By Sarvesh Shashi
An 18-year-old energetic young man harbored dreams of becoming a professional cricket player. One day he was told to eliminate 5 things from his life that would typically be essential to any youngster’s regular life. No alcohol, no lies, no non-vegetarian food, no violence and lastly, celibacy.
These 5 precepts became the guiding principles of how I live my life and everything that came after that – my company, my mission and my relationships with my teams. That’s exactly how things turned out to be for me and the journey from there on, was very clear for me. I wanted to take my experience, my learnings, my journey to the world and change as many lives as possible, with yoga.
An interesting part of how I survived my early on challenges was that while it sounds very daunting and difficult, it becomes a part of your life very easily. Out of the 5 things, in fact, I found celibacy to be so uplifting and creatively stimulating that I have now been practicing it for over 10 years despite having committed to follow the practice for 7 years only.
As a millennial, I’ve often been asked how I have managed to do all of the 5 precepts without even breaking a single rule even once in my life. People generally view the precepts like ‘No Drinking’ ‘No Lies’ ‘Celibacy’ as a religious vow that is restrictive but to me, it only opens me up to exploring myself further and further having immense understanding of my own mind and body. Truth be told, it is not necessarily a pious way of living, but a practice wherein the practitioner overcomes physiological cravings to lead a less indulgent life.
Today, yoga has grown and evolved from being a workout of the saints and sadhus to a cool, trendy, Instagrammable hobby that everyone wants to do. And no matter why someone takes up yoga, they do eventually feel and see all the benefits of it – toned body, calmer mind, better sleep, lower anxiety etc. We’re in a time where our existing and future plans, our livelihoods etc have been flipped on their heads and all we have to fight another day is ourselves. And it’s important we pay attention to our minds and bodies. And it doesn’t take a lot, just 10-20 minutes of your daily routine for yourself. Start by challenging yourself to keep at it for a week, you’ll soon start noticing the changes and continue it by yourself. Here are some basic, very understated benefits you’ll start noticing
Better focus: An area most of us nowadays struggle because of the sheer availability of apps, platforms, content etc. Yoga trains your mind into focusing your breath and subsequently your body which further trickles down into the other aspects of your work and life.
Better creativity: At times, we get so bogged down by the daily tasks that our minds are too exhausted to think. We only do. Those couple of minutes of yoga or pranayama create space in your mind to really explore thoughts, activities that you’re capable of, but are too tired to think about.
More energy: If you put your mind to it, our bodies can be utilised much more efficiently that we do right now. But more often than not, we get so exhausted doing menial things, that we get drained out of energy, both physically and mentally. Thinking about our to-do lists, dwelling on things that could go wrong etc just adds to it. That regular practice of yoga can help you clear out your mind and think clearly which will then give you the mental and physical energy to manage your time, energy and capability, more efficiently.
Hence, it is an understatement to say that yoga improves the sense of calm and mental and physical wellness of a person, because it does so much more once you get regular at it. Through yoga, we also develop the ability to become much better at self-awareness and interpersonal skills. Further, these two practices give better clarity of mind and creative thinking abilities. These benefits make them more relevant and potentially helpful in today’s high paced life!
(The author is Founder, Sarva & Diva Yoga. Views expressed are personal.)