Friday, September 25, 2015

Integral Being, Integral Yoga and Human Unity - the third round

 How do I capture the journey across Europe and USA over a period of 3 months (14 workshops and retreats in 9 venues spread over 4 countries) in a single post, that too 4 weeks after returning? I admit to myself that I violated my principle and almost skipped this altogether but had the sense to do it late than never. I will remember the workshops and retreats and will remember the ‘major’ lessons and insights. However, ‘major’ is a tag I give and in the context of personal growth all insights are insights and all lessons are lessons. I will do my best to capture my travels and learnings in this post. I am wondering whether I would like to make it into random musings or go with chronological order.  I think I will go chronologically to make it simple – for me.
The backdrop of this tour is that I changed my place of living form Auroville after 7 years and we are planning to shift out of Bangalore, having arrived there in 1989. I had to go through the discomfort of stepping out the known, fear of the unknown and apprehensions about how it would turnout. Letting all these things go and being a space for unfolding of the events was something I could do, albeit with some effort and time. I am at peace about what would be and what was.
My first stop was Nijmegen, as the guest of Johan and Gonnie, my Holland sister. I have been here the last three years but still am charmed every time I see this beautiful town and experience the warm hospitality of my host and hostess. Johan organized a cycle and we went for a 4 hour ride that was very enjoyable, refreshing and rejuvenating in the lovely countryside. We had a Pranayama workshop in the community and it was joy to meet some of those who attended my earlier workshops and some new people. It was also very interesting to attend the AVI Holland meeting. It was great meeting Wim after one year and Regina after about 6 months. Many of the deliberations were in Dutch but I could be with the flow, thanks to the interspersed English and whispered translations of some critical points. The language, the goodwill and the fraternity transcended the need for language to understand. We made a presentation on the network project of Auroville (with the team in Auroville) and it was very well received. I am hopeful that each such opportunity to share about this project would amplify the good will and attract more hearts, minds and hands in its manifestation. One of the extraordinary aspects about Gonnie is that she hosts a meal after the workshops. What was even more extraordinary was that she hosted a very enjoyable meal at the end of AVI meeting! The dinner gave me an opportunity to connect with more people in the network of Integral Yoga. 

I met Josee, Gonnie’s sister, who lives in Edam, along with two Zen Masters (her cats- Miloutje and Dickie Dick). Last year, she drove 100 miles from Edam to attend the workshop and has kindly invited me to Edam. Being a member of the Board of AVI, Holland and also AVI (worldwide), she attended the AVI meeting and she drove me from Nijmegen to Edam. The ride was scenic and the conversation was interesting and educational for me. Edam is one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the fortune to visit! The greenery, the flowers, the lovely homes that appear to have been frozen in time and the still or gently flowing waterways that add a heavenly dimension to the enchanting beauty of Edam. We had a long walk along the lake to the pretty, fairy tale village of Volendam that was so enjoyable that I didn’t want it to end. Josee organized two wonderful Pranayama workshops and a Stress Management workshop. I am pleasantly and repeatedly surprised about the keen interest, focused attention and open-receptivity of the people whom I meet in Europe and USA that attend the workshops! The hospitality of Josee was the highlight for me and I wonder whether it runs in their family and may be even in the Dutch culture. Being sister of Gonnie, Josee is also my sister and the interesting fraternity transcended to Soul Sister and partnership in my mission to spread health and happiness. I learned so much form her and am amazed at her wide ranging capabilities and capacities that she so willingly gives in the support of AVI and in her professional work. She has given an impetus to the Auroville Network Project and she has guided me and inspired me to prepare a more detailed Pranayama hand out as a pre-curser to ding webinars. Moving into time and space independent spreading of health and happiness is a breakthrough and I am grateful to Josee for the partnership and the innovative ideas she is bringing forth.
Josee drove me to Amsterdam and I took train to Nijmegen. Gonnie met me at the station and took me home for nice cup of tea and when Johan got back from work, they drove me to Vlierhof, a sustainable and intentional community living project, the venue of a week-end retreat. Gonnie sang a song that was moving and touching, even though I didn’t know the meaning of the words. An experiential event for me to get that the heart is the language of music. 
 The genesis of the retreat was in my visit to Holland in 2014, where I enjoyed the wonderful Dutch hospitality of Mundo and his partnership in doing several workshops. On the last day of my stay, after the last workshop, Mundo asked me what workshop I would enjoy doing most and it was an easy question –Integral Being Retreats over a week-end (I would actually love them to be week-long but practical considerations make it week-end). We have talked a little bit about it and before going to bed, I checked my mail and find a message from Johan that he would pick me up next day and a link to Vlierhof as a place of interest by virtue of its vision. Johan and I visited Vlierhof and it was just ‘made for a retreat’! We met Anutosh, a venerable Karma Yogi, one of the founders. Anutosh came to Auroville in Feb 2015 and it so happened that I was doing an integral being retreat. I was delighted that he attended the retreat and we firmed up the plans Vlierhof retreat. Mundo posted the event on Facebook and Hiedi, one of his friends decided to attend and brought 4 more of her network with her! This is synchronicity. The retreat was an unforgettable learning experience for me because I learned that I was occurring to the participants as school master. I definitely don’t want that to be my role and I am grateful for the feedback. I am committed to be a liberal, fun-loving facilitator who is haring and learning from the people who come to the vents facilitated by me. I look forward to the retreat in 2016.

 My next stop was Lisbon. I had such a fabulous visit to Portugal last year that I was keenly looking forward to revisiting this beautiful city and the joy of meeting Lisa and Nuno and their four adorable children. Lisa is like my daughter and the four children are like my grandchildren. Their friend Tiago, who runs Brahmi Yoga Studio organized two evening workshops on Stress Management and Meditation. I also had an opportunity to meet Maurizio and have a walk across Lisbon. The star-event was the Integral Being week-end retreat at Casa do Limoeiro, a small, quaint village north of Lisbon, where Tiago’s parents have a farm and Tiago converted one of the wings into a place for retreats. Tiago’s parents are two of the most contended, happy, healthy and energetic people I have ever met and their hospitality to the group is stunning. I would like to learn their secret, benefit from it and share it with others. Over the two visits, Bernardo, Tiago’s son has become a friend of mine. I am grateful for the opportunity of the retreat in such a serene home and am fortunate to be part of this extraordinary family.
I was in beautiful Berlin next and this is one European city I can visit any number of times and still be captivated by it. It was a joy to meet Isa, Georg and Raphael and visit the Auroville Garden in Berlin – a physical expression of the good will of the people in Berlin towards the ideals of Auroville. Isa took me to the Jewish Museum. It was a very touching and moving experience to learn how the Jews were persecuted over centuries, in so many places and in so many ways. They are a living example that pressure and heat transforms coal into diamonds. Raphael took me on walk and she is a really gifted in making me experience the special features and details of the neighbourhood that I was otherwise oblivious to.

 My next stop was Rodenberg, a small German village where my friends Ilka and Klaus live in a very comfortable and cosy home. Ilka invited me attend the wedding of Lin, her daughter with Yana. This was the first time I was invited to attend a wedding in Europe and what an experience it turned out to be! I enjoyed the celebrations and bonhomie but what I learnt was that the basic human values are the same across cultures and geographical locations. The family is the atomic structure for the human society, the relatives are the molecular structure, and extended family is the cellular structure and so on. The fractal nature of the fabric of society and the underlying unity is something of a revelation to me. Ilka is another sister of mine, the German sister. An unforgettable scene that will be imprinted in my memory is that of Klaus dancing. The floor saw the whole range of ages starting from 1 year to 85 years. Klaus is close to the oldest among them but the energy he exuded and the exuberance and joy he radiated was incredible. I wish I would have that kind of vibrant health when I am 80! 
I had to get back to Amsterdam and catch a flight next day Frankfurt and onward to Seattle. I was lucky that Mundo could make time to meet me and he spoke to Rosa, who attended a workshop last year. Rosa and Steven welcomed me, another instance of the wonderful Dutch hospitality. I could have a couple of hours of lovely time with Mundo. I was excited to learn that he is agin going to Scotland and taking a group with him for trekking in the Highlands. He prepared a nice Italian meal in Rosa’s home. I enjoyed meeting Rosa again and am grateful for their warm hospitality. Rakesh, a volunteer at Auroville, was studying for his post-graduation in Holland. A friendship sprung between us when we shared the work table in Auroville and it was wonderful that he came over to the Airport and we had a nice hour together over a cup of tea. The nodes in the Network of Integral Yoga keep popping up! 
The next destination was Seattle, where my elder daughter, son-on-law and Nina (granddaughter) stay. My wife has already reached there and so did the family of my younger daughter, who live in NJ. I saw Adi, our 7 month old grandson for the first time, a chubby, cute, curious, friendly and cuddly boy who is ready to smile and willing to be carried, if you are ready to show him things which are above his normal ground level.  We all gathered to celebrate the 60th birthday of my wife and it was a delightful and intimate family reunion of 7 days, enriched by the grandchildren. Interacting with Nina was the other highlight and we used to walk to the park and she used to pleasantly surprise me with her questions and comments, which flow in an incessant and delicious stream. Inventing games and playing some games over and over again seemed to make the time fly-by and it was during the times she sleeps in the afternoons and after she retires to bed that I used to work on the project proposal for Auroville Community Network. It was an idyllic world, made most charming and enjoyable by Nina and the warmth of the family.
 I and my wife went to NJ. Soon after reaching there, we got the bad news that my elder brother was admitted into hospital. He later went into coma and never recovered. I experienced sadness coupled with fear of ‘what would happen to me’ during the entire time and had to work on letting go of it. Being with Adi helped a lot. In fact, watching him was like a meditation. I just observe him and time gets compressed! When I do switch my mind on, I marvel at nature which is so creative in endowing each being with intelligence that unfolds and flowers in miraculous ways. When I saw him learning to crawl on all fours and later learning to stand, he was pure joy in the pursuit of learning and he couldn’t care less about the falls and the number of attempts he has to make before a brief period of triumph and tumbling over again. If an adult has to do anything like this, what comes in the way is the mental noise about how difficult it is! Watching him live in the moment made me live in the moment in observing him being in the moment. The comfort and warmth of being with the family continued and we would cherish the 8 weeks in USA as some very special experience, thanks to the grandchildren, the love of the children and my sons-in-law, who fill the space of sons for us. I became addicted to the grandchildren and it is one addiction I don’t mind.
During the stay at NJ, I made two week-end trips to Woodstock. The first was to do Pranayama and Stress Management workshops and enjoy the company of Wendy and Julian in the pristine nature of Woodstock and serene atmosphere of Matagiri Ashram. The workshops were held under the aegis of Matagiri but the venue was the Woodstock Yoga Centre run by Barbara. Julian came all the way to NJ to take me to Matagiri and it was a delightful three days at Woodstock and it was a rejuvenating experience to do the workshops. It helped me to lift my spirits after the bereavement and get back to normal level of energy and enthusiasm. This was a new experience for me, the healing power of workshops.
The other trip was to Melna to be part of the AVI-AUM combined meeting. Melna is a beautiful retreat, sprawling in a lovely, very natural undulating hillocks-and-valley terrain and it is interesting to me to see that their logo says it is a retreat for health and happiness. I was attending the AUM meeting for the first time and it was an incredible experience to meet so many friends – Josee, Isa, Vikas, Julian, Wendy, Fredericke, Mandakini, Jaya, Marlenka, Frederick, Fif, Hamish, Vani and make new friends in an atmosphere palpable with goodwill and the privilege of being part of the Integral Yoga Network. The 3 days were full of sharing, caring and give and take. Julian and Wendy have come up with an extraordinary set of events that filled the body, mind and soul to the level of satiation and the planning was meticulous. I attended talks, mediation sessions, musical events, and healing sessions and gave a workshop of Pranayama and a session on meditations. So much exchange of energies and knowledge and techniques in the true spirit of Human Unity was a transformational experience. Amidst all this, Josee found time to give me a heart healing session that was transformative and she also enrolled Alfanso to take photographs of me to include in the detailed instructions for pranayama. We now call it Integrated Pranayama Practice. Am I lucky to have such a Soul Sister who brings forth such creative energy in spreading health and happiness? A word about Julian. He is the most networked person I ever met and am amazed at his ability to connect with so many people and remember the personal details and the connection of the person with Integral Yoga. He is a walking IYpedia!
We also made a presentation on the Network Project with part of the team in Auroville to seek the support of AVI. The presentation was scheduled on Saturday but the broadband in Melna failed and we had to reschedule it for Sunday! Before the fibre optic network was set up in Auroville, the broadband was so unreliable and flaky that it used to be a frustrating experience and it was wiser to use plain old telephone. This was a new experience that Auroville was ready for the session but we didn’t have it in Melna, USA, albiet a remote retreat. It gave me sense of satisfaction that we made a beginning in setting up reliable internet connectivity in Auroville. A small step in making Auroville belong to the whole of humanity.
I would like to add something about the network project before I conclude this rather long post. The project took a long time – a gestation period of 6 years. Finally, it was in August 2014 that Chandresh gave the impetus for breaking ground and Mr. Balabhaskar, Secretary, AVF requested for connection to National Knowledge Network. I remember saying that this was the last attempt from me and in case we don’t make progress, I would drop the network project. Mr. Srinivasamurty, the Under Secretary, said “Now, it will happen. Sri Kirishan came to the rescue of Draupathi when she let go of holding the edge of her sari and surrendered to Krishna while Dussasana was trying to disrobe her. Now that you let go, She will show the way”. We made significant progress in the last year and we got two wonderful people in the team – Manu with all his rich experience and Dyuman with the enthusiasm of youth and fresh perspectives. I was apprehensive about being part of the team remotely. Remote participation is one of the key enablers of the project and I wanted to try it out. I am grateful that it has been working well, thanks to the wonderful team spirit brought forth by every member of the team. This project has a long way to go. The Educational and Research network is targeted to be completed by Dec 2015 and then the bigger project of Community Network begins. We aspire for it to manifest by the 50th anniversary year of Auroville (2018) so that we create a new window for time and space independent tele-collaboration in realising the Dream, using ICITI as a platform.
I look forward to the next round that  combines traveling, spreading health and happiness, meeting friends and family - an Integral experience! 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

I am grateful to Auroville / My post on Auroville Intranet

I am grateful to Auroville - JV by jvavadhanulu on April 27, 2015, 1:20 pm

After living in Auroville for more than 7 years, I left it as a place of residence on 1 March 15. This is my expression of gratitude after waiting for 8 weeks, lest I should change my mind.

I am grateful for the privilege of meditating in Matri Mandir and walking in the gardens. I am grateful for finding the purpose of my life in making the world a healthier and happier place through workshops and retreats. My special thanks to Andrea & Pitanga, Ashoke Da & Bharat Niwas, Kalsang& Pavilion of Tibetan Culture, Bhavana & Verite, Shraddhavan & Savitri Bhavan and Jaya & Unity Pavilion for encouraging me and enabling me to offer the workshops and retreats. I am grateful to each and every one of you who attended the events and I thank you for the generosity of your listening. I feel very fulfilled and satisfied because so many of you practiced and reaped the benefits in your life. My life has been transformed in finding the joy in the purpose of my life.

I am grateful to Chandresh, Mr. Bala Bhaskar, Srinivasa Murthy and Manu for a making a beginning in manifestation of my dream for an Auroville Network. I am certain that it would have a significant role to play in the manifestation of The Dream.

I was ‘medically’ advised never to play a game after my cardiac crisis in 1987. I was inspired by The Mother playing tennis and rediscovered the pleasure in playing ping-pong. Playing a game is like a dynamic meditation and I found that it improved my being mindful. I stopped all medication quite some time ago but was taking a substitute for baby aspirin. I developed ulcers and I stopped it 28 Feb 2014, despite ‘medical’ advice. I am grateful to The Mother for being totally free of medication.

So many Aurovilians and friends of Auroville helped me to do workshops and retreats abroad. This not only furthered the mission of my life but also was in tune with my passion for travel. I am grateful to every one of them.I discovered that I belong to the family of Integral Yoga of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo and revel in it. Atithi Griha was my home in Auroville. I am grateful to Ashoke Da, Raji and all the staff of AGGH for my experience of having a home in Auroville. My stay in Auroville blossomed to what is was, thanks to the friendship, guidance and support from Syamala, Bhavana and Vradharajan and many Aurovilians and friends of Auroville who contributed to me and my personal growth.

We also started a Telugu Sankritika Kendramu (Telugu Cutural Center), thanks to the initiative of Syamala. One of the delightful things that happened is the annual musical celebration of Saint Thyagaraja.Thyagaraja composed in Telugu, lived in Tamil Nadu but his music and message are Universal.The small beginning we made will be a Juggernaut because of the message of the Saint and the purpose of Page 1 of 2 Auroville being Human Unity. I feel happy, grateful and privileged to have been a part of it.

I am grateful to my wife and children for giving me the time and space to explore and experience Auroville. I was also twice blessed to be a grandfather during my stay in Auroville. I never realized how beautiful it is to have grandchildren. I am grateful to the Divine for the two blessings into our hearts.
While I chose to leave Auroville as a place of residence, I choose to remain to be of the ideal of Human Unity. Wherever I am, I am committed to continue the work I had the privilege and opportunity to begin in Auroville. Because, part of me will be always in Auroville and part of Auroville will be with me wherever I go. And, Auroville is the ‘Mani hara’ of people with goodwill.

In gratitude, JV
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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stress Management workshops at IIITB and Unifylabs

In the process of picking up the threads, I connected with IIITB and my friend Raja has immediately given me the opportunity to do a 3 session (of 3 hours) workshop for the students of STP (a post graduate program). The rationale is to have a gap between the sessions during which the participants can practice the tools and techniques and assimilate the principles better.
Meanwhile, based on the introductory session, the interest of Unifylabs also firmed up, thanks to my friend Srini and the rest of the management team. The majority of this young, growing and vibrant company are youngsters of similar age group at IIITB and in my thinking, it made sense to it in 3 sessions instead of a one day or two day intensive workshop.

The three sessions cover
1. Basics of science of stress and  on-line stress management 
2. Managing emotions and improving  self-awareness/IQ
3. Resilience and building immunity to stress

While the 3 session format worked reasonably well at IIITB, there was surprise at Unifylabs. I think that the work commitments could be factor in this and the second aspect is related to the interest and focus of young IT professionals who tend to look at personal growth as something that they can look at ‘later’. It wouldn’t have been difficult to guess this but strangely, I needed an actual experience to become aware of what I know. Hopefully, I learned something deeper than the surface lesson- the real lesson is that with a bit of ‘presence’, you can transform knowledge into awareness.  
The major celebration from the events is getting to know Ashok at IIITB, Srikaran, Chandra and Subbarao, who, along with Srini founded and run Unifylabs. Of course, I have the major satisfaction from all events. Some people, though a minority of the participants, took significant value out of the events and produces great results. Sometimes, I hope that it the majority that would do this and not a minority. The truth in personal development is that some people will not be ready and transformation needs lot of energy. Like Ekhart Tolle said, Coal transforms into diamond under tremendous pressure and inconceivable temperature". Waht time would it take for the coal to transform to diamond?

I am committed to my mission of spreading health, harmony and happiness, continue to seek the opportunities, enjoy every event and do my best in every event and be open to the possibility that before I call it a day, I will be facilitating events in which each every person (including me) is transformed.

Basics of Stress Management Workshop at PMC Sierra Semiconductors

I and Sanjeev are friends since a long time and he attended one of the earliest ‘Being Well” week-end workshops I conducted in Bangalore. He was the MD (Sales) of Freescale Semiconductor at that time and he also gave me an opportunity to do a couple of workshops for his team. In the process of picking up the threads, I got in touch with him. He is currently the MD (Sales) of PMC and he responded positively and immediately created this opportunity.
He asked me whether I could do a two to two and half hour session as part of their 10 year celebrations and I was ready to try it out even though it was a challenge to do something that would be useful for the participants within two hours as opposed to the 12.5 hours at IIIMI.   I did struggle a bit but in the end it was a very enjoyable experience and the workshop was very well received.  I n my experience, the people were quite positive about the concept of on-line stress management and the feasibility of  pulling-in  the micro-breaks, micro-meditations  and emotional freedom process into their busy life . I am happy that we could make a good beginning and here is the testimonial frpm Sanjeev

Mr. J.V. Avadhanulu conducted 2 hours workshop on "Basics of Stress Management" at PMC Sierra, Bangalore on 27th May 2015. He explained what is Stress and what causes it and then shared a simple and manageable tool of "Micro Breaks" which can help to overcome the stress. All our employees are very happy with this workshop and found it practical and effective.
I would like to thank Mr. JV for putting across a complex issue in a simple way in a short time.”
Sanjeev Keskar
Managing Director Sales
PMC Sierra India and SEA"

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Change of course and picking up the threads with 3 workshops

Come 2015, there is yet another change of course. It is in the place of my (ordinary) residence but it is impacting my work to spread health and happiness in unforeseen and interesting ways. I and my wife decided to live in Bagur, a small, pretty village near, Devlali, the charming twin town of Nasik, in eth Western Ghats (hills) of Maharashtra- about 3 hours form Mumbai. The rationale is to live away from the hustle, bustle, congestion and pollution of big cities. In fact, we were looking for a salubrious, peaceful and rustic place to live and this was the very first place that the Universe has revealed to us. We grabbed it instantaneously, without second thoughts and considering alternatives. We came to know about this place, thanks to Cmde Syam, who was building a house in the same society. The presence of Barricks, a close friend in the Navy and Rachana, our ‘third daughter’ in Nasik were major factors in the quick decision. Well, we moved fast but the Cantonment Board didn’t. As a result, we are to live in our flat at Bangalore for about an year, till the house is ready. I am will be leaving to Europe and USA, starting So, I decided to pick up the threads in Bangalore and see if I can be fruitful engaged in my mission.
I am grateful to so many of my friends responding positively to my request and creating opportunities to do workshops. The first to happen was a session on Stress Management at IIITB, thanks to Raja. Raja has asked me to do two more sessions and I would be completing them by end May. Next to happen was talk on “The science of mind and meditation” at IISC, thanks to my friend Hari. I also did an introductory session to personal growth for the first time at Unifylabs, thanks to Srini. We are in the process of setting up a three session program on stress management.  Sanjeev Keskar is now with PMC and we will be doing a session for PMC towards end May. I had to shift the model and mode to suits these groups, as opposed to the set patterns that I established at Auroville and IIMs. I enjoyed this as there was a creative element in such changes, the most significant being the long term model at IIITB and Unifylabs. I would like to see through these programs and capture my experience and assessment of the long –term engagement model.
I am delighted and grateful to all my friends who helped me to pick up the threads and spread health and happiness in the short stay of the month of May at Bangalore. It is satisfying and immensely fulfilling to my heart, which is filled with gratitude to my friends and the Universe.

This post would be incomplete without an explanation about the shift from Auroville. My wife doesn’t like Auroville. As time went by, my inspiration about Auroville came down. The most cogent explanation I can give for myself is that Auroville doesn’t make ‘reasonable’ use of the resources – human, land, money, material and Time. I wonder how far or close we are to the Dream. I would never know (unless I am enlightened) whether this explanation is independent of my wife’s opinion of Auroville. I know that I wanted peace and harmony in our lives. What was the real cause? May be, it doesn’t matter. Wherever I am, I am part of the ideal of Human Unity. I know that I take Auroville wherever I am.  I also left behind some part of me in Auroville. Finally, it is all about the ideal.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stress Management Workshop at MES College of Engineering, Pune

I didn't schedule any events in the month of  March 15 as I was winding up my stay in Auroville. For the next year or so, Bangalore will be my place of living while getting the house constructed in Devlali, near Nasik, Maharastra. So, after winding up my stay in Auroville I spent a  couple of weeks finding my bearings and went to Nasik. I was facing some issues and needed the help and guidance of Cmde. Syam, who lives in Pune. That took me to Pune and I thought it was a good idea to meet Cdr. Chhabra, a good friend and my batch mate in the Navy and spend a day at with him at his home. When he was driving me to his home, he told me that he was helping the students of MES College of Engineering since 5 years and asked me whether I would like to give a lecture to the students. I grabbed the opportunity and the event happened next day afternoon.
My preference is always to do workshops as I believe that workshops could be experiential. The challenge was to compress what is normally done in more than 10 hours into one hour , make it useful and experiential. I enjoyed addressing the challenge and the event went very well, in my experience. 
What was remarkable was what followed the event. Cdr Chhabra shared the very innovative and noble work he is doing for the students. He is helping the students who are not placed and who fail in some subjects to reorient themselves to the world outside and be winners. He does this by offering them a free course at the end of the final year where they are given grounding in Systems Engineering, self-awareness, self-responsibility and soft skills. At the end of the program, he is willing to appoint them at a salary of Rs10,000 per month  and find their path in life. He finds mentors for some and many mentors absorb the students in regular jobs , even if they have not yet 'erased' their degree. He helps some people to find jobs. He gives work in his own company for others. I marvel at the ingenuity of the model and the positive impact it could have on the students in boosting their self esteem and inner transformation. I felt very touched, moved and inspired by what he is doing and feel privileged to have  a friend like him. I do wish that the model he started grows and creates a humane network that recognizes the intrinsic , unique potential of each student. I believe that lack of academic achievement should never be the barrier  for flowering of the individual in manifesting his or her own uniqueness. I salute the noble spirit in which Cdr Chhabra is helping the students to realize their true potential.   

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nine workshops and my epiphany on Mindful Pranayama

How can I blog about 9 workshops and retreats done over a  period of 3 months now? I better not attempt it but hope to share some of the things that I went through during this period.
I decided to relocate from Auroville (as  a place of living) to Bangalore by the first week of March 2015. I have been working on setting up an Optical Fiber Network in Auroville and the many, unexpected positive developments contributed to the project gathering lots of momentum. This added to the demands on my time and one of the things that I put on the back burner was my blog.
I am adding some pics of the events during this period.  I would not like to rebuild or recap on the specific events but would like to share that I enjoyed every moment of the workshops.
One important event happened on 8 Feb 2015, my wife's 60th Birthday. Sometime in the rally hours of the morning, I heard a clear voice tell me " You are doing mindful Pranayama. It is your Dharma to share it". It was a strange but thrilling experience for me and next day I did some research on the web. John Kabat Zinn started the fusion of Mindfulness and Hatha Yoga. Some web sites do talk about Mindfullness Pranayama.
When I think about it, an analogy comes to my mind -  driving a car. When I was a novice, I was overwhelmed by the demands of driving but as I had more and more hours of driving experience, it was easy to drive, hold conversations and enjoy the scenery -  being mindful. With years of practice and the repeated instructions I have been giving in several hundred workshop sessions, I am able to 'Be Mindful' during the practice of Pavan Mukthasana exercises, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra that make up my integral practice. An important aspect is to be joyful - Yoga is Union in with the Divine.Like driving, I do my practice while 'Being Mindful' of the effect of the practice on my body and mind.

I am not sure about the correlation between what I am doing and what others are doing. But, I am happy and grateful for the opportunity of sharing. My epiphany redoubled my enthusiasm to share the practices that have been so beneficial for me in my life.
I am sure that more of what I need to know about this will be revealed to me when needed.