I got life

Very inspiring song called ‘I got life’, from the musical movie ‘Hair’ (1979).

The character of George Berger in the movie was played by the charismatic actor Treat Williams. Hope you get to the essence of this song!

I got life, mother
I got laughs, sister
I got freedom, brother
I got good times, man

I got crazy ways, daughter
I got million-dollar charm, cousin
I got headaches and toothaches
And bad times too
Like you

I got my hair
I got my head
I got my brains
I got my ears
I got my eyes
I got my nose
I got my mouth
I got my teeth
I got my tongue
I got my chin
I got my neck
I got my tits
I got my heart
I got my soul
I got my back
I got my ass
I got my arms
I got my hands
I got my fingers
Got my legs
I got my feet
I got my toes
I got my liver
Got my blood

I got my guts (I got my guts)
I got my muscles (muscles)
I got life (life)
Life (life)
Life (life)


Laughter and wellness

One thing that I notice when I visit clients at their workplace is that there is little or lack of humor in their formal work environment. In my view, humor is ABSOLUTELY essential at workplace. Humor is one of the pathways to wellness. In fact, all organizations should take note of the value of humor within the workplace. Studies have shown that happy workers are more productive and humor not only helps employees release their tension but also lightens the stiff workplace atmosphere.

Humor has a lot to do with attitude. Learn to see humor in everyday situations. Don’t take things so seriously all the time. Life doesn’t need to be so gloomy. Work doesn’t need to be that way either. Research shows that while children laugh up to 400 times a day, adults do it only 17 times a day, on average. In many Zen monasteries, every monk has to start his morning with laughter, and has to end his night with laughter. Laughter is an expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy and pleasure. In fact, laughter helps us get through situations we often can’t possibly endure. Sometimes laughter is essential for survival.

Learn to see the humor in life. Watch a funny movie or TV programme. Read a funny book. Join a laughter club. Surround yourself with people who like to laugh especially kids who laugh most of the times. Being around people who laugh is contagious. There is something magnetic, something healing, being around people who let themselves laugh often. They are the kind of people who see the bright side of life.

Research has shown health benefits of laughter range from:
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Reducing food cravings
  • Increasing one's threshold for pain
  • Helping the body heal more quickly
  • Reducing stress and tension
  • Relaxing the body
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Being a coping mechanism for anger, sadness, frustration, and various other negative emotions.

And you still don't care to laugh!!!

Here are 2 of the world's funniest jokes:

The great detective Sherlock Holmes and his buddy Dr. Watson are going camping. They pitch their tent under the stars and go to sleep. In the middle of the night, Holmes wakes Watson up: "Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you deduce." Watson says, "I see millions of stars and the probability of life on other worlds." Holmes replies, "Watson, you idiot, somebody stole our tent."

A woman gets on a bus with her baby. The bus driver says: "That's the ugliest baby that I've ever seen. Ugh!" The woman goes to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: "The driver just insulted me!" The man says: "You go right up there and tell him off – go ahead, I'll hold your monkey for you."

Live in relaxation

I am called the ‘King of Shavasana’ in my yoga class. For those who are not initiated into yoga, ‘Shavasana’ means a corpse pose. This pose is essential at the end of every yoga practice as it relaxes and rejuvenates the body and mind while reducing stress and tension. At the end of the class as our yoga guru, makes us relax in Shavasana for around 2-3 minutes, I end up extending this relaxation pose to almost 20 minutes!!!

There are 2 types of responses that I get for my extended time in this ‘divine’ pose. First, from those who just can’t seem to relax. They are the ones who can barely keep their eyes shut for few moments at the end of the class and are eager to jump out of this relaxation state before even the teacher asks them to come out. And then there is the second lot of students who envy me for going in this deep state of relaxation un-relentlessly at the end of each class, wishing they too, could achieve this state of ‘cut-off’ mode.

The point I’m trying to make is that many of us can’t easily get into the mode of relaxation as we are constantly bombarded with thoughts in the mind or we are running towards deadlines. Stopping and pausing in silence is seen as unproductive. In fact, only when we are relaxed, can our body and mind function at an optimum level.

To be able to rest, we need to stop doing things. And we do that ONLY when we go to sleep. Even this sleep is not sufficient enough to give us good rest. Or else why would most of us wake up with a heavy head or feeling not rested. For true relaxation, we need to connect with our bodies -- to consciously and intentionally become aware of tension and release it. And this is exactly what Shavasana does.

Our bodies function like bank accounts. In the bank, you NEED to deposit money in order to withdraw the money. Similarly our body needs rest for it to generate and store energy before we can use it at a later stage. This period of rest and recovery is the way the body builds the energy.

Try out this simple exercise which will help you relax instantly and build energy. Lie down flat on your back. If required, keep a thin pillow under your head. Keep your feet comfortably apart and let them flop to the sides. Keep your arms extended to the side, slightly away from the body, palms facing upwards, fingers gently curled, jaws loose and eyes gently closed. Make sure the whole body is completely loose and comfortable. Now be aware of your breath for few moments. Don’t alter your breathing rate. Just be aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. This mere observation of breath-awareness by itself will slow down your respiratory rate and induce relaxation. Use this ‘down time’ to good advantage. The affairs of the world will go on forever, but allow your body and mind to relax in this moment of stillness. When you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. This state of restful alertness is one of the best methods of relaxation.

Dealing with adversity

Here’s a tale about ways of dealing with adversity that I heard recently.

A young woman complained to her mother about the hardships and difficulties in her life and wanted to give up. Her mother took her to the kitchen and filled three pots with water, placing each on the stove over a high flame. Soon the water came to a boil. In the first pot she had placed carrots, in the second eggs and in the last ground coffee beans. In 20 minutes, she turned off the burners, took the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She placed the eggs in another bowl and ladled the coffee out placing it in a bowl, too.

She asked her daughter to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. Then she asked her daughter to take an egg and break it. After peeling the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she fixed the coffee and asked her daughter to sip it. The daughter smiled as she tasted its richness and asked, "What does it mean, Mother?" Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity, boiling water, and each had reacted differently. The carrot went in hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile, its thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior, but after the boiling water, its inside hardened. But the ground coffee beans were unique; after landing in the boiling water, they'd changed the water itself.

The Message? We can change adversity into a whole new world if we use it as creatively as the coffee did.

CEOs and physical wellness

Last fortnight I had an opportunity to conduct a seminar on Wellness with CEOs of few companies. Here I was, amongst successful people known for their intelligence but surprisingly who had no communication with their bodies. Many of them wanted to achieve wellness and good health through the power of the mind! Little realizing that physical health is not the domain of the mind so much as of the body. Many everyday discomforts and tensions arise from the fact that we are alienated from our bodies. After doing few yoga postures, the participants in the seminar began to appreciate HOW MUCH the body has been working for them and supporting them. They understood how working on the body not only alleviates physical ailments but also creates greater state of mental and emotional well being. All this affecting their company's bottom line!

Today’s fast paced lifestyle has led many of us to be out of touch with our bodies and as a result has caused imbalance between our body and mind. It is very important to realize that our body is always ready to listen to us- but we fail to communicate with it. Our body is always speaking silently, thus it’s important to learn to understand its language. We may fool ourselves and others but we can never fool our body. Our body is the best indicator to our inner state of being.

If you don't take care of your body, where will you live?


Stress at the workplace

Stress and stress-related disorders have reached epidemic proportions among the corporate world. Research continues to confirm the harmful effects of stress on employee productivity, communication, attitude, absenteeism, their personal relationships and general health.

Few things that run common among workforce in emerging economies as well as developed nations is that a majority of the employees are:

  • stressed
  • not maintaining work-life balance
  • don’t look forward to going to work on some days
  • concerned that working conditions are putting their health at risk and will inevitably result in burnout
  • have not sought professional help for stress/health-related issues at the workplace

Sadly but truly, one can change one's job but not avoid stress! Whatever market you operate in, whatever business you conduct, stress is a fact of corporate life, but it need not be a way of life. Are you one of these many executives who are risking your health for a healthier bank balance??? Do you know that reducing just one health risk of yours can increase your job productivity & cut absenteeism?

Even though we don’t realize it, most of us waste a good amount of time daily! If we would track our movements every day for a week, we'd discover that we waste at least an hour a day. This hour per day can be re-invested into inculcating wellness in your daily routine and help you live a healthier and productive life both at work and home.


Happy Birthday BKS Iyengar

Happy Birthday, Guruji.

Today (14th December, 2008) is the 90th birthday of Mr. BKS Iyengar, the greatest yoga guru in the history of modern world. If yoga is a worldwide cultural phenomenon today, it is thanks to one man -- the grandmaster of yoga, BKS Iyengar

Mr. BKS Iyengar is the founder of the Iyengar School of yoga. He is to yoga what Einstein is to Physics. B.K.S Iyengar is considered the world's greatest living yoga master. He is probably the only yoga teacher who refined and perfected the technique of doing yoga poses that is most widely taught across the globe. In fact, Time Magazine named, Mr. BKS Iyengar as one of the 100 most influential people in the year 2004.

The benefits from Iyengar Yoga are extraordinary and its philosophy is an excellent path to health and well-being. The practice of Iyengar yoga helps anyone to gain good health, mental peace, emotional equanimity and intellectual clarity. With a healthy body, clear mind and pure emotions, the practitioner can experience a balanced, stress-free life.

For more information visit: http://www.bksiyengar.com/ . Iyengar yoga centers are located throughout the world, and millions of students practice Iyengar Yoga. To locate an Iyengar yoga class in your area, visit www.bksiyengar.com/modules/Teacher/teacher.asp

Guruji, it is such a privilege to be your disciple. Thank you very much and may you live many many more years of good health and happiness.


The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century is an international bestselling book by Thomas L. Friedman that analyzes globalization, primarily in the early 21st century. The title is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity to sell their products in a free market, without any restrictions.

This phrase, however, can be affixed to another phenomenon that is currently gripping the world: STRESS. How, you may wonder? Well, when there is equal opportunity being offered in business why can’t you offer that same opportunity to the 4 realms of your own life, i.e. physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Why do you choose to ignore or pay more importance to only one or two aspects of your life?

If you feel that stress has taken over your life, you need to realize that the balance between your body, mind and soul has been lost. Somewhere, you have NOT given that equal opportunity to all the realms in your life.

Believe me; stress can be relatively easy to manage. All it takes is a commitment to inculcate that holistic opportunity in the physiological, cognitive, behavioral and spiritual aspects of your living. This EQUAL opportunity will enhance the quality of your level playing field called, life!


Balance and Wellness

Someone aptly stated that, “there is no one powerful technique that can be used to improve the quality of our lives. A beautiful song cannot be sung in one pitch; a painting cannot be made using only one color; a grand dinner cannot be prepared with a single ingredient.”

So too, by focusing on only one aspect of life, complete well being cannot be achieved. You need to integrate all the 4 realms of you life, i.e. Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual and strike a balance in order achieve wellness. In fact, misbalance in these 4 realms brings in the element of STRESS!

If you ask me what wellness is, I would say it’s a lifestyle where you strike a balance between your Work and Play, Giving and Receiving, Mind and Body, Intensity and Recovery, Solitude and Relationships, Thought and Action, Stimulation and Quiet, Change and Stability, Risk and Safety, Self-interest and Well being of others. And remember, only YOU can determine the right balance in each of these aspects - and what is right for you can change over time as well.

Remember, healthy lifestyle quality is seldom achieved by accident--you have to make a choice to live and work this way. It’s never too late to start a wellness lifestyle.

Holistic Living

The paradox of health is that while we are living longer, we are not living in a manner consistent with the highest possible quality of life.

There are certain non-negotiable elements of life, such as: sleep, diet, correct breathing and exercise. In order to do our work well, we need adequate sleep, nutritious food, spells of solitude and some recreation and social life. Make sure you get plenty of exercise and sleep each day; don’t assume you’ll make up for it later. If possible, take frequent breaks through your day. You might feel like you can’t spare the time, but if you are refreshed, you’ll be more efficient.

After all the impact of mind–body–soul connection on the person’s wellbeing has an impact on the society at large too.

Welcome to Wellness

This blog is for readers who wanted me to share my wisdom on wellness on a regular basis . It is also a platform to spread knowledge about wellness among holistic practitioners and corporate executives who wish to de-stress, increase their productivity and improve the quality of their lives.

I’ve always believed that there is no new knowledge. All is ancient and infinite wisdom. I'm confident this wellness blog will get YOU started in the right direction and I’m sure you will make this blog your regular dose of inspiration.

No matter how much peace is disturbed, it restores itself. Similarly, no mater how stressed you are, holistic wellness helps you rejuvenate. Let’s regain the peace and wellness in our lives.

Chief Wellness Coach