Kolhapur

On 21st March, I was in Kolhapur. I wanted to visit Mahalaxmi Temple in Kolhapur. Believed to have been built in 700 AD, it continues to attract devotees and tourists from all over India and abroad.

I will relate three unconnected reflections about my visit. On 21st March and 21st September each year the rays of the setting sun adore the idol. The period is considered very auspicious. As cameras are not allowed inside the temple, all I could do was to take a couple of snaps of the entrance to the temple.

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Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Temple

 My second reflection is about Kolhapur railway station. It is a Terminus. The station reminded me of the Railway Station in Rome, Italy. I happened to visit Italy once. It so happened that due to excessive fog (quite common for Milan in the month of October) flights from Milan to Rome were cancelled. I took a train from Milan to Rome. That’s how I saw the railway station. The common thing that I found in both these stations was that the height of the platform is very low. While getting down from the train with my baggage I had slipped and hurt myself. A similar incident took place at Kolhapur not with me but with my fellow passenger. In the footsteps of the person who had helped me to reach the airport, I helped the one who fell to reach his hotel which in any case was not far off my own.

Why do railway authorities both in India and Italy allow such avoidable hurts to their customers, I reflected in my mind and cursed the apathetic authorities.

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Kolhapur Railway Station
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Rome Railway Station

My third reflection is about the greatest singer of our country Lata Mangeshkar. She is from Kolhapur. I asked the driver of an auto rickshaw if I could see the place where she lived before moving to Mumbai. He told me that now there is now a Mangeshkar Nagar, an entire colony name after her. He could take me to Mangeshkar Nagar but he would not be able to identify the house where the singing queen once lived. Then he also told me that Lataji wants to take over the old Prabhat Studio in Kolhapur and re-develop it. But local people are against it. They feel it is a heritage structure and should be maintained as it is.

Suddenly I thought of the Pedder Road Flyover. Lataji stays in a building on Pedder Road. She has been all along opposing the development of the bridge as it would create noise and pollute the atmosphere for the people who stay on Pedder Road

I was not happy to think about the two controversies:

One: Lataji wants to develop the old studio but the heritage trust is against it;

Two: Authorities in Mumbai have been planning a Pedder Road flyover bridge for a long time but Lataji is against it.

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Lata Mangeshkar

Wani Yoga – Lesson 6

In the Lesson – 5, we had discussed the ways and means to balance ‘Throat Chakra.’ The simple exercises described can be carried out at any time and place can help you become more articulate and focused.

The importance of the ‘Throat Chakra’ encompasses thinking also. Because if you think clearly, only then you can give suitable commands to your vocal chords and the speech organs. Needless to say that you breathing pattern when you speak is critical. And, Wani Yoga helps you to develop an appropriate and effective breathing pattern.

Primarily though, this sixth chakra, that is the Third Eye Chakra concerns itself with vision. It is both the physical vision and the mental vision. When you look at anything, certain impressions are created on your mind. A closer and attentive look will bring about clarity. But if you are casual, and inattentive, the impression will be hazy and unclear. A series of hazy and unclear impressions are bound to make you mind also hazy and unclear. In the process, you tend to become indecisive. Procrastination prevails thereafter. In such a situation, you are unable to speak clearly and express your thoughts precisely. How can you succeed in influencing others? We all know that the most important quality of a good leader is that he/she should be able to express clearly and should also be able to influence others.

When you are talking to people or addressing them in a group, it is also necessary to understand their response. How do we do that? When they communicate through their body language, it is necessary for the speaker to listen to them with his/her third eye.  You observe the body language through the physical eyes, but assimilating the information gathered, and using the same while speaking surely needs the adept ability of your ‘third eye.’ It is the third eye chakra which enables you to perceive things and simultaneously react accordingly. The intervention of your deeper vision through your third eye chakra takes you to a commanding position. Thus you influence people and develop your leadership quality.

In my next post I shall talk about the exercises the Wani Yoga exercises which balances and enhances this unique faculty that is ‘The Third Eye Chakra.’

Wani Yoga - the Yoga of the Voice

Personal Productivity

A day well-spent is a day cherished. We always find some days in our life where we achieve much more; all that has been planned is easily taken care of. At the end of such a day, we actually feel refreshed. There is no sign of the fatigue that bogs us down on days where nothing much has been achieved. So what causes this seemingly strange paradox? The answer lies in our personal productivity. 

Personal productivity is the output an individual can achieve given the time he has and the tasks he is supposed to perform. Personal productivity is very satisfying for the inner consciousness. It is a primary source of self-confidence for an individual and boosts his or her moral and raises the self-esteem. It is  the very foundation of success. An individual who is highly productivity on a day-to-day basis achieves a lot at the end of the week, more in a month, much more in a year and so on. 

So why do people suffer from lack of personal productivity and remain busy in unproductive activities that keep a person occupied and waste his time? There are several reasons for this idle state of mind. These can be summarized as follows: 

  1. Lack of Focus: Many people do not proceed with any kind of focus or direction. Without any clarity on what is to be achieved; such people waste away their time waiting for things to happen rather than making them possible. 
  2. No personal goals: Every individual must have personal goals. These include family goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, career goals etc. People with no goals often find themselves being self-satisfied with little or no achievements at the end of the day. 
  3. Too many distractions: Anyone who wishes to achieve good results must give up this habit of ‘multi-tasking’ or trying to do various things simultaneously. Rather he/she must focus on doing one thing at a time quickly and efficiently before more on to the next thing. 
  4. Not preparing a To-do list: People who do not actively plan for the work day – preparing an agenda of things to be carried out during the day handicap themselves by relying completely on their memory and working on an ad-hoc basis. It is always better to have list of things ready before starting work and planning the available time accordingly. 
  5. No review: Even the best of plans may not always produce results. What is important is a continuous review of tasks to be achieved. This will enable unfinished tasks of the previous day to be completed on the day. 
  6. Staying happy and cheerful: Enthusiasm and confidence go together. People who are generally cheerful energetically move about the days and quite easily accomplish much more than those who remain serious and self-restrained.

In conclusion, whatever we achieve in the long term ultimately is a sum total off all the small actions we take on a day to day basis. In everything we do, we must strive to improve our personal productivity so that we can live fuller, happier, and more accomplished lives.

Wani Yoga Lesson 4

Wani (your speech) is an index of your physical and mental health. What you speak (content), quality of your voice and how you speak, truly reflect your attitude, your control over your speech organs, your breath control and the coordination between the mind and the language you use to express your thoughts.

These are seven vital energy centres in the body known as the Seven Chakras. Throat Chakra pertains to your expression and communication. If the Throat Chakra is unbalanced, the individual finds him/her unable to express. Often there is a feeling of stagnation. You hesitate to express yourself in a group. Your self-esteem is hurt. You hold on to your anger within yourself. Such a situation affects your mental health which in turn also spoils your physical health. Other symptoms of an unbalanced Throat Chakra which is also known as the fifth chakra are:- excessive talking, timidity ,inability to express yourself in a focused fashion, shyness and being judgmental.

Following are the indications of a balanced Throat Chakra:

  • Ability to effectively communicate verbally, in writing or through body language.
  • Confidence in your beliefs and ability to express these.
  • The capacity to listen to others and understand their viewpoint.
  • You start respecting the power of language and develop an ability to leverage this unique power.

In my next post, I shall describe the yogic exercises that bring about balance in the Throat Chakra.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Wani Yoga Lesson 3

In my last post, I had talked about importance of Jaw and Lips for speaking clearly. Since the words are created by the five speech organs i.e. Jaw, Lips, Tongue, Teeth and Palate, today, I will explain the importance of the last three.
Tongue:
Tongue plays the most important role in creating various sounds which are recognized as words. How does it do it? By making different movements and adopting different shapes. Sometimes it rests and against the upper teeth; sometimes it clips to the lower ones. It curls horizontally and then vertical for articulating different letters of the alphabet or syllabus of the words. One thing remarkable about the tongue is that it heals very fast should it be hurt due to any reason. Your teeth may bite it. You may suddenly take a very hot drink etc. though it is rarely damaged, but it heals fast indeed. Let the wounds it can create on the minds of people whenever ill used do not heal in a lifetime. It always needs to be reined and used carefully.
Teeth:
Teeth also play a very important role in creating certain words. You may notice that when young children loose their upper teeth they are not able to speak certain words clearly at all. Because tongue does not find the correct resting place for producing those sounds.
Palate:
It is the outer layer of the upper dome in our mouth.  It is importance in creating resonance in the voice and also is, instrumental in articulating certain sounds. You might have observed that whenever it is hurt due to talking very hot food or drink our voice is impaired and we are not able to speak certain words.
It is possible you may have found this post a bit too technical. Yet it extremely importance to recognize the role these speech organs play to make our ‘Wani’ sweet and attractive, so we must do all that we can to protect our speech organs and use them adeptly for making our speech effective.

Wani Yoga

We have seen, in our earlier post, the functions of jaw. Today, we shall look at functions/ importance of other speech organs i.e. lips, tongue, teeth and palate.
Lips: Sound of consonants like b, P and M cannot he appropriately produced unless we use lips correctly. Wani yoga puts on the right path to create correct sound of each of these consonants. The exercises for the lips make the lips very flexible. The power of discipline (yoga) in this case also lies in making us active listeners to our own speech. When we listen to the words spoken by us and identify inadequacies, the repetitive process of these exercises reminds the mind of the inadequacies. In turn a revised stimulus (instruction) is sent by the brain to the lips which make the correct movements that result in producing the right sounds.
In order to practically observe the clarity of the words requiring effective movement of the lips, you may try to say the following sentence without touching your lips.
Please pack the pickles and post the parcel.
You will not be able to say the above sentence in an articulate manner unless you press your lips a little.
Similarly you may try to speak the following sentence clearly and observe. This will require slightly different overall formation of the lips to speak the same clearly:
Many moaning man were making music to the moon.
 Tomorrow, we will discuss the, next speech organ. And, you must always keep in mind that practitioners of ‘Wani Yoga’ always ensure that they speak clearly.

Wani Yoga – lesson 5

Throat Chakra is instrumental in creation of our ‘Wani’ (Speech). In my last post, we discussed indications of its imbalance and the benefits and necessity of balancing it. In this post I will talk to you about how to balance the Throat Chakra?

Exercise One:

The first step is to reinforce in your mind that speech is a very important part of your personality today as it never was in earlier times.

Step Two: Whether you are sitting on a chair or on the floor, keep your spine straight. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Take deep breaths. Keep your eyes closed for better concentration.

Step Three: Keep your teeth apart with lips placed on each other (without pressing). Hum the sound of m m mmmmmm…….. smoothly. Repeat thrice.

Step Four: Keeping your eyes closed raise your chin gradually to the extent you can. And then bring it down gradually. While raising your chin and exhale while trying it down. Repeat thrice.

Exercise Two:

  1. Take your shoulders up slowly while inhaling to the count of five.
  2. Keeping your shoulders up hold your breath to the count of three.
  3.  Bring your shoulder down while exhaling to the count of five.

Repeat it 3 times.

Exercise No Three:

  1. Close your eyes and inhale to the count of 5.
  2. Open your jaw stretch as much as you can.
  3. With rounded lips and a mall opening produce the sound of AUM. Take it as long as you can.

 Repeat it 3 times.

You may do these exercises at any time. It is important to keep your mind relaxed and focused. Desire to important your virtual, written and creative expression. Follow the simple principle- Act, never react in your communication, verbal or written.

You may be expressing yourself in any language, but you must work to improve your language in case of any deficiency. Improvement has no limits.

How do you improve your language?

 Follow these simple rules.

  1. Simple language is the best form of expression.
  2. Use profession jargon only when necessary.
  3. Use short sentences unless you are adept in speaking/writing long sentences with multiple clauses.

 Furthermore, keep enriching your active vocabulary by adding one or two words of your choice daily. But you must use these in your communications.

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Communication session in progress

Wani Yoga

Wani yoga is the most practical form of yoga. Its benefits are immense. Above all, Wani yoga does not require you to sit on the ground or lie on the mat. The practices and the exercises can be carried out at home in office or even while travelling. In fact, it teaches us that you can draw the benefits of meditation by practicing Wani yoga throughout the day.
What is Wani yoga?
It is the discipline that controls your psyche and improves your health constantly. We use ‘Wani’ i.e. ‘Speech’ right from the morning when we get up and until we sleep at night.
How do we speak? First, the thought comes in our mind. Then we translate the thought into the language; there after the brain sends a signal to our lungs. Some breath is released. That breath strikers the vocal cord. Sound is produced. This sound travels in the cavities of mouth and the. Resonance is added to the sound and it becomes rich. But until then it is only sound and not the words.
So, how are the words created? The words are created by the speech organs. We have five immaculate speech organs. These are- jaw, tongue, teeth, lips and palate. Their functions as follows:
Jaw: It enables us to speak clearly by using the other four speech organs. Some people do not open their mouth i.e. they don’t use jaw adequately. Their speech can never be clear. So, we need to use our jaw adequately. Simple yogic exercises make our jaw nimble and flexible. Wani (Speech) can have a great power with the power of Wani Yoga which enables us to appreciate the need, and encourages us to use the speech organs. And, as we speak throughout the day our yogic exercise of the jaw continues throughout the day whenever we speak.
Tomorrow, I shall talk about how we use the other speech organs to derive the real power of the special yogic practice called ‘Wani Yoga’.

Self Esteem

What is Self Esteem? Self-esteem refers to the person’s self-belief. It embodies how a person rates himself. If you rate yourself high and respect yourself, people will also respect you. At the same time if you are casual about your personality, people will take you for granted. When people take you for granted and do not care for you, you self-esteem suffers further. You start considering that you are insignificant. It is necessary that you have to always ensure that people respect your opinions.

 If you do not know about something the best thing is that don’t give your opinion and accept that your knowledge on the subject is not enough to form an opinion. However if you know the subject and have an opinion and your opponent does agree, never argue. The best thing is to say that we agree to disagree. Let the matter rest there.

When you are attending a meeting or a conference, you must participate actively. Remaining a mute listener will affect your self-esteem. Before attending the meeting it is necessary to collect your thoughts on the subject so that you are well equipped to participate. In the meeting you should be an active listener. It is only when you listen to the speakers that you can express your own view.

You should not interrupt somebody’s argument. If you are alert you will find a space where you can intervene and try to express yourself in a fashion that nobody is offended. But the participants genuinely consider your views.  

However self-esteem is not only about communication. You taking care of your health, your clothes, the way you carry yourself all are important. In order to make a mark in the society and establish your place it is important to keep you self esteem high.

Stage Fright

Stage Fright is a much used term these days. In fact, almost every professional is required to design and deliver powerful presentations while confidently facing the audience. The basic question remains – What is Stage Fright? And how does one overcome it?

Stage Fright begins with certain overt and physical symptoms. These include trembling of the hands, quavering of the legs, dryness of the throat, or just a feeling of the mind going completely blank. One needs to understand that these are only early signs of stage fright. If stage fright is controlled in its early stage it can be prevented from transforming itself into a strong and very real fear of the audience. In fact the speaker must take positive steps to overcome this situation.  Here is what can be done:

  1. Prepare: This is the first and most important way to overcome stage fright. Inadequate preparation is in fact an invitation to stage fright. Never make a presentation without full preparation. 
  2. Practice: It is said practice makes perfect. Practice is that part of preparation, where the presenter not only creates a beautiful PowerPoint – but he also well rehearses it before an imaginary audience. In fact, good presenters anticipate and answer all sorts of questions to fully prepare themselves.
  3. Focus on the opening:  Well begun is half done. Since stage fright is generally at its maximum in the beginning, a good opening will ensure that you catch the audience interest and attention.  That will do work wonders with your confidence.
  4. Interest in the subject matter: A speaker must have strong interest in his subject. Any speaker who is disinterested or half-hearted, can hardly expect his audience to listen to him intently.
  5. Shift focus of attention: Some presenters are always worried about doing a good job at the presentation. Rather the speaker should focus on the audience’s requirements. What do they need? Why have they gathered to hear him speak? How are they responding to his communication? A positive focus on these questions will enable him to gain greater confidence as the presentation rolls along.

Someone has said that stage fright and confidence are two sides of the same coin. You turn one and the other appears. So the next time you are feeling a little nervous, tell yourself your feeling confident, and believe me you may quite be able to work things out. Remember, it only takes one really good presentation to take your communication skills to the level of a public speaker.