Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Opinion > Being Trolled in Real Life

Trolling in the virtual world is almost a given. Anyone who is active on any social media platform has been subject to trolling at some point or another. But have you experienced trolling by real people in your daily world?

I write on food and travel. Food particularly is a very subjective topic. Opinions vary ... While many of my followers, who are mostly my friends and family, relate to my taste and hence appreciate my opinion, there are those who don't. And that is fine. Except when they want to reach out to either tell me that I am wrong or (worse) try to convince me to agree with them. And it is this last point that I really have a problem with. 

Being quite an opinionated individual myself, I appreciate others to be clear about their opinions as well, whether they agree with me or not. After all, we can't think alike on all topics. In fact, I do like to hear out opposing views as that broadens my own mindset. Whether I change my opinion thereafter is a separate matter. 

But I find that many people don't simply agree to disagree. Either one agrees with them or the other is wrong! A case in point is when I went with a bunch of friends for a music concert. Now this one person in the group decided that she didn't like the singer. So be it! I quite enjoyed the performance. More than anything, it was meant to be a relaxed evening out with my friends and not a review for which one had to dissect the nuances of the singer. But what irked me is when the concerned person tried to convince me that the singer was actually quite bad. Well, here I am enjoying myself, why should I be subject to someone else's unsolicited negative opinion?! Do we need to necessarily think alike to be part of the tribe?

And it's the same attitude that reflects in today's highly polarising politics. People strongly support or oppose certain political parties. But being a democracy, and voting being a highly secretive process, everyone is entitled to their opinion and hence their right to choose. Why must one try to convince the other? A genuine vote comes from free will. Enjoyment of any of the fine or performing arts is an individual's prerogative. One may or may not enjoy something but do we really need to influence people around us to fall in line with our perception. 

Just something to think about..

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Yoga > Yoga for Exam Time

Exams! A word that can create stress for even the most easy going folks. And although “stress” is a strong word, especially for young students, it is an unfortunate reality of our times. Peer pressure, parental pressure and oftentimes their own need to excel and “max every paper” unduly burdens school-going kids. While we could get into an endless discussion of why and how we’ve reached this point, we’re not going to waste your precious time over inane arguments. Instead, as always, we are happy to help in whichever way we can. So: the best antidote to stress of any kind is Yoga. Read on for some simple, yet highly effective and quick yoga asanas especially suited for exam time. {While we recommend your young ones to practice these asanas and pranayama, we’re sure that wired up parents will also benefit from the same!}

3 in 1 (also known as TTK)
Starting the day with a set of these three asanas comes highly recommended by the Bihar School of Yoga. These also offer a rejuvenating stretch to the entire spine after sitting and studying for a long duration at a time. These asanas are especially useful to relieve physical and mental tension at any time during the day.
-       Tadasana (palm tree pose): Stand with the feet together or about 10 cm apart, and the arms by the sides. Steady the body and distribute the weight equally on both feet. Raise the arms over the head. Interlock the fingers and turn the palms upward. Place the hands on top of the head. Fix the eyes at a point on the wall slightly above the level of the head. The eyes should remain fixed on this point throughout the practice of this asana. Inhale and stretch the arms, shoulders and chest upward. Raise the heels, coming up onto the toes. Hold the breath and position to a count of 10. Lower the heels back to the ground while breathing out and bring the hands to the top of the head.
Practice 5-10 rounds.
-       Tiryaka Tadasana (swaying palm tree pose): Stand with the feet about two feet apart. Fix the gaze on a point directly in front. Interlock the fingers and turn the palms outward. Inhale and raise the arms over the head. While exhaling, bend to the left side from the waist. Do not twist the trunk or bend forward or backward. (You may also practice this against a wall to maintain the right form.) Hold the position for a few seconds while retaining the breath outside. Inhale and slowly come to the upright position. Repeat on the right side. From the upright position, exhale while bringing the arms down to the sides. This completes one round. 
      Practice 5-10 rounds.
-       Kati Chakrasana (waist rotating pose): Stand with the feet about half a metre apart and the hands by the sides. Take a deep breath in while raising the arms sideways to shoulder level. Breathe out and twist the body towards the left. Bring the right hand to the left shoulder and wrap the left arm around the back. Bring the left hand around the right side of the waist. Look over the left shoulder as far as possible. Hold the breath for two seconds, accentuate the twist and try to gently stretch the abdomen. Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side to complete one round. Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting. Perform the rotation smoothly, without jerking or stiffening the body.
Practice 5 to 10 rounds.

Balancing Asana
After the above stretches, it is recommended to practice this calming and balancing pose. Beyond the physical, postural balance it also helps develops nervous balance and facilitates concentration.
Eka Pada Pranamasana (one-legged prayer pose): Stand upright with the feet together and the arms at the sides. Focus the gaze on a fixed point in front of the body at eye level. Bend the right leg, grasp the ankle and place the sole of the foot on the inside of the left thigh. The heel should be close to the perineum and the right knee should point out to the side. Hold the ankle until the body is balanced, then place the hands in prayer position in front of the chest. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. Release the pose completely and change sides.
Practice up to 3 rounds on each leg.

Pranayama for Relieving Stress
Bhramari pranayama or humming bee breath induces a mild meditative state and calms the mind by directing the awareness inward. It also relaxes cerebral tension, alleviates anxiety, anger and insomnia.
Sit in a comfortable position, either cross-legged on the floor or on an upright chair; the spinal cord should be erect. Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Make sure that the jaws are relaxed too. Raise the arms sideways and bend the elbows, bringing the hands to the ears. Use the index and middle fingers to plug the ears. The flaps of the ears may be pressed without inserting the fingers. Breathe in through the nose. Exhale slowly and in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound. The humming sound should be smooth, even and continuous for the duration of the exhalation. This is one round. At the end of the exhalation, breathe in deeply.

Perform 5 rounds.