Who has time for yoga in a corporate lifestyle? 4 reasons it is indispensable

You think you are focused, till you close your eyes

Last month I attended a 28-day, 200 hrs intensive yoga teachers training course. On day 1, I had the biggest aha moment.

Sitting down to meditate, devoid of any significant work or personal troubles, in a beautiful ashram surrounded by a lakes and mountains, when I closed my eyes to โ€˜meditateโ€™, I couldn’t tame my thoughts for even a couple of minutes! The mind kept jumping from thoughts irrelevant to thoughts unexpected. I thought I was calm and very much in the moment, but in reality the inner machinations of my mind were constantly dealing with a billion things โ€“ from making sense of past memories to deciding responses to future problems, from worrying about the mosquito that is hovering close to my ear to the imperceptible inner working of the cells. Most troubling was the fact that I had little control over any of it.ย 

Which led me to think, with so many friction points to concentrating, are we really being effective at what we are doing? What if we could reduce the friction and channel our mind, like a prism, on one point, one project, one objective? How incredibly powerful would that be!

As I contemplated and learnt more over for the next 4 weeks, challenging a lot of my own assumptions, I synthesized 4 learnings to take back to the corporate world.

1. Multitasking is NOT possible: We think we can multitask, i.e., doing two or more things at the same time. But the truth is that our mind CAN NOT process two things at the same time. It’s akin to saying, the new iphone screen has a smooth display because we don’t see any pixelated squares. When encountered with two things, our mind divides it into small tasks and processes them linearly, unless encountered with unconscious / subconscious / reflex activities. When we give it too many things to deal with it keeps jumping around like a drunken monkey and gets tired. To be more productive, to be creative, or to really solve a problem, we need to go deep and concentrate on one task at a time.

Experiment: Check your phone at 15min – 30min intervals. In the meantime focus on the task at hand. See your productivity rise. We think the world ends in 30min but it doesn’t ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. Learn how to breathe and use it to your advantage: Breathing is the most powerful activity we do all day. It keeps us alive. However, ‘feeling’ alive requires breathing in the right way, allowing for more oxygen than carbon dioxide in the lungs, brain and all the billion cells to effectively do their functions. Insufficient breaths put incredible stress on the body, reducing brain activity and prematurely deteriorating it.

Experiment: Inhale, abdomen out, expand your chest, expand your shoulder to bring air fully to the bottom of the lungs. Exhale, abdomen in, chest relaxed, shoulder relaxed and let all the air out from the lungs. Just like a baby! Whenever possible, take a counted breath and exhale with twice the counts of inhales. Notice a slight calmness when you exhale and attentiveness when you inhale.

3. Digestion is more important than eating: Do you know that digestion takes up over 50% of the energy we get from the food we eat? Do you know that carbohydrates and proteins take 12 – 16 hrs to fully digest in our bodies? Do you know that feeling hungry can be a craving of the mind and not the need of our body? Constantly eating heavy meals can make us tired and counterintuitively reduce the amount of nutrient absorption in the body. We lose productivity of food and productivity at work!

Experiment: Find your favorite snack. Start with a glass of water, a cup of herbal tea, 3-5 dates, handful of nuts, a fruit bowl, or a yogurt cup and still if nothing works than you are really hungry for food! 

4. Exercise to focus on internal systems as much as external appearances: We have got to keep all the billion cells, 72K+ nerve centers, 650+ muscles, 206 bones and the 78 organs functioning well to be the most productive version of ourselves.This might sound overwhelming because who has so much time to take care of the body?! Just listening to it should be a blow to our lifestyles. Exercise to build bone strength, exercise to increase blood circulation, exercise to stretch the muscles and exercise to massage the internal organs. Yoga is an answer to all or a great supplement!

Experiment: The neck muscles are most susceptible to getting tired as they channel all the nerves through a critical, but narrow highway – from the spine to the brain. Do some neck exercises and you will suddenly feel fresh.

Take care, breathe, and build for sustainable success ๐Ÿ™‚

Banana Oat Pancakes!

Make these delicious Banana Oats pancake mountain to crush those long To Do list filled mornings!

You know its going to be one of those long days, the day would start and before uyou know it you have skipped lunch. There is an unending to Do list. On those exact days, I am asking you to take out 15min – 5min to cook and 10min to eat these extremely nourishing, filling (will not cause bloating) and will keep you going!

However for those who have already started rolling there eyes on oats, I am going to be honest here. Oats are a healthy grain option – they are whole, full of fibers, vitamins and minerals, keeping you full and satisfied for a long time. But after several experiments in kitchen I have concluded and agree that it is very hard to make them taste good. 

I have experimented and tried to incorporate oats in my every day diet, but unfortunately with little success till now. They are gooey and ‘taste of health’, which people who do not lean towards healthy food know what I mean.

Oats Upma and oats Poha never turn out good; Oats Porridge loaded with nuts and peanut butter comes midway but hard to adopt for those you donโ€™t like the taste of oats. But dont stop there if you have. Give this recipe a shot. These Banana Oats pancakes have been taste tested 20 times with 100% success – TASTE BETTER THAN REGULAR PANCAKES

Recipe

Prep time: 15min | Cooking time: 2 min / pancake | Makes 4 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour (You can grind it fresh in your smoothie blender. Doesnt have to be very fine. Coarse tastes better)
  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (+ 3tsp for cooking)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated taste better)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (can only grate fresh if you have a high power blender)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essense
  • Strawberries and/or chocolate chips for garnish! (optional)

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (oat flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, baking powder)
  • In a new (but smaller) bowl mash the Banana with forks into gooey chunks. No stress. Then carefully crack your egg, add milk, honey, coconut oil and vanilla essence. Mix it all well!
  • Pour the liquid mixture from the second bowl into the first bowl and mix well (again) till everything becomes smooth and even. Do not keep over mixing it as the baking powder will start losing its effect ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Now when you are ready to eat, In a pan add 1/4 tsp coconut oil and wait till you can feel its become hot (not too hot that oil starts burning)
  • Then pour 1/4 cup of our delicious mix, make it into a rough circle and wait till you see bubbles forming at the top and the outsides starting turning golden. Flip it over! Cook for 30sec on the other side and flip it, flying high up in the sky, straight into your pan
  • Mount two / hree of these, with fruits, nuts, honey, chocolate sauce in between! Decorate as you like
  • Eat within 10min. Best when hot

Notes:

  • Consumer within 10min. Best when hot!
  • You can pre make the mix the night before, so all you need to do on those busy days is take the mix out of teh fridge, cook for 5min (1 min to heat the pan, 2 min / pancakes *2) and 10min to eat! Give yourself that much time, esp when you know you might be skipping lunch that day ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Banana and honey are the secret agent here!

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Satori

Satori is a Japanese buddhist term that simply means “understanding”. But it stretches the definition of understanding to awakening, i.e. “seeing into one’s true nature”. To strive to continually and truly understand something.

For me, Satori is a way of life. It is about not just leading a life but living a conscious life, absorbing the world around and asking questions to dig deeper into the whys, so that one day I could find peace with my role in this world, and if I am really lucky then make a positive impact on someone else.

My objective of starting this blog is to keep myself accountable to being curious, asking questions and sharing my learnings in the blogosphere.