Love is Divine! Meet Trimurti founders – Karo & Ajay Sharma (Interview)
We are sitting at the Trimurti Yoga centre in Agonda, Goa. It’s around 7:30 am. Sounds of Nature around us are laud and refreshing – roosters and crows are shouting, birds are singing, the wildlife begins another day.
It’s quite early for an interview, but as Karo and Ajay have a busy schedule this time is the most peaceful to talk. Karo holds her pink coffee mug, Ajay plays with crazy Maya – the Trimurti Yoga beagle. Suddenly, from a big yoga shala there comes a deep and strong sound of OM. It’s a sign that a new day on the yoga campus has just started, students of TTC practice Ashtanga today.
Me: Your story is very inspiring. You met in 2009, fell in love, moved to India and opened Trimurti… How did it all happen? Where was this idea from? It sounds like a novel or a Hollywood movie… Can you tell us the whole story?
Ajay (smiling): I think Karo should tell this one…
Karo: I think it’s more like a Bollywood movie (laughter)… Sure, I will!
We met in 2009 when I worked in Berlin in a very cool international theatre project. Ajay lived in Bielefeld, in Germany. He was a jewellery designer and producer. We had common friends. Actually, at that time Ajay was looking for another Karolina, the girl from Portugal, and when he found me on Facebook my profile picture misconducted him. On the picture I was in Portugal indeed, travelling with my friend… I sit there on a pink Vespa in big black sunglasses. You don’t see my face clearly… I think Ajay thought it was his Portuguese friend Karolina from his “Osho times”.
Ajay: Yes, the name was the same, the picture was tagged in Lisboa. I wanted to reconnect to my great friend from 90’s…
Karo: Well, unfortunately (or fortunately) it was not her… Anyway, it’s a crazy story, cause 2 weeks before Ajay contacted me I bought my first Osho’s book that was recommended to me by my friend, and – by the way – a very famous actor in Poland. It matters, cause I really love this actor, and that’s why I bought the book he told me about… So just imagine this – 2 weeks after my first meeting with Osho and his beautiful yet controversial discourses, and not knowing anything about him actually, this “Osho guy” from India (Ajay), living in Germany and having some common friends contacts me and claims that he remembers me from Osho Commune in Pune, asking me how I am doing… It was strange… I mean, they say when Osho enters your life it is always spectacular, but it was super weird. But it was also nice and funny:-) We decided to meet in Berlin for a coffee.. I think we have been talking for hours about philosophy, happiness, meditation, sense of life… Soon we decided to go for a short holidays together to Goa. As friends at that time, we haven’t had any romance or anything.
Goa was like a dream. I fell in love not only with Ajay, but with India, with Goa, with the Arabian Sea, with Agonda… All these colours, smells, the intensity of life… At that time I was quite depressed and disappointed, wounded by my “wrong” choices. Ajay was a great friend who helped me to understand why I suffered and how I could change it. So I did (laughter). I came back to Warsaw, sold my car, as well as my gym and bicycle, I packed my clothes and stored it in my parents’ house. A few weeks later I was flying to India for a long trip that we have planned together. I had one way ticket. Indeed I never came back to Europe…We just visit our family and friends. Back then I didn’t think much, I just knew I had to go. My mother cried, my friends were quite shocked. And I was sure that my choice is the only choice I have if I want to fight for my happiness…
Ajay: Karo needed to review her life choices in order to figure out what she wants. She needed a break. I just shared my experience, offered her support. I also wanted to change something for myself. Living in Germany was super comfortable and I truly love German Nature, but something was missing there.
India is a place that gives you time and space to think about it without any pressure… People from all over the world come here in the transit of their lives, looking for something new, something meaningful… So we travelled as well. I wanted to show her India that I love, that are special for me. She was practicing yoga before, so it was obvious that we would visit yoga places, she wanted to practice with real Indian yogis (laughter).
Karo: Yes, I did! Now I know it is not about nationality. Real yogis can be everywhere, and fake yogis can be even in India. On this journey I discovered many things, but the strongest points were:
1. that I don’t see myself in Europe,
2. that I want to spend my life with Ajay, and
3. that teaching methodology in yoga in India had many gaps.
I was a teacher half of my adult life, I loved working with people – in theatre, music, art, yoga… I was disappointed that in India somehow yoga is too often a dogma that is not modified or adjusted for people, or sometimes even it’s not explained to us properly… I am far away from following blindly anyone. I felt somehow that in this way yoga excludes many people, cause if they don’t fit to a certain frame they shouldn’t practice… This was my strongest impression. I saw the potential to enrich yoga courses, and to bring to them art of teaching – modifications, exploration, explanation… I saw clearly what can be added. Funny enough, one day, out of nowhere, we just met Ajay’s friend who run a yoga school and offered me cooperation in his project. It just happened, and that’s the beginning of Trimurti Yoga. Few years later we opened our own school, but in this first project (Bodhi Tree Yoga) I really learnt everything I know today… I checked my ideas, I developed my understanding and intuition, I got the feedback… I worked with yoga and teaching before, but never so intensively.
I met people from every corner of the world, with different needs, different health issues, different bodies and preferences. It helped me to understand how yoga can serve and support in many different ways. I created the program that has an ambition to introduce yoga on many different levels and with many different aspects. I discovered my dream is to prepare conscious, creative and wise yoga teachers who focus on people not on dogmatic approach. I wanted to make people conscious they can choose yoga tools, mix yoga styles – in order to serve and help people who don’t fit to one particular frame.
Ajay: I always say that we should follow our dreams. We made our dream real. We wanted to be together, and we wanted to create a nice project for people similar to us. I felt a need of bringing up a kind of community, but respecting individual space, diversity… I think if you believe in your dreams it will happen. In 2013 we built this place. We feel like home here. And our Yoga Community grew up so much!
Karo: I think what really inspires people (an ourselves) that we started from nothing, just from our love, just from the dream. We didn’t have money, connections, neither idea about running yoga school in India… We just had each other. Whenever I have doubts in my life since then I always remind myself of this. We did it! Love is really the divine energy…
Me: Who is coming to Trimurti?
Karo: 6 years ago when it all has started we used to host yoga people who practiced already for quite a bit, and wanted to become teachers. We are accredited by Yoga Alliance, so it was usually one of the reason why they wanted to come for TTC, visiting India by the way. They loved meditation, pranayama, deep layers of yoga, our Indian teachers, mantras… Today we have clients who are lawyers, businessmen, doctors, artists, physiotherapists, musicians, plumbers, professors, actors… Some of them practiced yoga much before coming, some of them are really fresh… I think it shows how yoga expanded, how it entered new areas, new professions and people. I am happy to see that, even if it is more challenging sometimes…
Me: What does challenge you?
Karo: Well, I don’t want to generalise, but people usually recognise yoga today only as the asana practice, physical work; they got disconnected from its holistic view, its lifestyle, values, philosophy… One student asked me once why Bhaskar – our traditional yogi, philosophy teacher and brahmacharya – doesn’t use Power Point presentations. No offence, but I was really surprised with this question. 15 years ago when I was practicing yoga as a mild health support, from the beginning I knew a lot about roots, context and yogic lifestyle. Today there are many students who are actually surprised that it is a philosophy system or science, and not only fitness. So what is challenging here is to recover this awareness, bring people’s interest back to the roots, to meditation and philosophy. I don’t think it has to be applied to one own’s life by everybody, but as a yoga teacher I cannot imagine not to know that exists, and having urge to explore this part too! We try to make our programs balanced – physical practice is important, but so the philosophical background is!
Ajay: Also, people sometimes mistake Yoga TTC with yoga holidays. They ask for time for the beach or entertainment. Sometimes they want to drink alcohol or go for parties. When we created Trimurti we thought of it as a retreat, school, yoga laboratory… But some clients think it is more of the adventure… We don’t judge anyone, but we want to focus on yoga.
Karo: We need to recognise the difference between a real need and a need of a pleasure. I believe as yoga teachers we should respond to our students needs, but not necessarily to please them or offer them easy and “nice time”. We offer yoga experts and beautiful pedagogues from all over the world instead… I think nobody needs me or Ajay, or any of our teacher to go to the beach and enjoy holidays or party… What we specialise in is teaching how to be a good and compassionate yoga teacher, understanding how asanas work, how human body works, how we can make people healthier and happier.
Ajay: Another challenging situation is when people come to us to heal themselves. I believe yoga is healing, and that’s beautiful, but sometimes they come really deeply hurt and wounded… And we are not a therapy centre. On a certain level it’s healing for sure, we observe a lot of “letting go”, a lot of release, so it’s healing even for us, but when it comes to serious issues it is quite challenging…. I remember the hardest cases: a girl with anorexia, a woman after sexual abuse in the childhood, a few students with severe depression… We are trying to help every time, but we are not therapist, we are very limited with our help…
Karo: Yes, I agree. It’s great that they come to yoga, cause I really believe that yoga can heal them, but at the same time TTC is not a therapy, it’s not a rehab… It is an intensive process, very technical, demanding… anatomy, philosophy, adjustments, methodology… 10 hours a day! In such an intense course it is hard to focus on healing… Healing should happen effortlessly here, somehow aside, naturally… So whenever we have severe cases we need to be really careful and mindful, trying to balance help and education… And noticing our limitation – sometimes we cannot help.
Me: What is your wish for the next few years? What are your plans?
Ajay: In July we are opening a new place in Bali. Together with one of the local resorts we prepare Yoga Teacher Trainings there. It’s a breath-taking place on the Amed beach. It’s a place famous for diving for now. We want to set up Yoga there. It’s a great place for yoga for sure – nature, silence, Hindu temples and rituals, beautiful energy… I hope it will be a beautiful new destination, and this is my next dream!
Karo: And I dream to see more and more Trimurti Graduates teaching all over the world, spreading the vibe that we have created. Trimurti Teachers start being famous, and I am a proud mama:-) Seeing their careers, their passion, their projects make me believe that what we do everyday, that every second of our hard work makes sense. I want to see our students growing and shinning. That’s my dream.
Me: Thank you, you are a real inspiration! I wish to Trimurti all the best! And I am sure you will succeed with all your plans!
Author: Monica L. T.