Usha Shah

Usah Shah in tree pose

Name & Hometown:

Usha Shah – but friends call me Shasha. 

Originally I am from Bombay, India, and have been living in Metro Detroit for the last 26  years. 

Who & What Inspired you to be a Yoga Instructor

Growing up from early childhood, our monks were my role models. Their knowledge of  holistic wellness through yoga, mudra, acupressure points, and reflexology fascinated  me to learn all these modalities. A common phrase “Your health is in your hand” literally  inspired me to learn and teach yoga. Later, when I retired as a professional nurse, I  studied yoga and graduated in 2016 from AFPA (American Fitness Professional  Associates) School of New York.  

Describe your style of yoga: 

I started with Ashtanga yoga or power yoga, which are considered the most challenging,  fast paced sequence of linked poses. Subsequently with aging, my yoga practice  changed. Now I teach Hatha Yoga, and very slow paced restorative yoga. 

What is your favorite yoga pose? 

Uttanasana (Forward Bend) is my favorite pose. There is a yoga saying that “you are  as young as your spine is supple”. The spine is our center of being. This is the best  pose for your spine.  

What brings you to the mat ? 

My intention for my yoga practice has changed over the years. Early on, it was just as  an exercise and having good physique. So I started with Ashtanga yoga, and now at  this age, “my practice on the mat is my medicine”. My intention on the mat is to  develop a mindfulness practice, cultivate steady breath, and still my constant wandering  mind… and just listen to my inner voice.  

If you teach, where ? 

For my private clients, either I go to their homes, or call them to my place. As a  community service, I teach chair yoga to seniors at Jain Temple in Farmington Hills, and  Bharatiya Temple in Troy. 

Member of the Month 

Usha Shah – December 2020 

How has being a member of YAGD helped your yoga career ? 

I just became a member, and then Covid-19 started. 

Do you have a favorite yoga story from your teaching experience ? 

I had one 25 year old student as a private client. She was very aggressive,  argumentative, always stressed out about small things. She could not live without  eating meat. After I started teaching her yoga & meditation, I noticed that she was  slowly but surely transforming. She became very quiet, focused & made peace with  herself. When I taught her about the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence applied to all  living beings) suddenly she became vegan. She liked the theory of Ahimsa. Her whole  life has turned around. She became so compassionate & considerate of other people’s  feelings. This is the power of yoga, which connects one to ALL living beings and  Nature.  

Is there anything else you would like to add ? 

I am a nurse by profession. I have worked in nursing homes for almost 25 years. I  have witnessed so much pain and suffering of senior citizens.  

I want to create awareness of a healthy body and healthy mind in all seniors. I teach  chair yoga to seniors. Whether one does yoga on a mat, or sitting on a chair, the  benefits are the same. I teach them that they should just move their bodies & stay  active, so that these last few years of their life, they can live as independently as  possible.  

My deep desire is to empower every senior, even every human being, to harness the body’s energy for healing, build vitality, relieve stress and anxiety, and boost self  confidence. 

I have been happily married for 45 years, and we have 2 children. One is a son, who  has his doctorate in bio information, and now works as a scientist. Our other child is a  daughter, who is a lawyer. She is married, and we have 2 beautiful grandchildren: one boy & one girl.