Meditation for all

Meditation is a way to de-stress, quieten the mental chatter and balance your state of being. It can be practiced on your own, at work, at your own pace and helps you cure insomnia, high BP, anger, anxiety and numerous other psychosomatic disorders. In our busy schedules, we can often complain that we don’t have time to meditate but meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. Meditation is a simple process. It is not a religious belief and can be practiced by anyone of any age and lifestyle.

There are various forms and schools of meditation such as breath awareness, sound meditation, Transcendental meditation (T.M.), Vipassana, Zazen, etc. The objective of all is to achieve a state of inner peace. I invite you to take a few moments to disconnect from your busy thoughts and activities. Close your eyes and go within as you listen to the instructions.

At the receiving end of the blame game!

  • A good friend blames me for things not going as per her expectations in her life.
  • Another buddy use to pour out all his woes onto me about how others ( father, brother, mother in law, wife, uncles, et al) treated him badly in life, and later a time came when he started to blame me for his divorce!
  • Or this guy who blames his family for his business misfortunes.
  • Phew, another neglecting father who blames his daughter's friends for turning his daughter into a drug addict.

If you have observed children behave, it’s very prevalent for them to blame others for things going wrong. Sadly, as they grow up to adults, this habit is difficult to die and they have a tendency to find someone to blame when bad things happen. Similarly many of us have "blame God", but we never have "blame me". So my issue today is, why do people blame their problems and misfortunes on people or groups or communities?

No matter how illogical the rationale, some people cling to the need to blame others for everything bad that happens. It amazes me that people actually find comfort in blaming others, and that they look at their negative opinions and stereotypes as being factual. These are people who don’t want blame and don’t want to risk. Such people prefer to blame others so they can relinquish all personal responsibility for both their current state of being and their inability to get out of it. They refuse to accept responsibility because it is easier to blame others for causing their reactions, rather than admit that they themselves chose them.

The thing that people don't understand is that life is a mirror. Once we start complaining about others - we should really take a look at our own core beliefs and do some self examination. People who blame others for their misfortunes do it because they think its everyone’s fault when someone does something bad to them and the person wants to make everyone upset because someone had made them upset in the past.

I'm assuming it's some kind of mental problem. Why don't they understand that it's hurtful and illogical?!!! I guess after a certain point, their mind just refuses to mature in it's thinking, leaving them mentally crippled by their own ignorance and immaturity. Always being hunted and playing the victim allows their ego's to be stroked and coddled. When others are forced into playing their game--this actually gives them the fuel to believe in their lies. Many of them often find refuge among friends, counselors, groups etc who just know one side of the story and they will agree with the 'victim' that their problems are out there instead of within.

I was reading a psychology paper where it stated that people who continually "pass the buck" or blame others suffer usually from a sense of worthlessness, or low self esteem. Sometimes this may be a direct result of improper or negligent parenting, whereby these were never able to establish a sense of self-importance which eventually translates into derivation on some level or another. Sometimes these individuals may be missing a parent due to a divorce, a death of a spouse or a parent who "ran-off" and never took the time to nurture the child. The remaining parent may be irresponsible, and fail to do their job also.

Never the less, there comes a point in every man and woman's life where they have to come to grips with these unfortunate life experiences and take responsibility for themselves. Their stubborn refusal to take responsibility will eventually mean the loss of spouse by walking out of the relationship, the loss of a job, and family members who end up turning away.

How much more difficult for them to make a choice for peace, to learn to step back and understand why they choose anger, revenge and hate. How much more difficult to try and understand themselves. So much easier to blame everyone else! Does this make them strong? No. In fact, it makes them weak. The sane people of the world are not impressed by weak people too selfish to accept responsibility for their reactions and emotions. Somewhere, some time, the forgiveness must begin. Accept that I can be more in control of those choices. I can take responsibility for my emotions, my reactions to life and to people, and yes I can change.

In contrast, other people have an attribution style which leads to a tendency to blame themselves no matter how obviously blameworthy someone else is. Right, Anita?

From one blame game to another
Nirvana to all


Addicted to work ?

Do you relate to few of the below mentioned signs?

• Always in a hurry to get things done
• Anxiety when you aren't at work
• Denying that you have a problem when confronted with it
• Health problems caused by lack of sleep, exercise, and/or proper diet
• Inability to relax while on vacation or spending time with family due to work
• Irritable without work
• Spending time at work instead of with family and/or friends
• Thinking that you are the only one who can do the job "right"
• Don't know how to unwind
• Postponing vacations and rest
• Doing unnecessary work
• Avoiding intimacy
• Getting excited about work than anything else in your life
• Take work with you to bed instead or home on the weekends
• Friends and family give up on you arriving anywhere on time
• You think it’s ok to work long hours if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
• Are afraid if you don’t work hard you’ll be a failure.
• Get irritated when friends or family interrupt your work time asking you to spend time with them
• Your long work hours are hurting other relationships in your life
• Take on lots of extra work because you don’t think it will get done properly?

Well if you have few of the above signs, then chances are, you are addicted to work! It’s the addiction that no one frowns upon. With so many other bad habits out there like drugs, binge eating, and alcoholism, can being addicted to work really be all that bad? I mean, those are the winners, right? They’re the ones that make the big bucks, that have clawed their way to the top, that receive the promotions and raises and praise from the Powers That Be. They’re the ones we look up to. While all that may be true, those same 5-Star employees are working themselves to ruin!

If you are a self confessed workaholic, its time you change your stance. If you are one of those who eat, drink and sleep work, you may safely be branded as being a ‘workaholic’. While on one hand admitting the fact that you are a workaholic may fetch you some brownie points from your superiors at work, it may not get you good reviews from your friends, family or the human resources fraternity. A workaholic falls prey to an invisible addiction that grows on them slowly and is hard to resist. He is preoccupied with work, whether at the workplace or not. Unlike someone who simply works hard, an addict is driven to work, feels compelled to work, is unable to delegate to others, has a lot more stress, is a perfectionist, and may be using work as an escape.

Workaholism, or compulsive working, takes many forms; however, it is easy to oversee the signs of this addiction. In fact, workaholics are people whom the organization trusts the most. Typically physical signs to watch out for include headaches, fatigue, indigestion, chest pain, nervous tics or dizziness. Behavioral signs may include temper outbursts, restlessness, insomnia, difficulty relaxing, irritability, impatience, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and mood swings that can range from euphoria to depression.

People with work addiction typically hail from careers that are stressful. They often enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with responding to situations at work and often in the urge to recreate a similar feeling, they end up spending excessive amount of time and energy at their workplace, which at most times is uncalled for. Another reason why someone may develop an addiction to work is low self-esteem. Work addicts may come from a family that is never satisfied by him/her; so they put forth an extraordinary effort at work to show that they are worthy.

Often workaholics are awful bosses and unwanted team members. E.g a workaholic boss generally ends up micro-managing his subordinates, crushing their creativity and initiative. This boss is reluctant to promote the rising star in the team, fearing that the subordinate would eclipse him as a performer. In many cases, micro-management by workaholic bosses leads to morale problems at the office, and retaliation by subordinates. At home too, if one has a workaholic spouse he is best considered ‘not there’. Workaholics can't let go of work and, therefore, aren't good parents and aren't involved in raising the children.

Work addiction leads to long-term stress which is a major factor in ill health. Working at the expense of your life is never recommended nor is it feasible. Instead what one needs to do is to focus on their goals and aspire to achieve them. So, how can one recover? It's a long, slow journey. Early recognition and prevention are the first steps.

Schedule playtime for yourself, and stick to it. Whether it’s golf, swimming, or taking your kids to a baseball game, write it into your schedule just as if you would a meeting. Leave your cell phone and PDA at home.

Value yourself. By taking time off, eating right and getting some exercise you’re saying to yourself that you respect your life and are committed to having a healthy lifestyle.

Remember that life is supposed to be fun too. Allow yourself a few indulgences- a day at the spa, eating out with family or friends on the weekends, and do it without guilt.

Seeing a therapist is also a good option.

In the end, the goal is to balance work and life, and in the process family tensions can be decreased, health problems can be avoided and quality of work can be heightened. Some may even find respite by negotiating alternative work schedules, scheduling additional time with their families, or even exploring new career options. For more severe work issues, however, a support group may offer relief. The internet also offers many such forums and self help groups.

Learn to have fun again.


Speak up: Stifling anger at work can kill

Am sharing with you a study that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH). JECH is a leading internation journal of the Society for Social Medicine and belongs to the British Medical Journal group.

Men who bottle up their anger at being unfairly treated at work are up to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack, or even die from one, than those who let their frustration show, a Swedish study has found. The study by the Stress Research Institute of Stockholm University followed 2,755 employed men who had not suffered any heart attacks from 1992 to 2003.

At the end of the study, 47 participants had either suffered an attack, or died from heart disease , and many of those had been found to be covertly coping with unfair treatment at work. After adjustment for age, socioeconomic factors, risk behaviors , job strain and biological risk factors at baseline, there was a close-response relationship between covert coping and the risk of incident myocardial infarction or cardiac death , the studys authors wrote.

Covert coping was listed as letting thing pass without saying anything and going away despite feelings of being hard done by colleagues or bosses. Men who often used these coping techniques had a two to fivefold higher risk of developing heart disease than those who were more confrontational at work, the study showed.

The researchers said that they could not answer the question of what might be a particularly healthy coping strategy at work, but listed open coping behavior when experiencing unfair treatment or facing a conflict as protesting directly , talking to the person right away , yelling at the person right away or speaking to the person later when things have calmed down .

Guys, speak up or stifling anger will kill you at work!


Forgiveness and wellbeing

In our daily lives, we cannot avoid resentment, bitterness and feelings of grudge. They are a part of human nature. Many people carry past hurts inside them and are unable to let them go. One of the most difficult acts is to forgive someone wholeheartedly. We refuse to forgive. It could be anyone our friends, neighbors, parents, children, ex-spouse. Harboring grudges and nursing ill feelings towards anybody never did anyone any good. We think about our past hurt and plan to get even with the person who has hurt us. Some of us may suppress and disguise our emotions but deep down the pain persists.

Keeping grudges and nursing ill feelings towards a person never did any good. In fact, when we don't forgive someone for a past deed, we're not only punishing that person but also ourselves too. The anger and resentment we feel towards that person rests in a remote corner of our mind, like a heavy burden. We have to carry this burden all our lives. This makes our life difficult. It also makes it difficult for us to achieve happiness and peace leaving us feeling depressed, frustrated and dissatisfied.Forgiveness is fundamental to healing and spiritual wellbeing. It is painful to hold oneself or another person angrily or resentfully out of your heart. If someone hurts you, forgive him/her and move on. Life gives you a new set of worries and anxieties every day. Why carry those old and useless emotions with you? The past cannot be changed. It’s gone forever. Move on. Forgiving wholeheartedly will give you a fresh lease of life and free your soul. As long as you don't forgive, it will occupy rent-free space in your mind. Forgiving others benefits us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is a fundamental part of the healing process.

Little do we realize that when we forgive a person, we're doing a favor to our own self. Besides making the other person happy and guilt-free, forgiving someone makes us feel light and happy. It gets rid of old baggage and clears up unfinished business. Forgiveness is the highest form of letting go of resentment and ego. In fact, forgiving yourself and others is very liberating. So why are you enslaving yourself when freedom is just a step away? Forget revenge and retribution. Adopt the policy of "to forgive and forget' and watch your life move into overdrive.

Having said that, true forgiveness is more than an apology or pushing back that incident. To forgive, we need to decide that we won’t allow the memories of the event to poison us any longer. We’re ready to heal this wound from the past and open to a fresh new beginning. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

More on how to forgive in my next blog. Keep reading.


Travel to Wellness

I'm sorry for having neglected this blog for the past 5 months. I've been busy travelling around the globe, and to compensate for excessive hours spent at the computer I went on an electronic diet. It's like detox, but instead of wolfing down laxatives you just unplug the broadband. Cheaper, but way more therapeutic! So now am back after a long hiatus with new vigor, fresh perspective and more positivity.

The past 5 months, I have been travelling for work and holidaying around 3 continents and 10 countries. It was a super varied experience of fun exploring new places, learning new cultures, creating memories, reconnecting and building relationships with long lost mates, improving my overall sense of well-being and of course working!

On the work front, it was an exhilarating experience, training, coaching and giving talks in North America, Europe and Asia to corporations, groups and individuals. It's always a pleasure to help my participants become highly successful achievers and peak performers in their chosen fields of business. Some of these included Consultants, Entrepreneurs, Financial professionals, Headhunters, Alternative Healers, Software professionals and Venture capitalists.

I made an effort to incorporate yoga among the various coaching schedules and surely it was endeared by all the participants. It was very satisfying to make the golfers from Los Angles experience the efficacy of yoga in improving their game. Similarly, the brainstorming, super-duper McKinsey consultants in Germany happily went incommunicado during meditation and commended the instant relaxtion and clarity of thought they experienced. I was very touched while conducting a session for professional jokers ( yes, you read that right!) in the south of France. Must say, language can never be a barrier to learning. This effervescent group grasped the nuances of yoga poses very well with limited English knowledge. Last heard, they have been diligently practicing yoga twice a week.

Finally, I'm extremely grateful to scores of people who made these 5 months of travel, stay and work very interesting and full of fun. A big thanks to Peter, Akash, Eric, Bryony, Naren, Puneet, Paolo, Preeti, Andrea, Gustavo, Lisa, Robert and all those strangers who came in my life and helped me make the best of my limited time in various countries.

Nirvana to you all!


Right and Wrong

Recently met a long lost pal after years and was disappointed to see this 'zest of life', tug of war between his heart, mind and religious beliefs. He was confused and guilty with the rights and wrongs about his living.

William Lloyd Garrison was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer who once questioned, “Are right and wrong convertible terms, dependant upon popular opinion?”

Well I did counsel my pal to see the positive side of his actions and deeds and help him overcome the guilt of his life. Hopefully, this beautiful quote from Buddha will make some sense to him and to all those who are caught between the cross roads of confusion and guilt.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.

Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.

Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.

Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

-Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

Nirvana from all our guilts!


You are a Masterpiece

A plum once said, just because a banana lover came by, I converted myself into a banana. Unfortunately, his taste changed after a few months and so I became an orange. When he said I was bitter I became an apple, but he went in search of grapes. Yielding to the opinions of so many people, I have changed so many times that I no more know who I am. How I wish I had remained a plum and waited for a plum lover.

Just because a group of people do not accept you as you are, there is no necessity for you to strip yourself of your originality. You need to think good of yourself, for the world takes you at your own estimate. Never stoop down in order to gain recognition. Never let go of your true self to win a relationship. In the long run, you will regret that you traded your greatest glory - your uniqueness, for momentary validation. Even Gandhi was not accepted by many people. The group that does not accept you as you is not your world.

There is a world for each one of you, where you shall reign as king/ queen by just being yourself. Find that world. In fact, that world will find you. What water can do, gasoline cannot and what copper can, gold cannot. The fragility of the ant enables it to move and the rigidity of the tree enables it to stay rooted. Everything and everybody has been designed with a proportion of uniqueness to serve a purpose that we can fulfill only by being our unique self. You as you alone can serve your purpose and I as I alone can serve my purpose. You are here to be you... just you.

There was a time in this world when a Gandhi was required and he was sent. There was a time in this world when a Muhammad Ali was required and he was sent. There came a time when you were required on this planet and hence you were sent. Let us be the best we can be. Don't miss yourself and let the world not miss you.

In the history of the universe, there has been nobody like you and to the infinite of time to come; there will be no one like you. Existence should have loved you so much that it broke the mold after making you, so that another of your kind will never get repeated.

You are original. You are rare. You are unique. You are a wonder. You are a masterpiece!!!

Celebrate your Uniqueness…


Cause of Disease-The soil or the seed?

“Illnesses hover constantly above us, their seeds blown by the wind, but they do not set in the terrain unless the terrain is ready to receive them.” -Claude Bernard

Claude Bernard was a 19th century French physiologist and contemporary of French chemist Louis Pasteur. The two famous doctors argued throughout their lives as to what really was the cause of disease, the soil or the seed. Pasteur insisted it was the seed (germ) while Bernard claimed it was the soil (the body). On Pasteur’s death bed, it is said that he admitted that Bernard was right; he said, “it is the soil, not the seed.”

The seed (germ factors) or the soil (the body, host factors) argument was as prevalent then as it is now again today. Today many medical authors are agreeing that, although germs are certainly a factor involved in the diseases of man, the germ involved in the diseases of man, the germ alone is not the cause of disease.Dr. B. J. Palmer, the developer of chiropractic, stated: “If the ‘germ theory of disease’ were correct, there’d be no one living to believe it.”

Think about it for a moment, and you will see the common sense in Dr. Palmers statement. The cause of disease is within you, it is the lack of your bodys ability to ward off disease. Or else why do some individuals never get sick, while other’s pick up every cold in the neighborhood. Although the germ may be one of the essential and contributing causes, it alone is not sufficient to produce illness.

Accomplished and noted medical writer Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. , in his popular book “Health and Healing,” states:“Germs are agents of disease. …Agents of disease are not causes of disease…agents of disease do not cause us to get sick. They are merely potential vectors of illness waiting for chances to do their mischief. Given a chance, they will do it. Chances come along because of the natural fluctuations of our cycles of relative health. Agents of disease are all around us, not only in the form of viruses, bacteria, and parasites, but as a multitude of potential irritants, such as carcinogenic chemicals, allergens, insects, toxic plants, and so forth. A person solidly equilibrated in a phase of relative health can often interact with these agents and not get sick. Since internal factors determine the nature of our relationships with them, the true causes of disease are internal.”

The ancient Indian health system of Ayurveda which is one of the world's oldest and still most practical health treatises states the same philosophy that the cause of disease comes from inside, not outside. Rather than warring on disease agents with the hope of eliminating them, we ought to worry more about strengthening resistance to them and learning to live in balance with them. Ayurveda states how yoga, pranayam, plants, herbs and diet not only benefit immensely in strengthening our immune system but also aid in healing us physically,mentally and emotionally.

To your holistic good health !


The power of silence

“Silence”, said Christina Rossetti “is more musical than any song”. Silence is to mind what sleep is to the body. Silence cures all afflictions caused by stress and strain, tensions and troubles, anxiety and confusion. Silence clears the cobwebs, purifies us, rejuvenates us and gives us strength! And yet we haven’t realized the efficacy of this powerful tool. In fact, silence is the best tranquillizer one can have in today’s noisy world.

Why is that, when one visits a quiet place of worship or amidst the hills, one gets a feeling of peace and harmony. The silence within stills the mind since it drives out desire, frustration, and attachment to material objects. Silence within comes with the emptying of trash from the mind and humbling our attitude.

Silence is of two types: The external silence, which is the absence of the hustle bustle of crowds and noises of all kind. This ‘noise pollution’ is testing human endurance, especially in the metros. But silence is not mere absence of noise. The second type of silence, the internal silence, which can be found through solitude. It is this solitude, the place of reflection and contemplation, and the place where growth takes place in a person by working at a deep inner level in a sustained atmosphere of silence.

When the external and internal silence meet, that’s when your powers of intuition unfold, and you become the recipient of much subtle energy. You become more creative and this enhances your true nature. In fact, most great artists received ‘creative flashes’ in silence. Just analyze, how can we hear our wise voice of intuition if we are always thinking, talking and distracted by outer events? If only we take time daily to experience physical stillness and to direct our attention inside, we can begin to find the peace, love, will and wisdom that exist as our essence.

When you sit in silence, the circles of positive energy are formed, healing both your body and mind. This positive energy works wonders, when the external and the internal silence merge. Silence helps you to realize your true personal identity. In silence emerges your true self, you become aware of consciousness and you are able to see yourself as ‘you’. For then the mysteries are revealed and you witness the great divine phenomenon. This is another dimension to silence. It facilitates linking of our soul with God, which helps in our communion with God. In fact, self-realization is felt in the silence of the soul.

Lao Tzu quoted, “Silence is a source of great strength.” However for many people especially first timers silence can be disturbing. The fright and fear associated with silence make us avoid it. This negative perception of silence creates a feeling of blankness, emptiness and loneliness. For many, silence is an anathema, an irritant and probably even rude! In fact, many cultures especially western cultures find the eulogy to silence very odd. Asians consider silence not just an effective means of communication but also a sign of respect for elders and seniors. But whatever said, silence is never negative. Silence is positive — it heals, uplifts, and rejuvenates.

As Ronan Keating aptly stated it in his song, "You say it best when you say nothing at all".


‘Fat tax’ is sensible!

Last evening, I was snacking at a burger chain with another mate and I happened to see this family of 4 eating gluttonously at the table next to us. All the members of the family were overweight including the 2 young kids. I wasn’t concerned about the ‘grown-up’ parents but the poor kids. What types of lifestyle habits were those kids getting influenced by watching their morbidly obese parents eat probably 3,000 calories at one sitting?

In the Bhagwad Gita, a sacred Hindu scripture it states that; a man's own self is his friend/ a man's own self is his foe. How true! Look at this set of parent; they both are obviously their respective foes. Or else, why would they eat to their ill health and most probably death? They probably are not aware about the enemy within them!!!

This got me wondering if the ‘fat tax’ movement is sensible. First it was United Airlines’ decision to ask the obese passengers to buy two tickets. Now Ryan air proposes to levy ‘fat tax’ on overweight fliers. Critics have slammed these new moves on the grounds that they are discriminatory against fat people. Airlines have justified their measures by stating that why they should ferry a person double the weight of a normal person and lose revenue. If passengers are charged for excess luggage, why not charge obese people, especially, in today’s hard economic times. Of course, there has to be a line to differentiate whether a person is obese or not.

Well I don’t want to get into the nuances of business economics or co- passenger comforts of this new strategy. According to me, this charge might actually act as an incentive for those really large passengers to lose a little weight and feel lighter and healthier. Times were when being overweight was considered to be a sign of prosperity and health. However, things have changed. Obesity is a global and environmental problem affecting all of us directly or indirectly.

Some food for thought!


Freedom from suffering

Today, I want to share a beautiful Indian folklore.

A king was looking for a suitable candidate for the post of prime minister. After several tests, three people were shortlisted. The next day was the final test. There was a rumor that the king had a magic lock which can be opened only with great skill and knowledge. And whoever unlocked it, would be the prime minister.

Hearing the rumor, two of the selected candidates acquired a lot of books on locks. They spent the whole night going through the mathematical equations relating to locks. The third person was very relaxed. The next morning, all three were taken to the palace. And the rumor turned out to be true. The king said whoever unlocks the lock will be prime minister.

These two people felt very happy thinking that it was good that they had referred to many books and then went and looked at the lock. Once again they returned to the books, whereas the third person, looking relaxed, went there, looked at the lock and pulled it, and to his surprise, it opened. In fact, it was not locked at all. The other two were still busy referring to books.

In the meantime, the king announced that the third person had been selected as prime minister. The other two asked him, “You never referred to any book on locks, how did you unlock it?” The king said, “The very first thing that a prime minister should do is that he should know whether the problem really exists or not, before trying to solve it.”

If you do not know whether the problem exists or not and if you try to solve it, the whole effort becomes futile. Here the problem was that the lock was not fastened. And these two persons assumed it was locked and with that assumption they tried to solve the problem. Therefore, they found that they had wasted their time and energy.

Similarly, we often have unrealistic anxieties and fears in life. This leads us to live a life of mental and emotional anguish. In fact, we exhaust most of our time and energy trying to combat these imaginary anxieties and fears. If only we start looking at these problems with a relaxed and positive state of mind, we would realize that most of these negative perceptions don't exist and it this attitude that would help us transcend beyond this apparent suffering.

To your freedom and mine!


When Nature Calls

I want to share with my readers an article that was published in The New York Times by Roger Cohen on April 15, 2009. This article is a wonderful display of humor coupled with morality, irony, and reminder to most of us how we have lost common sense, humanity and respect for basic human dignity.

A man who says he desperately needed to use an airplane bathroom after eating something bad in Honduras faces a felony charge after being accused of twisting a flight attendant’s arm to get to the lavatory, the F.B.I. said.

Joao Correa, 43, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he had a bathroom emergency 30 minutes into a March 28 Delta Air Lines flight from San Pedro Sula to Atlanta but found the single coach aisle on the Boeing 737 blocked by a beverage cart. He said he asked whether he could use the lavatory in business class but was told no.

When the cart wasn’t moved after a few minutes, Mr. Correa said, he ran for the business-class lavatory. He said the flight attendant put up her arm to block him and he grabbed it to keep his balance.


I should begin by saying I’ve never been to San Pedro Sula so I don’t know how bad the bad food there is. I’m sure Honduran cuisine — no oxymoron intended — is generally great, even though nobody has ever suggested to me: “Hey, how about Honduran tonight?”

Sure, you might get unlucky with a mondongo (intestine) soup — or notice teensy-weensy creatures doing the breaststroke in your water — but I for one refuse to knock Honduran cooking or suggest it’s bigger on bulk than finesse.

Still, I think you have to accord great respect to a “bathroom emergency,” especially in a middle-aged gentleman.

Imagine poor Correa, assailed by disquieting visions of the mountain of fried fish with jalapeƱos he’d vacuumed down at the Bistro San Pedro Sula Del Mar, and then — the horror! The horror! — spotting the beverage cart (formerly the food cart) blocking his path to relief.


I can hear the snippy reply from the flight attendants, mostly middle-aged themselves, all of whom think the fun of flying disappeared some decades back — about the same time as their job security and sense of humor — and would rather be sipping mojitos in Sanibel than talking up seven-dollar “wraps.”

“You’ll have to wait, Sir. We’re doing the drinks and tiny pack of peanuts service.”

The intonation of that “Sir” will be familiar to many of you, a tone peculiar to American airline companies, one in which resentment, superiority, fear, contempt and impatience are coiled into a venomous parody of politeness — a three-letter expletive really — that stands the notion of service on its head and tells the whole dismal story of U.S. carriers in recent years.

“But I have a bathroom...”

“Sir. Please return to your seat.”

Correa, the jalapeƱos now fully fired up in his bowels, rues the fact he gave up the high-jump in middle school. He does a quick mental reconnoiter of the plastic bag of toiletries he brought on board: no Diarrex there. He considers some metaphorical “arm-twisting” — like paying $50 for a “wrap” and saying, “Keep the change!”

Not a great idea, he determines, good sense intact even over the clutching of his sphincter, before turning to see the aisle — empty as the coffers at Lehman — stretching away toward the flimsy curtain separating the Business Class section.

Come on, he thinks, that’s over: that whole master-of-the-universe, platinum-card, us-and-them, starter-mansion, you-line-up-over-there game. With five million lost U.S. jobs in a year, that’s history. He needs a lavatory pronto but there’s a cartload of stubborn pique standing between him and a rightful salvation.

“May I use the business section lavatory...”


Correa snaps. If he can’t high-jump, he can do the mile-high, eight-yard dash. As he accelerates past 8.5 miles an hour — his usual pace on the treadmill — he glimpses a blur of a downy, female arm flung out to block him. Veering left, he stumbles on a protruding Louis Vuitton dog bag (prompting the yelp of a drugged terrier), and grabs the arm.


“Hasta la vista, Baby!”

With a non-metaphorical arm twist, Correa’s gone. Nothing can stop him now. More than his legs are in a running state. He powers through the curtain, past the slumbering fat cats, to his business-class catharsis.

After which Uncle Sam’s humorless reckoning begins.

Far from a felony charge — a felony charge! — Correa should be honored for his initiative. We’re not going to get out of a crisis into which we were led, sheep-like, without thinking for ourselves. We’re not going to get out of this crisis without realizing we’re all in this together.

We’re not going to get out of this crisis with petty regulations standing in the way of common sense and solidarity. We’re not going to get out of this crisis with post-9/11 fear governing our actions rather than some more generous humanity. We’re not going to get out of this crisis without being grown-ups.

Clear the ex-food carts, Delta. And America, clear Correa now.


Ordinary Souls

Most of us have a strong tendency to think that only a very spiritually elevated person can teach us about higher truth. In fact you learn more about higher truth through everyday contacts. We tend to invalidate what we learn from these people simply because we believe that they are ordinary humans. The danger of this influence is that you may over-idealize the so called ‘spiritual’ person, especially those who have made a profound impression upon you. You may regard them as spiritually and morally superior to any of your relatives, friends, colleagues whom you may neglect as a result. The important point here is that though these day to day people in your life are human also, they may still have something to teach you.

All you need to do is to become sensitive to the feelings of other people. Become aware, at least on a subliminal level of the deeper and more complex attributes of relatives, friends, neighbors colleagues and those around you. Learn to act toward others with much less ego involvement, be less selfish and not so concerned with getting your own way. With this new changed perception, persons whom you have taken for granted now assume a very different look as you go below their surface appearance and look into their hearts. Thus you are able to be much more compassionate and giving to those around you. In fact, you will end up acting more selflessly and with greater understanding.

And with this new changed attitude, don’t be surprised how someone ORDINARY enters your life in very casual guise who will show you deep spiritual truths.

Spiritually Yours,


You Got Talent

I want to share a video that goes to prove that one should never judge a 'book'(person) by its 'cover' (the outside). I watched this video over and over with tears and goose bumps. It's one of the loveliest things I've seen in a long time. This video also encapsulates how our inner ability can inspire and move people and yet we don’t realize the hidden talent within us. Most of us are hiding our talents for years. Always remember to embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to live someone else's life.

This video has a simple unassuming village lady from Britain, Susan Boyle sing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from the musical Les Miserables on the show Britain’s Got Talent. It’s best to see this video to know what I mean.

Here's to your uniqueness!


Truly Yoga

This morning, I bumped into an old gym mate and was inquiring about the other long last gym buddies. With a smirk he told me how few of those gym mates had given up on weight training and were doing yoga instead. According to him yoga was just a passing fad for current fast-paced lives and actually didn’t really help. He went on to doubt the efficacy of yoga and its benefits. Here are some of the allegations he labeled against yoga which I would like to share with you.

According to him yoga is not for everyone and doesn’t offer a comprehensive way to get fit. For someone like me who has spent years, exercising in the form of jogging, weight-training, cardio workouts, cycling, swimming, playing active sports, dancing, etc, and finally settling for yoga, this statement came across as very absurd. Little did he know that yoga is the most holistic form of living. In fact, yoga is the only exercise (i.e. if one categorizes yoga as a form of exercise, though yoga is actually a way of life.),that works not only on one’s external and physiological body, if done the correct way, but also promotes the well being of mind, emotions and spirit. More so, it’s only yoga that can be done by all age groups and with any fitness level.

This friend told me how yoga had caused injuries to many practitioners. It should be noted that any physical activity done in a wrong mode is bound to cause injuries.

He went on to assert that yoga doesn’t help in cardiovascular health and weight loss. I beg to differ again! There are many poses and sequences which help tremendously for not only weight loss but also an array of other health ailments. On further clarification, he cited an example of how yoga doesn’t develop the muscle- bearing strength needed to help fight osteoporosis. I had to make him realize that that in Yoga, the practitioner uses one’s body weight which is the most ideal weight to develop strength to fight osteoporosis.

The tone of the entire argument sounded more like his own distorted views on yoga, rather than based on facts. It would have been appropriate if this guy had done his research on the studies by various medical schools and universities across the globe that have proven the benefits of yoga

However, during this friendly banter, it got me thinking if this is the common fallacy among people about yoga? Does it have something to do with yoga teachers who are the brand ambassadors of this beautiful science? I realized that part of the problem for this distorted and wrong perception is because yoga teachers are not qualified enough to teach this subject. Actually, lack of qualified teachers is the main cause of injuries in yoga practice. That’s why I follow the Iyengar way of yoga, which in my experience is the most precise and scientific form of yoga. In fact, Iyengar School of yoga qualifies a yoga teacher only after years of intense and accurate training. If only one learns yoga under a qualified and experienced yoga teacher, then such misconceptions of this beautiful all pervading subject can be cleared. Yoga then becomes not just a passing fad but truly a holistic way of life!

Yours truly,


Success and Rest

I often come across successful people who just seem to be in the right place at the right time and say all the right things. They are not really any smarter than you and me–the difference lies in their application of an ‘inner awareness’ based on the usage of their innate resources-emotional, mental, physical and spiritual.

These are the people or leaders who shut their doors once in a while. They take an effort to rest and think about the rhythm of their own lives and look for some variation. For such successful people, this downtime is not wasted time, its time for rejuvenation, to think outside the box. These are the people you’re competing with. Who do you think has the better chance of being successful in their chosen field? The mantra to success here is 'REST'.

Unfortunately, there will always be stress in our lives, but HOW we choose to deal with it is up to us. That’s why many a times some people are always stressed. The solution lies within them. But they don’t take any initiative to combat that stress. For them stress is part and parcel of this material world which CAN'T be dealt with. Though the human body is equipped to deal with stress, if the stress response is activated too often, it can make you ill on the mental, emotional, behavioral and / or physical level .Thus seriously impairing the quality of your life .In fact, when you strain your body everyday without any holistic rest; the risk of breakdown grows tenfold. Yet people do not realize how damaging stress can be, until it's too late!

And mind you, stress can get contagious. It is stressful to work with someone who is stressed; similarly, you are stressing people around you when you are stressed! Stress or not, is a matter of choice and not circumstances. It's a call you make. You decide, "I shall rest and not be stressed today."

Have a restful mid-week.

Stress and Life

An enlightened professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, "How much do you think this glass weighs?"

"50 grams!"... "100 grams!"... "125 grams" ... the students answered.

"I really don't know unless I weigh it," said the professor, "but, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?"

"Nothing" the students said.

"Ok! What would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?" the professor asked.

"Your arm would begin to ache", said one of the students.

"You are right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?"

"Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress and paralysis and have to go to hospital for sure!" ventured another student; and all the students laughed.

"Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?" asked the professor.

"No" the whole class replied.

"Then what caused the arm ache and the muscle stress?" The students were puzzled.

"Put the glass down!" said one of the students.

"Exactly!" said the professor. "Life's problems are something like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head and they seem okay. Think of them for a long time and they begin to ache. Hold it even longer and they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything."

It's important to think of the challenges (problems) in your life, that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden with more ease.

So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later, after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it. Learn to manage stress and do not allow stress to manage you.

Good Life


Salt the Silent Killer

It just struck me last night that I have never ever mentioned about diet or food in this wellness blog. Incidentally, wherever I go these days, the topic of discussion veers towards ‘weight loss’. Anyhow, what is surprisingly overlooked all the time in these discussions is the major role of salt in our diet and life? So here is my pick of the day on SALT- the silent killer.

In our obsession to reduce on fats, carbs, sugar, colas, etc we have forgotten to monitor our intake of salt, which finds insidious ways of creeping into our body. We all know too much fat and sugar harms us, but did you know the same goes with our intake of daily salt. The World Health Organization has set a global target for maximum intake of salt for adults at 5 g/day (i.e., 2,000 mg/day of sodium). And the average salt consumption per person is between 10 and 15 grams!!!

Do you know how salt affects our health? Well, excess salt leads to water retention, adding up to a liter of water in the blood vessels at times. This not only makes you look plump but also adds to the volume of blood for the heart to pump. It is for this reason that cutting down salt helps maintain blood pressure at healthy levels. When your pressure goes down, the risk of developing heart diseases and stroke goes down too, irrespective of age.

A very modest decrease in the amount of salt- hardly detectable in the taste of food can have dramatic health benefits. In fact, a British Medical Journal study published last year in 2008 showed that eating less salt can cut down cardiovascular disease risk by a fourth and death by heart disease by a fifth over the following 10 to 15 years. Making a presentation at the American Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco said that for every gram of salt that people reduce in their diets daily, a quarter of a million fewer new heart diseases cases and over 200.000 fewer deaths would occur over a decade. The researchers say that a 3-gram-a-day reduction in salt intake could result in six percent fewer cases of new heart disease, eight percent fewer heart attacks, and three percent fewer deaths. As per the study in the Journal of Urology, eating too much salt by children can result in excess calcium in the urine. In children, most stones are calcium-based and their eating habits, plus drinking too little water, put them at risk of developing kidney stones.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all of this reduction of salt should be in your cooked meals. More than the freshly cooked food at home, what people need to watch out for is sodium in processed foods, which is found not only in salty foods, but also in breads, biscuits and chocolates. Salt not only enhances taste and gives texture, but also binds in water, which helps manufacturers to add bulk to their product. What’s worrying is that nutritional labels on packaged foods mislead many consumers. Nutritional labels list the sodium not salt content, which is always higher. To get the salt content in a packaged food, multiply the sodium value by 2.5. Cutting back on processed foods is an easy way to monitor salt intake, besides of course, reducing your salt intake in your daily cooking. Once the salt in the food goes down, so will your blood pressure.

Eleven countries in the European Union have agreed to reduce salt intake by 16% over the next 4 years, when will you? So next time, avoid that tempting cheese burger, fries, salty foods or refuse to add a dash of extra salt in your food. And get surprised to see the magnitude of positive health impact, by just very small reductions in salt in your daily intake.

Bon Appetit


Sex and the City

It's like the riddle of the Sphinx... why are there so many great married couples, and no great sex? What is un-natural may not be abnormal, at least in the bedroom of metropolitan people. For decades women have used “Not tonight darling, I’ve got a headache” excuse to avoid sex, but now men in cities are finding new excuses to put off sex as well.

I was talking to my colleague, Khursheed Kanga a Marriage and Family Therapist and she revealed how there’s an increase in her couple clients saying that the husbands were not having enough sex, compared to few years ago. Of course, the all time reasoning for the flagging interest why men were shunning sex was that they were tired, stressed, overworked, etc. However, Khursheed shocked me when she told me how there were many reasons for this flagging interest. One prime reason for the decrease in male sexual desire is the result of women’s changing role in society. Husbands get overwhelmed with the modern woman, who is confident and comfortable with her own sexual needs and desires.
Secondly, blame the internet, which is making men go overboard with sexual images so accessible on the net that they prefer the ever-ready fantasy of the web to the reality! The problem is further worsened by men who turn to alcohol to relax after work, and it has been proven how booze interferes with testosterone.

According to Khursheed, a lot is changing culturally and in an ironical manner. Though we are living in a more sexualized society, many men are not looking for more intensity in their sex lives. Mind you, men’s sex drive doesn’t dip suddenly - it's not like catching a cold where you wake up one morning and whoops, there it is. It is a gradual process. Certain psychological factors can also negatively influence the libido. Job stress and self-esteem are also big factors. If a man's performance at workplace is challenged, and he doesn't feel he is achieving or doesn't feel self-worth, he often numbs himself sexually. Desire is a healthy form of entitlement -- when you don't feel deserving, you shut down.

Talking about the psychological causes of low libido, there are various feelings or emotions that reduce interest in sex in men. Because of fear and anger, sexual desire can disappear in a few situations. Also fear of performance, fear of intimacy, fear of excitement, dissatisfaction with one's own body or suppression of events from childhood, traumatic and sad experiences that haven't been dealt with, nagging from the partner and conflicts in relationships, etc can influence the male libido. For all sorts of reasons, partners may become physically and personally less attractive to each other. Differences in sexual needs and the refusal of partners to respond to advances can lead to doubts about the self-image of the man or the self-image as the beloved partner.

Guys, sex is a great de-stress in today’s stressed out living. Those who want to spice up their sex life, I suggest there is a lot of content on the internet that help men overcome some of the issues they face with age, health or other problems. Also, couples need to talk about each others’ needs but most important is that both have to be willing to make it work. Finally, seek professional help from a qualified psychotherapist should the issues seem to be affecting your mental state of being/peace of mind. Good Luck!

As for me, well I'm thinking about Priesthood!


And you thought your life was tough???

Nick Vujicic, 26 is an Australian born without limbs. He uses his story to inspire and motivate people all around the world. Have a look.

The greatest error of a man is to think he is weak by nature. Every man is strong in his real nature. What is weak are his habits, his desires, and his thoughts, but not himself.

Mucho amor and bendiciones


Creativity thy name is Relaxation

It’s fun conducting wellness workshops for the advertising agency employees, especially if they belong to the creative side of the ad world. In fact, I recommend every hardcore corporate guy to work for few weeks in the ad world in the creative section, to know how fun yet challenging that work is. I find these creative guys from the ad world to be balanced in their approach to work and life. They seem to use both the sides of their brain in good proportion unlike other corporate careers which can get too logical or analytical.

One thing these ad guys have no dearth of and want more, is CREATIVITY. Every time we do some exercise in the workshop, these guys go, “so will this make us more creative??” I wish this zeal for creativity is desired by every employee in the corporate world. As Abraham Maslow, the famous psychologist and father of humanistic psychology stated “The key question isn't, 'What fosters creativity?' But it is, 'Why isn't everyone creative?'"

We are all creative beings, but only on the sub-conscious level. What is needed is to bring that creative process to the conscious level. The fact that we lost our creative ability on the conscious level has two reasons. One, as kids we used to be a bundle of fantasies. And it was through these fantasies and imagination that our creativity naturally flourished. However, our parents and elders didn’t encourage us to fantasize. Wish they would have facilitated part of our fantasies into our real life by encouraging us. As a result, by the time we reached adulthood most of us had stopped expressing ourselves creatively without even realizing. Secondly, we also lost our creative abilities while growing up due to hang-ups or fears of being judged by adults for indulging in fantasies. If only our parents and elders would have understood what Albert Einstein meant when he stated, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world".

We all know the famous quote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a vision.” And what is this vision? It is imagination in the simplest form. The first step to being imaginative or creative is to relax! It is relaxation that increases the odds that a creative idea or insight will surface. In fact, people are more creative after a relaxation activity, but they don’t know it.

If you feel it’s difficult to relax in your daily work routine then take a holiday or a short vacation. This break will not only give you the much needed rest and relaxation but also help shift your thinking from its habitual, stuck patterns and create the space for creativity to emerge. This change will give you the time for reflection so you can step back and look at what's happening in your life with a better perspective. And as you become more sensitive & aware, can visualize your goals or objectives clearly, the rest will follow. So all you idea hamsters, relax. Cause it is RELAXATION that is the key to getting more creative, inventive and to churn out new ideas. It is relaxation that will help you create a tunnel vision when you’re hammering away at a problem. And it is relaxation that will help you create your goals that will lead you to realize your vision.

Soulful Regards,


Metro Nirvana conducts workshops in Creative Expressions for those who want to overcome stress, break their faulty conditionings and bring out their inner child! In these workshops you express not through your mind but your inner being. This is a perfect platform to rediscover the healing pleasure of imagining and creatively expressing yourself through dance, music, drama, poetry, writing and art. During the workshop as you take time for yourself, we encourage you to feed your spirit, follow your dreams and cherish your vision. All this lead to the freedom of your soul.

Healthy lifestyle an antidote to stress

Each time, I’m invited to a dinner get together by my corporate friends; the discussion always veers towards stress in life. After ten minutes of going around in circles, the corporate dudes get to the point. How do I cope with stress?

Isn’t stress part of our metro lifestyle? Doesn’t stress refuse to leave our lives? Isn’t stress too hyped up in today’s world? Can a modern man ever live a stress-free life in this metropolitan environment? It is at this stage in the discussion that I begin to look superior and lecture these corporate executives on my triumphs in dealing with stress. I’ve never had that sort of problem with stress, I say. Of course, stress exists in today’s rat race, but then, so does solutions to combat it. You don’t let stress affect your life. Agreed, stress leads to unhealthy habits. A bad day lures you to have a slice of cake or an ice-cream. It drains your willingness to exercise or eat well or have fun. It causes you to tune out the world, to sit in front of the television and ignore your relationships. And yet stress can be relatively easy to manage. All it takes is a commitment to lead a health life -- and an open mind.

So the real agenda is not about stress at all. It is about adopting a healthy lifestyle. For that, you need to have a positive mindset and a set of choices that contribute to maximizing the quality of your life and health. This will include: having a positive self image, awareness of one's strength and weaknesses, seven to eight hours of sound sleep, nutritious diet, maintenance of weight, no smoking, regular exercise, and practice of relaxation. Relaxation is very crucial. When you are relaxed, you learn to see things clearly and have fresh perspective on the same problem or issue.

It is this HOLISTIC lifestyle that helps you work under pressure and combat stress in the busiest of workday environment.

Until next time, hasta la vista. Keep commenting!


Yoga knows no religion

I cannot help but laugh on hearing about ‘hinduizing’ of yoga, as I call it. First it was some churches in UK that had banned the practice of Yoga as it is adverse to catholic churches and now it’s the clerics in Indonesia and Malaysia banning Muslims from doing yoga.

I have run into this attitude myself few times. As part of my wellness workshops, I teach yoga to various corporate executives. One guy told me that how his minister, a Jehovah's Witness, told him he would "go to hell" if he did yoga. Even some Christians feel that yoga is "evil". Apparently getting physically fit to some people is evil!

We all know that yoga is good for health and all religions stress the importance of leading a healthy life. Yoga is universal. The birthplace of yoga is India, but it’s for all, irrespective of religion, gender, nationality and language. Agreed, yoga is not ultimately, a form of exercise but a spiritual path in its own right. However, religion and spirituality don’t necessary go hand in hand.

The clerics are afraid that people who practice yoga are worshipping another god but that is not the case at all with doing yoga. It’s only because they don’t understand what yoga is and they feel it’s a threat. They should go to yoga class and try it. The clerics think that chanting mantra is a Hindu act, little do they know that the purpose of chanting mantras is not to pray but to focus thoughts and has no relationship with worshipping. Chanting doesn’t weaken anyone’s religion. Also, some aspects of yoga constitute meditation but it’s not a part of the religion and there is no dogma involved while meditating. Not to mention, that yoga which is more than 5000 years old is one of the oldest known medical systems and it is now at the forefront of holistic and integrated medicine in the West.

I think yoga has never been said to be bad for humans except for the clerics who deep inside are afraid to lose their followers base who want to free their minds to think for themselves. Yoga frees the mind and spirit, to fly and search for truths, without depending on anyone. Such greatness, such powerful good medicine to the mind and body, yet banned by some?

So next time, someone asks you to stop doing yoga, just ask them to hear the famous song by Pink Floyd- We Don't Need No Education…..Yes leave yoga alone!

Best wishes for your body,


The Law of the Garbage Truck

Came across this beautiful story and wanted to share it with you all. Brilliant insight into the way we live our life!

One day I hopped into a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was really friendly. So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call "The Law of the Garbage Truck." He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the street.

The bottom line is that successful people don't let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so… Love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!

I thank all those people who stop by this place……

Good side to Recession

As I always believe, that every action has both- a positive and a negative side to it. So by that logic there has to be a positive side to recession too! Researchers are stating how with the ongoing global financial meltdown there is a rise in good health.

According to Professor Christopher Ruhm of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, when the economy weakens, his research indicates that mortality rates of all kinds fall. People also behave in a healthier manner- they smoke and drink less and they’re less likely to be obese. Suicides rise, but total mortality rates drop. People have more leisure time, exercise more and eat more healthily.

Am corroborating my comment with an abridged version of an article that appeared on February 1, 2009 in The New York times--- Recession Can Change a Way of Life - By TYLER COWEN

As job losses mount and bailout costs run into the trillions, the social costs of the economic downturn become clearer. But there is also a broader set of questions about how this downturn is changing our lives, in ways beyond strict economics.

All recessions have cultural and social effects, but in major downturns the changes can be profound. First, consider entertainment. Many studies have shown that when a job is harder to find or less lucrative, people spend more time on self-improvement and relatively inexpensive amusements. During the Depression of the 1930s, that meant listening to the radio and playing parlour and board games, sometimes in lieu of a glamourous night on the town. These stay-at-home tendencies persisted through at least the 1950s.

In today’s recession, we can also expect to turn to less expensive activities — and maybe to keep those habits for years. They may take the form of greater interest in free content on the Internet and the simple pleasures of a daily walk, instead of expensive vacations. In any recession, the poor suffer the most pain. But in cultural influence, it may well be the rich who lose the most in the current crisis. This downturn is bringing a larger-than-usual decline in consumption by the wealthy.

Popular culture’s catering to the wealthy may also decline in this downturn. We can expect a shift away from the lionizing of fancy restaurants, for example, and toward more use of public libraries. Such changes tend to occur in downturns, but this time they may be especially pronounced.

Recessions and depressions, of course, are not good for mental health. But it is less widely known that in affluent countries, physical health seems to improve, on average, during a downturn. Sure, it’s stressful to miss a paycheck, but eliminating the stresses of a job may have some beneficial effects. Perhaps more important, people may take fewer car trips, thus lowering the risk of accidents, and spend less on alcohol and tobacco. They also have more time for exercise and sleep, and tend to choose home cooking over fast food.

In addition to trying to get out of the recession — our first priority — many of us will be making do with less and relying more on ourselves and our families. The social changes may well be the next big story of this recession.

To read the complete article visit,

Keep commenting !


Stress, Coffee and Life

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups made of porcelain, glass and plastic. Some of the cups were plain-looking and some were expensive & exquisite. The professor then asked them to help themselves to the hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, THAT is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."

"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it. "

So, don't let the cups drive you ... enjoy the coffee instead. Good Day


Vitality through Rest

My last topic on sleep evoked few cocky responses from some bright brains in the corporate world. They wrote saying that they didn’t need much of sleep or rest as they relaxed by partying hard or hitting a pub every evening after work. Their maxim in life is, “Work hard, and party harder”. Here’s my reply to them.

Rest, which includes sleep, is nature’s great restorative process just as activity and excitement represent her great exhaustive process. Activity is indeed necessary for the expression of organic life – but it must be alternated with periods of rest or else the organism will wear out. Real complete health does not refer to a plan of simply eating well or exercising vigorously.

To maintain good health every facet of life is important as the other and this includes rest. Rest is therefore not a cessation of activities per se; it is a cessation of certain form of activity. When one consumes alcohol, uses party drugs, or even in the state of sedation, narcosis, and drug induced hypnosis and anesthesia, our physical and mental activities are almost suspended. Anabolic activities are also nearly suspended. This does not allow the body to refresh and renew itself. These induced states leave the body depressed, languid and unfit for any further activity. Normal rest and sleep however lead to vigor and freshness.

There are 4 kinds of rest:

Physical rest that comes from discontinuing physical activity, going to bed, relaxing, etc.
Method: Sleep, yoga, massage, etc.

Sensory rest that comes from being quiet, refraining from using the eyes much, etc.
Method: Maintaining silence, prayers, playing some musical instrument, listening to music, journaling, yoga, etc

Mental rest that is the result of mental equilibrium, ceasing to fret or worry.
Method: Practice of yoga, playing some mind games, puzzles, quizzes, sudoku, etc

Physiological rest that follows from reducing physiological activities.
Method: Yoga, eating easy to digest food, etc.

All four kinds of rest are needed in therapy and recuperation and have been used with positive results in natural alternative forms of therapy. In fact, you will notice that yoga is the only method to attain rest on all the 4 levels. Just goes to prove the tremendous efficacy of yoga in relaxation and sleep. So how about hitting a yoga studio after work than a pub!



Sleep your way to good health

One of my clients an American Company had implemented, ‘Thursday as Wellness Day’ for all its employees at the workplace. So here I was, every Thursday conducting various wellness activities in the office for these employees. After surveying for 4 weeks, I observed that I got 100 percent attendance in the Power Naps session! These naps were not only an instant hit compared to other wellness activities, but also most employees wanted a longer session. It was later that I learnt that many employees had difficulty falling asleep or difficulty sleeping through the night, or would wake up feeling un-refreshed. There were also employees who would choose to skip their sleep for other social activities.

There is growing study showing how employees in today’s business world are not getting the basic sleep needed every day. At the same time, this chronic lack of even a few hours of sleep at night, results in poor decision making skills and significant loss of productivity at the workplace. Employees can’t sleep when they are stressed; and paradoxically, lack of sleep makes them stressed! In fact, researchers found that trouble sleeping and insomnia is highly associated with stress, anxiety and depression. Physical, mental or emotional stress – work deadlines and tension, finances, relationship pressures are top of the list of factors that can rob you of sleep. Pain and physiological circumstances such as menopause or pregnancy for women, travel across time zones, having young children, excessive noise and snoring partners can all contribute to inadequate or poor quality sleep.

The short-term effects of inadequate and poor quality sleep are - loss of productivity and reduced mental capacity the next day, lethargy and drowsiness, lack of focus and concentration, lower physical energy, impaired appetite and digestion, dull emotions and reduced zest for life, lifeless skin and bags under the eyes, etc. Research further indicate how the brain actually uses sleep time as a time to categorize and store information, so that individuals who sleep after a period of intense study are often able to remember more of it later than people who do not take the time to sleep.

Long-term ongoing sleep deprivation results in impaired natural immunity (which means less resistance to infections and disease), obesity, high blood pressure, lowered mental and emotional stability, chronic depression, etc. All this can damage relationships, ongoing work performance and throw the body's systems out of balance. Scientists have shown how lack of sleep causes fatigue. This in turn causes depressive symptoms and leaves one with not enough energy to exercise. Due to this state, certain chemical changes take place in your body which stimulates your brain to not only eat more but also to eat more salty and sugary food. All this leading to obesity! So you realize that sleep is not only meant to recharge and rejuvenate the physiology but also to bring a balance between physiological, psychological and emotional wellbeing.

Adequate sleep, diet, yoga, relaxation and lifestyle changes help resolve the problem of sleep disorders. Also, the quality of rest is crucial. The most restful sleep occurs when the mind is completely detached from the senses. And this state can be achieved only through proper learning. It’s been reported how majority of people who used relaxation therapies for their insomnia found it to be helpful. In fact, powernaps are very practical for employees - it just requires the realization that doing so is acceptable and beneficial (when we are conditioned unfortunately to think that sleeping during the day is lazy, rather than healthy). If your work place is not quite ready to tolerate the concept of a power nap then practice a short session of whole body relaxation, combined with deep breathing, which you can do at your desk. It works wonders! You'll find over time that if you take care of your sleep habits, you can accomplish much more than if you strain to work all the time.

Metro Nirvana conducts, PowerJuvenation Naps sessions. Each session is a combination of body relaxation, breathing techniques, creative visualization & sensory sleep-inducing therapies. A 20-40 minute PowerJuvenation Nap recharges and re-energizes you, instantly improves your alertness, productivity and moods, reduces stress and anxiety. All this leading to improved health and well-being. For more information visit

Say No to No

Found this inspiring ad copy of Shell energy in a magazine . Wanted to share it with you.


Isn't it high time someone got negative about negativity?
Yes it is.
Look around. The world is full of things that, according
to nay-sayers, should never have happened.
And yet "yes"
Yes, continents have been found.
Yes, men have played golf on the moon.
Ye, straw is being turned into biofuel to power cars.
Yes, yes, yes.
What does it take to turn no into yes?
Curiosity. An open mind. A willingness to take risks.
And when the problem seems most insoluble, when the
challenge is hardest, when everyone else is shaking
their heads, to say: let's go.

Life and Coincidence

Following up on my previous blog "Pearls Before Breakfast' about Joshua Bell performing incognito. Journalist Gene Weingarten got a Pulitzer Prize for this experimental article that featured in the Washington Post. And do you want to know what happened that night when Gene Weingarten reached home after receiving the Pulitzer Prize at New York?

Read this follow up

Pearls Before Breakfast

Continuing my last blog on music, I’m sharing a real life incident which took place 2 years ago. It narrates how we tend to ignore very special people and talents, based on our perceptions, sometimes faulty perceptions. Let us pause a little and attach values to what a person or an incident deserves……

A man positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket at a metro station in Washington DC on January 12th, 2007 and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning around 7.50 am. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32.17 When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
As W.H. Davies aptly stated in one of the greatest poems ever written " Leisure"
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare....

To watch the video of this experiment and read the article “Pearls Before Breakfast’ visit the Washington post site:

Music and Therapy

It’s always a pleasure to visit the city of Chennai, in the south of India (earlier the city was called as Madras). Chennai is the cultural capital of India and this city is distinctly different from any other city in India in terms of traditions. South Indian classical music (also called Carnatic Music), dance and other art forms are still popular in the city and the city plays a very important role by providing platforms to indulge in such art and culture.

Chennai hosts the annual Music festival for Carnatic music during mid-December to mid-January, in which over 2000 artists participate. The month long festival which is held at various places in the city attracts famous artistes and thousands of performing art enthusiasts across South India. In fact, the Music festival also called Music season is an annul ritual amongst the expatriate Indians and scholars, who come from across the globe to participate in the festival.

All traditions across the world have music as an integral part of their culture or religion in form of hymns, prayers, songs and chants — all leading to uplifting the soul. Similarly Carnatic music is considered the best medium to pay homage to the Gods. This makes the festival present a blend of both melody and divinity.

Attending various concerts, I was so touched to see how Carnatic music by these extraordinary musicians created happiness in the hearts of the audience. The audience was not only listening to the music with their ears but with every cell in their body. It was indeed wonderfully fulfilling and refreshing. Even after leaving the music hall, I experienced deep peace and joy through this divine music. Music creates an incredible feeling of wellness and deep relaxation. It is so balancing! For me this is healing music. These are healing sounds. It expands my consciousness, my awareness.

Music is so holistic that it has positive effects on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of one’s being. Music is now an accepted form of therapy along with conventional medical treatment. In fact, benefits of music therapy have been scientifically researched across the world.

In India, music therapy is called ‘raga chikitsa’ and is mentioned in Ayurveda as one of the ways to restore the imbalances of the body which is considered the root of all diseases. Composers of Indian classical music offered music therapy especially for the mind through ragas and mantras. The concept of raga, which is unique to Indian music, blends musical notes with specific time periods, to either intensify or pacify the emotions and thus has tremendous therapeutic value. Each Raga has a unique structure which combines both fixed elements and infinite possibilities of variation, allowing the musician to bring out all the subtle values of the frequencies present at that time of the day. In fact, modern science has proved how every cell of the body has its own vibrational frequency. When we listen to a particular music which resonates with that frequency, it activates the vital energy of that cell and thus stimulates deep-rooted rejuvenation.

I always recommend my clients to listen to some form of music daily. You can listen to music while traveling, working at your desk, while asleep by the bed side, in the morning as you are getting ready for the day, while dining, reading a book or just let the music play in the background as you go around doing your daily chores. Even when no one is present to listen, playing the music 24 hours a day in your home or workplace generates a peaceful, soothing atmosphere that uplifts the whole environment. Though it is best to listen to music in a comfortable position-sitting or lying down-with the eyes closed.

To begin with, you can listen to the pacifying melodies of nature, which will help revitalize your body, mind and spirit. Or listen to upbeat yet relaxing music like Buddha Bar or Tantra Lounge, etc. You can listen to eclectic world music which has a spiritual composition to it like; Native American Indian flute solos, Sufi music, tribal African drumming and rhythms. However, listening to Indian classical music or healing sounds like Sanskrit ‘mantras’ or Zen Buddhist chanting, is the most holistic mode of treatment in combating anxiety, stress, fear, high blood pressure, depression, trauma, addiction and even suicidal tendencies. This kind of gentle music is comforting, gradually slows heartbeat, helps to filter out distractions and encourages heightened levels of perception and creativity. The music is an ideal background sound to any activity and a MUST in stress-related environment.

So, give your body and mind the good rest it deserves. Listen to some healing music now!

Am posting a very soothing and therapeutic Indian chant called 'Vandana Trayee'. Happy listening! Happy healing!

Listen to relaxtion music posted every week on my official website This soothing music relieves stress and tension, improves your mood, boosts your energy levels and heals your soul.

Make Wellness your New Year Resolution

Even if resolutions are not kept in the course of the year, the importance given to wellness reflects a positive change. Every small step you make towards holistic living will improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

So does this year’s New Year resolution involve any of these holistic goals?
  • A better work-life balance
  • Exercise more and regularly
  • Spend additional time with family and not just friends
  • Resolve to quit smoking and drinking
  • Have a healthy wholesome diet to tame the bulge
  • Spend more time travelling to different parts of the world
  • Have regular massages
  • Allot more time for rest and leisure
  • Build a life outside the office
  • Practice yoga, the perfect antidote in this stressed-out world
  • Kick unhealthy habits by taking up a healthy hobby
  • Learn something new this year
  • Spend more time in volunteer activities
  • De-clutter your house and desktop
  • Spend some time in silence daily. It is here you can see the larger picture - the purpose of your life and meaning to your life
  • And finally, constantly remind yourself that you deserve to be happy.

Making a lifestyle change is not easy but once you begin to reap the rewards you will definitely feel the effort was worthwhile. Remember, it’s not so much important to make a resolution as it is to follow it through. Hence, set short term goals, use visualizations to help along the way and you just might be amazed how your resolutions soon become a part of your holistic life.

Today I set goals I know I can reach.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
The goals I set today for myself will help me in the days to come.
I shall have a Wonderful 2009.