Archive for the ‘breathing’ Category

by Sandeep Karode

Professor Ramesh Sitaraman at the University of Massachusetts found that viewers of online streaming videos were pretty patient for up to 2 seconds. “If you start out with, say, 100 users — if the video hasn’t started in five seconds, about one-quarter of those viewers are gone, and if the video doesn’t start in 10 seconds, almost half of those viewers are gone.” Sitaraman says. The full story is here.

Imagine that! 10 seconds has become waay too long of a wait!

I have noticed this same impatience while driving! Next time you are stopped at a traffic light and the light turns green, look in the rear view mirror and observe the reaction of the person in the car behind you if you do not move for 5 seconds! Same thing, impatience!

Same thing in the check out line of a grocery store. If the person in front of you is taking longer than you… think… they… should… take…, notice the reaction inside of you. If you are observant enough, you will notice a wee bit of irritation cropping up!

We’re getting so used to instant everything!

Louis CK summarizes this precisely. In his act Everything is amazing and nobody is happy, he says, “We live in this amazing amazing world and its wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots that don’t care.”.

Louis CK may be exaggerating a little bit, but seriously, what is the hurry? What do you have to do that is so important ALL THE TIME?

All this perceived urgency is leading to stress accumulating inside of you! Radio Lab did this masterful piece on Stress and how it affects our physical body. In this clip, listen from time stamp 13:36 through 18:31, Stanford University neurologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky says that in modern day life, the body turns on stress responses in anticipation of stressors and this leads to all the stress related ailments that the modern day physician is presented with!

So, next time 10 seconds seems way too long, take a deep breath. It’s only your mind doing its thing. Now let go!

And then there are techniques out there that one can learn. One such technique is the Art of Living Course. Check it out! It changed my life!

The picture below helps put time into perspective! 10 seconds… really??



Sandeep Karode

is a Ph.D. Chemical Engineer with 15+ years of industrial research experience in advanced separations. A graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, he teaches the Art of Living Course to the general public to help them find inner peace, relaxation, joy and effortlessly de-stress using the powerful breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya.


Read Full Post »

by Heena Dhruv

My journey with the Art of Living organization began in March 2011. What is “Art of living?” I thought when I first read about it online. I pondered over it for several days. After all is it just a catchy logo or a phrase – “Art of Living?”  As I began the quest, I decided to sign myself up for the Art of Living Course (Basic course).

Since then, I have been practicing breathing techniques taught in the course, which have helped me stay calmer and focused even in the most stressful of circumstances. For example, when I my husband just recently had a car accident, he called me at work all shaken up because the car was totaled, and we had to immediately get a replacement. My reaction on the other hand was very calm and cool. After all, it was it was just car damage, it can be easily replaced.  I got on the phone with the insurance company and some local dealerships searching for an old/ new car.  After I was done with my phone calls, explained the situation to my co-worker, and her comment was “My God! You are as cool as a cucumber, I would be freaking out right now – accident, new car, more money, and cost.”  At that moment, I realized certainly there is a positive shift in me. Whereas before, I would have gone into a web of thoughts about how worse the accident could have been, what if this happened, what if that happened, what would I have done etc. etc.

In my personal experience, Art of living is about having a balance of the inner and outer world.   Although it sounds fairly easy to do, it requires practice and skill that can be acquired through a breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya.  The masterpiece of the Art of Living course is Sudarshan Kriya, which incorporates specific natural rhythms of breath to release stress and bring the mind to the present moment. Have we wondered on how routinely we clean everything…our teeth, face, body, clothes, house, cars etc?  But what do we do to clean our mind? Have we ever considered emptying out all that garbage we have been collecting over the years? In fact the better question is HOW do we clean and empty out our minds? Sudarshan Kriya does exactly that – it is a powerful breathing technique that helps release stress, toxins and accumulated impressions. It offers tremendous benefits to one’s wellbeing. It provides more energy, creativity and clarity of mind. One becomes more self-sufficient, confident, and learns to manage various emotions. It improves our perception, expression and observation.

As my journey continued, I also enrolled in the Art of Meditation course. Meditation is the new word on the block. It is a new trend and most of us have at least heard and / or read about it. But I was not so sure that it was my cup of tea. Although it felt like it was something beyond my reach, something only very serious-minded people would practice, I decided to give the much talked about “meditation” a try as a few of my colleagues had praised it so much.

On the first day of the course, I did not know what to expect, and although I was nervous, I was very curious.  Without going too much into details of the course, because it is an experience that one should go through on his/her own, it was fantastic. The course was refreshing and uplifting, and the teachers were very knowledgeable and helpful.  Although I had just learned to meditate with a special mantra or sound, it was still very challenging. Lots of thoughts and urges to concentrate would make me even more restless.  Giving up would have been a much easier option, but instead I continued to practice meditation as instructed in the course.

Now one year later, it has become an integral part of my daily routine just like the breathing technique – Sudarshan Kriya. The key is to meditate regularly; practice makes perfect!  I am very happy and delighted to have taken up this challenge because it is extremely beneficial and rewarding. It has made a world of difference in such a short span of time.  Meditation in addition to Sudarshan kriya is like icing on the cake and then some. The benefits of meditation to your mind and body are immense.  Nothing can compare to the feeling of fullness and whole.

I was one of those people who thought that life will be complete after I achieved certain things – marriage, kids, job, better title, more money, nicer vacations, nicer home, nicer car etc.  But the truth is, there is no better time to be happy than right now. These practices have made me realize that challenges are part of life, but the art is how we deal with it. Taking the initiative to take the Art of Living and Art of Meditation (Sahaj Samadhi course) is one of the best decisions I have made in life.   One can only value something as powerful as breathing and meditation only after having tried it oneself. One must learn and practice it.  Breathing and meditation are simple, easily-learned tools. Being complimented on your calmness during difficult situations or showing gratitude to those who otherwise would have not expected is breathtaking!

To me Art of living is a journey from head to heart. And I must admit, it is a beautiful journey that words cannot do justice.  It is a way of life! It is about expanding our vision about ourselves. It is about making life a celebration rather than duration.  It is about walking through life with a smile even in the unfavorable conditions.  Someone wise once said “Living in the favorable conditions and unfavorable conditions is part of living, but smiling in all those is the ‘Art of living’.”  I feel more whole and complete. This is the power of Art of Living.  It is priceless!!!!!

Don’t postpone good things in life. Breathe, Meditate and be Happy!



Read Full Post »

by Maya Yajnik
Yoga, breathing and meditation techniques relieve the stress in our bodies. Stress is present in everyone’s lives. The everyday pressures of work, relationships and studying bring about a natural stress response in our bodies. This is the “fight or flight” response which is the body’s way of making us ready to deal with crisis.

When the mind perceives a crisis, due to the mind-body connection, it automatically starts off a complex series of signals and bio-chemical changes called the stress response. It manifests in our bodies as a rush of hormones that give us heightened alertness and brings a burst of energy to the muscles. This gives the familiar sensations of excitement, fear, of the heart pumping, skin tingling, dryness in the mouth and shallow breathing. The brain stimulates a release of the ACTH hormone which in turn triggers the release of cortisol, called the “stress hormone”. There is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

The stress response is good in the short-term to get us moving at a time of crisis. However, the long-term impact on our health is not good. Because modern life is fast-paced and filled with multiple demands the stress response is being triggered in our bodies very frequently leading to chronic health problems. We are in a perpetual crisis mode. We are rushing around barely meeting our work deadlines, driving our children to soccer practice, keeping up with the latest movies etc. Our minds are constantly busy. For example we are worrying about the economy, thinking about an insulting remark made by a friend last week, daydreaming about our next vacation and planning when we will do our laundry. All these cause stress. There is a lot of fluctuation in our minds and often we impulsively overreact to situations.

With time, the biochemical changes due to stress turn toxic in our bodies. They cause fatigue, irritability, headaches, muscle tension, blood sugar imbalances, lowered immunity and increased abdominal fat. We need a balancing and relaxing influence which will release the accumulated stress and prevent the stress from accumulating. Our body has the natural ability to heal and recharge if we give it the chance. For example, a good night’s sleep leaves us feeling fresh and new again. Yoga, breathing and meditation are effective in bringing about this relaxation and rejuvenation. The techniques recharge us on a daily basis so that we feel fresh, enthusiastic and joyful again. Our systems are brought back into balance.

Independent research shows that yoga exercises along with breathing and meditation reduce the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and corticotropin. For example, the article “Yoga for anxiety and depression” in the Harvard Medical School newsletter says that yoga (and specifically Art of Living’s yogic breathing technique, Sudarshan Kriya) modulates the stress response lowering the levels of stress hormones. The techniques decrease the physiological arousal associated with stress slowing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and bringing breathing patterns back to normal. Studies show an increase in emotional well-being and enhanced brain function.

We are naturally capable of handling the pressures and challenges in our busy lives. The Art of Living courses give us the tools to balance our lives so that we can express our innate abilities. The yoga, breathing and meditation techniques reduce the toxic stress hormonal buildup in our systems. The practical suggestions in the courses give us awareness of how we react to situations. This awareness gives us the freedom to respond effectively thus prevents stress from accumulating in the first place. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Meditation helps to change your perspective. It brings clarity in the mind. It improves your interaction with people around –what you say, how you react and act in different situations, you become more aware. In general, from a stress-free society to peace and health in individuals and from a violence-free society to a sorrow-free soul – all are side effects of meditation.”



Read Full Post »

Previous Posts »