yoga postures), vinyasa yoga, therapeutic yoga (yoga practices for physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual disorders), including anti-rheumatic group, digestive group and urogenital group).

Ying Yang yoga – intense yoga and restorative yoga, Tibetan yoga – five Tibetan exercises for rejuvenating, weight control and energy conservation, and yogance – stretching with music and flow, are part of her daily regime too.

“Yoga helps to integrate the mental and the physical plane, bringing about a sense of inner and outer balance. Yoga even helps students to cope with all the school activities with positive attitude and make them calm but sharp because yoga balances all the hormones, and leads to good nerve coordination,” she said, pointing at one of the many benefits of practicing yoga regularly.

Whenever she steps on the mat, she sees herself as a person who is there to help people release their inner negativity. “I feel like I am here to pass on the secrets to good physical and mental health,” she said, when asked about how she feels to be yoga teacher.

However, it was not devoid of challenges. Being a new phenomenon in Bhutan, it was initially difficult for her to draw a lot of people into yoga, but gradually they began to understand its benefits.

“All that is required is regular practice and a lot of patience. But once you get there, you will feel the difference,” she said. “It is very rewarding to help people live a meaningful and healthy life again.”     

This is a remarkable story of Tilu Maya Powrel, 33, whose life changing experience with yoga, truly stands as an inspiration to all those who feels helpless and crippled by their physical and mental afflictions. Today she is a beacon of hope for all those who want to rise above their disability and live a normal life again

Chencho Dema from Thimphu