Monthly Archives: May 2012

What’s Your Sunday Like?

After a tough week at work, my Sundays in Bombay are turning out to be well-planned days of sublime perfection.  Let me take you through my “itinerary” and see if I can entice you to do something similar. Of course, you may be on to something even better for your Sundays, in which case, you can just ignore this!

Sunday is normally a day for rest and relaxation.  But before you get to the R&R part, it helps to have accomplished something more. That way, the R&R when you get to it is that much more meaningful and momentous.  You know, the yin and the yang.

For the past several weeks, every Sunday has turned into a time for my yoga marathon session. I’ve made it into one of my healthy habits. 

A couple of months or so ago, I achieved the feat of doing 100 Surya Namaskars during one session. It was a one-off “trial” – after which we were left feeling exhausted but awesome (not to mention earning me some nice bragging rights).

Not to waste this awesomeness on just that one trial, I along with my yoga buddy and teacher have been getting down to doing those 100 Surya Namaskars every Sunday since then. Best decision we made!

For this, we allot roughly two hours and do them in bite-size chunks of 10. That sounds so much easier….just 10 sets of 10.  

Perhaps this is more for the yoga practitioner than the novice. But consider this! Merely a year ago, my experience with yoga was non-existent. I had the stiffest body in the universe. And no real (working) knowledge of yoga.

100 Surya Namaskars – is it tough to do, you ask?  DUH.

But, what is that feeling you get at the count of 100, while sweaty and achy all over? Total over-the-top exhilaration!  

I want YOU to feel this way too. Very little compares to this fabulous feeling of accomplishment. And because it is an expanded workout, so too our gains in all these areas are expanded (greatly):

  • Physical stamina, check.
  • Flexibility, check.
  • Toned arms, legs, abs, everything. Check.
  • Mental peace of mind, check.
  • Emotional strength and well-being, check.
  • A test of will power and determination, check.
  • A sense of accomplishment. Oh, yes!

Here’s a one minute video that shows the Surya Namaskar variation we perform. It’s not the best (like my yoga teacher’s!) but it is good.

The way I feel lately…my body is a temple and these are my Sunday services where I worship at its alter. Yeah!

The best thing to do is to make it a habit. Grab a yoga video (or buddy). Start at 20 Surya Namaskars, or 10.  Or one.  Just start. And then build up.  Sunday works for me for an extended yoga session because I have no set deadlines and nowhere I need to be (well, sort of).  Here’s the thing, notwithstanding the many benefits you gain for body and soul by following this regimen, I would highly recommend that you follow-up the tough work-out by planning to reward yourself well soon after.  🙂

Only then will it truly be a holistic Sunday!

And so… the curious Bombay-Sunday-Personal-Yogathon habit is formed:

  • Stretch-your-limits-yoga from 8 to 10, followed by a refreshing shower.  
  • Then my appointment with Aamir Khan that starts at 11 sharp, at least for the next few weeks. This gets even better when joined by good friends.
  • During this, a cool drink or two (chilled Pinot Grigio if you have it, otherwise a skinny, i.e. homemade, mojito with fresh mint, lemon, soda and rum…yummy!), after which your body is ready for a filling lunch.
  • This is followed by a most welcome afternoon nap, which I float into oh so naturally, barely a page turned of the latest book in my hands.
  • Evening is for a heavenly back rub or a massage if you can get it.  Bliss!
  • Wrap it up with a bit of writing (like now), and it’s time for bed, looking forward (well…) to Monday.  

This is why Sundays were created!

So, can you see how nicely – even easily – such a habit can be cultivated? It’s easy when you know how awesome you are going to feel  each step of the way. By describing the yin and the yang, I am hoping to turn some of you into regular yoga practitioners. I can’t help it…I’m becoming a fanatic about this.

So, what’s your Sunday like?  If you decide to push yourself and give something like this a try, I guarantee you won’t regret it!

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Interested in my yoga journey (and what could be yours)?  Here are some of related posts. You can see how far I have come (and how far you can go), in a little over a year.

Step 1 – Just Starting Out

Step 2 – In Awe

Step 3 – Progress

Step 4 – Stretch Goal

Step 5 – Accomplishment

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Photo Credits:

Yoga Pose by: By Tia Tran [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Oh “India Shining”, Wherefore Art Thou?

A Catchy Sound Bite

India Shining was a slogan popularized by one of the leading political parties (BJP) during the elections of 2004. It was supposed to reflect the economic optimism of an emerging giant.

Prior to that, the Indian government had used it to market the country internationally. Since that time, it’s no lie to say that there was remarkable success in transforming the image of this country in the eyes of so many – within the nation, as well as far and wide, outside these borders.

In fact, many Indians seem to still believe that India Shining is the reality – if not now, then soon. To me, it feels like they’re fooling themselves – either immersed in naiveté or patriotic self-deception.

But Reality Bites

Here’s some of what is happening in this country that is leading me to this conclusion:

Economic Growth: Below expectations.

Inflation: High and rising.

Rupee: Down, way down…the lowest ever against the dollar last week.

Per Capita Debt: Rising steeply.

Industrial Output: Declining.

Trade Deficit: Growing.

Government: Paralyzed – by coalitions and many pockets of self-interest.  Except perhaps for removing cartoons from text books.  Big 😦 .

Alternative political party strength: Not very hopeful.

Corruption: Healthy. No, make that thriving.

Innovation: Huh?

Social Indicators: Declining. (Bangla Desh has overtaken India in nearly all of them).

India versus China: Sheesh…here’s one write-up on the topic – The elephant can not fly like the dragon unless winged.

Foreign Investment: Fleeing.

BRICS: What’s on its way – The “I “for India to be replaced by Indonesia.

Okay, so go ahead and ask me…am I not being a tad harsh here?  Isn’t the entire world experiencing a similar plight, especially economically? Aah, but while the entire world is experiencing this plight, the India growth story was supposedly intact and one of few exceptions.  No more!

Here’s something scary I just read.  The Financial Times asked a Western investor – What ails India? The reply: Everything. And then he went on further to say: “On every indicator we look at, there is a red flag. This country is close to becoming the Greece of Asia.”

Is that scary or what?!

Worried Yet?

People here need to get their heads out of the sand, stop being content with things as they are, stop believing all the hype about India Rising and India Shining, stop focusing all their attention on cricket and Bollywood, and wonder what is really happening to this country and what they can do about it!

Thomas Jefferson said about America – “I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”  For all its faults, that country’s various governments over its short history have done more to accomplish this (prosperity and the pursuit of happiness) than virtually any other.  And the beauty of that democracy is that it allows this to happen. 

A government that genuinely takes care of its people rather than of its politicians can affect the same positive outcome in India. This is a democracy too. Isn’t it?

Mammoth Potential

You say then, is there no hope for India?  

Hah! But then you are asking a Pollyanna this question. Of course, there is hope! 

What is left that we can hope for are the two P’s.

PEOPLEall that human capital (and so much of it so young!) – surely among them there are some true leaders for the nation.

POTENTIALall that budding energy and those resources, waiting to be harnessed.

Now, India  just needs something or many someones who care enough to put these together and make them work FOR this country.

As someone once said: “The potential of the average person [nation?] is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.”   

But as someone else once said  – “Potential has a shelf life”.

Sometimes, people (and governments?) mobilize towards solutions when a crisis looms. That time is now. Time for the real “India Shining” – the one that is waiting to be discovered behind an empty slogan.

Yes, I simply talk and write. And wish. But what I would do, if it did happen in my lifetime!

If only.

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