Ratish’s spinal injury made him follow his heart

Ratish Rao has used an adverse life situation as a wake-up call to turn his life around and do what he really enjoys

Image credit: Ratish Rao

Ratish Rao lay motionless on his bed. A crippling spinal injury had greatly limited his physical capabilities. The doctor had warned him that surgery was the only option, but he had second thoughts about the procedure. As a last resort to recover from his ailing injury, Ratish decided to give yoga a shot.

Six years later, Ratish Rao is now a certified Asthanga Vinayasa yoga trainer and conducts a variety of yoga workshops all across the country. “While other people would say that having a spinal injury is bad, it has changed my life for the better.”

Long-time love affair

However, Ratish’s love for sports and fitness was born right from his childhood days. “I had participated and emerged victorious in several school cricket championships,” he fondly recalls. He continued playing a variety of sports as he grew older, up until his days as a telecom professional with Reliance. The time constraints that resulted from his corporate job meant that he could not indulge in his regular sports activities as much as he would have liked to.

But a few years down the line, Ratish had developed an interest in squash at his new residence in Wadala. “I fell in love with squash from day one. Eventually, I started taking coaching classes. My love for squash drove me to get back to my fitness routine.” In 2010, Ratish moved to Nigeria, where he continued his passion for squash.

A blessing in disguise

After returning from Nigeria a couple of years later, Ratish suffered a major setback that would go on to define the rest of his life. All those years of strenuous physical activities and poor body conditioning had taken a toll on his spine. “The doctor said that I needed surgery but I refused.” The thought of not picking up a racquet again seemed too painful for him to consider.

Finally, he took his wife’s advice and decided to visit a yoga shrine. Like his love for squash, Ratish developed a passion for yoga from the get-go. “I enrolled myself in yoga classes, which lasted for about six months,” he says, brimming with excitement. Within a span of a year, Ratish had recovered from his injuries, completed a teachers training course in Hatha yoga before becoming a part-time yoga teacher himself!

Image credit: Ratish Rao

At 38 years of age, Ratish quit his corporate job to pursue his passion of becoming a full-time yoga instructor. To add to his growing list of achievements, he also completed a five-level course in clinical hypnotherapy in 2009 to help deal with acidity issues he was suffering from for a few years.

From the average corporate professional, Ratish had transformed himself into a dynamic, multi-talented individual and he attributes all of these achievements to that spinal injury which had nearly ended his sporting career.

Starting over

Image credit: Ratish Rao

When asked if he had any regrets since quitting his job and starting off as a yoga instructor, Ratish emphatically answers in the negative, “Absolutely not!  When you start something new, you have to make a name for yourself. But I don’t have any Monday morning blues. It doesn’t make a difference to me whether it’s a Sunday or a Monday, I will deliver the same quality of work.” 

Ratish leaves us with a positive note, citing some of the experiences and struggles he has faced on the journey so far, “People will go to any extent to earn money regardless of the issues. There is a mass belief that if you don’t earn enough money, you are nothing. But if you put all your energy into one particular thing that you especially like, you will not have any fear. You will enjoy success in what you do.”

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