Amid the chaos of our daily lives, where stress seems omnipresent, we have a powerful tool at our disposal. Yoga, originating from India, offers a path to calm the mind and regain focus. With regular practice, we can bring our minds to the present moment, enhancing our ability to concentrate and perform tasks efficiently.
During the International Yoga Day celebrations at IIIT-Bangalore, Mr. Kaushik Venkatadri, Director of Institutional Programs at The Art of Living, Karnataka, engages in a conversation with Naviiina and discusses the reasons behind rising cases of suicides and strategies to combat such thoughts.
When we achieve a state of present-moment awareness, our ability to concentrate and perceive things improves significantly. We become more efficient in completing tasks, sometimes even accomplishing them in half the time. Regular practice enables us to achieve this state consistently.
In today’s age, where addictions to smartphones and various distractions are rampant, yoga and breathing techniques provide a way to bring ourselves back to the center. Initially, these practices may feel unfamiliar or uncertain, but as we start enjoying the process, we enter a state of mind that aligns with our inner peace.
Mr. Kaushik explains, “Let’s delve into the connection between our breath and our mind. When we experience anger, our breath becomes fast and shallow. Conversely, when we feel sadness, our breath slows down. In moments of happiness, we rarely pay attention to our breath. The breath and mind are intricately intertwined. Our breath plays a crucial role in our lives, yet we often overlook its significance. Breathing helps eliminate the majority of toxins from our bodies. The ultimate purpose of practicing yoga asanas is to lead the body towards meditation, where a profound sense of calm and awareness can be attained.”
Develop Mind State that Gives Inner Resilience for Success
The state of our mind holds great importance in our lives. Consider a student preparing for an exam. One month away, they may feel relaxed, and even a week away, they might maintain their calm. However, as the exam approaches, anxiety and fear begin to creep in. In the moments right before the exam, anxiety reaches its peak, only to dissipate after the exam is over. But can we maintain a composed state of mind before the exam?
Mr. Kaushik says, “The answer lies in developing inner resilience. When our mind is calm, the decisions we make tend to yield fruitful results. And how do we achieve this state of mind? Through breathing. The act of breathing plays a vital role in attaining a balanced mental state. In the context of students, it is crucial to prioritize their holistic development. The alarmingly high rates of suicide among students, often due to trivial reasons, can be attributed to low levels of prana or life force energy. When prana is depleted, negative thoughts prevail. Suicidal tendencies are like not being able to fit into your kurta. The mind experiences the same feeling of suffocation that you feel when your kurta no longer fits and thus wants to throw away the mortal body.
To increase the life force energy within individuals, it is essential to ensure that positive thoughts dominate their minds. Factors such as the company they keep (sangha), food, sleep, yoga, and meditation all contribute to this process. Life is a precious gift bestowed upon us by nature, and it deserves our utmost respect.
“Each of us has a purpose to fulfill, and we must strive to achieve it with dedication and gratitude. By nurturing our inner resilience and maintaining a positive mindset, we can embrace the beauty of life and make the most of the opportunities that come our way. Embrace consistency and the mind-body connection to tap into your full potential. These practices, gifted by India, offer transformative power and serenity in our fast-paced lives,” he adds.
Tools and Techniques to Address Emotional Challenges of Youth
“To address the emotional challenges faced by young adults, we have developed a Youth Empowerment Skills Workshop, specifically targeting individuals between the ages of 18 and 35. This age group often struggles with time management, navigating relationships with parents and spouses, and bridging the generational gap in thinking. In this workshop, we equip participants with valuable tools and techniques to effectively handle these challenges. We emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy and intimate relationships, both with parents and spouses. One of the key techniques taught is the Sudarshan Kriya, a transformative practice that addresses the mind-body connection. Through this 12-15-hour program, individuals gain comprehensive skills to enhance their overall well-being and achieve personal excellence,” he adds.
This impactful program is being actively implemented in educational institutions like the IITs in India but also in universities across the United States and Europe.
9 Years of International Yoga Day
In a world where we have international days dedicated to various causes, the celebration of yoga, originating from India, was relatively overlooked. However, in 2011, a significant milestone was reached. During a conference at the Art of Living Center, renowned yoga experts came together and signed a declaration, designating the longest day of the year, June 21, as World Yoga Day. Sri Sri Ravishankar, Spiritual Leader played a pivotal role in addressing this declaration at the United Nations, garnering global attention. Since then, this special day has been embraced worldwide.
What makes this celebration unique is that yoga transcends boundaries of caste, creed and religion. It serves as a universal path toward harmony and self-discovery.
– Mr. Kaushik Venkatadri
Director- Institutional Programs
The Art of Living, Karnataka