Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Well Being Workshop

 This is the 52nd Pranayama workshop in Auroville. When I was walking to Savitri Bhavan on the first day, I wondered what the workshop holds for us. Auroville is very beautiful at this time of the year, very green even though we did not have much rain this year. The mornings are misty, crisp and cool and the rising sun is a spectacular sight. You see a huge orange ball that slowly changes it color to brilliant while light and seems to shrink in size as it changes color. The Statue of Sri Aurobindo is in Savitri Bhavan is west facing and when I stand in front of it, the rising sun creates an ethereal experience and it is great way to start the day.
We had more participants than any other workshop in Savitri Bhavan, making it the largest ever and we felt constrained for space. We could shift to the ‘L shaped’ inner lobby that can easily hold a larger group. New space always makes the experience interesting and this is a wonderful space. I wondered why I was not using this right from the beginning!
It is wonderful to have a large group and I was fortunate to connect with many of the participants. Martin and Danny form UK is one such delightful connection and it was a pleasure meeting them and start getting to know them. Hamish and Fif form Canada were in a workshop last year and it was wonderful to meet them again and now they are here as new comers! Helen, who was in a workshop a year ago , was participating again and this is very special for me as we work in the same office. There are the regulars – Gido, Margrit, John, Vardharajan and Syamala. Their presence is a source of strength and constant encouragement for me.
One of the practices is that is working well is the sharing by people who have been practicing. It is having many positive aspects. It inspires the new participants to give the practice a good try. This by itself is very valuable because the benefits manifest in practice. No practice = no power of Pranayama. When people share, their benefits become more real for them and enhance the self-motivation in regular practice. I have my own agenda. When people share the benefits, it is not only music to my ears; it also gives me a sense of fulfillment in my mission. Finally, it somehow makes the atmosphere of the workshop more alive with positive energy.

One of the questions some people ask me is “How can you keep doing the same workshop again and again?” I used to find it difficult to convey how it is form me. My experience of facilitating workshops is same as playing a game or going for a walk in a beautiful place. I feel alive, joyous and fully immersed in what I am doing. Time stands still and the world ceases to exist.  In my estimate, it may be the same for performing artists. I find it difficult to convey this to people and nowadays I say “because I like it”.
I am only recently recognizing that I am twice blessed by Pranayama. First, I am getting benefitted. Next, others are getting benefitted. I am happy and grateful for being blessed. Twice.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Integral Being workshop

 A dream start for the New Year. What can I say about an event exclusively conducted for my friends form the college? Yes, 5 of my friends marveled all the way from Hyderabad and Bangalore and three of them were accompanied by their spouses. For me, it is a miracle that these guys who knew me in the college would actually consider doing it, let alone actually do it. This is also the first ever event that I conducted in Auroville for an outstation group. So it makes the event even more extraordinary for me as it offered me growth in many dimensions such as  conducting the retreat with  minimal preparation, planning and organizing the logistics, deviating from my usual practice of total focus only on actual workshop and preparation to spending the evenings with my friends and learning to do this work with friends rather than strangers.  
 The content is very similar to the inner healing workshops I do but we added   a visit to Matri Mandir, Upasana, Sadhana Forest, Solar Bowl and Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondy as part of this three and a half day retreat. That made it fun as well as very integral in the true sense of the word.
The event was also quite unique in having two participants who are serious practitioners of spirituality.   Mrs Vijaya Sahebdas Raju has been practicing spirituality for nearly two decades. So is the case with Mr. Phani Babu. It was a great learning experience for me to have them in this group. In fact, they enriched the very space of the retreat.
 Sahebdas Raju enlivened the retreat and the evenings with his wit and extraordinary sense of humor. He is treasure house of fun and laughter. ESR Parsad was one of the earliest  to encourage me by giving me an opportunity to do a stress managment workshop for his team in Chennai. I am impressed with his commitment and inspired by his application. Meduri Subbba Rao has got this vent going and is the main prime mover. His participation was just great! In my opinion, Mrs Subba Rao and Mrs Prasad created very high value out of their participation and those moments are unforgettable for me.
DSR Raju, my dear friend and room mate (where there are no room mates as the hostel is made up of single rooms) is instrumental in creating not only this event but also those one at Hyderabad as well as the recent one in Vizag. Thank you, dear Raju for all this and more. he is a walking wikipedia and one of the most well read, widely traveled and erudite persons that I know.
There can be no better beginning for the New Year. Thank you, my dear friends for this precious  gift.
Hope you practice and nourish the very roots of your existence to bring forth  new levels of well being, energy, joy and peace.