Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Marma Practitioner Journey...

The Texas US Ashram welcomed me in its usual manner with the chirping of the hill country birds and the cool meditative breeze. Run Singh ji had made his customary concoction of Spinach Dal and Sabji. As I sat there enjoying the perfect setup that nature had created for me, little did I realize that the journey that I was to embark upon was more magical than I had ever imagined. I was at the Texas US Ashram for the mystical “Marma” course to be taught by Mrs. Revathi Veeraraghavan.

Simply put, Marma can be described as an ancient Indian system of healing – similar to acupressure. Putting gentle pressure on different points on the body opens up energy blocks and balances the system. I had taken a treatment many years ago from Sage Houston (who also gave a guest appearance on our course and left us with a lot of useful tips). I had been through a very traumatic car accident and had trouble sleeping through the night. One treatment from Sage was all that it took to get rid of my shock. Since then, I had taken a few marma treatments for general well-being. I had always been intrigued by this method of healing and when I saw that this course was being offered at our Ashram, I was one of the first ones to sign up.

The course itself was a treat. Seriously, what’s not to like about giving and getting treatments to each other every day of the course? In addition, we also learned a lot about Ayurvedic principles such as prakruti (nature), doshas (imbalances), how to tailor the treatment according to body type to name a few. It was a nice blend of learning about Ayurveda and doing hands-on practice. Learning the whole routine was nothing short of a miracle – definitely His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s (Guruji’s) grace in the works!

The teacher – Mrs. Revathi was absolutely amazing! She was a storehouse of knowledge and made sure each and every one of us got the positions and concepts right.  She also made sure we got our physical workouts done for the day (did I forget to mention the late night dance parties?!) Throughout the course, I tried really hard to find that one word that described Mrs. Revathi – Loving? Methodical? Beautiful? Striking? Composed? Mystical? Bright? Gifted? All of the above.

The Marma practitioner journey continues as we all came back to our cities well trained under the able care of Mrs. Revathi to become certified Marma Practitioners. We all promised ourselves to bring Mrs. Revathi to each of the Texas cities in the near future in an attempt to bring more awareness around healthier and happier living (and continue the dance parties)!

About the Marma treatment:
Each Marma session takes about 45 mins (+ 15-30 mins rest) and the introductory suggested donation of $50 goes to the Art of Living.

Wear comfortable clothes (no undressing is required) and no heavy meal within 2hrs of the appointment.

If you are interested in getting a marma treatment, contact:  
Priya Vijayaraghavan | | 512.968.2863
Uthra Mohan |
Shveta Sharma |
Vyom Kumar |

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Service project with Breath of Life Ministries

It is the time of the year to spread happiness and joy and for kids it is the time mystery Santa is going to get gifts. It is sad but true that there is a considerable size of population who cannot afford gifts for their kids during Christmas.

Art of Living Austin volunteers partnered with Breath of Life ministries to help them distribute Christmas gifts to single moms, Below are some of the pics from the event. The volunteers said, the act was powerful at the same time empowering. In their own words cannot describe the happiness on kids faces when they received the gifts.  

On the same note we do partner with other organizations throughout the year and volunteer. If you are interested either in partnering with us or volunteering with us please contact us.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Outreach co-ordinator nominations

As the chapter announced during the annual thanksgiving dinner back in November 2015, our present outreach co-ordinator has decided to step down. We are in active look out for new coordinator.

If you know someone or you yourself would like to contribute towards the chapters growth, please send your information to email 

If you have questions about the process or want to know more details like who is eligible and what it entails to be the new coordinator please contact email

Support your Art of Living Austin chapter

Dear Patron

The thanksgiving dinner fundraiser was a wonderful homecoming time! A big thanks to all of you for opening up your hearts and wallets to enable this noble pursuit.

Your contributions (as little as $30 per month) go a long way to help us deliver the quality service that a lot us value so much.

While the dinner might be over, the season for giving is not. If you have not done so yet, make your tax deductible donations now, here!

Thank you for enabling us to serve Austin.

With gratitude
Teachers and Volunteers

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Art of Living retreat at the Ashram

Come celebrate Christmas with us at the Art of Living retreat in the Art of Living Ashram, Raegan wells Texas. What awaits you on this retreat is beautiful Texas hill country with plentiful nature around with hiking trails and nature walks and also a fully functioning organic garden.  Weather and nature permitting you may be able to go tubing in the Freo River and enjoy the fall colors. 

Come join us with family and friends in celebrations between December 24-27. On the other highlights we will have a camp fire with singing and dancing on December 25th. Come one, come all, bring your favorite musical instrument, your dancing shoes and most importantly yourself to the Art of Living Ashram and enjoy the serene pristine nature and our hospitality.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Appeal for Chennai flood relief

The South Indian city of Chennai and neighboring coastal regions have been ravaged by Cyclones and torrential rains for the past few weeks and is still continuing. This downpour is the worst that the area has seen in the past 100 years.

Many parts of Chennai have been hit very hard and people have been marooned in their own houses. Thousands of homes have been completely flooded and several areas are without electricity and basic access to food and water. The Chennai airport and train stations have been shutdown and the Indian Military has been deployed for disaster management.

Volunteers from IAHV and The Art of Living Foundation have been actively involved in relief and rescue efforts. Over 200 volunteers are working on the ground and have helped feed over 20,000 people over the last 3 weeks. They have also distributed over 1000 medical kits and are continuing to rescue stranded citizens everyday. Our local volunteers have also been actively supporting the Indian Coast Guard, Fire Department and Rescue Teams with food and logistics as required.

Your contributions towards this relief effort will go a long way towards bringing Chennai back to normalcy.

IAHV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please donate generously.

ps:For latest updates and more information click here

pps:IAHV and AOLF have actively responded to natural disasters and other traumatic situations around the globe. In the past, IAHV & Art of Living volunteers offered relief, rehabilitation and trauma relief to the people affected by the natural calamities around the world. To learn more about IAHV's disaster relief program please click here

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Bye bye Lamar center

Back in November 2009,  we started our Art of Living center in Austin and fast forward 6 years later and the time has come to say good bye.

Yes we had great run for 6 years which included innumerable weekly follow ups, happiness programs, yoga and meditation programs, knowledge series to name a few along with a few volunteer training sessions, DSN’s and pre-TTC’s.  

As many would know, this was our first effort in maintaining a physical real estate of our own, proud of the fact that we were the first in Texas and amongst the first in nation to have a physical center. The most important one for us was maintaining the finances in order over the last 6 years. Many thanks to all the volunteers for donating and doing donation drives and most importantly to volunteer their spare time in upkeep and maintenance of the center.Yes it is a great achievement.

We did learn a lot from owning and maintaining the center and we have grown leaps and bounds in terms of memberships and the activities we are doing as a chapter. Most of which can be attributed to having a physical space of our own we could use barring the calendar conflicts.  

As with anything long term, we had our ups and downs, I personally like to believe we had more ups than downs. It wouldn’t be fair if I don’t thank our landlord PS business parks with whom we have maintained a very cordial relationship from the beginning to end. 

Now that we have wound up this place, its time to translate the learning to a newer and better center. It is coming and stay tuned for updates on the same.

Monday, June 22, 2015

International Day of Yoga Celebrations in Austin TX

Some came because Narendra Modi, PM of India had called
Some came because Sri Sri Ravishankar called
Some came because it's adventurous
Some came because they were organizing it
Some came because it is probably the one and only event they were looking forward to (for personal reasons)
Some came for they were tasked with documenting the event
Nature said, I can't be left out and it rained and poured before and after the event

Yes, I am talking about the first ever International Day of Yoga celebration at our city Austin, TX. In case you missed it, it happened on Capitol grounds on Sunday June 21st at 10:30AM.

75 odd yogis from Art of Living, Bea Love Yoga and more importantly from Austin showed up to celebrate the very first ever International day of Yoga here at the lawns of the Capitol of Texas.  

We have a saying in Art of Living, “from chaos comes creativity” and this yoga event was no different. On Thursday before the yoga event scheduled for Sunday we were not 100% sure of the logistics and with rain in forecast didn’t have a plan B, to top it off nature wanted to do some rain dance for the event and on Sunday around 10:00am it started raining cats and dogs.  

But, when 70 odd yogis decide to do yoga on the first ever International Day of yoga, nature had to listen and give way for yoga. Come 10:30, the rain turned to drizzle and the lawns started to drain out just enough for us to get on with the yoga. The parking was free and plenty (I guess the rain turned some visitors away) and all other finer logistics, didn’t really matter. Can you imagine the state senator joining us at the yoga event.

The yoga was beautifully led by 3 senior yoga teachers from Bea Love Yoga. I have full respect and regards for Bea Love for if there was 1 person who was 100% sure they will be doing yoga that day, I would say it would be her. Once the yoga started, the event moved on with clinical precision, the teachers taking turns to lead the yoga and before we knew it was time to do the chanting of om and final resting. At which precise time, nature decided to join the party and started to drizzle and it poured again.

Later the party was moved indoors where folks from our own Art of Living band filled the rotunda with ancient chants and hymns.

It wouldn't be fair if I don't speak about the precursor to this event, it was called the sun never sets yoga which happened a week ago Saturday as a gearing up event for the international day of yoga, around 20 odd yogis gathered on the banks of town lake in the morning at 7:00AM and an hour long yoga was lead by our own graduate yogi Ritesh Seth.

All in all, a grand successful event for the Art of Living Austin. Kudos to the team for pulling this off in a very successful manner in true Art of Living style.

ps: yes, picture speaks 1000 words and yes I will be posting them soon 

pps: here are the pics

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The tendency of mind is ....

Back in December, one of the parents from my daughter's playschool started the initiative about kids soccer. They said they were enrolling their kid to soccer camp starting in April, a 8 week camp played one weekend every week, they suggested if all kids could join in it would be lot of fun. We all got excited with the idea and jumped on it right away. Majority of the kids in the class enrolled with the camp.

Since we were all enrolling we requested all the kids to be together in the same team. The wonderful folks at the camp people honored our request and even better some of the dads became the coaches for the team. Keep in mind the whole idea behind was to let kids have fun outside school and some socializing for us too. The kids are truly having fun, specially since the soccer practice ends with donuts and drinks (snacks provided by different parent each week).

It's been 5 weeks, the kids are enjoying the games and having fun. I would definitely say, they have been improving every week, but our team hasn't won a single match. To put it bluntly we get our butts kicked by the opposing team. We would be lucky if our team makes 1 or 2 goals in the process and we don’t self goal during the match.

I think the reason is simple, each team that we have played against so far has 2 to 3 kids who are much older than the kids in our team and also have played multiple years of soccer. If only we hadn’t made the request during enrollment, may be our team would have gotten couple of older kids too and we would be tough competitor too but if that had happened it no longer would have been team “Kangaroos”, would it be?.

Now, the real point of this blog post, I realized I am going away from the original intent of the whole exercise "having fun" and getting to the mode of winning and analyzing why our team isn't doing as good as others.

I think this is called awareness which my good friends were trying to drill into me a decade ago. Of course life is such "aha" moments and that's what makes it fun.The secret is simple, to breath, want more information visit

Friday, April 03, 2015

Relevance of Yoga in Modern Life

What is the relevance of yoga in modern life?  First off, what is yoga?  What is the meaning of modern life?
Yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit word Yuj, which simply means union / to join.  Yoga ultimately means uniting the mind, body, breath, and spirit…and for modern life, I would add to that statement, “in the present moment.”  At a much deeper level, which may not be applicable here in this modern worldly life, yoga gives us the realization of truth, or the ultimate reality of consciousness and non-duality.  We are so often caught up in the duality of life seeing nearly everything as separate from us.  This keeps us chasing after material worldly desires, things, people, pleasures, status, and other “things” that ultimately keep us away from waking up to the reality, to our own self, to the realization of the belongingness, to the dharma or purpose of why we are actually here on this planet.  If we deeply realize our dharma or purpose in life, then a much larger view of the universe opens up to us; but let’s keep with the inquiry regarding yoga in modern life.
What is modern life?  Modern life, or the worldly life we live, often involves raising children, focusing on our career, managing a home, filling that home, and keeping our relationships going.  Modern life often also involves many hours in front of electronics like cell phones, sitting in front of a computer (which I am doing now) and the TV.  One of the most significant aspects of modern life is the feeling of multi-tasking and being very busy…always prioritizing what to do and when to do it.  We spend so much time worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.  We are rarely in the present moment.  That’s where Yoga comes in.
There are many aspects of yoga.  There are also many different levels of utilizing yoga.  One who fully dwells in yoga could be called a Yogi.  One who also manages both the worldly life, but with non-attachment and contentment might also be called a Yogi.  So both possibilities exist.  The key here is utilizing the breath and being present to each and every moment.  This present-mindedness while being established in the self is the ultimate formula for yoga in modern life.  I would also argue that the simple journey of becoming present to each moment and taking care of your mind, body, breath, and spirit can all be tools to integrating yoga in modern life. 
There are several ways to incorporate the yogic sciences into your modern daily life.  Some broad ways to incorporate yoga into modern life include paying attention to what we eat, how much we sleep, how we breathe, and being more aware of our thoughts, words, and actions.  The major yogic techniques also include satkarmas, asanas, kriya, pranayamas, and meditation.  Through lifestyle changes, one can realize a happy and fulfilling modern lifestyle while still being in the world.
Even 20 to 30 minutes a day of yoga practices combined with conscious choices like getting six to eight hours of sleep each night, keeping the mind in a calm and meditative state of awareness, keeping a healthy and sattvic vegetarian diet while drinking plenty of water, and helping others through selfless service, can have a tremendous impact on our ability to live a happy and fulfilling modern life.