Interview with Bhavana Nagendra, Founder of Svadhyaya & Certified Life Coach

Bhavana Nagendra

Interview with Bhavana Nagendra, Certified Life Coach, Founder of Svadhyaya, an integrated learning space with no age limit

Bhavana Nagendra is  the Founder of Svadhyaya and a certified Life Coach. She founded Svadhyaya, a wonderful learning space with all things Indian and sustainable in October 2022.

Bhavana has completed her Professional Coach Certification (PCC) from the ICF (International Coaching Federation). She was also part of the visiting faculty at one of the KFI group schools until recently.

She has Co-created and Co-facilitated for the ‘Learning Facilitators Program’ with the Founder and Director of an NGO to coach and mentor parents to help them understand themselves and their children so they are able to better facilitate the child’s learning journey. 

Bhavana has over 500 hours of Coaching Experience  her work is based on positive psychology, spiritual growth, self-reflection, understanding values, questioning belief systems, unlearning, unconditioning, acceptance and mindfulness. 

She uses her blog space to talk and share on how parents can better facilitate children in their holistic development.

Bhavana’s Entrepreneurial Journey:

Bhavna Nagendra started her career as a Chartered Accountant and has over 10 years of experience . In retrospect what she really did like about her job was the opportunity to coach and mentor those on her team to understand their calling, set goals and create an action plan to achieve their goals!

In 2019, when she had her daughter, she knew she wanted to be a part of her every growing moment. She took a break from her career and spent the days with her daughter.

Being with her daughter helped her with self awareness, it made her understand her values, question her belief systems, and restructure her life based on what mattered the most – living and being in the moment.

As her daughter was growing, it occurred to her that the schooling system as is wouldn’t do justice to help her continue being a curious little explorer and learn as naturally as she was.

One of the options she came across was home-schooling and it was at this time that the funder of an NGO and an alternative education school, working with underprivileged children decided to launch a program for parents to understand a child’s learning journey.

Initially she had hoped to participate in the program but after her initial discussion with the founder, she was given the opportunity to co-create and co-facilitate the program.

The irony of the program was that it had nothing to do with children but worked on the belief systems of the parents – something she had learnt in her journey as a parent.

The success of the program inspired her to get her Professional Coach Certification (PCC) from the ICF (International Coaching Federation).

She started out with Svadhyaya originally as a blog in June 2021  and later founded Svadhyaya as a learning centre in October 2022 by as she began to put together a wonderful learning space that encourages sustainable living and focuses on local and sustainable art, movement and music in it’s purest formuninfluenced by other traditions.

She continues homeschooling her daughter and her work is based on positive psychology, spiritual growth, self-reflection, understanding values, questioning belief systems, unlearning, unconditioning, acceptance and mindfulness. 

Bhavana is a minimalist and has not only implemented a sustainable lifestyle in her urban home but also promotes sustainable living at her learning centre.

Can you tell us about your journey and what inspired you to become a certified life coach and founder of Svadhyaya?

Bhavna Nagendra: I am a Chartered Accountant with over ten years of experience. In 2019, when I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to be a part of her growing moments.

I took a break from my career and spent the days with my daughter. As she grew, it occurred to me that the schooling system wouldn’t do justice to help her continue being a curious little explorer and learn as naturally as she was.

One of the options I came across was home-schooling. At this time, the founder of an NGO and an alternative education school working with underprivileged children launched a program for parents to understand a child’s learning journey.

Initially, I had hoped to participate in the program, but after my initial discussion with the founder, I was allowed to co-create and co-facilitate the program.

The irony of the program was that it had nothing to do with children but worked on the parents’ belief systems – something she had learned in her journey as a parent.

The program’s success inspired me to get a Professional Coach Certification (PCC) from the ICF (International Coaching Federation) and I then founded Svadhyaya as a coaching platform and a learning centre.

I am currently pursuing Master’s in Psychology and Master Coach Certification to continue creating a positive, powerful impact in the lives that I cross paths with!

How have your background and personal experiences influenced your approach as a life coach?

Bhavna Nagendra: As a Chartered Accountant, what I liked about my job was the opportunity to coach and mentor those on my team to understand their calling, set goals, and create an action plan to achieve them!

As a parent, I have worked on understanding my values, questioning my belief systems, and restructuring my life based on what mattered the most – living and being in the moment.

As a person, I have been strongly influenced by my maternal grandmother to embark on a journey of sustainability and minimalism, encouraging me to question my choices. These questions have helped me become more conscious of my patterns, values, and beliefs.

As a Coach, I enjoy helping people set goals and create an action plan to achieve them by consciously questioning their patterns, values, and beliefs. From this awareness, they work towards goals aligned with their passion, skills, and needs!

What is the philosophy behind Svadhyaya, and how does it guide your coaching methods?

Bhavna Nagendra: Svadhyaya means ‘Journey to Self.’ Svadhyaya is a space specifically created for parents, young adults, and everyone who would like to go through a journey of unconditioning and unlearning to connect with yourself.

How does this help?

In today’s world, a lot is being said about doing what you love to be happy and prosperous. While this is true, the most challenging part for most people is identifying what they love, and the biggest problem is that the sole measure for happiness and success is material.

Every ancient philosophy talks about how we are born with a purpose. Finding this purpose and true joy (and, in today’s context, material success) is felt in working towards fulfilling that purpose.

At Svadhyaya, we believe that one must go through a journey of self-reflection of their experiences, patterns, values, beliefs, and lifestyle to understand themselves better – a ‘Journey to Self’ to begin a journey of where one’s body, mind, heart, and spirit are in harmony.

From this state of consciousness, we start working towards identifying your purpose (goal) aligned with your passion, skills, and needs!

As a life coach, what areas do you focus on with your clients, and how do you help them achieve their goals?

Bhavna Nagendra: My work as a Life Empowerment Coach involves partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that empowers them to achieve their personal and professional potential by unlocking sources of their imagination, productivity, and leadership to overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.

My work with every client involves:

Creating a safe space

The most important aspect of building a partnership with a client is to establish a safe space & build trust. Creating a judgment-free, inclusive, accepting, responsive & warm space that fosters connection and establishes good communication channels becomes my primary requirement.

Identifying goals

Once the trust is established, the first step is identifying the client’s goal. Identifying the goal requires the client to redirect focus from the distractions to what is essential. We work through this by understanding what the client’s passions are and what they aspire to achieve.

Creating an action plan

As a coach, I then work with them to develop an action plan with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound targets based on the client’s strengths and weaknesses. This would help the client, and me track their progress and ensure accountability.

Monitoring progress

While monitoring the progress, we work together to identify the exact nature of the opportunities available and the challenges they face.

I then partner with the client to understand the support they need to seize the opportunity or overcome the challenge.

Celebrating every win

I make it a point to sit with the client and celebrate every milestone achieved, challenges overcome, and opportunity seized, no matter how big or small, to acknowledge their efforts to work towards their goals.

How do you tailor your coaching sessions to meet client’s needs and challenges?

Bhavna Nagendra: Every person’s journey is unique, and the point at which they choose to work with a Coach also differs. So here are a few things I keep in mind while working with my clients.

Understanding the client

Every client comes with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and communication styles. Understanding these helps set the tone and pace of the sessions with the client.

Use appropriate coaching techniques.

Open-ended questions are one of the best techniques to stimulate their analytical thought process, taking into account their emotions and values.

Well-timed questions act as a catalyst to enable my clients to think deeper and develop new perspectives leading to generating ideas.

These ideas are usually the customised action plans that the client makes for themselves. The plan would include how the client can be held accountable and how the progression would be monitored.

Being open to feedback

Finally, receiving feedback from my clients at the end of every session helps me review and revise my coaching approach to meet their needs and expectations.

What are some common obstacles people face when seeking personal growth, and how do you help them overcome them?

Bhavna Nagendra: There are multiple challenges that one faces while working on themselves. The most common ones are:


Fear is one of the biggest obstacles people face when seeking personal growth. While fear seems like an obvious roadblock, it takes various forms. Only through an honest and thorough self-examination does the client realises what has been driving him.

Lack of understanding of purpose

To achieve growth, the client must identify their passions and how they can use them to achieve their purpose. Avoiding distractions and focusing on achieving their full potential requires creating and writing down goals and creating an action plan to achieve them.

Misunderstanding mistakes

Another common challenge is the urge to give up if there is a setback treating it as a failure. However, it is essential to understand that progress is not linear. So, it becomes imperative to understand the reasons for the setback and review and revise the plan to get back on track.

In your opinion, what are the critical elements for achieving a balanced and fulfilled life?

Bhavna Nagendra: The age-old adage ‘Health Is Wealth’ is something to live by. Mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being are equally essential to develop a mindset that helps with clarity, confidence, the ability to learn and grow new skills, be creative, and think independently.


 “Gratitude is the only value that shifts our attitudes from lack to contentment.”

Being able to view our challenges as learning and growing opportunities helps us shift our focus from a sense of lack to contentment.

It also makes us better, stronger, and more compassionate human beings. When we count these challenges as blessings, we understand that the challenges made us the version of ourselves today.


Acceptance happens through self-reflection and helps us become more ‘aware’ of ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and our reaction or response patterns.

The most important thing to remember is that this acceptance shouldn’t come out of pride (when things are good) or doubt (when there are challenges), just acceptance without judgment.


We learn to empathise and forgive when we know to accept ourselves and be grateful for our experiences. Forgiveness not only involves forgiving others or seeking forgiveness; it also consists in forgiving ourselves!


Following the journey of acceptance, gratitude, and forgiveness leads us to a space of unconditional love!

We human beings need love and connection to thrive, and the best place to start is by being connected and in love with oneself!

How do you encourage self-reflection and self-awareness in your coaching process?

Bhavna Nagendra: I have five favourite ways to do this!

Me Time:

I encourage clients to take time daily to connect with themselves and learn to enjoy their company without distractions, the biggest being digital.

Being Mindful:

Being mindful is being aware of one’s inner state of being. Mindfulness can be practised by being present and conscious in everything, even simple tasks like eating, walking, and bathing.


It is a process of reflecting on one’s feelings and emotions of their experiences and the impact of these feelings on their thoughts and actions. Every person has a way of processing their feelings. It is critical to identify the best way for the client to work through their emotions.

Enable Listening:

Listening is paying attention to what the speaker wants to convey without letting pre-conceived notions form judgments or jump in to respond. Encouraging the client to practice listening is an integral part of the coaching process that helps in self-reflection and self-awareness.

Seeking Feedbacks:

Seeking and accepting constructive feedback also helps identify blind spots that need work. Constructive feedback is a way to convey to the client what they have been doing well, an observation of what is going wrong, and extending a partnership to help improve. 

What advice do you have for individuals who may need to be more open or sceptical about seeking the guidance of a life coach?

Bhavna Nagendra: At some point, we all hit a plateau in our lives, whether professional growth or personal lives. While everyone has it in us to find our way to overcome our challenges and achieve our potential, it is a lot easier if we work with a Coach. I speak from my experience working with a Coach for personal and professional growth.

This is simply because life coaches guide us through various aspects of our life focused on personal growth and professional development.

Coaching is a partnership between the Coach and the client concentrating on achieving goals, behaviour changes, shifting perspectives, and self-improvement by helping the client identify their goals, create an action plan, monitor progress, become more accountable and celebrate wins!

It also helps with reduced stress and increased confidence as you will have someone encouraging you to identify new ideas to problem solve!

While coaching can resemble talk therapy, coaches are not certified therapists and can’t provide mental health treatment or clinical care.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience about the importance of life coaching and personal development?

Bhavna Nagendra: Working with a Life Coach can accelerate your personal and professional growth. If you are crossroads in your life and trying to figure out which way to go, working with a life coach will have the following five benefits :

  • Mindset. Coaching helps in shifting perspective. With coaching, the focus would go on growth and abundance.
  • Self-awareness & self-confidence. With coaching, you gain an insight into who you are and how to use your current opportunities and strengths to work towards overcoming the challenges to achieve your potential.
  • Relationships & communication skills. Coaching helps identify and utilise your emotions to succeed in various areas of your life, including fostering healthy relationships through effective communication skills.
  • Overall well-being. Coaching helps develop mental, emotional, physical and financial well-being, as the focus is on your growth as an individual!
  • Lower stress levels and better resiliency. Coaching can help evaluate your current circumstances, identify possible issues and guide you through preparing and following a detailed plan of action to resolve those issues. This reduces stress and builds resilience.

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