A: Growing up as an only child, I spent a lot of time reading and becoming curious about the world and myself. I’m originally from Russia and grew up in California (so my first winter at the Himalayan Institute was exciting—I got to learn what a “snow brush” does). I have a BA in economics and accounting and spent years being a very nontraditional member of the corporate world. Along the way, I earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and was the CFO of a multibillion dollar hedge fund. In parallel, I’ve been practicing and studying yoga, amassing several hundred hours of various trainings, and teaching yoga at my previous company.
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: I feel a little like the Himalayan Institute found me! One of the senior faculty members here, Luke Ketterhagen, guest taught at my 200 hour teacher training with Rusty Wells. I immediately knew from Luke’s infectious enthusiasm that the practical and down-to-earth approach of the Himalayan Institute was a fit for my personality, but the time wasn’t right for me to make the move. I kept up my studies and kept the Institute in the back of my mind as a place I wanted to make a deeper commitment to.
Each day there is an opportunity to practice a little more kindness toward myself.
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: I knew I needed a change in my path—my work was fulfilling, but I wanted to find a way to be of service and get a greater sense of purpose. In late 2016, I was reading a translation of the Bhagavad Gita on a beach in Mauritius, and it contained a passage about being an accountant and joining an ashram. A month later, the Himalayan Institute posted an opening for a bookkeeper, and I couldn’t ignore the signposts leading me here any longer! Since joining, I’ve moved to the Creative Services team, which has allowed me to learn new skills and pursue lifelong passions.
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: One of my goals in coming to the Himalayan Institute was to delve deeply into a lineage, and certainly the Himalayan Institute offers that, with an astonishing array of mission programming and a library of publications tracing a tradition that’s thousands of years old. But the experience of living here as a resident is a learning experience in and of itself, each day there is an opportunity to practice a little more kindness toward myself, gain a little more patience with others, and keep opening to the possibilities of every experience.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: This place embodies the idea of “living tradition”; being at the Himalayan Institute has redefined what practice means to me, since every moment is an immersion in a community charged with intention and mission.