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.