Rape, Abuse, Depression: How Natasha Noel Fought All These With Dance And Yoga!

Rape, Abuse, Depression: How Natasha Noel Fought All These With Dance And Yoga!

From a troubled childhood to finding peace in yoga and becoming a yogini; dancer, health enthusiast, and lifestyle blogger, the journey of Natasha Noel has not been easy.

But she stood back strong every time she fell, and now she has framed an example that no matter how hard situations are, you can always fight against them if you want. 

When Natasha was three, her mother died — she saw her burning herself. Natasha did not have a normal childhood. Her childhood was filled up with fear, insecurity, and guilt instead of love and compassion. She did not feel true happiness and always kept pretending to be happy.

Dealing with rape and abuse

At the age of 7, she was abused by the domestic helper of her house — an age when most of the children were playing with Barbie dolls and racing their mini cars! But, this wasn’t a one-off incident. Until now, she started to have a feeling that something was wrong with her and had a feeling of guilt in her heart.

When Natasha turned 10, her family realized that something was wrong with her, and they decided to take her to a psychiatrist. This helped Natasha a lot. She started to express herself through art and also started to dance.

Surviving injury and depression

At 17 she became a professional dancer, but unfortunately, she couldn’t dance for long — at the age of 19, she met with an accident that gave her some major injuries and damaged the muscles of her knee and leg. The doctor said that she wouldn’t be able to do anything, neither dance nor move. Once again, life snatched the thing from Natasha which she loved.

This took Natasha into depression, and she couldn’t find happiness in anything, but later she started to focus on her studies and completed graduation. She also became a professional photographer and used to click the people dancing, and this gave her joy.

At 21, when her five-year relationship ended, she got scattered again, but this time she tried to develop her interest in food. She, every time, tried to escape from wary things via food.

But she soon realized that these escapes won’t last long and would spoil her life.

Turning to yoga

She knew that society doesn’t accept a sad or a depressed person, so she always pretended to be happy. She realized that she is suffering from major depression. She started to have trust issues and also thought that something was wrong with her. Natasha was fed up with her problems and herself, and she terribly wanted to change her life but realized that only she could help herself, not anyone else. She took another chance to heal herself from all pain and hurt.

And this is when she started yoga. She started watching videos on Youtube, and enrolled in the Ashtanga Vinyasa, Mysore (1 month), The Yoga Institute, Santa Cruz East (a 3-month course), and Mystic Rose Meditation, Goa (21 days), and started teaching dance yoga. From holding workshops to taking private sessions, she started posting her videos on social media channels to reach out to as many individuals as possible.

Yoga gave peace to her mind and body. She felt relaxed, and she started loving her body.

Today, she not only practices yoga but also teaches dance yoga to people. Her Instagram posts are full of positivity and are a sweet reminder that if you fight for yourself, life will fight for you too.

Today Natasha Noel is a trained yoga teacher, self-professed ambassador of positivity and love and a social media star with over 258k followers on Instagram. She is a motivational speaker and is open about her experiences of dealing with rape, abuse, and depression, and is determined about breaking the stigma in society surrounding these topics.

Sona Yadav is an intern with Untying Knots.

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These Transwomen Defied All Odds And Fought Against Society To Find Acceptance!

These Transwomen Defied All Odds And Fought Against Society To Find Acceptance!

Someone asked me for my opinion on transgender people. And I’m still thinking about why it would be different than my opinion on ‘normal’ people? Cis or Trans — eventually everyone is human, and my opinion won’t change due to their sexuality.

The answer would have ended here. But, given the fact that the country I come from has a fairly ‘backward’ society, transgenders have always been excluded from society; they have never been given equal rights to healthcare, education, or other human rights.

Here is a list of a few transwomen who defied all odds, worked on their career, fought for their acceptance and now are living their lives with pride.

Srinidhi 

Srinidhi is a transwoman who launched her own designer boutique in Madurai. This superwoman has established her own business venture named after her. This textile store has clothing for both women and kids and is moderately priced. Pertaining to her gender, she was constantly denied job opportunities though she holds an MBA. This prompted her to become an entrepreneur. She further wants to expand her business and employ more transgenders into her business.

Rachana Mudraboyina

She is a Hyderabad-based transwoman, and an activist who launched, TransVision, the first YouTube channel in India maintained by transgender people. She is a double post-graduate degree holder. This idea emerged when she realized that a very little amount of information is available about the transgenders and trans-community on the television. This channel is designed with a purpose to highlight information about transgenders. It is telecasted in three languages: Telugu, Kannada, and Dakhini. This is an amazing platform to learn more about the transgender community in the country.

Nithu RS

She is the first transwoman tattoo artist in a country who owns three tattoo studios, one beauty parlour, and a restaurant. She identified her mother’s interest in cooking and started a restaurant. Simultaneously she also opened a beauty parlour. Interested in arts and crafts she mastered animation techniques which helped her become a permanent tattoo artist. She is also a dancer and has won the title of Miss Trans Diamond Bangalore 2017. Born as a boy Nithin, she flashed herself as Nithu and came in touch with an NGO which works for transgenders. Attending a few meetings organized by this NGO, she was able to avail more information on gender studies and gender identity. She decided first to settle in life and then declare her identity to her parents. Initially, her mother misunderstood her, but later her brother supported and helped her mother to understand as well. She underwent many surgeries with her family’s support. She also participated in an international transgender beauty pageant, representing India in the Netherlands. 

Gudiya

A transwoman from Varanasi who established a thread manufacturing power loom at her own home, Gudiya was born to a poor Muslim family and had a very unpleasant life in her childhood. She ran away from home at the age of 16 when her neighbours started bullying her. She had to resort to begging, singing at various celebrations to earn money, and returned home after three years. Her parents and relatives were shocked by the truth she revealed but accepted and rendered their full support to her. She employed four people to help her to access the raw-materials and supply the prepared products. She also adopted an abandoned girl child from a private hospital and named her Zainam and her brother’s daughter named Nargis. 

Gauri Sawant

Gauri is a transwoman born and raised in Pune in a conservative family. At the age of 9, she lost her mother, and after her demise, Gauri realized that she was different from others. She was born as Ganesh Suresh Sawant. As time flew, she recognized the woman in her, but her family never approved of her transition. Gauri underwent the transition with the help of Humsafar Trust. She had no support from her family, and no roof to live under. Gauri formed an NGO of her own called ‘Sakhi Char Chowghi’. Almost two decades later today, with a team of 100+ members, Gauri promotes safe sex and provides counselling to transgenders. She is also one of the petitioners of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment that was passed in 2013. 

Anjali Ameer

Anjali was born in Calicut, Kerala, in a conservative Muslim family as Jamsheer. When she found the woman in her, she talked about it at her home, but nobody accepted it. She loved a boy and ran away with him to Chennai only to realize that her boyfriend never loved her. She returned home, attempted suicide but was saved. She left home again, went to Coimbatore and did all kinds of jobs — from begging to working in a beauty parlour and call centre. She saved every single penny and made progress towards her surgery, laser treatment and endocrinologists consultations.

Anjali was crowned as Miss Coimbatore and Miss Splendid India in 2015. She also worked with Mammootty, the superstar of Malayalam cinema. Her work was highly appreciated. Anjali further wants to spread awareness about trans people. 

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

Mumbai-based transwoman Laxmi is a transgender rights activist, a Bharatanatyam dancer, and a Hindi film actress. Born as the eldest one in a family of seven, she suffered from poor health all her childhood. For being feminine, she was insulted at school and was even sexually abused by a relative.

Laxmi was fascinated by Bharatanatyam and its costumes, she took an arts degree at Mumbai’s Mithibai College and a post-graduate degree in Bharatanatyam, with her family’s support.

Laxmi co-founded Dai Welfare Society in 2002 which works for the transgender community. She also represented the Asia Pacific in the United Nations in 2008, where she spoke of the miseries of sexual minorities in society.

Breaking all the traditional concepts surrounding beauty pageants related to gender, she launched the Indian Super Queen beauty pageant in 2010, which is mushrooming very well.

Women are the real superheroes, and strong women aren’t simply born — they are made by the storm they walkthrough, irrespective of being born as a cis woman or living as a trans woman!

Sona Yadav is an intern with Untying Knots.

Featured Image: L-R | Srinidhi, Rachana Mudraboyina, Nithu RS, Gudiya, Gauri Sawant, Anjali Ameer, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi