Colours of Courage: Natasha Noel’s inspiring journey of overcoming child abuse to embrace self-love

Read and figure about the journey of Natasha Noel, a celebrated yoga instructor and professional dancer who overcome a difficult past to shape her present.

Updated on Aug 18, 2022 11:54 AM IST  |  64K
Map the inspiring journey of Natasha Noel
Colours of Courage: Natasha Noel’s inspiring journey of overcoming child abuse to embrace self-love

Sometimes, life is full of ruthless surprises that try to break you, yet it takes great strength of character to overcome every challenge and switch on the sunshine. The same can be said for Natasha Noel, a celebrated yoga instructor and professional dancer who overcome a difficult past to shape her present. Speaking of her journey, she says, “I was born in Kerala and I moved to Bombay when I was just 3 ½ years old.”

It was at the tender age of three that Natasha lost her biological mother, and ever since then her life has seen many a turbulent tide. “There are many childhood incidents that changed my perspective about life but I think one of most terrible things would be when my birth mother burnt herself right in front of me. A lot of abandonment issues rose from that,” she sighs.

Grim days lay ahead at the time, as Natasha was victim of sexual harassment when she was only 7 years old. “The trauma of being sexually harassed affected me badly. I was fighting abandonment issues and already blaming myself but this made things worse. I thought I was worthless and unworthy of love. I hated my body and thought that was the cause of all my pain. I was 7 and a half. I should never have put so much burden on myself. But I could only blame myself,” she reminisces the woman who grew up with the zeal of an evangelist and was recently named in the BBC 100 Women of 2019.

Talking about a turning point after which she never looked back, she says, “My break up with my ex is that one point after which I never looked back. We were in a 5-year relationship and it all started when I was in college. Up till then, I bottled up all my emotions, pretended to be perfect, and always sham that I had no issues. And after that, it was like Pandora’s Box opened and all the issues and traumas I buried surfaced,” exclaims Natasha adding that she truly wanted to begin healing and she has not ignored any of her problems or willed them away since then.

Quiz her about what drives her and makes her happy and she quips, “I started with dancing. Being a professional dancer is something that helped me in finding myself. My fitness journey helped my mental health and kept me motivated throughout. For me, it was as simple as seeing what my body was capable of that motivated me,” says Natasha recognizing that she feels appreciative and much kinder to herself.

“I’ve learnt to approach myself and gotten such a thick skin which makes me believe in myself. Moreover, I stopped caring about what others think. The love I kept wanting from others I started giving myself bit by bit,” she acknowledges revealing that meaningful therapy and some deep digging on her part has ensured that she’s in a much better space.

When asked what coping strategy she finds useful whenever she sees depression creeping in, she thoughtfully replies, "The first is having a routine. Whether it’s getting up in the morning, doing my pranayama or meditation or yoga and if all three can happen that would be a great day. The second is keeping a goal journal. Keep small goals. Target them. Be patient and kind to yourself. That’s the whole point of the journal. And the last is maintaining a gratitude journal,” says Natasha, who stresses the importance of addressing the root cause.  

“Even on the hardest day, there will be something I can be grateful for and write why. Nothing physically. Nothing about my looks because that would only help my ego and not my self-esteem to get better. We must always tackle the root,” she reiterates.

Having had such a rough start to life, Natasha found it very difficult to trust people or interact with them. However, after adopting pets, Natasha's life was drastically transformed. She bubbles, “Shakti was my foster fail. I was supposed to foster and she was supposed to go to someone else. She came to me when she was 21 days old and I still remember she was so tiny that she fit in my paw. The woman who gave me Shakti saw our bond and told me to keep her. And honestly, she gave me purpose and I’ve been trying hard ever since. She will turn 2 in August. She has taught me to love myself even when it’s hardest to love.”

In a world rife with patriarchy, Natasha Noel is a true inspiration and a beam of sunshine for all women. Speaking of her chosen profession, she explains that the male-dominated nature of the fitness industry has been a major obstacle for her, but with time, she overcame it. “Upper body strength is harder for people who own uterus. But I didn’t want to let that stop me. I pushed harder than anyone in the room. For either better push-ups (with excellent form) or bench pressing more than my body weight (63 kgs my current personal record) I made it happen. Even though men have more upper body strength, doesn’t mean we can’t try. And sometimes we try and we’ll smash the god damn patriarchy with our nails done,” she proudly vocalises.

As she stands tall, an inspiration for all women, she says, “Women have the liberty to make their own choices whether to get married, to have human as children, to not have human as children, to have body hair or to not have body hair. Even if these decisions might not be the best but we’ll still learn. And we can’t just do this because of the “sisterhood” we need to do this as HUMANS. We all need to help each other up rather than bringing each other down,” she signs off with a smile.

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