women to women
The Founder of Myanmar's first yoga school, female Yoga Instructor Thuzar
Question: Can you introduce yourself and explain your role at your current school?
Answer: My name is Thuzar, and I am the founder of the Patanjali Yoga Vidya school.
Question: As a woman, why did you decide to establish such a school in Myanmar and choose the discipline of Yoga? Can you explain?
Answer: My initial foray into practicing Yoga was for health reasons. Mainly, it was all about my health. As my health improved, my interest in this practice deepened. So, I gradually started learning more about it. After learning, I realized the benefits of Yoga extend beyond just asanas. When I discovered that, I wanted to share it with others. The primary goal of establishing this school was precisely that - to share knowledge. The Yoga asanas we currently practice at our school are just the tip of the iceberg; there's much more knowledge out there that I want to make known. Hence, after establishing the school, we focus on sharing knowledge with the students and provide both knowledge and practice comprehensively.
Question: As a professional starting this business, what challenges and difficulties did you face at the beginning?
Answer: Starting this job, I didn't really face what you could call major challenges. Everything was quite smooth at the beginning. However, the timing of starting this school coincided with the year COVID-19 hit, which was the main challenge. It was just bad timing that made me struggle quite a bit for this school.
Question: At the beginning of your career, how much support did you have from your family, social circle, and the people around you?
Answer: The main support definitely came from my family, my husband, and my children. They provided a lot of support for me. When I had to go out for classes or training and couldn't spend time at home, my kids were understanding and never complained. My husband has been supporting me from the beginning until now, always ready to help with anything I need for my work. That's the kind of support I have from my family.
Question: As a yoga instructor, when did you enter the professional line of yoga as a career?
Answer: I entered this field around 2012-2013. Mainly because, as I mentioned earlier, I started practicing this regimen for my health. Both physically and mentally, I saw significant improvements. I used to be quite short-tempered before, but now I see a reduction in that and even when I do get angry, I can control it better. Seeing such physical and mental changes made me really appreciate this field.
Question: How important do you think yoga will be for men and women in the coming years?
Answer: It's crucial. In our country, Myanmar, men practicing yoga is still quite rare. In Western countries, men are more involved in yoga. Yoga is not just for physical health; it's essential for everyone's well-being, including physical, social, and mental health. Everyone needs it, regardless of gender. Women alone can't practice it; men also need it. What's worse is that everyone experiences stress, both men and women. So, if you want to reduce stress and mental strain, both men and women need to practice it.
Question: Compared to other countries, for example, India, where most yoga teachers are men, why do you think in Myanmar, yoga is perceived as something only for women and most of the yoga instructors are also women, with men less likely to participate?
Answer: The main reason is knowledge. The knowledge about yoga and its sharing hasn't been widespread enough here, in my opinion. That's why we don't differentiate by gender; we emphasize that yoga is beneficial and necessary for both men and women and actively share this knowledge.
Question: In your school, what's the ratio of male to female participants?
Answer: It's quite low. In this batch, there's one man. In the previous batch, there were two. So, if there are about ten women, there's usually only about one man, making the ratio about 10:1.
Question: So, as you mentioned earlier, for more men to become involved and for them to understand that yoga is also related to them, it requires a broader spread of knowledge and awareness, right?
Answer: Yes, how should I put it? At the moment, it's not just about one piece of knowledge; there are so many factors currently that no matter what we say, men are struggling in this period. They can't allocate time for this specifically. It's just one of those things... There are numerous factors at play. Regardless of what we say, fundamentally, it boils down to knowledge. The lack of extensive, widespread knowledge is the issue. Some might think yoga is only for women. That's something I want to clarify. Primarily, men need it even more.
Question: As a Yoga Trainer, what has motivated you to establish yourself in this career and continue to persevere?
Answer: The main goal is the realization that our country does have Yoga teachers. It's not that we don't have any; we do. However, I want to ensure that both the practice and knowledge are comprehensive and complete. That's why I'll continue in this path. For the future generations, it's not just about practicing vigorously but also about providing both practice and knowledge comprehensively, which I consider a driving force.
Question: With the recent increase in female Yoga Trainers and the field becoming more competitive, how have you persevered with your mindset in such a competitive career?
Answer: If I don't want to do the work, I just sit still, but once I start, I give it 100%. Another thing is, once I start working, I don't look at whether the work will be successful or not, whether it will happen or not. Once I start, the work must be something I like, something I enjoy, and something that makes me happy. If I do my best, the results will come when the time is right. I always tell my students, no matter what you do, do your best, don't expect anything, and the results will come back to you on their own. The results will come back based on what you've done. So, whatever I do, I don't have any expectations. I do my best. If I don't do it, I don't start at all. But once I start, I give it 100%.
Question: As a woman, how have you decided to enrich yourself with knowledge and strengths to continue in such a competitive career in the coming years?
Answer: Currently, I'm studying. I study abroad. Here, my school has gone from local to international. In the future, it's about my dream. What I want to do is to keep upgrading in this field of knowledge. So, I want to offer these diplomas. In the future, like abroad, where there are universities related to Yoga, offering BSC and MSC in Yoga, I want to open a school here that can offer that level. That's my goal.
Question: As a Yoga Instructor, what are your mottos or words of encouragement that keep you motivated while working or striving?
Answer: No matter what you do, give it 100%. Put 100% effort and heart into whatever you do. Give 100% of your knowledge on the subject. That's my motto.
Question: For women interested in Yoga or considering it as a career, and for women supporting each other, could you share some words of encouragement or advice?
Answer: People come to my school with various goals. Some come wanting to change careers, others for health reasons wanting to improve their health, and some for mental well-being, like finding joy in something or being easily disheartened. So, we suggest coming here. Coming here also strengthens mental resilience. So, when I encounter such people, the primary thing is that mental resilience is necessary. So, for women, regardless of the career they choose or any professional field, it's not just physical resilience that's important but also mental resilience. If someone easily gets disheartened by criticisms, we will never move forward. So, both men and women need to be mentally resilient. We need resilience. We work on ourselves to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, to remain strong and have integrity.
Question:. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Answer: I hope that our Yoga community can expand and produce more qualified instructors. I truly wish for that to happen.