For generations, Rishima Bahadoorsingh’s family has practiced meditation, mantra and kirtan as part of daily life. Sundays were for learning about yoga philosophy. The family even took multiple trips from their home in Canada to India, where they would spend several months studying together in an ashram with their spiritual guru.
From age four, Rishima was drawn to classical Indian music, kirtan, and mantra. She devoted many years to training in piano, violin, harmonium, Indian percussion, Indian vocals, and Dhrupad or Naad – the yoga of sound. Eventually, she became a talented performer and music teacher herself.
Rishima will be sharing her love of mantra and chanting as a faculty member with the upcoming Yoga Outreach Certification™ program, beginning in January 2021. Students will be treated to stories and wisdom gained from her personal practice and through the lineage of her spiritual gurus and teachers.
When Rishima is not performing or teaching music and mantras, the mother of two is an elementary school teacher, having earned Bachelors in both Elementary Education and Sociology, plus a Masters in Curriculum and Development in Inclusion in Diversity.
She loves sharing “magical moments” of connection with students that seem hard to reach and seeing their progress over time. One of these treasured experiences was a six-month work-study semester in Northern Peru. Inspired by her trip, Rishima co-founded the Sol Community Education Society, which provides literacy and supportive educational programming to young children in Northern Peru.
Having also worked and volunteered within transition houses and crisis centres, Rishima noted that Yoga Outreach’s commitment to making yoga more accessible in these spaces motivated her to join its 200-hour training faculty. She’s also an upcoming guest at the next Yoga Outreach Out Loud event: Understanding the Roots of Yoga: The Impacts of Colonization & Appropriation.
One might wonder how Rishima balances her daily spiritual practice amongst the responsibilities of modern-day living as a teacher, philanthropist, performer, and mother. In response, she shares a lesson from one of her gurus.
“Every action can be a spiritual practice,” she says. “Work is meditation, sadhana, and yogic practice in itself.”
Story by Brittney Fehr