We had the good fortune of connecting with Pranidhi Varshney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pranidhi, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is something we’re all needing to have a more intimate relationship with these days. Simple things like going to buy food or play in the park now carry some risk, or a perception of risk, that we’re more acutely aware of than before. Historically, I’ve been a bit of a risk taker in my personal and professional life. Once a calling comes to do something, whether that be to move across the country, start a yoga studio, or have a child, I tend to heed that call and go for it. I’ve been relatively fortunate, in that whenever I’ve taken big risks, I’ve had a loving and supportive safety net. Now, in a time when many of us are having to consider how much risk we’re willing to take for ourselves, our families, and our communities, I’ve been reflecting on what’s underneath our perception of risk. Is it fear, reason, or some combination of both? Engaging in this sort of inquiry gives me more agency to take risks that I feel are worthwhile and refrain from others that could lead to harm.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I run a small, community-centric ashtanga yoga studio in West LA. We recently celebrated our fifth birthday and found ways to make it special amidst the pandemic. At the studio, or ‘the shala’, as we like to call it, we practice ashtanga yoga in an accessible and inclusive way. Students of all ages, body types, and races are welcome, as are students with limited financial resources. All that’s required is a genuine desire to practice. My approach to teaching is relationship-based, meaning we tailor the practice to suit each student and I invite honest communication. Because of this, we’ve developed a strong community, a network of relationships that goes beyond the walls of the shala. During the pandemic, I’ve seen studios close left and right but we’re still at it, doing the best we can to stay connected. It often feels like an uphill climb but we’re climbing together.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d start with a Sunday morning trip to the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market. My daughter and I have a standing date there every week 🙂 Then we’d head south to Dockweiler beach for a bonfire. The next day, a morning hike at Temescal Canyon followed by a little siesta and then dinner at Luv2Eat Thai Bistro. With the kids in tow, we’d have to spend some time at Cayton Children’s Museum, which is truly one of my favorite places. Aidan’s Place in Westwood park is also great for outdoor playtime. I’d probably finish the trip with samosas at Samosa House in Culver City and a pizza at Lodge Bread. Are you sensing a theme here? Food and play 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this Shoutout to my community, which consists of my close friends, parents, husband, daughter, students, and peers. All these people create the web of support that allows me to thrive.