Mama, Yogini, and author, Reema Datta, was born into a family of yogis. She has been teaching yoga and Ayurveda internationally since 2002. In 2015, Reema founded Yatri: Yoga for Emotional Healing™ as a method to focus our yoga practice on mental and emotional well-being. Yatri offers sequences of meditation, visualization, mantra and movement specifically designed to liberate ourselves from kleshas,the Sanskrit word for “mind poisons” or “destructive emotions.” Major kleshas are attachment, anger, anxiety, shame, depression, jealousy, and fear. The Yatri practices are rooted in the wisdom of yoga, Ayurveda, and science.
For more on Yatri and Reema’s books, music, and courses, visit her website below.



Get to know reema

What are your goals as a teacher?
To offer a holistic experience of yoga that is rooted in wisdom. In the West, when we say, "I'm doing yoga," we do asana. This is not how we see it in India. At home, when we practiced yoga, it was ceremony, mantra, meditation, breath-work, service, wisdom. I'm not sure how such a huge disconnect happened as yoga traveled from the East to the West. In Yatri, we bridge the gap.
Who/what inspired you to teach yoga?
My Grandmother inspires me. She entered into an arranged marriage at the age of 14. The first time she saw her husband was on her wedding day. She gave birth to her first child at 17, and her second, third and fourth in her twenties. She raised her four daughters on her own in New Delhi after growing up in a small town in central India. Her life was full of challenges and pain. Yet, she carried a peace within her that was unshakeable. My Grandmother was a practitioner of mantra, ritual, and Ayurvedic nutrition and self-care. Witnessing her since childhood, showed me the power that we each have to live with integrity and peace no matter our outer circumstances.
What keeps you practicing?
A fierce determination to turn my mind into a platform instead of a prison. Kleshas like attachment and anxiety are insidious. They end up running our lives and draining our energy. In Yatri, we learn to meet our kleshas, dig to their roots, and hold them with love. This is when we begin to heal and grow. This deep, inner work is the hardest thing I've ever done, and the most rewarding .

My mitras (friends) also keep me practicing. The great teacher Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche once demonstrated the power of engaging in spiritual practice as a community. He held up a pencil and said, "this is the power of practicing on your own." With ease, he broke the pencil in half. Then, he held up a handful of pencils. He said, "this is the power of practicing as a group." He tried with all of his strength, but, could not break the pencils. We are so much stronger together. In a world where we are surrounded by distractions, it's crucial to be a part of a community. My mitras have been so important on my journey. They inspired the "Yatri Collective," which is a cornerstone of our programs. Our collective is our people, who hear us, support us, and hold us accountable as we learn to heal ourselves.  
Tell us something most people do not know about you.
One of my favorite things to do is play the piano. While growing up, Chopin and Beethoven were some of my best friends.  I do have two albums of mantra released by Nettwerk Music that you can listen to on iTunes under Reema Datta. Music has always been one of my greatest passions. At this time, my daughter and I are learning to play guitar together.
What advice would you give someone just beginning yoga?
As I mentioned earlier, choices are something we all have. Each day, we can spend an hour watching a show on Netflix or do a yoga/meditation/pranayama practice. The way our life shapes up, comes down to the choices we make in every single moment. Be mindful of your choices, especially your thoughts. You can change them. For example, when the inner critic is strong, replace repetitive, harmful thoughts with this mantra: I am strong, pure, and capable. As the Bhagavad Gita says, "What your mind dwells on, you become."
How has yoga changed your life?
I've practiced yoga my entire life. My mother sang mantra to me while I was in her belly. I've never known a life without yoga. But, when the hardest things happened in my life - having a child out of wedlock, losing my career, being stigmatized as a single mother - I fell apart at the seams. I don't know a single other Indian woman who has had a baby out of wedlock. It's unheard of in our culture. I realized then that when we're in the depths of sorrow and loss, our kleshas eat us alive. I started watching one of my friends go through a painful time. She was also overcome with kleshas, especially shame, fear, anxiety, anger, and attachment. It was like a mirror. I began to help her by asking her to do certain yoga practices. Helping someone else helped me. I began to see change. The Buddhists say that trying to get a hold of our minds is like grabbing a wild tiger by its tail. Kleshas are literally poisons. They destroy our mental and physical health. I became acutely aware that so many people around me were suffering from kleshas. I went back to my yogic roots. I honored my roots by writing a curriculum that focuses on personal responsibility and facing our shadows – running into them, instead of away from them. Yoga has changed my life because it has shown me that we don't have to be at the mercy of our thoughts and emotions. We can ride them and steer them, instead of them propelling us to the ground.
Besides yoga, what do you do to keep a healthy lifestyle?
I take long walks in the mountains and laugh a lot with my nine year-old daughter. With love, I try to be transparent with myself and others.