Friday, May 27, 2011

Love, Laugh, Learn and Let go..

If you want a quickie of what last-week's AOL Yesplus workshop was about, the title says it all.

Here is the longer version ...
I took the course because, couple of folks, who I highly respect have been recommending this for a while and boy, am I glad that I did?? I had the most awesome time with some of the coolest people I've ever met.

This would probably be the only "spiritual" course, where you run around trees in the parking lot, dance crazy steps and do impromptu skits. I still wonder how it was possible, to make such a serious course, so much fun. It was a good blend of great breathing techniques, the famed SudarshanKriya and some freakish games.

What I liked most is the philosophy of simplicity itself. I tend to clutter myself with a lot of stale stuff. The forgotten saying - 'forgive and forget' restated:: Life is so short to carry around all the emotional baggage. Shed the weight. Travel light. Simplify life! - good concept, I should try.

The course was pretty deep with pranayamas, kriyas and meditation. But, if you just wanna nibble at the surface, you can takeaway a simple view:: Be happy - no matter what! Keep your mind at peace, at any cost! (Does this seem selfish? May be ..)

The homeworks were eye opening too: Make 3 new friends a day, do a nice thing to your parents. I was kinda surprised to see, how friendly strangers are and how even small actions can make someone's day.

On the whole, I got to reflect on myself and the workshop was hugely helpful in calming me down and I learnt some cool breathing techniques.

Until nexttime, be intensely happy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Care for Children – My experience

School    House

         Last summer, I visited my home town Chidambaram, India and came to know about a school run by Art of Living Foundation in a nearby village. With the help of a local volunteer I went to the Sri Sri Vidya Mandir School in Anaikoil village. The village was badly affected by 2004 Tsunami. Agriculture is the major source of income for the people in the village and the lands were devastated by Tsunami, making it not feasible for agriculture. As part of the rehabilitation, Art of Living foundation started a school and built houses for victims in that village.

 KG Class      Lunch Hall

The school is well maintained and has the best infrastructure. It provides the students with academic materials, food and clothing. Kids start the day at school with yoga, pranayama and followed by meditation. I told myself what a way to start the day. I visited the kindergarten class rooms and found that the kids are taught by following Montessori methods. The school provides the students with balanced nutritious lunch every day. The kids have their lunch together and the teachers make sure they finish it. Most of the kid’s parents are not even literate. The school also has an Industrial education center for adults.

All of this is possible because of Care for Children; a service project of Art of Living foundation started in 1981 to provide school education for under privileged kids. Its main goal is to reach out to areas where there is no school or transportation facility. All of us can be part of this transformation, to know more about Care for Children, you can visit the website or contact Raj @ for more details.

Here are some more pictures I took during my visit to the school.

Weekend Update

Lot of things happened over the weekend. On Friday (May 13) was the birthday of Sri Sri Ravishankar (fondly known as Guruji), so we had a satsang at the Art of Living Center. The satsang had a few firsts, this was one of the few birthday satsang that started off with a Guru Pooja, we did a different meditation than we usually do during satsangs. As usual for any Art of Living activity we ended the session with a lots of food. After the birthday celebration I reached home and saw Guruji’s birthday message in 3 different languages Kannada, Hindi and English.

On Saturday we had organized a volunteering activity at Capital Area Food bank. 11 of us showed up and helped the food bank sort out the donated food (mostly cans and boxes, no fresh produce). There was a lot of learning from the food bank activity.

  • To volunteer at the food bank, you need to be wearing closed toe shoes (no sandals allowed)
  • Canned foods were kept even after 2 years of expiry date
  • Peanut butter, Mayo and Tomato Sauce unless sealed inside the bottle with the aluminum foil, were not kept.
  • Mayonnaise was kept if it was within 10 months or so of expiry
  • If the can had a dent and it was expired, and the first 3 ingredients are tomato, those were thrown away
  • Baby food were only kept if they had at a minimum of 3 months of shelf life
  • All food came through donations and I was amazed to see people had donated things that were 5 or 6 years beyond expiry
  • The 11 people who showed up had good fun, we plan to go back again in the near future to do it again

And on Sunday I went for my session of Meru Chikitsa, I have already written about it.