Offerings

Offerings

“The health of a person and his ability to respond to the challenges of his job without feeling stressed is a basic requirement”.

While this might seem obvious, very rarely do we see organizations investing enough to ensure an individual's physical and psychological health. The source of energy in an organization is the individual. His / Her health and vibrancy are the foundations on which all actions rest.

The acquisition of a set of skills is necessary to discharge ones responsibilities. The relationship between the skills available and performance is apparent; however health and clarity are a necessary basis for performance. An individual entering an organization is fluent with a small range of roles, hence when challenges at work call for a new set of responses and greater resilience, the person feels stressed. Individuals in an organization must invest a great deal in order to align themselves to the larger goals of the organization. Each person must listen to the underlying rhythms of the organization and play his / her part in spontaneous harmony. Teams and organizations that achieve a deep rhythm and order in their functioning, develop a greater power and focus. They are responsive to change.

Growth and living are inextricably connected in each of our lives. How often do we stop and say, 'life is wonderful, I am glad I am here'? To be able to feel the enthusiasm for the changes in one's life, to look forward to our work and relaxation with excitement, to build relationships with trust and joy, we need to understand the process of change and growth. We need to adjust ourselves to the demands of the outer context, from the safe recesses of our inner selves.

In our experience, young people in our society are struggling to find an emotional balance through various peer group activities and ending up in a roller coaster ride of intense togetherness followed by isolation and loneliness. They are following the lure of success and material acquisition without sufficiently exploring their true potentials that would enrich their experiences of success in a far more meaningful way.

We have designed various workshops and programmes to address these aspects of the living process that do not get addressed in the home, in the educational institutions or in the work spaces.

 

Dharma through Living

 

There are several special and unique aspects to the Indian perspective of reality and the meaning making created out of its cultural assumptions. One of the most significant is the nature of the hero that is reinforced in its culture. In India it has always been the householder or the ordinary family man/woman, unlike the warrior of the west or the wandering monk of China. In the ordinary every day existence of the householder amidst his commonplace concerns there must be a quality of transcendence and an inner unfolding. Dharma must be discovered and lived in the family and the market place in the midst of a community. 

  • Being an artist and experiencing the beauty of the path of creating artistic manifestations, be it as a visual artist or as a musician.
  • Through the path of dedicated action in the world, known as Karma Yoga.
  • Study and deep understanding of tradition, particularly Vaastu & Yoga, both through textual study and long lasting relationships with traditional gurus for decades

 

SPIRITUAL VAASTU WORKSHOP FOR TECHNICAL MINDS

SPIRITUAL VAASTU WORKSHOP FOR TECHNICAL MINDS

This workshop is meant for architects who already have some background on Vaastu and are looking for a way to consolidate this with their training in contemporary architecture. Since I have a background in this I do feel that this consolidation can happen through an interactive workshop.

There are some principles of design, site selection, shape and form, and location of facilities which are part of the Vastu Shastras. Seldom are these aspects brought into public notice by the average Vastu practitioner because they are only reading popular books and also using their knowledge of astrology to come up with their inputs. My intention would be to make architects aware of this body of  knowledge which has been my area of work for over 20 years.

 Vastu (Vastu Shilpa Shastra) is not a stand-alone system. It is interconnected with life style, nature of material, topography, philosophy, culture, craft and aesthetics. Ayadi Shadverga as Vedic Calculations is an important part of Scientific Vastu Practice, I will dedicate a day on this topic. To understand the one, all the others also have to be understood. Therefore the workshop will also work with many of these areas which are both theoretical and experiential.

 

This workshop has been designed in two parts. 

Part I will be for 3 days and the participants will be given a broad overview of the entire subject.

Theory: Land, site, topography, gradient, water source and nature of vegetation are important elements in the understanding of the space for building. Shape, form, colour, texture and other characteristics of a building are important for the overall impact.

Theory: Directions, cosmology, Vaastu purusha mandala, energy fields and interconnections have to be examined to understand the impact of the building on the occupant.

Theory: Ayadi Shadvarga, Personalisation of your space using vedic calculations, human scale for architecture and interior designing, practical example and case studies

 

Part II of the workshop is designed as a residential event for four days.  The participants will be encouraged to use theoretical knowledge for building design, as well as vaastu correction of case studies.

 

At the end of this the participants will be offered certificates and this will allow them to practice a standardised vaastu system. 
Our hope is also to move towards an university based education that would impart the vaastu knowledge in a more structured and holistic manner to designers and practitioners.

 

Kailashnatha Temple

Kailasanatha Temple in Kancheepuram

Cosmology in Vaastu

 

Artist’s view of a traditional city

 

Modular planning, Tiruvannamalai

 

Pada Vinyasa or modular planning

 

 

A Dancer Prepares | Inner space / Outer form

Nataraja the cosmic dancerNataraja the cosmic dancer

This workshop is meant for dancers and will help the individual to understand the relationship between his/her inner urges and feelings and its connection to the outer space/form.  It will also help the dancer to understand the relationship between movement, breath, emotions and expressions.

Shiva in a graceful postureShiva in a graceful posture
  • Every dancer requires a fundamental understanding between her/his body and the space form created through movement.  Moreover the inner feelings get expressed through body and face which can be understood through exercises that evolve in relationships.  We will help the individual to experience this in the Workshop.
  • The human body and the space around are inextricably linked.  Through Bhavana this connection can be perceived and revealed.  We offer a space for this exploration.
  • Many anxieties and experiential responses are carried by people regarding the impact of the outer space and form on their psyche, their life styles and their joys and sorrows.  Anecdotal examples will be used to help the participants to understand these links.
  • Energies are flowing through our bodies and in the spaces we occupy.  These energies are from the earth and from cosmic sources.  We can develop the ability to feel this and harmonize it.  We will assist in this process of opening out the self to such energies.
  • Every individual is now asking questions about the Vaastu of a building.  We will create a context for the exploration of the person with every type of outer space, and form through exercises and drawings.  It is only through the unfolding of personal awareness that the relationship between self and space can be understood.

 

INNER WORK THROUGH YOGA

Praana – Reenergizing & Rejuvenating Life

Praana – Reenergizing & Rejuvenating Life

There are several special and unique aspects to the Indian perspective of reality and the meanings we create out of its cultural assumptions. One of the most significant is the nature of the hero that is reinforced in our culture. In India it has always been the householder or the ordinary family man/woman, unlike the warrior of the west or the wandering monk of China. In the humdrum every day existence of the householder, amidst his commonplace concerns, there must be a quality of transcendence and an inner unfolding. Dharma must be discovered and lived in the family and the market place in the midst of a community. The individual must comprehend the meaning of right living and be able to deploy the self in appropriate livelihood.

  • How do I balance work and life?
  • So many demands on my time, as a parent, a spouse, a boss, a colleague; I feel drained.
  • Where have I lost my zest for life?
  • My home does not give me the same sense of peace and well being as before…
  • I am not able to feel energized
  • My health is not what it used to be
  • How do I become the best that I can be
  • How do I pursue excellence continuously
  • How do I find direction & meaning in life

These words are so familiar to so many of us. We can see that our lives are revolving within a cycle that is neither as wholesome nor as meaningful as it could be.

 Swami Vivekananda’s vision was regarding the power of praana as the significant change- agent in creating a balanced and healthy society. This is also connected very positively with the creative impulses defined in the Vaastu Shastras and Yoga shastras. Vaastu and yoga speak about correct air flow and balanced energy. The alignment of space and body and the streamlining of the life breath are the fundamental principles of Vaastu and yoga.

 A bow shoots the straightest and fastest arrow when it is drawn back fully. In times when life moved at a more leisurely pace, one could develop a personal rhythm between action and reflection. Today, it has become difficult to find time for “drawing inwards” before one shoots at goals and targets! We should renew ourselves and regenerate the context.

Many of the philosophies and practices of the Indian tradition, such as Yoga and Vedanta, will be explored so that the individual can deal with his/her existing reality, and take a step into new dimensions. In the current scenario, unless people can be assisted to take this step there is great danger of becoming frozen and stale. The methodology of the program will help the individual reflect and introspect on his/her life, learn techniques through which they can create alignment for themselves, and look at and improve role effectiveness.

 The sense of anxiety and helplessness that are being generated through the rapid changes in the psychological environment can be countered only by re-examining the assumptions that the person lives by. Multiple role demands can be encountered and handled with grace when the potential of the person is tapped, and the frontier of activity/effectiveness is constantly enlarged.

 This programme is based on the philosophy that one’s being can extend itself and begin to respond with joy to the world around only when conditioning and entrenchments are transformed.

  • This is a workshop module to help individuals connect both their inner space or consciousness and the outer space or home / work environment.
  • This workshop will be conducted as 3 half-a-day sessions, starting at 5PM ending at 8PM with dinner and a short tea break in between.
  • Participants are requested to wear loose clothes for Asana practice as well as floor seating.

 

 

 

Saptaswara

 

How does one live a life where one can act with honour and live in peace?

Never before has the past been less reliable for steering oneself into a meaningful future. How can a person re-envision oneself in response to a radically changing world?

All of us are confronted with questions like this. We turn to various traditions, their wisdom and practices. Sashikala & Raghu Ananthanarayanan the authors of Saptaswara have designed a unique programme that allows the participant to discover a personal practice that will help the individual act with honour, live in peace and grow inwardly.

Aasana and Praanaayaama do not constitute yoga, nor does a sporadic meditation camp. The traditional transmission happened through a Gurukulam. Modern living conditions preclude the creation of this context. Having experienced an immersion in the study of the tradition and in the modes of experiential learning, Sashi & Raghu have developed an experiential learning methodology that blends the yogic tradition with deep inner work. 

 

The Saptaswara thus offers the following:

  1. A ‘here and now’ encounter with oneself
  2. A contemplative context for self reflection
  3. An experiential learning about the insights of Yoga and Vaastu
  4. A framework for developing an enduring personal practice.

 

The Saptaswara offering will begin with a foundation workshop of 3 days, followed by a full immersion over a 3 month period. The 4 month long saadhana will be a combination of two day workshops every month followed through with regular coaching and facilitation over mail.

  1. Asana and Praanayama practice
  2. Encounter sessions on the elements of ‘Saptaswara’ wherein the concepts of Maitri, Karma, Dharma and Gnyaana will be discussed.
  3. Reflection on, and development of, the personal practice
  4. Dialogues and consolidation

 

Elements of Saptaswara

Maitri

Around us we find individuals both happy and unhappy, doing laudable actions as well as creating trouble.
Depending upon these conditions, one might be jealous of another’s happiness, pleased at another’s suffering, critical of another’s benevolent acts, even angry at yet another’s failure.
As we relate to others, we must be comfortable with their happiness, compassionate in their sorrow, show goodwill towards their laudable works and display equanimity when they err.

Karma

The yogi acts without attachment to any specific outcome.  He is not reacting to white, or black or grey (and therefore stays attentive to the action in the moment). Others get obsessed with specific outcomes and get distracted from the action.

Dharma

All characteristics remain either in one form or another. They might be apparent, or not, but never destroyed.
As with the gold in a bangle, a wire, or a coin, the basic substance is unchanging, even though the formal characteristics appear to be different.

Are changes of characteristics orderly or not?

Gnyaana

The process of focused attention to a chosen area of enquiry goes through three stages.  Firstly, staying engaged with the object of enquiry, secondly, getting absorbed in the object of enquiry, and thirdly, becoming one with the object of enquiry. When these stages are continuously applied to a chosen object it is called Samyama. Samyama leads to the complete understanding of that object.
The object can be tangible or subtle, inner realities or outer realities.

Ramya

When the mind is directed towards an object, all mental activity is relative to the object. The total immersion of the mind in the object of enquiry goes through four stages : debate, sustained enquiry, joyous understanding and deep identification.

Yoga

When one becomes adept at the eight aspects of Yoga, the impurities of the mind, which are between the perceiver and the object to be perceived, are eliminated. This automatically lights the lamp of perception. Everything can be seen without error.

Abhyasa

For most of us, the force that can eventually dispel the undesirable qualities of the mind and move it to the state of Yoga, is faith. When faith is strong, the energy to persist is automatic, in spite of repeated failures. Perseverance rests on the courage to face reality. The internalizing of the wisdom of great teachers, and attentiveness, leads to right perception. All these converge to help the person stay on the path.

 

WORKSHOP ON THE YOGA SUTRA

 

The Essentials of the Yoga Sutra

Yoga is a comprehensive philosophy.
It looks at four questions profoundly and helps the practitioner find answers to these questions.
These questions are:

  • What is Dukha?
  • What is the cause of Dukha?
  • What is the state beyond Dukha?
  • What are the means to transcend Dukha?

 

These aspects of Yoga are not often understood because the more visible aspects of the practice namely Asana and Praanayama take precedence.

Understanding the way the Yoga Sutra looks at the various aspects of a persons’ life and how each aspect can be part of a holistic practice is essential if a person has be grounded in a life-long process of self transformation. The Yoga Philosophy talks about the formation and evolution of the universe. It relates this idea to the individual and therefore creates a powerful connection between each person and their world.

This conception of the self and the world then becomes the basis for understanding Dukha: The way we perceive the world and the way we encounter it, the inner triggers that cause a shrinking of our selves, how we then misinterpret reality and how we then keep reinforcing this concept.

Having described this, the Yoga Sutras then suggest many ways of changing our patterns. Since the body and mind are seen as an integral whole, Aasana and Praanayaama are an important starting point. However, the Sutras contrast Bahiranga Yoga (outer practice) and Antharanga Yoga (inner practice).  The bulk of the sutras deal with Antharanga Yoga. The way to end Dukha is through having an insight about ones inner processes.

Since Yoga is one of the original philosophies of India, many of its key concepts are reflected in Buddhism, Vedanta and other Philosophies. Buddhist scriptures quote some of the Sutras and these form a core of the practice.

 

In this three day discussion on the Yoga Sutras, Raghu will select the sutras that state the essential concepts, and help the participant understand how to approach a study of Yoga.

 

THE BEAUTIFUL MIND - THE LEADER PREPARES

 

Background Concept

There are several special and unique aspects to the Indian perspective of reality and the meaning making created out of its cultural assumptions. One of the most significant is the nature of the hero that is reinforced in its culture. In India it has always been the householder or the ordinary family man/woman, unlike the warrior of the west or the wandering monk of China. In the ordinary every day existence of the householder amidst his commonplace concerns there must be a quality of transcendence and an inner unfolding. Dharma must be discovered and lived in the family and the market place in the midst of a community.

 

We are faced with a crisis in the world today and leaders must prepare themselves to be able to confront this both personally and through their organization. The nature of the challenge lies in the fact that all the problems we face today are man-made. The ecological crisis is man- made, the fundamentalist mindsets are man-made and the consumerist compulsions are man-made. Therefore, discovering a way to educate managers and leaders to delve into themselves and become self aware, to understand groups and become skilful in handling relationships to evoke people into a right livelihood that is at once fulfilling and creates sufficient wealth and to direct organizations that can ensure sustained development is critical.

 

Traditional Paths

Many of the theories and philosophies of traditional India have played an important role in shaping the individual and the collective.  They are making a resurgent impact in post modern thought.

The individual consciousness or the Jivatma (vastu) and its connection to the universal consciousness or paramatma (vaastu) is a very fundamental concept. Out of the awakening of the individual and the sensitising of the jivatma the meaning of life and the eternal nature of existence are connected. Many practices have been recommended for this awakening to take place, such as work, art, devotion and intellectual understanding.

  1. Being an artist and experiencing the beauty of the path of creating artistic manifestations be it as a visual artist or as a musician.
  2. Through the path of dedicated action in the world, known as Karma Yoga.

In both of these paths the focus is on the persons relationship to himself/herself, to work and resources as well as to the collective. The Indian artist has always been one who went back to the marketplace to offer his/her wares to people in the form of craft and useful household items.

 

The Beautiful Mind : The Vision of the offering

It is said in the Vaastu tradition that there are six ways of discovering the divine within oneself.  The divine manifests itself endlessly through rhythm and order, man touches the divine when he discovers rhythm and order within himself.

In the body thro’ dance
In words thro’ poetry
In sound thro’ music
In form thro’ sculpture
In space thro’ architecture
And in thought thro’ mathematics

In the modern context one must add a few more possible paths :

  • The discovery of order and rhythm in systems
  • The discovery of aesthetics and economics in the use of resources

A beautiful mind is one that discovers the order and rhythm of thought, feeling and action in all its endeavours.

The beautiful mind is one that:

  • Is deeply aware & understanding
  • Is genuine and authentic
  • Is capable of dialogue and insight
  • Balances power with humanness
  • Self reflexivity with group sensitivity
  • Can lead and follow with poise
  • Discovers effective and aesthetic solutions to problems
  • Can confront reality without fear or compulsivity
  • Can balance all aspects of living – work, home & society
  • Is growing inwardly and can foster others
  • Can engage deeply with life without losing an inner sense of happiness
  • Is calm and optimistic in the face of danger
  • Is skilful in using knowledge and competencies
  • Can intuit the truth and offer it to oneself and others to reflect upon.
  • Does not waste any resources either human or material
  • Has a meaningful understanding of time & timing.

 

A beautiful mind is what all of us aspire for.

The beautiful mind is constantly renewing itself and regenerating its context. A beautiful mind inspires others to excel themselves. A beautiful mind enquires deeply and pursues truth. A beautiful mind is self-aware and manages relationships with grace.

Art as the way to discover the beautiful mind

Art is the pursuit of the idea of beauty and experimenting with the “mind of an artist” is one of the ways of discovering the beautiful mind.

An artist values structure, stability and certainty but question it constantly so that they do not become dead and oppressive. An artist values order, but, discovers it at the edge of chaos. An artist’s values freshness and is always ready to explore the unknown, an artist is impatient with the tried, the tested and the well trodden paths. An artist’s is ever prepared to become empty of all that is old so that in the presence of the unknown something new and meaningful may take root. Above all the artist is not afraid to fail, to reach out for things beyond his / her grasp, to strive for thing that stretch them to their limits.

The Mandapam: a space to discover empathy and heroism

Equanimity is the basis for peace

Our effort through this workshop, (which is recommended to be one of a series), is to help participants to become sensitive and aware through play and encounter with each other. Groups that play together stay together!

“To enable every member to act with honour and live in peace is the purpose of a tribe” - Native American wisdom. This is the task of every member of the tribe! This series of half-day encounters will enable the groups to evolve a more empathetic way of working together.

At an individual level, it is important to ask: Who is the modern ‘Hero’? Discovering this heroic self is at the heart of creating a tribe that is as good as it can be.  We will help participants to understand the hero within themselves in these workshops.

Pancha-Mandapam :

We call these dialogue spaces the Pancha-Mandapam that stands for the five aspects of this work. Five is a magic number that denotes many mystical aspects of Indian culture. It is also the space for equalization and dialogue.

A Yantra is a combination of all the elements

  1. Air- Form and Colour; Art  Painting
  2. Water– Sound, Music, Poetry
  3. SpaceDialogue; Small- group, Individual
  4. Fire- Technology; Photography, Films
  5. Earth- Healing through Movement; Dancing, Theatre, Yoga

Alignment is the key

Some of the key elements we will work with are:

  • Awareness of body and breath
  • Deep listening
  • Empathy
  • Receiving and offering gifts
  • Reflecting
  • Understanding System responsibility

Play and experimentation in safe environments is the way culture is nurtured

Adult humans rarely play together! There is no regular “net practice” for nurturing empathy: The Mandapam will be the place to play together and discover oneself and the group.

Nurturing Empathy in a group and discovering ones heroic self is a saadhana. Welcome to the inner journey.

 

 

YUVA LEARNING FORUMS

The New Gen Media team having internalized the Existential Universe frame-work, we will carry the frame through as a base for all the work.

Young Adult
Foundation EU

We take the group through the Existential Universe levels. This will create a common language. Then use case studies to be enacted as ways of looking at how each one responds to and creates the world of 'the other' in ones mind.

Each participant will fill in the EUM (I). We share the scores with them and do a group discussion on implications. This can be the basis for a coaching window as they work in the field.

Day 1:

  • Ice breakers
  • The frame works enacted
  • Life journey, the impact of the value memes

Day 2:

  • The Nava Rasa
  • Relating the frame and the rasa
  • Case discussion

Day 3: We will design it differently for the two groups

  • Discussing the individual propensities
  • The Musicians: Each one chooses a piece or two of ethnic music. Presents how they see the Rasa/ memes reflected in the music; their own subjective evocations, and a story board
  • The Seekers: Each one chooses a documentation of a travelogue or…… Presents a critique based on the frames and Rasa. Presents a story board of one of their adventures
  • The Village Live-in: A face to face with a Social Activist; Present a docu and dialogue
  • The rest of the group responds, builds upon …             

20-20 - EUM based

Perform a theatre-based understanding of the levels. Go through the hero’s journey using the Mahabharata frame. Do a Nava Rasa sensitization, and have a dialogue about different heroes and what rasa they represent, and what level are they  are grappling with what roles do they play of the 5. Some dialogues about people we select. Dialogues with people like Suresh, what is their struggle? Why do they do what they do etc.

Day 1:

  • Ice Breakers
  • The frame work
  • Story of the 4 princes: lead up to a discussion of the 4 Pandava-s

Day 2:

  • The Hero’s journey
  • Dialogue on Arjuna
  • Choose a hero and critique based on the learning

Day 3: The actual shooting

 

 

 

 

SchoolScape, Centre for Educators
The Blue Mountains School, Ooty and
Indian Montessori Centre, Bengaluru
A Retreat - shanti in education

 

Amukta for SchoolScape & The Blue Mountains School

Uma Shanker for Indian Montessori Centre

We had a three day retreat for around 35 participants. Some left a little early while some came in and out since they were the teachers in the campus.

Sashikala Ananth and Jeyvelu were the faculty for this retreat.        

 

Programme design

We planned the sessions together with Amukta so that the educational elements as well as the behavioural elements could be integrated. The intention was to make the participants go into a self-enquiry mode and allow them to come up with various new ways of relating to each other. In this connection exercises and reflective games were used in each session followed by journalising time.

At the end of the 3 days, combined poetry writing was carried out in small groups, and it was heart warming to read some of the poems that came up. They were very sensitive and visionary in nature. Finally the participants lit lamps and made a commitment to their personal as well as collective vision.