Positivity during COVID-19 Pandemic?

Covid 19 – the name itself gives us shivers. It came by surprise and halted our lives. All those year-long plans flushed away instantly. Life seems engulfed with never ending waits as we are eager to see the loved ones.

We all saw how our doctors, nurses, security personnel and every person related to essential service could not go to their homes and see their own families for many days. News channels drenched us with alarming figures of coronavirus cases, increasing death rates, migration of workers, people fighting for food and many more devastating stories. 

It is difficult to remain positive especially when we are surrounded by a plethora of negativity. Strangely, there is always a positive side to negative. We explored that positivity through nature when unusual sightings of animals were spotted not only in India but around the world. Remember – Dolphins in Mumbai, Olive Ridley turtles nesting in daylight on the coast of Odisha, dancing peacocks and civets roaming on empty streets. It felt as if nature is telling us – who is the boss now! It was positivity. In fact, it was the moment of truth for us. Nature gave us a chance to stop and think. 

Adding to it, we got enough time to spend with family. We played games with our children, cooked food, ate together, chatted for hours, fell in love all over again, smiled and laughed with family, talked to friends over phone whom we had forgotten a decade ago. We got time to do those things which were on our to do list since long. This is it, this is life. We all realised nothing is as important as ‘family’. 

We even got a ‘me time’ during the lockdown. Personally, I happened to read some interesting books on archaeology, explored some podcasts brewed with positivity, planned and created content for a youtube channel, brushed-up my English and French skills, started a healthy routine, exercised and practiced Yoga, painted a canvas and planned this blog. I had never imagined all this. Moreover, this super productive routine was not possible prior to the spread of this pandemic. True, we are surrounded by negativity but this change was much needed to make us realise what we have and how less we need to live a happy and healthy life.  This is a different kind of happiness. 

Positive attitude is everything. If we remain positive nothing is impossible. It gave us the strength and a ray of hope to go ahead with the flow of life. Sharing beautiful lines from the book ‘The Light in the Heart’ by Roy T. Bennett – “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create”.

The Power of Yoga

Yoga is thousands of years old. The exact date of its origin is still not confirmed but mention of the word ‘Yoga’ has been traced in the texts of Rig Veda. Since centuries Yoga is being practiced by Rishis, Yogis and Brahmans. Isn’t it amazing, that we in the year 2020 are still practicing Yoga and trying to be a perfect Yogi.

Surely, you will not realise the power of Yoga until you do it. It will give you a bagful of energy and flow of positivity. You will instantly gain not only physical strength but also mental calmness. Not only it will improve your body posture but Yoga will also improve sleep pattern. But how can we practice perfect yoga postures? How to gain that strength and steadiness?

Doing yoga especially for a beginner may be tiring and difficult as it requires lot of stability. Doesn’t matter if you are a fit person and follow an exercise regime, Yoga would be a bit tough in the beginning. Certainly, it doesn’t mean one can’t do it. Once you start doing Yoga, it will be your favourite time of the day. Yoga has an engrossing power which will make you feel closer to your inner self.

Arjun’s Penance from Mahabharata – Arjun as YOGI standing in tree posture to obtain Siva’s weapon (Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu)

How to start a Yoga regime?

Yoga can best be done in the morning. It will give you an instant energy boost. Begin practising yoga for 3-4 days a week for 10 minutes initially and increase 5 minutes every second day. You may increase the number of days as soon as you feel at ease in practicing basic postures.

Simple yoga postures

Start with easy and basic yoga postures like mountain (tadasana), easy seated (sukhasana), downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana), cat-cow stretch (chakravakasana), plank (kumbhakasana), tree (vrikshasana), warrior 1 and 2 (virabhadrasana), bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana), easy child (balasana). You may also require to learn some controlled breathing techniques through yoga postures like Pranayama. Although there are a few more simple postures but start with the above listed ones and then move slowly to other postures.

Benefits of Practicing Yoga

1. Improvement in body posture and muscle strength along with flexibility

2. Weight management and balanced metabolism

3. Improved breathing and lung functioning

4. Skin glow, reduction in face wrinkles and improved blood flow

5. Mental strength and better concentration

6. Refinement in sleep pattern

How to learn Yoga?

There are a numerous free online resources to learn Yoga from the comfort of home. There are a number of amazing youtube channels and websites by professional Yoga instructors from where one can learn Yoga. Even apps on Yoga are quite popular these days. My personal favourites are – Daily Yoga, Yoga for Beginners. Both these apps have free as well as paid classes. So one can choose whatever suits him/ her the best. If you are one of those who need a Yoga instructor then try to find out a nearby Yoga class. Although, in my opinion, online classes are the best and it would save both time and money.

Go ahead and try this archaic form of exercise. Yoga will make you happy and beautiful both from inside and outside. Besides, it is one of the best options for those who are struggling with joint and back aches. Yoga is easy on joints and gives strength and stability. Together let us celebrate International Yoga Day by following the path of Yoga. Go for it! Your body will be thankful to you.

Present day YOGI in easy seated posture

10 minutes to success!

10 minutes to success! – This sentence sounds ‘wow’. Some might think it is impossible but strangely, it is not. The first question which will come in our mind is what exactly we can do in 10 minutes and secondly why only 10 minutes. Well, I agree, 10 minutes sound a bit less but remember the quote ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Why you need only 10 minutes?

You might be having a big goal in life which you eagerly want to accomplish. But to achieve a goal, you need to have a plan or a strategy. To do so, some preliminary research is very much required. What you need to do immediately – you need to start doing that reasearch for 10 minutes in the beginning. Just push yourself and take-out 10 minutes of time everyday to move slowly towards that goal. Stick to 10 minutes rule and stop procrastination.

Go ahead and take a small step. Slowly, you will find 10 minutes have increased to 20 and then 30 and further more. It will be a step closer to your aim. Remember – well begun is half done.

What is the best time of the day to stay focused for 10 minutes?

Well, it depends on you again. If you are a sunrise kind of person than follow 10 minutes rule in the morning. I always do it in the morning and so far it is turning-out to be a solid thumbs-up for me. To cut it short – do it whenever you feel like, as per convenience and schedule.

Tips to enhance chances for the success of 10 minutes rule

A. Try doing a 10 minutes research with some motivational music (certainly not with vocals)

B. Write down those goals or choose a motivational photo and stick them near your work desk. It can also be done digitally using sticky notes or screen backgrounds. The motive is to always keep your goals in front of you

C. Read inspiring quotes everyday

D. Read or listen triumphant stories

E. Read biographies of successful person or entrepreneurs

F. Stay positive and believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible

G. Talk and discuss about your goals with a person whom you trust

H. Remember success is never easy but it is not that difficult too

It’s never too late to start something you always want to do. Go ahead, give yourself 10 minutes everyday and see the change.

Mind your mind

Every man does, not every man really lives — William Wallace

How many times you tried to stick to goals? How many times you promised yourself to wake-up early in the morning and to follow an exercise regime? How many times you told yourself I would leave an unhealthy way of eating but end up doing a binge eating? The list goes on and on. But strangely you failed to achieve all those aims. Have you ever thought about the reasons behind all such failures? Sit silently and try to recollect all those missions and to do lists which you have made almost 1000 times but failed to comply.

The reason behind such failures is our flickering mind. We are not able to control our minds and so it wins by controlling us. Clearly, it means one must learn to win that mind to be successful in life. But, how exactly we are going to do it. There are in fact so many easy ways which one can try.

Meditation – A calm mind is a happy mind. Meditation is a top-most way to control the wandering of mind and make it focused. Try doing a 5-10 minutes meditation in the beginning along with breathing exercise. It would help in relaxing, balancing the mind and slowly would help in lowering distraction. To begin with, there are a number of apps which one can use but my personal favourite is Headspace. Do try it out!

Follow an exercise routine – I know it is quite hard for the starters. I have gone through this phase but just push yourself once and it will be a part of your routine. Start with just 10 minutes exercise. Let it be simply dancing or jumping. Start moving your body just for 10 minutes and begin increasing by 5 minutes each week. You will not regret it and your mind would love it.

It has been scientifically proven that exercising releases chemicals known as endorphins which interacts with the brain. Eventually, it make you feel positive and happy. So, be an active being and move that ass.

Mind exercise – Try playing games like cross word and sudoku or simply solving puzzles. If you like playing chess then do it more often. Make you child play brain games like word hunt, memory flash cards or the maze games (try to introduce games like Pac-Man). It will increase problem solving abilities and make your mind sharp and controlled.

Limiting mobile phone – Remember those days when phone were simply phones to stay in touch with near and dear ones. It is now changed and our small phones have been changed into a trendy super fast mini computers. It has controlled our mind completely. But we can change it by controlling its use. Mobile have been made to make us more efficient so try using it in effective manner.

To do so, try do not disturb modes while working or studying or simply keep it away on silent mode. Yes, the world is not going to change if we keep our phones away for some time. Make a habit of not using phones for at least 2 hours before going to sleep and after waking-up. And yes, all those important calls and scrolling through thousand of apps can wait. Remember, nothing is important than your own health. Why not give it a try.

Delete social media apps on mobile phones – Keep only important applications in your phone and try to avoid downloading social media apps. I am not against those social media apps but use of anything beyond a point is simply waste of time, money and ultimately peace. I have formed this habit of not using all those social media apps on my phone and since then I am a happy soul. It helped me sticking to my goals and avoiding unnecessary distractions. So, occasional use all those apps in laptops or desktops will make your mind balanced and cheerful. Remember social media apps are just for entertainment and small chit-chats, do not let them overtake your mind.

Jot down thoughts – Nothing is better than writing thoughts in a diary. It will keep you away from unnecessary clutter of day-to-day things and mind straining thoughts. Keeping mind free will ultimately leave space for creative activities. It helps in focusing better and achieving desired results.

Learn a new language – Learning a new unknown language is a proven brain stimulation. It not only increases your learning abilities but would also make you learn something new. Learning is never going to be old and learning a new language will make you sharp and bright. Moreover, there is no need to spend large money for learning a language. Internet is full of online lessons these days which one can join for free.

Take small steps and try adopting some of these ways to mind your mind. It would definitely enhance your mental abilities and would ultimately let you control your mind. Always remember a quote from Swami SatchidanandaWhen you become the master of your mind, you are master of everything. The quote inspires me and I hope it will inspire you too.