Why a Dubai-based PR professional became a full-time yoga instructor
Nerry Toledo, who will run inclusive yoga classes during the Dubai Fitness Challenge 2020, tells us what inspired the transition
The ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered life as we know it. Whether economically, medically, or personally, millions of people around the world have been affected and sometimes it’s tough, given the circumstances, to see the bright side of life and channel lessons learned in the past few months into something positive.
Dubai-based former PR executive Nerry Toledo is someone who took a brave step amidst this pandemic. A yoga enthusiast and certified instructor, Nerry didn’t take being laid off from her day job as a step backward but decided to use the opportunity to start afresh and go into yoga instructing full-time.
As an independent yoga teacher, her ambition is to make the practice more inclusive and accessible to underserved communities such as people with limited mobility including those in wheelchairs.
Nerry will conduct classes on two days at Kite Beach for Dubai Fitness Challenge (to be held from October 30 to November 28). “I am launching yoga for all. The UAE’s yoga scene is thriving, but people of determination or those with chronic illnesses have limited opportunities to learn yoga and benefit from its practice,” she said.
Nerry opened up on her decision to move into yoga instructing full-time, how the practice helped her during the pandemic, and her mission of inclusive yoga.
She told City Times, “While I always felt comfortable with my career path (I was in PR for nearly twelve years), I found myself questioning my true purpose. You feel fulfilled when you see your clients on the front page but but what I’m doing right now is what I really wanted to do. Sometimes we get so comfortable with financial stability that we never really push ourselves to do what we really love. I was made redundant during the pandemic. Sometimes situations make the decision for you and then it’s up to you to take it forward.”
She admitted she wanted to see herself doing “something meaningful, something bigger than myself.”
In 2017 she started teaching yoga in her spare time, spreading the message of community practice. "I am now focusing on private classes for individuals and groups. I also provide corporate classes,” she said.
How did Covid affect her plans? “What the year 2020 has proved to us is that nothing is really permanent. But when we open our hearts to the universe, it actually lays out a path for us. I was very excited to launch myself as a full-time yoga teacher and then, shutdowns began happening due to Covid! During this time what really helped me was my routine of meditation and breathing exercise every morning, my asana practice, and consequently being mindful throughout the day. This helped me accept the situation for what it is and move forward.”
Nerry said she would recommend yoga, especially during Covid times, for its therapeutic benefits. “I find yoga very healing; it makes me feel very open and grounded. Yoga is widely known for reducing anxiety, improving flexibility, concentration while also promoting a sense of peace. Apart from its physical benefits, research and studies show its therapeutic benefits for mental health concerns as well. You enter into a more relaxed state and calm your nervous system.”
Nerry, who currently only uses her PR skills for yoga and ethical brands, is passionate about spreading awareness of inclusive yoga. “I want to improve the lives of others and it shouldn’t be limited to people who are able-bodied. There are underserved communities that need the healing power of yoga. My goal right now is for this practice to be available and accessible to everybody, regardless of physical and mental limitations, gender, race, age.”
She concluded, "I'm living my life in line with my values. Everything I do now must be in alignment with who I am, whether PR or yoga. It's intentional living."
Nerry’s classes at Kite Beach for Dubai Fitness Challenge:
“Wheel Power Yoga” – Yoga for people in wheelchairs, Saturday, November 14, 9.30am
“Special Yoga” - Yoga for people with special needs, Saturday, November 21, 9.30am
Follow Nerry on Instagram @nerryfit