The True Art Of Living

November 27, 2009 Pune, India - Man loses health, to gain wealth and loses wealth, to regain health. I really have no objections if your take on this statement of mine is inclined towards the lighter side but, it really concerns me to see so many lifestyle-obsessed creatures around who are so much negligent to realize that their sedentary way of life is killing them bit by bit everyday. For instance, a Project Manager in a multinational organization has been holding the same position for the past fifteen years. He is proud of his status quo and all the recognition and awards that he has fetched during the course of his work in these years. Interestingly, he is a Manager among his team-mates, a Manager among his relatives and still thinks that he is a Manager at home. On similar grounds, a professionally qualified doctor makes it a point that he prefixes a 'Dr.' before his introductory name. He is tagged - professionally, mentally and spiritually to his professional identity. There is nowhere he can escape from his identity. Certainly, monotonous lifestyle and the acquired perceptions therein, have been compelling us to fade away the real self within us.

I was stuck up literally at the phrase - 'my hundred percent', yesterday when I was at a brief session conducted by the organization 'Art of Living'. I generally refrain from getting involved into spiritual stuff and that is the perception I had in my mind about this organization. Spirituality is something that takes us to a different world, a world which is just very loosely connected to the world we are living in and working in. But that is not exactly what this is all about. I have been practicing a few exercises of Pranayam and Kapalbhati for some weeks and have been intrigued by the amazing results I have obtained. Probably, this could be the reason why I decided to join the session.

'"Yes, I give my hundred percent to my work" - was the instant answer to the presenter's question that was obtained from almost all of the participants. My concern was that how each one of us was so confident about our performances given that we really had no metrics to measure it. That would have been an obvious answer from a subordinate to his superior when the same question was shot at him during his appraisal discussion. But the context of the question here, had a larger scope - much larger than what most people had imagined in the room. A simple exercise proved every one of us wrong. We were asked to stretch our hands sideways, slowly and to the best of our abilities. That's our best, each one of us anticipated. However, when the same exercise was asked to be performed in a single jerk, we realized that we had almost stretched a lot more than before. Our best was now a bit behind our new bests - we pondered.

To say we are living our lives every hour and each passing day but, the real essence is that we are actually dying every single day, every single moment. Every single person in this world is chasing his own dreams, endlessly and carelessly. His aspirations have no upper bounds. To be very terse with the point I am trying to make, he is loosing his own self between his attempts to achieve his goals, trying to be like someone else - role models. Long working hours on a chair, occupational responsibilities and stress have been depreciating the quality of modern life. There has been a steady decline in the physical activities of a modern man which just adds more concerns to this health. By this time, you must have realized that the thoughts running in your mind at the moment are harmonious with the message I am trying to pass.

With my quell for physical fitness, for three prolonged years, I was a dedicated visitor of the fitness centers and gyms where I used to carry out heavy machine workouts. The results I obtained thus, were impressive but failed to live up to my expectations when I met with an accident a couple of years back. The aftermath of the surgery almost turned me down with a drastic loss of health. All I lacked was the 'core energy'. Just ask a professional body builder to perform any of the advanced Yoga exercises and enjoy watching him accepting his defeat. The reason being, he lacks the core energy which is not linked to muscle strength. Well, for all those gym freaks, let me iterate that building bulky muscle mass and curving your biceps is not really the true definition of fitness. It is something which is linked to your thoughts, mind, body and spirituality.

I have been practicing a few types of Pranayam for a few weeks and that is the greatest way I have found to achieve fitness of body, mind and soul. I am sure that most of my Indian friends must be aware of Yoga, Meditation and the benefits involved therein. My experiences have revealed that nearly all of our fitness problems are linked to our stomach and breathe. Kapalbhati Pranayam is the one that has the power to cure and prevent almost all of the common diseases. A regular follower, will find no chance to complain about his health problems. I have been experiencing the results almost within two days. Tough to believe my words if you are very naive to the topic but I urge you hard to give it a go - you won't really mind to spare mere 20 minutes of your time for your health every morning. You may choose to take help from some institutes or tutorials in order to start with Pranayam.

There is just too little space here to enlist the benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayam. This morning, I had been to the rest-room before I took up Kapalbhati and later, was compelled to visit it again. This is when I am able to say that I am giving my hundred percent in my work. Pun intended but yes, I am serious!


  1. I don't want to be a grammar Nazi but two typos in starting sentence made me point it out. It should be "loses" not "looses"

  2. The 'Art of Living' indeed!

    I wonder why modern day 'experts' look down and talk down... upon the life styles of our forefathers. Most of them were usually in the pink of health... well into their 70s, 80s and 90s.

  3. @Reema, Of course you are not a grammar Nazi. Thanks. This occurs just when your are too much dependent on the proof reading tools! :)

    @Roshmi, you are absolutely right! Ever wondered why our great grand fathers lived longer lives! Why our grand mothers are so active even today? This post provides answers to it all.

  4. There is nothing wrong with "Art of Living" but look at the previous generation--they lived a healthier life,a longer life and perhaps better quality of life.
    Why do we need " ART OF LIVING"?

  5. Thats lovely way you put across about the gym addict and that of yoiga, Kapalpati and pranayamam is a very beneficial ones for sure :) I am sorry to read about your accident mate, I guess we all go through the loss of something(here its health) to know the importance of it.

  6. @BK Chowla, Yes, our forefathers were physically stronger and lived longer. This was due to the lifestyle they lead. Today's lifestyle has become more dependent on machines. Luxury and ease of getting things done just adds to the health hazards indirectly. It is a matter of great concern as to how many of us realize the seriousness of the things were are losing. "Art of Living" as an organization might be doing it's part in creating awareness among the masses. I am not trying to promote them here, but just wanted to share the experience which was beneficial and divine. You really do not need "Art of Living" if you are cautious of this!

    @Srivats, Glad to read your response. Aptly said, we often realize the importance of certain things when we loose them. But hey, I am still hale and hearty. Such accidents are just part of our lives :)

  7. Hey, I am a new reader though, would like to share something here.Yoga...YOG to be very precise has been an integral part of Indian culture. We only didn't realize its value. But i feel there is a sense of deja vu about it.We are going back to roots. Nowadays people are understanding importance of meditation and yog. If we explain spirituality to modernist he may not take it so enthusiastically as you said but yes the sense of responsibility to maintain your health is certainly there.It doesn't really matter which path we take-meditation, yog, art of living,healing methods like Reiki- all goes to the same destination of being in bliss.So moving towards our roots will help us not only to survive but to LIVE!

  8. @Shweta, Very well said! Indian culture has always been patronizing Yoga!

  9. Yes,Yoga certainly understands our body better than any other science.It flows with the rythmof our body. Regarding spirituality, don't avoid it.Its the basis of our life. It sets you free. You will remain grounded, even when you have attained success in the material world.

  10. It's good to read something relating to spirituality. It's right that we are so fervently occupied with the tasks and chases of this world that we forget actually what is more important for our life... That is, good health and peace of mind. Money has pushed all spiritual goals in oblivion.

    I have also heard about Prayanam being very helpful exercise. Could you please explain in brief how it is done? You said there's not enough space to describe it's benefits and all, then could you provide links to useful webpages which give good info about Pranayam?

  11. Very interesting perspective and thoughts. My mom is a great follower of 'art of living' too and I have SEEN the changes it has brought.
    Main thing is to have self discipline which is very hard.


  12. @Anita, I must confess that I am evolving into a spiritual person. I promise I won't avoid it ever :)

    @Darshan, Thanks and I shall definitely plan for a post on Pranayam and it's benefit. Given that I am just a beginner, I am waiting to experience the bliss to its utmost. My blog will be updated in due time.

    @Preeti, I am simply overwhelmed by your comment on my blog. First, a grand welcome to my blog. I have been reading about you in newspapers and blogosphere. I must congratulate you for "34 bubblegums and candies" - I am planning to read it sometime :-)

  13. Nicely written short stories neeraj. Nice to see ur blog!
    Keep posting!

    Lakku Iyer

  14. Well, I do disagree on the gym front!! There are bodybuilders who can do a full split, to answer the physical flexibility or the core strength. I do pranayama as well, and the benefits are really good, but so are the benefits of exercising with weights.The discipline and the mental courage which is required to complete a proper workout cannot really be compared with yoga or any art of living. Both have their unique advantages, and its wrong to have an impression that one helps while the other does not. You are still going to be injured if you dive 20ft, no matter how much of pranayama you do,:)