Saturday, August 30, 2008

Life is all about "Pressures" !!

I have reached a point in life when I come up with the best business proposals, the right words to solve a miscommunication, the best decisions and all things good when I am under the pressure of a deadline.
Never ever thought I would see this day, since I have always preached the opposite - that you cant work effectively under pressure.....
However, after intense self -analysis, I realized why this happens is because - I like to stick to my values!! Coz, like they the end of the day - you have to sleep with yourself !!!

Why is everybody after MBA?? (Sarcastic Sindhu Series)

Welcome to the age where every Tom, Dick and Harry and every Mary, Jane and Anne is running behind those 3 letters on their resume which they believe, will lead them to the ‘flyover’ to Success, since there seems to be a tremendous traffic jam on the roads to Success !!
Hmm… I’m sure a lot of our hardworking ancestors must be turning around in their graves, but ask any youngster about his future plans – and you will definitely hear MBA in it!!
Ask him why – and you will hear – big money, rich way of life and better marriage prospects!!
No doubt the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is one of the most sought after degrees, and most of the graduates do get into reputed and leading companies. And the most surprising part is that – even the new institutes that come up every year, with absolutely no experience and track record, run their MBA courses full packed with students!!! God is great!!!

Another observation is that while many of the successful people are MBA graduates and vice versa – that is most of the MBA graduates are successful… there are still many of them who … frankly speaking, can’t speak or work for nuts!!
I have personally come across many so called ‘MBA’ graduates who can’t even introduce themselves, or draft an application letter, with absolutely no professional manners or even design a decent resume or …the list is endless….. And yet, they want nothing less than 6 lakhs per annum packages as freshers!!
Anything less than that… and they crib, curse and blame everything and everyone – but themselves…
So what am I trying to say? – I am saying that while getting an MBA is all fine, I have always believed that “Nothing teaches you like LIFE” – no school, no college!!
Academics are all fine, but it needs much more to make a personality and more importantly a good character. Getting a good job is easy…keeping it - is what hurts!!

Only life teaches you the importance of values like integrity, responsibility, commitment, perseverance, respect, teamwork etc. etc., the value of a good character.. and most importantly that “there are still no shortcuts to success“.

All successful people are successful because they have learnt the importance of values in their lives and have realized that there are no shortcuts to success…. unless of course, you are born to the Ambani’s, the Tata’s, the Birla’s or the Donald Trump family!! Or you happen to have links in the underworld or with our dear politicians!!! Allright, apart from the last two, I am sure the others have also had their share of hardwork!!

So Moral of the story is that – An MBA doesn’t define your life.. Join that cultural group, volunteer for the social event.. Explore, experience and experiment with life, especially in the college years.. Understand your shortcomings or weaknesses and work on them… challenge yourself to be the best!!
I’ m sure it will be the wisest investment you make….

Oh, I am planning to start a course in - “MBA – Life Management”… Any one interested?????

The YOGA boom !! (Focus on Shilpa Shetty!) (Sarcastic Sindhu Series)

What do you do if you are in Bollywood, your films fail to make any impression at the box office, but you have a fabulous figure for which you get paid in crores?
I know what you’re thinking, but if you happen to be actress Shilpa Shetty, then you go and make a Yoga CD!!
Ironically, Yoga, which is originally an Indian contribution to the world, is more popular in the west, than it is in India… and, as we Indians have a fascination for anything phirang / westernized, we finally seem to have woken up to the benefits of Yoga.
Yoga is undoubtedly a complete mind-body exercise, with benefits ranging from increased concentration, improved ability to deal with stress and tensions in life to helping Diabetics and almost all special populations. Yoga asanas, although not specific to weight loss, do help in weight management to some extent.
Yoga centres are mushrooming in every nook and corner in every city, with self-confessed Yoga experts offering a range of programs for everything right from weight loss, increase in height (Mission Remotely Possible) to de-stress, and relax your body, mind and soul.
What goes un-noticed is that these so-called Yoga experts, call themselves so, without any formal training or education in human anatomy and physiology as well as about the science of Yoga.
What appals me is that on one hand, there are experts, who have spent years trying to master the science and different postures and techniques of Yoga, and then there are those who claim to be experts in just a few months of self-practice.
Yoga is a science, and must be understood in-depth. Like any other field, the trainer must have formal education to start instructing. After all, you are dealing with other human bodies and in-turn their lives! You must stick to what you know and avoid preaching what you don’t know.

If you are watching a CD and doing it, half the time your concentration is towards the CD, which is completely against the basic aim of Yoga. You just cant relax!
A lot of people, cant follow the postures the way they are shown, and need modifications or the use of props, which only experts know and must be done under guidance.

But there is one good point in all this – atleast the otherwise carefree teenagers are becoming more and more health conscious and finding ways to get healthier and fitter…

Well, what can I say… tomorrow I might just start writing a book on “101 ways to control your spending”! Oh, I am damn good at it !!Will keep you posted on that!!!!

Born to Party !! (Sarcastic Sindhu Series)

Well, what can I say… Clubbing ‘in’ hai bhai!!
“Rise up, and don’t you fall down again“, blaring out of the woofers, flashy lights streaming all over the room, and everybody in the world in a small room…. its party time !!!
Work smarter (and not harder) and party harder, seems to be the motto these days of the young and the restless – right from the spiked-hair teenager to our dear oldies, who believe that life begins after 50 !!
Socializing into the wee hours of the night, has always been there, but seeing that the chunk of the crowd at all discs and pubs are youngsters is alarming..
When asked, a leading psychologist explains – these days, youngsters are either getting more and more financially grounded at a young age or with nuclear families, rich parents and busy lives, they have access to loads of money. Moreover, the kids spend more time with their friends and as such, many activities, like partying, smoking, drinking etc, are a result of peer-pressure. The emotionally insecure ones think of partying, drinking, smoking as “cool” things to do, so as to win peer support, as well as admiration from the opposite sex!!

As a personal philosophy, I believe there is a good, bad and ugly part to everything.. So here comes the gyaan (yawn! yawn!) Well, inconvenience caused is regretted….
The good part is that, all the socializing and clubbing, makes the youngsters quite conscious of their health and their physical appearance, which makes them frequent the gym regularly, with high aims. And when I say high aims, I mean they will not settle for anything less than Salman or Hrithik biceps, Sharukh abs etc. etc. And how can we forget our own indigenous production (!) the size zero lady – Kareena Kapoor, for all the ladies…
In fact, most of the gyms boast of almost 60% of their clientele as young people below 30 years of age!!
Exercising has a long list of benefits and helps to de-stress in these stressful times of ours! Exercise helps to –
Release the happy hormone ‘Endorphin’ and the feel-good hormone ‘Dopamine’ in ample quantities which help deal with stress and other tensions.
It strengthens the body – internally and externally, with positive effects on the immune system and the overall body.
It helps avoid unwanted weight gain, due to all the junk food and colas that we down our throats daily!

Well, I have a list of 101 benefits of exercising…. But I will stop here, since I really want you to read further down !!

Hmmm.. the bad part, is because too much of anything is bad! The impatient amongst the lot resort to shortcuts to achieve instant results. Examples are when you see already wafer-thin girls starving themselves to attain that elusive ‘ perfect’ figure, leading to medical complications like * Anorexia Nervosa or ** Bulimia Nervosa, which can even be life threatening. With guys, a very common problem is the use of steroids and other “power / mass“ or energy formulas, which promise them instant results in their quest for those biceps and abs !! The side effects of these include life-threatening complications like kidney failures, liver problems etc.
Moreover, too much of partying and hence drinking, smoking also burns a huge hole in our already porous pockets!!

And, lastly the ugly part – is when we see youngsters going a step too far, and resorting to drugs, rave parties, and other illegal behaviours. Most of the drugs are addictive, and hence getting out of the mess becomes very difficult, which affects everything and everyone around…

Well, moral of the story is that - enjoy life RESPONSIBLY, PLAY SAFE and stay within limits….

* Anorexia Nervosa – Eating disorder, in which girls starve themselves to death, due to an obsessive fear of putting on weight, characterized by a low body weight and extreme methods of weight control.

** Bulimia Nervosa – Eating disorder, characterised with binge eating, and immediately purging it out of the system using extreme methods.

Partying away the STRESS!!

Born to Party, but forced to study!! Reads one of my friend’s status messages on Gmail!! I am sure most of us agree with it too, looking at the partying scene in Pune.

Most of the students and working professionals look towards partying to de-stress and refresh themselves after a gruelling day at work or after finishing off studies. It sure is a great choice to just relax and catch up with friends after putting in 10-12 hours at work !!!

However, letting your hair down and letting the night carry you away could have many disastrous effects on the body as well –
· Partying late at night disturbs the body biorhythms and may cause many problems like indigestion, constipation, flatulence, acne, lethargy, lack of concentration.
· These get worse, if they are accompanied with lack of sleep, as in the case of people who have to get up early the next morning!
Infact, recently there was a research done, which found lack of sleep as a major cause of obesity.
· Partying is mostly accompanied by eating and drinking late at night, which itself causes a whole range of problems including those mentioned above.
· Eating out late at night helps build your ‘paunch’, which is a common sight these days with everybody. This kind of central extra flab not only causes internal problems, but also affects your postural balance, thereby giving rise to lower back problems, etc.
· Also, alcohol has a tendency to dehydrate your body. Dehydration can have adverse effects on the blood flow to the body and brain and hence cause many problems.

So, although it seems like a great way to de-stress, you have to be careful and counter the ill-effects of late night partying, by eating right and early, drinking lots of water, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise.

De-Stress with a Stretch!

What is the most natural, simplest and the easiest way to de-stress? No rocket science here – but it is to stretch out your muscles and body!
I am sure all of us stretch out at some or the other point during the day – may be in the morning, just as you get out of bed or may be after getting out of the car after an hour-long drive or may be just reclining back on the chair during the break etc. etc.

A simple stretch helps to boost the blood circulation and thus helps us feel energized.

The muscles in our body are made up of fibres and are connected to the joints through tendons, whose length, elasticity and few other factors define the range of motion across the joints which they connect.

If these get shortened, as is the case with prolonged sitting or any prolonged activity like typing, driving, lying etc. then the range of motion decreases, thereby increasing the risk of injury, even while performing activities of daily living, like taking something off the shelf or trying to dry clothes etc.

To avoid this, a few minutes of stretching must be included in your daily routine. This may be done irrespective of whether you exercise or not, any time of the day. For those who exercise, the passive stretches are usually done after the workout as a part of the cool down, and also helping in reducing muscle soreness and shortening.

Stretching is a great way to de-stress since –
· It improves flexibility, which reduces as one ages.
· You are able to maintain / increase your range of motion, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs.
· Stretches out the shortened muscles, thereby easing muscle tension and relieving stress.
· Increased blood circulation, thereby flushing out the toxins.
· Energizes you, since fresh blood gets delivered to the active muscle.
· It can be used to better the posture by balancing the shortened muscle.

However, one very important factor – for those who do not precede it with any exercise – is to warm up you body a little before getting into the stretches.
Cold muscle stretches less, and is also prone to injury and tears.
Also remember to hold the stretch continuously (without bouncing) for a minimum of 20 -30 seconds for greater benefits.
Most importantly, when you stretch, “slight discomfort” is the word, and not “pain”. In other words, the stretching should never feel painful or unbearable.
Consult an expert for the right techniques, and don’t TRY STUNTS AT HOME !!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Massage away your blues!

Well, in these times of uncertainty, there is certainly one thing that I know for sure – which is, that everybody likes to get a massage done!
These days, a lot of people across all backgrounds, look forward to a weekly / monthly massage to de-stress and de-tox themselves. This is only evident from the number of spas and massage centers that are coming up in all corners of the city, offering a wide range of simple to exotic services.
Read on for benefits of massage therapy -
· A massage is a combination of stroking, pressing and kneading different areas of the body to relieve pain, relax, stimulate, and tone the body.
· It works on the skin and soft tissues immediately beneath the skin to improve their tone and increase blood circulation to these areas. This is especially helpful, in case of people who sit for long hours, thereby affecting blood circulation in the lower limb, and especially the back region.
· Improved circulation of fresh oxygenated blood to the skin, detoxifies the skin, and leaves you feeling and looking fresh and rejuvenated.
· It also has a positive effect on the lymphatic system (which runs parallel to the circulatory system), improving the elimination of waste throughout the body, and thereby providing a detoxification effect.
· Massage therapy is used extensively by sportspersons to prevent strains and injuries that might otherwise occur due to excess tension, overuse or any problems resulting from structural problems like stiff joints etc.
· It also relaxes the body, and hence calms down the heart and reduces anxiety, tension etc.
· Through its effect on the nervous system, massage has a positive effect on the digestive system as well as the endocrine system and related problems.The latest massages which include aroma-therapy based massages and deep-tissue massages, which reach the deeper layers of muscle and possibly even the organs themselves, and help in promoting health.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yoga ? But I am not stressed !!

Probably, the most misconstrued of all the facts, its pure injustice, confining Yoga to just as a means for combating Stress….Because, such a statement grossly overlooks the myriad other benefits that practicing Yoga can provide to the one who practices it rightly.

For the layman, Yoga makes you feel healthier—in mind, body and spirit, fresher, more energized and composed, thus making a strong & tough mind and body.

Yoga means “Yuj” Or “Union” of the Self with the Divine Consciousness. The postures and meditation techniques are a methodology to attain that goal.
There are different styles of Yoga-- most common & widely practiced being the ”Ashtanga Yoga” & “Hatha Yoga”, which teaches a number of postures, and breathing techniques…

Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual side of Yoga, you can still practice it, for the number of health benefits it delivers.
-It helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, blood pressure, headaches, back pain (most common problem), Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, heart problems.
- Improves Flexibility (one of the important fitness aspects), Muscle tone, strength, and stamina.
- Yoga also helps to strengthen the respiratory system, thus helping with problems, like asthma, etc.
- Improves concentration, memory and self-esteem, mental toughness.
- Improves facial and skin texture, voice, and improves circulation in general.
- Stimulates the immune system, and is not age-specific.
- Helps control abnormalities of the Hormonal (Endocrine) System, especially of the Thyroid Gland, and its secretions, which contribute to effective functioning of the body.
- They massage and tone the internal organs, which improves their blood circulation.
- The Twisting Poses, Forward Bends, like Half-seated twists (Ardha-Matsyendrasana), Plough (Halasana), Bow, etc. stimulate the Pancreas to manage insulin levels better, which inturn can help manage Diabetes.
- Helps in weight management, by boosting metabolism.
- Yoga also helps in case of pregnant women, where postures like the Cobbler pose, etc. are useful.

Getting back to the topic of discussion, it also helps to effectively deal with stress, and related problems like stomach disorders, constipation, insomnia, etc.

Not only that while practicing meditation as a part of Yoga, the brain sends out an increased amount of alpha-waves, which relaxes the mind and body, and gives a feeling of rejuvenation.

The yoga exercises are not fast and forceful, but instead involve slow and steady movements, which incorporate the whole body and mind, hence, a favorite among the elderly.

Yoga is a form of “Mental Gym” for the mind, which controls the body, and inturn all the problems and ailments.

Lastly, but one of the most important advantages of yoga lies in its ability to correct the ostural imbalances.
As a result of faulty posture over the years, especially a sedentary lifestyle, adaptive shortening and muscular strength imbalances, the major joints in the body, like the neck, knee, and the lower back region are subjected to a lot of stress, which causes lower-back pain, and other problems.

It can be used to relieve tension in the muscles of the neck, lower-back, forearm, those around the eyes, common among the corporate professionals, working with the computer for long hours.

Not to dis-regard the importance of other forms of exercises, safe to say that a little Yoga incorporated into the daily fitness routine, along with exercises focusing on Strength, Stamina, can be used as a holistic approach to wellness.

Thus, I hope the above discussion proves that presence/absence of stress need not be the dictating factor to practice Yoga…Practice it to know it!!!!!

De-stress with Dance

Trust me, everybody can dance and loves dancing, deep inside … whether it is the formal Latin dances or our very own Ganesha Chaturthi special style!!! “the two left feet” syndrome is a myth… Most of us are just in denial about this all our lives.
Even the most shy person, if put in a room with music, and promised invisibility to the world, will dance…

Dancing is a great way to de-stress.. It is a complete package – right from the de-stressing effect, to calorie burning, to cardio advantage and many more, as we will see below –

· Most of the dance forms provide a cardio workout to the body – since usually they involve continuous movements usually for more than an half an hour. A cardio workout enhances blood circulation to all parts of the body, and hence helps flush toxins out of the body.
· Dancing along with music, boosts the secretion of feel good hormones like ‘dopamine’ and ‘endorphins’..
· The increased blood flow to the skin, rejuvenates the skin. No amount of beauty creams can give you the effect obtained by the internal rejuvenation of skin.
· Also, increased blood flow due to a cardio activity to all body parts, also takes care of problems like indigestion, constipation, which can also have a very stressing effect on the body and your productivity.
· For all of us (especially me!) who can’t bear the monotony of running on a treadmill for more than 10 minutes, dancing is a better way to get the much needed cardio workout.
· Most importantly, usually most of the dance sessions happen in a group – this provides motivation and healthy competition amongst the participants, which ends up as a good challenging workout.
· In case you are recovering from a surgery / injury etc. a low impact dance is your best option to get your cardio workout going, and which will also indirectly aid the rehabilitation process.
· And most importantly, dancing being a cardio activity, helps in calorie burning.. It has been proved that an hour of dancing burns anything between 200 to 400 calories, depending on the kind of dance. A light body reduces a lot of stress…
· Dancing is a very adaptable kind of a physical activity – A youngster can participate in high-impact dances like bollywood dance, hip-hop etc.. while an elderly person can participate in any low-impact dance forms like Salsa, Jive or all other forms of Latin dancing.

So.. hunt for those dancing shoes, and dance away your blues !!