Be Awake, O Yogi!

Someone asked me a question on Quora about boredom in Yoga practices, and this poem came up spontaneously.

 

This is a quest of

lifetimes;

the un-quenched thirst,

the parched lips,

and mirages all over.

 

A thousand births

in the endless

Karmic cycle.

Some full of Sattva

And some passed

in deep ignorance

and darkness.

 

This lifetime the path

is beautiful – shady trees,

lovely meadows,

breath taking views of

unparalleled beauty.

 

Walk like a King

on this path

keeping your treasure

– of Sadhana – hidden.

 

Be Awake, O Yogi!

Robbers and dacoits

abound at every

nook and corner

waiting to rob you

and drag you down

their alley and make

you their own.

 

Masters of disguises.

They know what you

would fall for.

They come wearing

the garbs of boredom

laziness, apathy,

disinterest and other

veneers.

 

If you see them

sneaking up, show

them no mercy.

 

The dacoits have

become adept at robbing

you; they come at you

trying to catch you unawares

at your lowest moment.

Snatching your wealth

– of Sadhana – their only aim!

 

They know not, that you

have the Sword

of knowledge, wisdom

and grace that can finish

them off forever in an instant.

 

Sharpen the sword

said the Master.

His only instruction:

“eka tattva abhyasa”

with “Satkara adara asevito”:

 

One pointed practice

With Honor and Respect.

 

Enough to beat the

Dark forces at their game!

 

Be Awake, O Yogi

don’t let this lifetime

go waste.

 

Practice daily

–          With love

–          reverence

–          honor

–          respect

–          and devotion

 

The treasure is your only

possession and it grows

manifold with daily renewal.

 

Carry it safely across

for it is the only thing

that will quench the thirst

of lifetimes!

Be Awake, O Yogi!

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A sure shot way to eliminate Jet Lag

I landed in US after a 24 hour flight and another hour to clear immigration, customs and a couple of hours wait at the airport to be picked up and a long drive home in peak hour traffic from EWR to NJ…it seemed like a long day….however, I made sure that I took time out to do the Sudarshan Kriya before I hit the bed. I woke up fresh next day morning with no signs of tiredness or jet lag. Not only me, but it worked for my kids too!

So, if you are a globe trotting exec, here is one arsenal you can add to your armory to beat the Jet Lag – The refreshing and energizing Sudarshan Kriya!

9 Yoga Tips to overcome Anxiety Disorder

[ Via Art of Living feature ]

“….Regular yoga practice can help you stay calm and relaxed in daily life and can also give you the strength to face events as they come without getting restless. Yoga practice ideally includes the complete package of asanas (body postures), pranayamas (breathing techniques), meditation, and the ancient yoga philosophy, all of which has helped several anxiety patients recover and face life with new positivity and strength….”

Read more here

Reshaping Corporate World through Spirituality.

As someone who facilitates the Art of Living Foundation’s Corporate programs, I am delighted to see this article in FT which talks about Why West’s largest companies are embracing Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness and Eastern Spirituality. The article talks about employees in organizations such as General Mills, Target, Google, Aetna etc. using programs based on meditation etc. to transform the culture of their organization. I read the article and read it over and over again to find the experience of people exactly similar to what I have experienced over a decade of my practices.

Key benefits that the article highlights include:

  • Leadership: If you are fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader.
  • Better Decision Making
  • Improved Relationships.
  • Creates a Great Place to Work
  • Happy, Healthy, Engaged workforce
  • More emotionally resilient
  • Stability in Mind
  • Decreased Stress Levels
  • Increased Creativity, Compassion and Connection.
  • Reduces Healthcare costs etc.

Yesterday at my workplace, we had Utkarsh Rai, author of “101 Myths and Realities at Workplace” talking about his upcoming book and one of the points that he made was, that in today’s time, people have lost the ability to reflect and I thought that was a such a true statement, we are being compelled to search for answers quickly without deep reflection and I think that practices such as Yoga and Meditation help you gain that perspective.

It is a pity that most corporates in India still have a blinkered eye vision towards the practices of Yoga and Meditation and have rarely realized the impact such programs can have on their employees and consequently their organizations. But things are changing slowly and surely and articles such as these go a long way in making a difference.

Closer home, I stumbled upon a research paper that talks about the impact of Art of Living’s corporate program on the employees who underwent the program, the author writes:

The results reveal that their health, behaviour and relationship with the colleagues were improved after attending the programme. The study results suggest that such programme should be extended to other employees as well.The paper concludes that spiritual training programmes plays a vital role and it is useful in two dimensions namely individual and organization, as both are complimentary to each other.

Those who are interested in bringing the practices of Yoga and Meditation to their workforces can reach out to me at rajwaghray (a) gmail (d0t) com

And, on a lighter note, as far as I am concerned, I will make sure that I eat a bowl of Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream every time I encounter it. As one of my fellow Yoga teacher says, what is the point of doing yoga, if you can’t eat Ice-Cream (well he said Chocolate).

A Panic Attack / Depression is a Wake Up call

As someone who has been through Panic Attack’s – Matt’s story in this Fast Company issue resonated with me.

Matt thought he was doing pretty well until he went to bed on a Sunday night and woke up the next morning thinking he was having a heart attack. His heart was racing, he was sweating like he was in a Monty Python movie, and he was freaking out. He jumped in his car and drove himself to the doctor’s office. Not the best idea to drive a car when you think you are having a heart attack, of course, but he needed help.

After examining him, the doctor concluded that he wasn’t having a heart attack, rather he was having a severe panic attack. The doc told him to just go home and rest, and he should feel better in the morning. Well, that didn’t work, and it didn’t work the next day, week, or month. His life began to shut down. His parents had to move in with him. He couldn’t function, drive a car, eat, or sleep. At night, he couldn’t look out the windows because he thought the sky was falling. His “dream” life was literally crashing down. And, he had no idea what happened or how to fix it.

Fortunately, he was introduced to a therapist who changed his life. During one of his first visits she handed him Rick Warren’s book, Purpose Driven Life, and told him to read the first sentence, which says, “It’s not about you.” The sentence didn’t make any sense to Matt. Again, narcissism won the day. Then she told him that he would never feel better until he understood that concept.

That got his attention because it was like a final life raft, something to grab onto, something to help. Just four simple words were all he needed to read. They echoed in his head every minute of the day, partially from a place of gratitude and partially because he was unsure and confused. But, he was determined to put in the work and find the meaning.

She then prescribed a heavy dose of volunteering. Every Saturday morning at 9 a.m., Matt would go out and pick up litter, paint over graffiti, feed the homeless, etc. At first, he didn’t understand it, but one day it clicked. Saturday mornings were his favorite time of the week. They provided an opportunity to go out and serve others and it was “not about him.” It was the best he felt every week.

All I say to those who have experience Panic Attack/ Depression in their lives, is that it is undoubtedly a rude wake up call.

  • A wake up call that tells you that there is something fundamentally amiss in the way you are currently approaching life.
  • It is a call to wake up and acknowledge the reality of life.
  • It is a call to search and find your answers.
  • It is call to have faith in your own self. It is call to believe.
  • It is a call not to give up.
  • It is call that will take you to a beautiful journey,  however frustrating and however exhausting it is for now.
  • It is call that will take you to your highest goal.
  • It is a call that is begging you to go deep into your own self to find the answers to the question that are being posed.

And that answer comes only through the practices of being in touch with your deepest self.

My Master – HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – prescribes – Sadhana (spiritual practices such as Sudarshan Kriya, Meditation, Yoga), Seva (selfless volunteering) and Satsang (literally the company of truth)  as a way. And I can testify to the efficacy of this simple 3S rule. It worked for me and I am sure it will work for all.

[PS: I know how tough and challenging dealing with Panic Attacks and Depression is, been there, dealt with it for close to 13 years and came out of it a much stronger individual, this is no way to trivialize the challenges or to put the blame back on individual. Deal with it, follow what your therapist or medical practitioner prescribes. Believe in yourself. I believe a more lasting and permanent solution is found through the practices of meditation, Sudarshan Kriya and Yoga – give it a try]

The relationship between waking up early and success

During the course of conversation with a colleague today, the topic turned to waking up early. I got referred to a business insider article that talks about 23 successful leaders who wake up early. A cursory search on the web brings up lot of articles on the benefits of waking up early and how to do it. But I want to look at this topic slightly differently.

As someone who is up pretty early most of the days, here is my take on this. If we observe ourselves, we find that the body has an in-built alarm that wakes us up early in the morning. The minute we wake up naturally is an indicator that the body has had adequate rest and it is ready to get into action. We chose to ingore the signal, turn it off and go back to get additional sleep which isn’t probably required. But why do we do it? Before I answer that, let me point you to an answer someone gave and I quoted in my previous post:

I get up every morning at 5a.m. simply because it is more exciting to start working than to turn around and sleep some more. I do seem to have a lot of energy.

I guess it finally boils down to only one thing – how deeply do we love our life.

If we have a sense of deep reverence towards life and if we are deeply engaged with what is life bringing to our doorsteps, we feel the energy, excitement and passion to meet it more than half way. Those are the days that we are up and awake without the help of alarm. Contrast this to the days when we oversleep, the days we keep on snoozing the alarm, those are probably the days we are avoiding a few things that life wants us to engage in.

And this is where spirituality and associated practices like Yoga, Sudarshan Kriya technique and Meditation comes in handy. They are tools that enable us to engage with life deeply and allow us to look forward to each day with renewed vigor. The choice is in our hands.