When I started practicing yoga a year ago, I used to wonder if I was in a wildlife park or similar. Often, the instructor would ask us to become a tree , then a serpent, a crow, cow, cat , dog and what not !!

Initially we are only focused on correcting the asana and then we began to practice the art of holding the asana. It is now, in the act of holding, that we realize how important is that name! Imitating nature can be so enlightening.

What came to my mind was, we should not only emulate the different forms of nature physically but we should try doing this psychologically as well. Say, for instance the cat awakens with the stretching of its spine by making an arch inward and outward before
getting into action. It relaxes the body and normally this asana, cat pose , is practiced , for relaxation either in the beginning or towards the end of yoga practice. Next time , if we actually try to imagine ourselves as cat who is just awakened from sleep trying to warm up a little , it will help us do the asana better and in fact feel it better.

Downward dog , for example, is another asana named after the animal, which adopts this bending to stretch after waking from a nap. This asana when mastered with perfection can actually be very relaxing after a prolonged lying down position or even after a prolonged standing position. So next time try to embody the creature to feel that stretch and you might be able to understand why is that stretch essential.

More importantly, if we go deeper to comprehend a few other postures , we will know it guides us emotionally and psychologically. Emulating the tree in Vrikshasana, simply helps one to balance self and stand erect. Consider the life’s challenges as the wind storms or
heavy rains and yet you stand stable and steady like a tree and confront any hardship with more strength.

So I decided to give it shot one day while trying the ustrasana , the camel pose. Initially I
would struggle through it but I still made sure to picture myself like a camel every time I do it. It worked! Most of the time, I would struggle to get into the posture, I just imagined how a camel would never give up even in the scorching heat and that stamina and commitment to the awareness finally helped me perfect the asana. I continued to imagine myself as the beautiful tolerant creature who has just reached an oasis ready to fill it’s picnic basket, the hump!
In the next yoga class when you hear an asana name , and think that , what’s in a name!!
Think this – ‘I am not merely trying to mimic the look of it, I am trying to experience it’
and you will realize that , indeed, everything is in a name !!
Matsayasana – Learn from the fish that the only way out from most things in life is to simply swim through them.
Bhunjangasana – Learn from the cobra to rise and strike but at the same time be in control
of your actions and use aggression only as the last resort.
Garudasana – Focus on the goal with an excellent vision , concentration and balance , just
like the eagle. Give it all your time , effort and energy before you set out to achieve it.

Goumukhasana – Adopt an attitude of patience. Cows are gentle and calm animals. We
never really see them running around. Experience the joy of living life with simplicity and
still be of service to others.
Bakasana – The crow pose reminds me of the nature of crow as to how regular and committed they are. If they don’t turn up , they won’t be fed. So be regular be committed to succeed.

Simhasana – While mimicking the lion, experience the feeling of royalty and power. At the
same time , remember to embrace failure and evolve each time we face it.
Let us not only embody the posture but also empathize a little with the flora and fauna and make a sincere effort to nurture nature. Nature has stood the test of time and resurrected itself in a steady way every time be it after a natural calamity or human interference. The wildlife too has found better ways to deal with stress and survive which is why we are constantly trying to impersonate them. Yoga is one way you can experience nature inside out so make the most of it.


We are all born for a reason.. A purpose..

imageWe are all born for a reason, for a purpose “. This was something I was told by a friend and it was long forgotten until this day whose experience I would like to share.
Quitting on life a few years back was definitely not a very wise decision. But there comes a time in life when you want to fall back home to your folks , to people who’ll never judge you -to your parents. That is exactly what I did.
There I accompanied my mom to an annual function of an NGO run school, DISHA. The school catered to physically and financially underprivileged children who dreamed of a better future. I happened to ask a girl in her teens who was displaying her handmade item,” what do you aim to become? ” Hardly I knew that her reply would make me a completely new person. She said ” I want to become the District Manager of this district and ensure compulsory education for all who dream big. And will you help me kick start my dream?”
I had no clue how could I , in any way help her achieve this big yet noble ambition. I asked her how could I , possibly, be of any help. She said, ” Teach me ! ” .
I obviously didn’t see this coming and I , till date, cannot figure out what she really saw in me to think of me as her tutor.
My reply came straight from the heart and I spoke to the school administrator right away. I spent hours with her helping her in every subject. I stayed up nights preparing notes for her because she was slow at understanding the textbook English. I would make her read newspaper, books, articles and what not! I saw a great deal of change in her in just a few months. The change was not only in her knowledge but also in her confidence and body language.
An year passed and I had to discontinue teaching her for I was moving out. She had become a reason for my happiness. It ached to leave my happiness behind. Her dream was my aim now. But somethings are inevitable and so I moved on.
3years had passed and now couple of months back when I happened to visit that place again. Needless to say , I went to that school directly from the station just to know about her. As I walked across the corridor , I came across a notice board, with a few drawings of the drawing competition whose theme was , ” what makes me happy? ” . The drawing that stood out and that captured my attention was my sketch , drawn by the same girl. My eyes were filled with tears of joy and I had never been happier in my life . That day I knew, why was I born!!

We all struggle to be happy inside by doing things to our own self , but true happiness lies in being the reason for someone’s happiness.

Culture in an organization : Why is it important?

Would you dress the same way to attend a chess tournament as you would to attend a football game? Although both are sporting events, there are a set of unwritten rules that dictate what is considered to be the acceptable way to dress for each type of event, and the people in attendance will send you signals as to whether or not they think you are dressed appropriately.

Members of a group  convey social expectations by how they dress and act. Newcomers to the group are expected to learn what is acceptable to the group by observing the behavior and dress code of the group members and adapting to the situation accordingly.

So if one were to ask, what is organizational culture , I would say “It’s the way we do things around here.” It’s basically the way we perform tasks, solve problems, maintain relations, resolve conflicts, treat customers, and treat employees.

The unique personality of an organization is referred to as its culture. In groups of people who work together, organizational culture is an invisible but powerful force that influences the behavior of the members of that group.

Why is organizational culture important??

Organizational culture is difficult to observe or measure .It acts to reduce behavioral variability in organizations. So what is that makes it so important and an integral part of a workplace??

  • Stability  :  It makes the organization more stable . An organization’s culture is often passed on from “generation” to “generation” creating a relatively high level of stability over time.
  • Uniformity : It makes the organization more uniform to look at. The uniformity is not only in work practice but also in terms of people’s behavior. Whether it is a business organization, a club, community or nation, social systems need to limit certain behaviors.
  • Emphasis on people : Companies that place a high value on this characteristic of organizational culture place a great deal of importance on how their decisions will affect the people in their organizations. For these companies, it is important to treat their employees with respect and dignity.
  • Team work : Culture is a property of a group of people . So companies that work towards developing a healthy workplace give more importance to group activities and people in such organizations  tend to have a positive relationship with their coworkers and managers.

While culture is important in any organization , it should be understood that the stability and uniformity does not lead to a rather stagnant environment over a period of time.

So how does it work??

A powerful person at the top, or a large enough group from anywhere in the organization, decides the old ways are not working, figures out a change in vision, starts acting differently, and enlists others to act differently. If the new actions produce better results, if the results are communicated and celebrated, and if they are not killed off by the old culture, new norms will form and new shared values will grow.

Here is a list of do’s and don’ts that one ought to follow while wanting to bring about a change in culture at workplace.

  • Do come with a clear vision of where you want the organization to head.
  • Do quickly develop and put in place new systems and processes that support and reinforce this vision of the future.
  • Do introduce and consistently reinforce the values of  continuous improvement.
  • Do communicate horizontally in conversations and stories, not through top-down commands.
  • Don’t start by reorganizing. First clarify the vision and put in place the management roles and systems that will reinforce the vision.
  • Don’t parachute in a new team of top managers. Work with the existing managers and draw on people who share your vision.

My favourite example is that of Mr. Ratan Tata whose company acquires a unique culture that is rightly protected, nurtured and spread across, under the Tata umbrella.

He rightly puts it Culture is self imposed. Let the environment test you all the time but you should be prepared to do the right thing. That is a culture one should be proud of.”


To a new beginning

Life has been a tornado, but however hard I’ll get hit, I m going to take it up as a challenge and never give up. I’ll make it a point to be happy always, no matter what. Look for positives in everything. Embrace the bad times and learn something from them. Change whatever you can and have the sense and wisdom to accept circumstances which you cannot change. Look forward to everyday as a new and beautiful.Somethings you do that will make sure that your life is a gift…

Write everyday
Maintain a memoir, journal whatever you can, but write. Write not to publish it but just write for yourself. Don’t be lazy and don’t procrastinate. Wake up early in the morning and keep aside 5 minute to write. Spend 5 min at night and write, but do it everyday.

Enjoy mornings
Wake up early in the morning. Don’t rush. Spend time meditating. Spend time writing and reading articles/newspaper. Do yoga, breathing exercises and surya namaskar. Spend alone quiet time with yourself. Sleep early at night to wake up to fresh mornings.

Read a book
Read and read often. Read whatever fancies you but read. Read everything under the sun. Explore the world and different lives through books. Make it a habit to read for 20 minutes before going off to bed.

Move your ass
Exercise. Don’t make excuses. So what if you have an injury or it’s sweltering hot outside. So what if gym membership is very expensive or there is no gym nearby. You know these are just excuses. There is an exercise for everyone. Dance, Yoga, Zumba, walking, running, swimming. Do whatever you can but move.

Remove toxic people from your life. People who don’t serve any purpose. People who bring you down knowing or unknowingly. Relationships that do more harm than good. Remember these will only pull you down. Get away from them. Do it right away.

Be selfish
Yes you heard it right. Be selfish. Love yourself, put yourself first always. Remember you are always on your own. You are the only one who will be there for yourself, no matter what happens. Learn to take care of yourself. Learn to say yes to your needs, and learn to say no when needed too. It always starts with loving yourself.

Comfort zone
Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, do new things, travel alone. It is true when they say that Do the thing you fear and death of fear is certain. Not just that, you will come out so much more stronger. Understand that there is one life, you have to go out and experience life.

Let go
Learn to let go of your past. Don’t have guilt trips, don’t have regrets. Whatever has happened, has gone by. You are only wasting your present if you keep harping about it. Forgive and forget. If you can’t forgive, just forget it. Trust me you will be a happy person when you declutter your mind.

Work hard
Work hard, whatever you do give it your best. If you take up some task, do it well otherwise don’t do it at all. Work your ass off. There will be obstacles but once you are out of it, you will be proud of yourself. Work hard, party harder.

Embrace life head on. Do it for just yourself. Love your life. Make an effort to have a good life. Choose to be happy. Nobody will help you but you. Making a fresh start may seem daunting now but take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Don’t forget to live your life while you are existing. Amaze yourself with that strength.