They’ve motivated you, trained with you, and been a part of your fitness journeys. And now, you can get to know them. That’s right - we’re bringing you stories of our superstar trainers - their backgrounds, their passions, and all the little things that brought them to where they are today.
We’re starting with Naveen Sharma - an ace yoga trainer who’s been part of the #CultFam for close to two years now. Here’s his story, unfiltered and in his very own words.
The Early Years
I was born in India’s capital, Delhi, and soon my parents moved to Raipur, Chhattisgarh. I did parts of my schooling there, as well as in Rajasthan.
Yoga has been part of my life since I was a child - my father got his yoga certification back in the 1980s from Kaivalyadham, Lonavala, and he used to take my siblings and I to a yoga ashram where we would practice together.
However, I lost touch with it after the 8th standard, and by PUC/12, I gained weight and was teased incessantly about being fat. Naturally, this affected my self confidence prior to joining college.
When I began my BBA degree in Raipur in 2008, I decided that enough was enough.
I made drastic changes in my life. I started running, went to dance class in the afternoon and practiced body weight workouts every evening.
I lost all the extra weight in no time and came down to 64 kg. I even began participating in college dance competitions and this continued till I graduated.
The turning point
Unfortunately, fitness took a backseat when I moved to Bangalore to pursue my MBA. Life became overwhelming - and I’m sure anyone who has moved out of home can relate! I had to balance my studies with housework and I didn’t have the time to focus on my workouts. By the end of my degree, I had gained about 6 kgs.
In 2013, I started working as a sales professional and continued for a little over a year. While I enjoyed my job and things were going well professionally, I once again had to face comments about my weight. But this time, it wasn’t the comments that bothered me - it was my own inner voice.
I had gained 12 kgs in one year. My sleep had suffered and energy levels were at an all-time low. This finally shook me up. I asked myself where I would be in the next 20 years if I continued down this path - and I didn’t like the answer.
I decided to quit my corporate job, and take up something that would allow me to focus on my health while also earning a livelihood - and yoga seemed like the obvious choice.
In February 2014, I joined a 3-month, 200-hour teacher training course, and joined the same institute as an employee to take care of sales and marketing.
The afternoon that changed it all
One fateful day, post the completion of my course, one of our yoga trainers didn’t show up for class. The batch strength was low, so my team asked me to fill in, considering I was already certified.
Honestly, I was terrified. And I wasn’t even prepared. Thankfully, I went ahead anyway, created a class plan in my diary and got ready. When I entered the class and saw only one student, I was relieved. The session went off smoothly, and as the student was leaving, she said, “Thanks Naveen, I had discomfort at my back and now it’s relieved.”
Those words evoked a different feeling in me - a feeling of fulfilment that I had never experienced before. This is when I decided that this would be my future.
A man on a mission
Teaching yoga became my passion and I made it my mission to help a million people live a happier and healthier life through yoga.
After 10 months of teaching, it was time to upgrade my skills so I quit my job and went to Pondicherry to do a 500 hour yoga teacher training course. I stayed there for about 2 months to study and practice yoga. I then traveled to several cities to deepen my knowledge and practice with different teachers.
In 2015, I launched a yoga studio - Ashmayu Yoga in JP Nagar, Bangalore - with my wife Sireesha who is also a yoga teacher and biker For a more holistic approach that would benefit my students, I undertook health and wellness coaching, aerial yoga, sound healing and a Train the Trainer certification. Sireesha and I ran Ashmayu Yoga together for five years, transforming thousands of lives. Like many other businesses though, we had to shut it down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Becoming part of cult.fit
There was no certainty around when life would get back to normal - so I had to figure out a new way to live my mission.
As they say, where there is a will there's a way. Thanks to my strong desire and intent to continue my yoga journey, cult.fit came into my life as a new opportunity - and I joined them in December 2020.
Prior to the pandemic, I taught students in a classroom where I could see them and give my suggestions around their alignment and practice. But of course, now we were in a digital world and I had to teach via recorded videos. On my first day, I felt like I had walked into a movie set with a crew of 20-25 people taking care of production alongside a dedicated director and assistant director.
This phase taught me a lot. It went beyond simply yoga skills. I had to communicate effectively and become comfortable in front of the camera - and for this, I thank the entire cult.live production team!
As the videos started to go live, I began getting messages on my Instagram from cult students who were practicing yoga with me via cult app. Once again, I felt that sense of fulfillment. Despite the obstacles, I was continuing on my mission to help a million people live a happier and healthier life in a bigger way.
There has been no looking back since then. I have created several programs for cult.fit, including 4 Week Yoga For Beginners, Balanced Burn, Yoga For Everyday Athletes And Power Up With Naveen.
Thanks so much cult fam, for showering me with so much love. I absolutely love all of you and am grateful to be part of your yoga journey.
I’ve seen several ups and downs in several areas of my life, be it health, relationships, or finance. My biggest learning through it all has been that no matter how hard things are looking, it’s all in the mind. If you believe you can, you can. And if you believe you can’t, you will find it difficult to make things work.
So believe in yourself and trust me - you can.
Was that inspiring, or what! Naveen’s story shows us all the power of believing in yourself and not giving up. Obstacles are part of all our lives, and it’s our mindsets that play a big part in how we overcome them. Here’s to facing challenges head on!
Before you go, check out Naveen’s programs here:
- 4-week Yoga for Beginners
- 10-Day Power Yoga
- Yoga for Athletes
- Balanced Burn Season 1
- Balanced Burn Season 2
About Balanced Burn Season 2
Balanced Burn Season 2 by Naveen Sharma is targeted towards users who are looking at reducing fat, building core strength and muscular endurance, improving flexibility and balance with yoga.
This program will be spread over 3 weeks with 4 sessions/week (Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri)