Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!! A New 2017!! New Beginnings!!

New beginnings are divine gifts from God to introspect and keep us honest! Every minute is a new beginning but a New Beginning in the New Year is a great opportunity thrust on us by the society at large and it will be shame to just let it pass by.

I have worked in 5 countries over my 20 year career - made my share of mistakes. Some of them turned out to be the best mistakes, which made me realize how the forces of nature disposes every plan that I ever made. After having endured over 7 cross-country moves, 17 house-moves, 3-house purchases (3 different countries), 11 schools for my children, one thing that struck me was that I was not afraid of making mistakes. Was I smart or wise to move around like this? No. But, the life lessons that we have learnt as a family is simply priceless. 

After this incredible journey, the other side of the grass is no longer green. I found out who I really am. To some extend, I could sense the purpose of my existence. Finally, I reached the dreaded finish line - conquering the fear of death. When I tell this to my friends, I get this ‘you are a crazy fool’ look. Yeah, overcoming fear through every single minute of your life can only be experienced. And this, to me, gives a great sense of accomplishment as I had the rare opportunity to make peace with myself. I believe, the credit goes to the constant-change-and-adaptation and Yoga

I bumped into Yoga in Oman ( and was mesmerized by its awesome power to build mental strength to face anything in life.  Yoga provided the platform to find closure to many of my life’s pursuits.

Finally, my “connect the dots” moment (in my small world) was the realization that all the turn-of-events in my life was to steer me closer towards my Christian Faith

The pivotal points that helped me connect the dots - “cross-country moves” were to awaken the dying spirit; “Yoga” as a tool to find calmness, peace and clarity in mind in order to parse through my thoughts, frame by frame and find closure; and “Faith”, to conquer fear, even to the extent of overcoming the fear of death.

As I was reflecting on my life with Kavi (my Career Coach and best friend), I was hard on myself for not having accomplished as much as I should have. Kavi would encourage me to pat myself on the back for certain significant accomplishments (in his view) and focus on the steps to be taken for a brighter tomorrow. 

New Beginnings! In the New 2017!

Live Well. Laugh Often. Love Much.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Yoga in the real world

Training for running a marathon is a six months process that gradually infuses the potential pain of a marathon and tests a person’s commitment and endurance. Unfortunately, there is no such training process to start an Oracle ERP implementation. The preparation and planning phases are typically targeted for the core team and not for the entire team. Even worse, many organizations underestimate the magnitude and don’t even prepare/plan enough before embarking on an Oracle ERP implementation. These are projects undertaken once in 2 decades in Organizations and the in-house team seldom has prior implementation experience.

The initial euphoria, thanks to the blissful ignorance of what lies ahead, fades soon to uncertainty, fear and, ultimately, unbearable stress.

The conventional team building exercises does help to destress but it is ineffective in the long run. It is impossible to change the personalities of the team overnight but there is an incredibly effective tool to have a sustainable positive impact on the team: Yoga

The human body is designed in a way that the brain understands only one language, the breath. If the rate of breath is normal (not panting), the brain, through neurotransmitters, interprets that the body is not stressed and, as a result, releases a chemical called endorphin which makes us feel good and say, ‘oh, wow! I feel so happy!’. If there is shortness of breath, the brain shutdowns the generation of endorphin which is why we feel terrible and frustrated when we are under stress.

Now, when you have learnt to calm down using the breathing techniques, you will have the mental strength/peace/calmness to apply human reason (your mind) as a filter upon the “partial and often” deception data from the prejudiced 5 senses of our body. We fail to reason our prejudiced perceptions that are based on how angry a team member might appear or sound from across the table in a meeting. At these real life moments (meetings), there are simple breathing techniques that will help the team members to calm down, be empathetic, be compassionate but still aggressive to get the job done.

It is a simple concept that is difficult to practice but there are some simple meditating and breathing techniques that can be taught to any team. It does wonders individually and helps enrich group dynamics.

I have been practicing Yoga for the past 5 years and was fortunate to undergo teacher-training courses under Guru Prema Nagesh ( Life has never been stressful irrespective of what life throws at you, even in the course of an Oracle ERP Implementation. Especially, in leadership roles, it gives enormous internal strength and energy to not only endure the  personal challenges but also to help and motivate the team by spreading the positive energy which is exactly what is needed in an environment that is filled with uncertainty, fear, anxiety and hopelessness.

For instance, conducting “flash mob” style meditation for just 10 minutes in the War room has proven to be very effective. Also, constantly reminding and training the team to consciously focus on normal breath throughout the day has demonstrated dramatic positive outcomes.

Yoga instills in us the “inconvenient truth” that we humans cannot control everything. However, it is imperative to work smart, plan well, develop disaster recovery plans, cutover plans, blackout plans but with a calm mind (without anxiety) to be more productive.

Yoga is not just an hourly daily routine to get away from the craziness of the world. Yoga is a lifestyle to practice and apply the Yogic principles in the real world to rejoice every precious moment of life gifted to us, irrespective of how volatile and stressful our environments are. That unshakeable, robust mental strength and balance is the foundation of true inner peace, calmness and happiness.

In Oracle ERP Implementations, life gets so stressful that it reveals the fragile mental state beneath the tough demeanor during the initial phases of euphoria. Yoga can be a very potent tool to help the team cope with the stress and increase productivity dramatically.

I have completed three large Oracle ERP Implementations (the latest in Sep 2016) and two small Oracle ERP Implementations. I am human and I get stressed too but the Yogic lifestyle gives enormous inner peace, calmness and mental strength so much that no matter how crazy the situation is at home or work or commute, I am fortunate to have a smile on my face to celebrate life. And, I haven’t even scratched the surface with my Yoga wisdom.

With all the craziness during the project, I have always taken the time to conduct Yoga/Meditation sessions for the team members and I have got nothing but positive feedback. Imagine the positive impact on the team, with such a potent tool, to be successful at the cost of no personal lives.

Live well. Laugh often. Love much.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Life made beautiful by Yoga

Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Fitness, Organic food are some of the many industries that do a good job in showing that their products and services are predominantly aimed towards providing solutions to problems faced by us on a daily  basis and take pride in flashing their balance sheets with billion-dollar-revenues. And, the world citizens don’t hesitate to pay the exorbitant price to procure these products and services for a QUICK-FIX-SOLUTION which, sadly, adds more complications (side effects) to our lives, as the extreme-capitalism has managed to keep the democratic powers under siege so much so that adding a few more harmful chemicals to the products that cause the side-effects have become an acceptable norm in life. Thanks to today’s hypocritical life, our life ends up in a tailspin further complicating our lives without any closure to our problems.

I know what it feels like to be caught in this tailspin that causes great pain which is not only persistent but also compounds to exploding levels, in our lives. The worst part is that hope is diminished to nothing which forces us to surrender ourselves to a life of pain and suffering.

In a nutshell, we work harder compromising our health to make more money to buy more QUICK-FIX-SOLUTIONS to get temporary relief and eventually end up in spending all that we had earned on diseases that we had bought for ourselves with QUICK-FIX-SOLUTIONS. Crazy!! Well, the inconvenient truth is that there are solutions to all our problems and it is free too! Today’s cynical belief is “There is no such thing as free lunch.” In fact, there is.

Yoga and Oxygen

One of the most important beliefs that my Yoga guru, Prema Nagesh ( imprinted in our minds is that solutions to our problems are available all around us and we just need to have the calm mind to avail it. A calm mind is a strong mind. Calmness in the mind is lost when there are too many issues and problems in our daily lives which leave our mind transfixed with so much of noise that obscures the focus on the real life. If one can learn to attain calmness in mind, then most of the solutions to our unfathomable problems can be found without spending the big bucks or without reaching out to hard-to-reach places for solutions. Good news is that Yoga can do that for you at no cost.

Think about it!!! How many people have you met who do not complain about life?! Not that many because many of our friends and relatives are in some kind of pain and still struggling to find a way out. As a result, the concentration in tasks at hand at the very moment is lost because our minds are wandering like a honey bee buzzing from one thought to another focusing on mistakes of the past or future. Here is where prime benefits of Yoga can be fruitful through rhythmic breathing (extra oxygen invigorates your brain thus calming it down and build concentration), asanas, guided meditation etc.

Now, imagine a life with herculean mental strength and calmness to shrug off (with a smile) a nagging spouse, problems with children, road rage, office politics, the venom of this cynical world and, after facing all the realities of life, imagine your mind to be calm and pristine like the snow-capped Himalayas. Please do not despise this imagination as something that is naive or non-existent. Trust me, there are people among us who are enjoying this priceless lifestyle through Yoga.

Regular physical exercise is something that we enjoy doing that will relieve the stress temporarily but the hard earned spirit-during-exercise fades away soon, when we step out of the gym and face the real world. The magic of sustaining that spirit even outside the gym and throughout the day is what Yoga can do. And, also that is the reason why just by learning difficult Yogic asanas will not give you the ultimate result. Rather it is by relating and applying the Yogic principles to every moment of our daily lives so that you could develop clarity and peace of mind.

Personally, I started Yoga about two years back with the utmost contempt and little did I realize at that time that my life would never be the same again. I joined Yoga for a pal of mine so that she would not give up but I was woken to the brunt magical force of Yoga that humbled me. I was training for marathon at that time and I despised Yoga as boring and not so physically demanding. My ignorance was stripped naked during my first Yoga session and I was sold to the idea of Yoga. Since then it has been an amazing journey that has transformed me to be a better person not just outside the home but also especially at home. Yoga has also given some unwarranted benefits especially at work as the “Calm Mind” empowers me with wisdom and strength that is the envy of many around me (in a good way). 

The best part is that people would love to be around you. It feels as if you have transcended through a portal to another galaxy of sheer bliss and looking back at the sufferings of people around you, it is sad. I have learnt so much of Yoga in the past two years and it seems so little while looking up to my guru and other Yoga experts around the world. If this little knowledge of Yoga could bring so much of joy, I am thrilled to look forward to learning more and more in the coming years.

Simply put, with Yoga, Life is beautiful. And, I invite you to Yoga so that you may also experience and enjoy the true essence of life as we all deserve to.