Palming

Sit erect with your back straight.  Close your eyes gently.  Concentrate on your natural breathing – inhalation and exhalation.  Count 11 breaths.

Now rub your hands nicely to generate heat.   Place the palm slightly cupped on your closed eyes gently. Ensure that the palms are placed over the eyes in such a way that there is no gap for light to enter.  Do not press the eyeballs.  Allow eyes to relax in complete darkness.  Concentrate on your breathing and feel the warmth of the palms over your eyes.

palming

This practice helps in

  • relaxing your mind and body
  • removing dark circles around your eyes
  • adds glow to your face
  • makes you feel rejuvenated quickly
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Being Humane – Man is not an emotional being

Man is an emotional being is the adage. This statement indicating man is emotion is a myth and contradicts established facts. Let us see why and how…

Lower beings driven by instincts become the emotion and does not identify themselves as distinct from emotion. A dog does not think and choose to feel sad or joy as it cannot be aware of its emotions. Humans however have the distinctive ability to be aware of their emotions.  They can feel and be aware that they are happy, joyous, enthusiastic, jealous, angry, etc., This ability to distinguish the emotion from oneself even while experiencing the emotion is a determinant factor for one’s Emotional Quotient.

In one of the lectures, Swami Mitrananda of Chinmaya Mission mentions that “man is wise before facing a crisis, he is also wise after the crisis, but while in the midst of the crisis he is otherwise”. This ability – to be wise while in the midst of the crisis determines one as emotional, intelligent or otherwise.BeingWiseTo have an ‘insight’ one has to develop the ability to master emotions.

Emotions can be broadly classified as head emotions and tail emotions.  Emotions like joy, empathy, love, compassion, etc are head emotions while feelings and emotions like anger (krodha), craving desire/lust (kama), greed (lobha), delusion (moha), pride (madha), envy and jealousy (matsaryam) are considered as tail emotions.

As long as one does not become the emotion but be aware of the emotion one will be able to handle the emotion appropriately.  When properly placed and handled, emotions on either side can be used in a positive way and when one comes under the clutches of emotions negative consequences ensue.  Hence, we are not calling them as positive or negative emotions but head and tail emotions based on the position of the chakras from where these emotions are aroused.  A single incident can arouse positive emotions in one while negative in the other depending on the energy levels from which the individual functions.

Emotion in yogic science is explained as energy in motion.

Psychic science and yogic science agree that…

“Potential energy triggered by the instincts or higher sources connects with the inner experience and the memory of inner experience to arouse an emotion.  The emotions thus aroused further get reinforced and embeds in the mind-body complex, conditioning one’s personality.

For handling emotions effectively and shape human personality one need to get to the root level – at the level of instincts, memories of inner experiences and at the level of new-experience-input into the mind-body complex through senses and intellect”.

Development of awareness – physical, energy, thoughts, feelings, emotions is the first step in handling emotions. The next step is to submit to the directions of the well-developed intellect (insight) for choosing the appropriate response.

In the absence of awareness one becomes an emotion, comes under its clutches and is not in a position to take the help of the intellect in choosing the appropriate response. In such a situation one simply reacts which is equal to functioning at the level of animals.

Development and exercising of free will – a unique ability in humans, is possible when the energy levels are high and one functions under the direction of the intellect to make appropriate choices. By intellect the reference is not to the gross intellect but to the highly developed intellect or subtle intellect which is by nature in harmony with the heart.

Hatha yoga practices like asana and pranayama develops awareness at the gross – physical and vital levels.  This paves the way for developing awareness at the subtler levels in the mind – feelings, thoughts and emotions, through the practices like Yoga Nidra, Antar mouna, Value meditation, Pratipaksha bhava meditation, Sakshibhava meditation, etc.

Playback meditation followed by Daily-SWAN-journaling are integrated practices which brings together time-tested ancient Indian Wisdom and 21st century tools to suit the needs of 21st century global citizen in nurturing  a healthy self-image. A positive self-image helps in handling the emotions better. As one handles the emotions in a better way, the positive self-image is further reinforced which in turn helps in better handling of emotions. This is a virtuous cycle leading one to become a master emotions and function humanely proving man is not an emotional being.

Notes of caution for the quick-result oriented 21st century citizen…

  • We have a huge mental garbage dumped in our system and it takes time for it to be cleared. One needs patience and perseverance to cleanse the same and master the emotions. In this process, it is not important to not fall – because it is part of the process. What is important is to rise up again each time one falls.
  • There may be short-cut solutions which address the symptoms and hence their results are also short-lived. Any solution which addresses the root-cause will take time to produce results, but will be long-lasting.
  • Each individual is unique and needs guidance from experts to learn the appropriate practices as suited for his situation.

Master your mind

Yoga philosophy talks about five domains of human personality – physical (annamaya kosha), vital (pranayama kosha), mental (manomaya kosha), intellectual (jnanamaya kosha) and spiritual (anandamaya kosha).

The physical, vital and mental domains are quite well-developed in all plants and animals. While the mind is the highest state of evolution in lower beings, mental domain/mind reaches its greatest state of evolution in humans. Mastering the mind is the first step to awaken our higher potential in the intellectual domain and truly rise above other animals and plants.

Rare are those who have tapped into this potential and left a mark in this world. Sage Veda Vyasa, Sukabrahma, Adisankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya, Buddha, Jesus, Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo, etc., are some of the names we can remember who have tapped into the subtle aspect of the intellect and spread awareness in spiritual and philosophical domains to various extents as relevant to the times they dwelled on this earth. King Janaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Gandhi, etc., tapped into their higher potentials for the welfare and development of society through the political and economic fields. Bhaskaracharya, Aryabhatta, Edison, Ramajuna, Sushrutha and the likes have deeply studied, understood the material world and evolved as exemplary scientists by tapping into their higher potentials.

Average man is distracted by various aspects of the mental domain – senses, emotions, feelings, ego, etc.  thereby tapping only to a negligible extent, the creative and intuitive faculties of the higher intellect. Irrespective of the field one chooses excellence can be achieved by mastering various aspects of mind. Ancient Indians have achieved excellence in all spheres of life – economics, science, politics, astrology, medicine, mathematics, religion, spiritual, etc. by mastering their mind apart from their physical and vital domains.

To master the mind we need to understand the four basic aspects of the mind – Chitta (memory), Manas (aspect of feeling and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankara (self-image).  Various tools and methods have been prescribed by those who have tread this path to master the mind.  All of them proclaim that prerequisite for mastering the mind is to have a healthy physical body and high levels of pranic energy.

Life according to ancient Indian philosophy and yogic science does not start with birth nor does it end with death.  Life is a continuum. As the experiences and memories of childhood will affect the behaviour and personality in youth and older ages, the impressions from memories of the previous births will also have effect in the current life and affect our personality.  The modern psychology has also come to realise this fact – techniques like hypnosis and past life regression are scientific proofs to testify to the modern intellectual minds about this age-old wisdom. Albert Weismann refers various case studies of his clients where past life regression helped as a therapeutic tool in his famous book “Many masters many lives”.

Human memory is thus a store house of sensory impressions, emotional impressions and intellectual impressions one has accumulated over many lives.  Different components of memory are tapped into in different states of mind – wakeful state (conscious mind), dream state (subconscious mind), deep sleep state (unconscious mind) and turiya state (super conscious mind).  While these past impressions determine one’s current personality, expression of human WILL provides the ability to work on the impressions in the four states of memory and evolve above them.

This introduction to understand human personality is not to overwhelm the reader with the enormity of the task ahead, but to understand, what we are now is a result of the choices we have made over many lives. In the same way our current choices and expression of WILL in an intelligent way decides our future.

This is also to understand that change does not happen overnight.  It is a long run process. Obstacles in various forms do come and distract us.  Many a times we seem like failing. It is through perseverance, by standing up each time one fails, will we overcome these challenges and master the mind. As it is said, “it does not matter how many times we fall down as long as we have the perseverance to rise up again”.  It is with this basic understanding and attitude should one approach to master the mind.

From known to unknown is the path towards knowledge – be it scientific discoveries or spiritual or philosophical growth or with mastering the mind. Initially we need to deal with the wakeful state, develop awareness and learn to manage various manifestations of the mind – sensory perceptions, memory, emotions, feelings, self-image, etc. in this state.  Purification to an extent, in this state makes one fit to work on other states.

It is pertinent to note that most of the personality development programs start and end in the conscious state.  Rare are the programs which even deal this state in a holistic manner.  This explains the abysmally low rate of success of the so-called personality development programs.  As the awareness and understanding develops in the conscious state we need to start working on the sub-conscious and unconscious states of mind. These states in fact, influence most of our decision-making process and actions.  Here are a few eg:

  1. The conscious mind, the awaken state is aware that eating right is good for health.  But our action directed by our sub-conscious or unconscious mind does not help in implementing the same.
  2. We are aware that getting up 15 minutes early in the morning helps us accomplish more things.  However, we snooze the alarm every morning.
  3. Regular exercises keep us fit.  But we fail to prioritize the same into our schedule.
  4. We walk out of a two-day personality development program with lot of enthusiasm and vigour to work on the new resolutions. But the same fizzles out soon, causing little change in us.

The lacuna is not in the efficacy of the program or understanding of the values, but the lack of energies – the energy of will, the energy of knowledge and energy of action in the participant.

Empowered with the above energies, one can gain a deeper understanding of all the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and manage them effectively.

We shall discuss in greater detail about the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and tools to manage specific areas like emotions, stress and thought in our future posts.

Talk to Water…

Do you drink water?

Next time you drink your glass of water – talk to it. Say your resolutions to the glass of water.

Water is a wonderful post-man to reach out to every cell of your body and your mind.

Note: You may convey your message silently. There is no need to say it aloud.

 

Manifesting Vitality – VQ

Vital health / high vitality quotient is reflected as effective functioning of other faculties of human personality – body, mind and intellect. Vital energy is the life-giving force and a means to regulate and co-ordinate between them. Vitality is manifested in three domains as:

  • Energy of WILL (Ichcha Shakthi) – endurance in the mental faculty
  • Energy of KNOWLEDGE (Jnana Shakthi) – clarity in Knowledge domain, intellectual faculty and
  • Energy to ACT (Kriya Shakthi) – effectiveness in Action, physical faculty.

Any work we undertake involves a goal, the means and real work done.

Goal is the function of mental faculty where the desire arises. Will Power is the ability to transcend desires arisen out of sensory impressions and manifest our deepest aspirations in action. Desires arisen out of sensory impressions are not born out of free choice. True will power is the ability to transcend such desires and obstacles, endure and persevere for attainment of the deepest aspirations born of free choice.

A well-developed Ojas (a form of pranic energy) provides for endurance and will power.  Ojas is related to the grosser water element among the five elements.  Ojas is the primal vigor or vitality energy that preserves the essence of digested foods, impressions and thoughts. It provides a sense of calmness, nourishes and supports the higher states of consciousness, thus enhancing the capabilities of perseverance and endurance. 

Once desire or a goal is established, we need to have clarity on the means to achieve the goal. This is primarily the function of intellect – knowledge faculty. Clarity here is the intelligence or ability to discriminate the appropriate from the inappropriate towards attainment of the objective.  This clarity is provided by the Tejas element of pranic energy.

Tejas is related to the fire element and Ajna Chakra at the mental level. It is the inner radiance through which we digest the impressions and thoughts and develop higher perceptual capabilities. This is the guiding force for all the other chakras and indirectly manifests as effectiveness in all other domains of human personality.  A well-developed Tejas also help burn the inappropriate desires entertained by the will and acts as the guiding force for the will.

It is to be noted here that various domains of human personality – body, prana, etc., do not act independent, exclusive of each other. They are closely connected and the boundaries for their functionality are not clearly drawn. The classification of manifestation of vitality in different domains is done only for gaining a better understanding. Causing change in one domain will affect other domains as they function parallel. For example, high tejas enhances clarity, purifies the desires, enhances endurance and perseverance(an aspect of ojas). On the other hand perseverance in action coupled with awareness will provide for clarity and develops tejas… With this understanding let us now go ahead to discuss the third aspect where prana manifests – Energy of Action…

Once a goal is decided and there is clarity on path to be taken, the next step is to put the plan into action.  This is guided by Prana element of the pranic energy. Good supply of Prana to the organs of action will provide the physical body with energy to act. While the asana practices help in clearing the blocks along the energy pathways in the body, pranayama practices help better distribution of pranic energy to all parts of the body. Action can also mean mental action. In such case, mind is the place of action and pranic energy is diverted for its functioning. We have already seen that thoughts also consume pranic energy. 

The other ways in which vitality is manifested are:

Handling problems:

The Prana allows the mind to move and respond to challenges of life.  Tejas handles it to perceive and judge accordingly while Ojas gives patience and endurance that provides psychological stability to overcome the problem.

Handling emotions:

At emotional level, Prana provides for emotional harmony, balance and creativity.  Tejas gives courage, fearlessness and vigor, helping accomplish extraordinary actions.  Ojas provides peace, calmness and contentment.

Imbalance in Prana, Ojas and Tejas:

Prana is responsible for enthusiasm and expressions in the psyche, lack of which leads to depression and mental stagnation.

Tejas governs mental digestion and absorption, lack of which leads to lack of clarity and determination.

Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance, lack of which leads to anxiety and mental fatigue.

The Power of Words

To understand the power of word and appreciate the ancient Indian perspective let us take a quick peek into these aspects we have discussed earlier…

  • Gross and Subtle Bodies: The physical body perceived by the senses is the gross body, while the aspects of our personality – thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, wisdom etc., not perceivable by our senses make up the subtle body. These two are connected by the vital link – the vital life force or vital energy or pranic force.
  • Source of Vitality: Sunlight, Water and fresh air are rich sources of vitality because of high amounts of prana/pranic energy in them.
  • Negative Ions: Experiments have proven that negative ions in the air is directly proportional to the pranic energy. Negative ions make us feel calm and composed. High levels of pranic energy in our body attracts the negative ions towards us and make us calm and experience peace.
  • When we are surrounded by positive people, things and situations we feel good. Positive words make our day while negative ones disturb us.

The above aspects are applicable to humans and to every manifest object in this world – sentient or otherwise declare ancient Indian scriptures. However this is manifested according to the level of evolution – plants, animals reaching a peak stage in human beings. We know of experiments by Bose that prove pain and emotions felt by plants. Plants are in a primitive stage of evolution and need experiments to prove, in humans it is obvious.

This is true even with insentient objects. Experiments with water demonstrated in this video prove the fact water also include a subtle aspect or subtle body not easily perceivable by human senses. The way water crystals respond to different words (read: moods and feelings) is shown in Dr Emoto’s experiments.

Now time for some insights into aspects mentioned in our scriptures based on these experiments:

Pray before you eat: Food we eat has subtle body and carries the moods and feelings of all people in the chain through which it passes before reaching our plate. Hence offering food to God and chanting prayers before consuming is a way to neutralise /nullify the negative thoughts and moods it carries. Water being a necessary element in all forms of food as well as our own physical body, we now understand the significance of prayer before meals. This is a practice prescribed by almost every culture and religion in the world.

Satsang (Company of the Good): Being in the company of Good – people, books, etc., is prescribed to keep us in a positive framework of mind.

As we read or listen to people around, the words reach and influence water molecules in every cell of the body. This creates a change not only in the physical body but also in the subtle body of our thoughts, emotions and moods.

The modern world is filled with lot of negativity around breeding more negativity – a vicious cycle. Daily newspaper starts our day with bombardment of negative news. TV channels continue the effect with sensational news (read: negativity blown out of proportion). Not to mention of office and neighbourhood gossips and politics which complete the cycle. This explains how the continuous bombardment of negative words through the day breeds stress and pain in modern world.

If we surround ourselves with positive words by being aware and conscious of what we read, what we watch, people we move around with and words we speak we can break the vicious cycle and start a virtuous cycle of positive words breeding positive, making our world more peaceful and joyous.

Develop your Vitality Quotient (VQ)

Our body absorbs vital energy through breath. However the below factors directly influence our vitality quotient (VQ) by enhancing or dissipating the vital energy.

Food – Food, the primary source of nutrients required for our bodily functions utilise vital energy for digestion, absorption and circulation. Foods influence VQ in the following ways:

  • André Simonéton in France developed a method to categorise food based on the intrinsic pranic energy in different kinds of food. He divided food into four classes – First class comprising fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc., has high pranic energy followed by boiled vegetables, cane sugar, eggs, peanut oil, etc.,. The third category comprised of cooked meats, coffee, tea, sausages, etc., has very low pranic energy and the final category of margarine, bleached flour, refined white sugar, etc., exhibited practically no life force in them. Based on the quantum of the above category of foods in our diet we can determine the levels of pranic energy in us.
  • Sattvic foods direct the vital energy towards sattvic thoughts and actions, while rajasic foods enhance rajasic activity and tamasic food enhance tamas and dullness. When our diet is in appropriate ratio of sattva, rajas and tamas, the vital energy is also directed accordingly for effective functioning of the mind, body and intellect.
  • The other influence of food on vital energy is at a grosser level. Sattvic foods are generally easy to digest and consume lesser vital energy leaving more energy for effective functioning of other personality domains – body, mind and intellect. On the other end is the tamasic food which consume more of vital energy for digestion leaving little energy left for other functions, making us dull, tired and lethargic.
  • Another source of vitality is fresh air. Air near water halls and high in mountains have higher levels of pranic energy while the polluted and recycled air in cities and air-conditioned atmosphere are low in pranic energy. Science has explained this in terms of ions. Negative ions in air help enhance vital energy in us. Apart from exposing ourselves to fresh air, practice of pranayama also help attract more negative ions from the surroundings making us feel light, fresh, energetic and vibrant.
  • Additionally adequate exposure to sunlight also help enhance our vitality levels.

Thoughts – When we are rich in positive thoughts we are generally more composed and involve in day-to-day activities for longer periods in a peaceful state.  When our mind is filled with negative thoughts and emotions, we stay disturbed and not effective in day-to-day activities.  This is primarily because positive thoughts enhance vitality and channelize the energy in a disciplined way while negative thoughts dissipates energy in all directions leaving us tired and exhausted sooner.

Surrounding ourselves with people, things and situations with positive thoughts help in maintaining higher levels of vitality. However people, things and situations around are generally not in our control. So it is intelligent to develop awareness of our thoughts, manage the thought flow within us by eliminating negative thoughts and encouraging positive thoughts.

Various pratyahara practices prescribed in yoga sastra – antar-mouna, ajapa-japa, etc, help in this process.

Higher vitality levels help to do the above practices, manage and develop positive thoughts. Positive thoughts further help to develop vital energy levels. This is a virtuous cycle.

Low vital energy levels result in piling up of negative thoughts. Negative thoughts further depreciate the levels of vitality. This is a vicious cycle.

Exercise – After a session of aggressive physical and aerobic exercise one becomes tired and would prefer to rest. On the contrary, a session of appropriate yogic practices (Asanas) will leave one in a state of high energy levels. Appropriateness of yogic exercise in contrast to regular aerobic exercises in developing vital energy levels and maintaining our physical body has been discussed in an earlier post “Why Exercise?”.

Discipline – Things spread out chaotically in a room, files dumped in one location in your computer, river in spate, crowd rushing in and out of a public meeting venue may be contrasted to a situation where things are kept at appropriate places in the room, files categorized in folders in a systematic way, water being channelized through canals/dams and crowd moving in an out of a public venue in queues.

Difference between the two situations is discipline.  Similar is the case with our vital energy.

Watching TV / talking while eating, irregularity in our daily routines, sleeping in late hours and waking up late are some examples of lack of discipline that has cropped up in modern life-style leading to modern life-style diseases.

Appropriate breathing habit (deep breathing), pranayama practices coupled with mudras and bandhas, asanas with breath awareness, regularity in doing the above practices are methods of channelizing and enriching each cell in our body with adequate amounts of vital energy helping them act in the most effective way.

Regularity and systematic practice help in developing our bio-rhythm and keep us more energetic and active throughout the day.

Pranayama practices – Pranayama can be translated as managing prana.  This is the most direct and best method of managing our pranic energy. Apart from what is described above pranayama practices further help in enhancing our VQ in the following ways:

  • Eliminate toxins from the body, clear energy blocks and ensure smooth flow of energy within making us feel energetic, light, calm and clear helping the mind function more effectively
  • Balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in our body, develop homeostasis in the nervous system and help us approach our daily activities in a state of equilibrium
  • Keep the pranic body/energy body active through which the other domains – physical, mental, intellectual and emotional domains can be better managed.
  • The pranic body has chakras or psychic centers corresponding to nerve centers in our physical body. These are likened to transformers in an electrical transmission system. The chakras when awakened through various pranayama practices channelise and transmit the energy throughout the body optimally.

Based on individual body needs, we need to learn and do appropriate pranayama practices under expert guidance.

Vitality Quotient (VQ)

Scenario 1 :

You would have watched a video / experienced the effects of a cyclonic storm, a tsunami, a river in spate, chaotic mobs in demonstrations and agitations, fans jumping with lots of energy during cricket or football match.

Scenario 2 :

You would have also watched a video / experienced the effects of a dance performance, a music recital or chorus singing all happening according to a rhythm and theme, a flock of birds flying, controlled flow of water through dams, etc.

There is a lot of energy involved in both the scenarios.

While in the first, the energy is dissipated with negligible positive consequences, the second scenario depicts rhythmic and systematic flow of energy in a disciplined way with positive consequences.

While the first scenario depicts excitement and anxiety, the second depicts vitality.

More than presence of energy and its mobility, the way the energy is channelized and utilized determines vitality.

There may be a need to show anger, protest and agitate.  However only if the energy and anger are channelized in a proper way, the protest can yield a positive result by undoing the wrongs around.

Vitality Quotient (VQ) is defined as the ability to enhance, store and channelize the vital energy effectively for harmonious interaction and management of other domains of human personality – physical, mental and intellectual, in pursuit of life-goals.

Gandhiji is a testimony for high VQ.  A person with high VQ has a strong bridge -the vital link between the gross (physical) and subtle (mental, emotional and intellectual) bodies. Such a person is better able to maintain homeostasis in all the realms – Physical, Vital, Mental, Emotional and Intellectual.

Excited and chaotic agitations on the other hand is like a sudden outburst of a storm or tsunami, where the energy is dissipated in all directions and go waste.

Channelising the energies appropriately by enhancing the Vitality Quotient is the secret behind effective and successful execution of a project or task.

The Leader

Drishti, Saugandh, Ruchi, Sparsha, Maanas, Chaitanya and Anand are all upbeat. They have just walked out of the conference hall after an important meeting. Off to their favourite table in the canteen, they start discussing.

“Friends!, this is a wonderful opportunity for us. We should give in our best to make this project a success” declared Anand.

“Yes! we should”, echoed others.

As others settled down, Chaitanya, Maanas and Ruchi walked towards the counter to get the food.

“If this project becomes a success we need not travel two hours each way. We have the opportunity to be transferred to the new office closer to our colony”, Drishti shared her view.

“We can also spend more time with our families. They have been very supportive of our friendship”, added Saugandh

“It has been a wonderful journey for us and a rarity in this fast paced world” shared Sparsha.

“We passed out of the same school, college and now working in the same organisation” added Maanas placing the plates on the table.

“And now, we are all part of the same team to execute this project closer to our homes in the same colony. It is really sweet. A treat for all of us” exclaimed Ruchi licking the Gulab Jamun in her inimitable style.

“There you go!” Chaitanya immediately captured the wonderful image in his smart phone and posted it on facebook.

“Here I am!”, Ankur grabbed the Gulab Jamun from Ruchi’s hand and gulped.

“Hey! that’s too fast” Maanas was pleasantly surprised, “From where did you come?”

“From my facebook post” answered Chaitanya “Ankur, you are a true friend. Do you know we are all part of the same team to execute a new project.”

“Whaw! that’s wonderful news” Ankur congratulated his friends.

“It’s good that GM asked us to decide who would lead the team. I volunteer for the responsibility” proposed Drishti.

“Hey! I have never got an opportunity to lead any team in the company. I think, I should get the opportunity so that the management gets convinced of my delivery capability.” proposed Saugandh.

“Be practical Saugandh! we should not take chances. We need an experienced hand to be sure that we succeed in achieving our aim. I propose Chaitanya for the job as he has led several projects earlier, successfully” suggested Ruchi.

“I vouch for Chaitanya’s ability. But, I feel Maanas is better equipped as he has better idea and more experience in handling a similar project earlier at Mumbai”, suggested Sparsha.

“Hey Sparsha! Do remember that I had already lead a larger team in a similar project. Me taking the lead will put us in a better position to be sure of achieving our aim” proposed Anand.

“I too second Anand’s view.” suggested Chaitanya.

Suddenly an atmosphere of unease and discomfort surrounded. Sensing the sudden change in atmosphere Ankur intervened, “Here is your Gulab Jamun, Ruchi”. Ankur pulled out the Gulab Jamun from Chaitanya’s facebook post.

“That’s so sweet, Ankur. You always lighten the atmosphere and entertain us with your magical powers” Ruchi expressed happiness.

“But I can never make out, if you are talking about the food or the situation in hand.” joked Ankur.

Everybody burst into laughter.

“I remember a story from Chandogya Upanishad, which Rishi shared with me”, Ankur starts guiding his friends.

“Whaw! another story from our best friend Ankur. I love your stories. What is the story about?” Maanas inquired.

“This is a story about the five senses and prana.

Once there was a dispute among the five senses. Each wanted to establish its superiority. They could not arrive on a decision or a truce.

Suddenly eyes struck with an idea, withdrew for a while to prove its superiority. Once the eyes started functioning normally, ears withdrew itself. Taking cue, the other senses also withdrew for a while. Even though there was discomfort for the body and mind in general, the senses could carry out their function close to normal in the absence of one of the others. No decision could be arrived at.

All the while prana observed this silently. When the five senses completed their turn, prana withdrew for a fraction of second. All the senses got panicked and were thrown out of gear. They started arguing with prana on its return. Prana withdrew again, now for a longer duration. The senses almost lost their control. When the prana returned again, the senses came back to their sense. They realised the importance of prana and admitted to its supremacy.

“You senses have no role to play or power to act in my absence. I divide my power and distribute to each of you so that you can function”  explained Prana.”

“Can you name who is the prana among you?” questioned Ankur

Seeing his friends draw a blank face, Ankur re-framed the question “Can you mention, absence of whom will stall the project itself or make it a failure?”

There was no answer, as all knew that absence of any one of them will not stall the project. Other members can take it forward, if necessary with a replacement.

“Any activity or project or team will be a failure in the absence of the purpose / goal. It is the goal / purpose which lends life to a team. The purpose is the reason or cause for forming a team in the first place”, responded Chaitanya calmly in reflection.

“Our decision should not be individual oriented, rather goal oriented,” added Maanas.

“Individually each of us may be more or less benefited. But overall benefit of the team – meaning its goal is important for all of us to be happy” emphasised Anand.

“I agree with all of you” added in chorus Ruchi, Saugandh and Sparsha.

“In the light of all this may I propose Anand’s name to be our leader for the project, as his skill-set is best compatible for the success of the project.” proposed Drishti.

“I agree” affirmed all in chorus.

“Honoured to serve you all”, Anand accepted the responsibility in all humility with a dramatic gesture.

“Anand 🙂 is always the LEADER…” (Pun intended) Ankur bid adieu, back into the facebook.

The IOER effects on Physical Fitness

You dwell in this physical body.

For enjoying life your body has to be healthy.

For accomplishing anything in this world your body has to co-operate.

There are “n” number of theories and concepts which talk about fitness. Almost every news paper or blog site talks about the importance of fitness and tips to keep fit.

This post is to share the time-tested philosophy for physical fitness. It doesn’t give you Dos and Dont’s for having a fit body. You know your body, the best. Your body, your lifestyle and your life goals are unique to you. Hence, you have to decide what works for you and what doesn’t. You need to take a decision to implement what suits you the best.

Here are the four time-tested, basic principles which govern your physical health

Input:

“Food alone is the best medicine for all living creatures because they have come into existence because of food alone” – Taittiriya Upanishad

“Mithahara is defined as a complete and sweet food leaving one-fourth of the stomach free when eaten” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika

We all know that this physical body is made of food. So how does the food we take IN determine our physical health and fitness…?!?! Click to read more…

Output:

Apart from what we take in we also need to take care to send out all waste from the body. Periodic elimination of urine, faeces and sweat removes a bulk of waste from our body. However, thanks to the modern lifestyle there is much more to be eliminated from the body.

Excessive fat stored in the body is something that is talked about more often. In addition to this, bulk of waste gets stored in our body, primarily in the circulatory and digestive tracts. This leads one to most of the life-style diseases of 21st century.

These have to be eliminated regularly as well to keep our body supple, flexible and fit. Click to read more…

Exercise:

Some principles which help in determining need and the right kind of exercise:

  • The theory of use and disuse by Lamarck states that which is put to use develops and unused degenerates and disappears.
  • Various parts of the body – from organ system level down to cellular level need exercise. The physical body is built of trillions of cells, each cell containing a miniature life and energy for a definite function. Individual lives are really only bits of some degree of intelligence enabling the cells to work properly.
  • Various cells of the body, which are used like building bricks, get their energy and nourishment through the blood stream. Ensuring proper circulation and supply of oxygen is thus an important purpose of exercise.
  • The  physical body is not on its own. It is closely connected and influenced by the mental body/state. Hence the right exercise regimen should also have a positive effect on the mental domain.
  • The yogic philosophy takes this a step forward and states that it should have a positive effect on the pranic energy as well. It is well-known fact that all the three – physical body, pranic/vital energy and mental state of an individual are closely related.
  • The five factors that influence the efficiency of a muscular act – the initial stretch of the muscles, temperature, the viscosity of the muscles, the speed performance and fatigue.

With this background let us take a look on the right kind of exercise needed for our body. Click to read more…

Rest and Relaxation:

When the amount of pranic energy spent is more than the body can restore, the body feels weak.  This is one way of spending energy. Uncontrolled emotions can very quickly use up the prana stored in the body.

A few minutes of anger can cost more energy than a day of physical labor. when the anger has subsided, there is still no definite command for the muscles to relax and they stay activated. When we are excited by lower emotions, the mind constantly keeps the nerves in action and our muscles tense by unrestrained and uncontrolled mental states. More of our energy is spent in keeping the muscles in continual readiness for work than in real useful work done during our lifetime.

We can compare the waste of pranic energy as the result of tension to the waste of water as the result of not turning off a faucet and allowing the water to trickle away hour after hour. So we allow our prana to trickle away in a constant stream of tension, which in turn results in wear and tear on our muscles and internal organs.

In order to regulate and balance the work of the body and mind, it is necessary to learn to economize the energy produced by our body, which is the main purpose of learning how to rest and relax. The periods of rest and relaxation help the body to rejuvenate / recharge for the next phase of work. Click to read more…

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