When yoga enthusiasts go for classes at “Bliss Yoga with Annu” at various locations in Mississauga, Ontario, they get more than the spiritual and physical renewal the ancient Indian art provides. They also get the opportunity for up-close and personal interaction with a reigning beauty queen.
Their instructor is Annu Gaidhu, the current Miss India Canada. Gaidhu was crowned on August 16 last year at a glittering Toronto event.
Yoga is one of the many passions of Mississauga resident Gaidhu, who is also in the final year of her bachelor’s degree at Ryerson University, majoring in Child and Youth Care.
Desi Today caught up with Gaidhu to find out how winning the title has changed her life six months on.
It’s now almost six months since you won the Miss India-Canada title. Tell us how winning the title has changed your life.
Winning the title has changed my life in many ways that I’m grateful for. I’ve been provided a platform from which I can connect with my community as well as people all over the world to share experiences and to inspire others to create a truly successful and fulfilling life. Whether it is through social media, or news-media interviews, I am able to share with others what I consider the greatest gift – to love ourselves.
Plus, winning a brand new car and a trip to India (as part of her prize) was not too bad either!
What were the positives of winning the title? Were there any negatives?
There have been many positives. To begin with, each and every day I’ve been able to learn something new about myself. And I’ve been able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do if not for winning the title. These include hosting events, taking acting classes and modeling.
The only negative, if you can call it that, is that not every woman in the world is able to experience and embrace my experiences.
I really stepped out of my comfort zone when I entered the Miss India Canada pageant. I believe that by stepping out of your comfort zone, you can turn inwards and begin to discover things about yourself that you’ve never known. We all can create truly fulfilling and successful lives, and it begins when we stop making life choices from a place of fear and learn to live in a world of love.
Even though not every woman will be able to experience winning this title, I hope to provide value for women around the world. I invite them to draw out that imaginary crown that they already have.
Bring us up to date on your academic career.
I’m completing the final year of my undergraduate degree at Ryerson University for Child and Youth Care. My passion is helping others and providing opportunities for them, and for me that begins with children. I am in the process of creating a yoga-based life skills program for youth that I hope to get integrated into the educational system one day.
I believe in the strength and resilience of youth. By providing them tools and knowledge through yoga, I try to help them cultivate self awareness, emotional resilience and the importance of responding rather than reacting. These attributes provide opportunities for personal empowerment.
I want to offer a program to young people to help them overcome obstacles positively, no matter what kind of experiences they’ve been through as children.
How is your yoga school doing? Did you see a rise in enrolment after winning the title?
Winning the title has provided me a platform to create awareness about the great benefits of yoga. By connecting with people within my community and by being a role model, my goal as a yoga educator is to improve the physical, emotional and social development of those around me.
I am in the process of creating my own YouTube channel and creating online videos that people can access through my website www.blissyogawithannu.com so people all over the world can access and learn first-hand the essentials of yoga through me. I hope this year I’ll get to connect with as many people as possible.
Yoga has been a healing tool for me mentally, physically and spiritually. This subtle sense of mental and physical contentment becomes so pervasive, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so, it helps clarify your deepest longings and motivations, which in turn restores hope and purpose in life.
The beauty of yoga is that it can be practised pretty much anywhere.
If anyone has any questions or simply wants to share their yoga journey and what has inspired them, I am always open to hearing it!
Finally, what is happening in your personal life? Are you planning to “settle down” soon, or are you totally focused on your career going forward? Do you have someone special in your life?
I am in love with human diversity and meeting new people, so any opportunity I have to connect with people, I embrace it. I have many special people in my life who nourish me mentally and physically. My life has been quite an exciting journey so far and I continue to look forward to see where it takes me and what opportunities arise. I think we all deserve the best that life has to offer, so I will never settle for anything less than a magnificent life, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
We deserve it!