EDUCATION: Schooling from St Joseph’s Convent School, Mumbai, and BSc from Jai Hind College, Mumbai; BDS from Amravati University in Nagpur in 1997.
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE: This yoga expert was a dental surgeon before she turned her passion into her profession. She started her career in dentistry teaching at Himachal Dental College, Sunder Nagar, in 1997 (the year she got married). In 1998, Neelam and her husband shifted to Chandigarh and she began teaching at Bhojia Dental College Baddi for the next seven years, followed by Barwala Dental College. Besides teaching, she used to assist her husband, Dr Ashwani Jindal, 41, also a dentist, with their Panchkula-based Muskan Dental Clinic.
In addition to dentistry, the multifaceted mother of 13-year-old twin daughters is also a trained bharatnatyam dancer once performed regularly. She shares, “Raising twins and various other responsibilities related to work led me to become obese. In 2006, I weighed about 96 kg. My health was going downhill and I began to look older than my age. That’s when I started practicing yoga and then teaching from home.”
In 2008, she did a three-month certification course in yoga from CMJ University, Shillong. She says she became excited about power yoga after meeting Anil Juneja of FnY Studio (located in Panchkula and Chandigarh). “I quit dentistry and have now been teaching power yoga at FnY for three years.”
JOURNEY: Neelam has had to face much criticism for her professional choices. “From being a dentist to performing bharatnatyam and teaching dance at orphanages, to quitting dentistry to take up yoga as a profession, people have never taken me seriously. But I had a great set of friends who always encouraged me to keep going. I have never struggled to be on top but I have always wanted to excel in my work. Conducting a good class gives me great sense of satisfaction and happiness,” she smiles.
SUCCESS MANTRA: The following dialogue by Aamir Khan in 3 Idiots represents her philosophy of life — ‘Kaamyabi ke peeche mat bhago, apne aap ko kaabil banao, to kamyabi apne aap tumhare paas aayegi (Don’t run after success, make yourself capable and success will come to you)’.
GOALS: The yoga instructor says she strives to follow her passion and be content. “I don’t aim to acquire materialistic things. I just want to be happy and go with the flow. Small things make me happy and big things eventually follow,” says Neelam, optimistically.
Sriking a balance
According to the 41-year-old, when one is happy, one can easily strike a right balance between work and home. She shares, “I have made it work and can easily balance the two because I am a happier person inside. Even my husband has been very supportive. When my husband is not in town, I have to handle things alone also. I believe every woman has the strength in her and can do it.”