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Sunday, August 3 1997

Stress gurus prescribe old pills for modern ills

Nithya Krishnaswamy

Chennai, Aug 2: Ancient sages preached meditation through detachment, though it is not the preferred pill today. It is meditation, peppered with management modules, staging a comeback as the new stress manager.

Transcendental meditation (TM), Yoga, Naturopathy, Reiki, Pranic Healing are terms increasingly familiar to the turmoil-torn corporate world. Many companies are turning to these techniques for improving the health of their executives, in the fond hope of seeing bottom lines levitate. "The quality of the individual turnover will go up only when he is self-motivated. And, this means building his confidence through shared experiences and maximum utilisation of inner potential," says the saffron-clad Vivekananda Centre for Indian Management chairman Swami Someswarananda. He prescribes Vedantic principles in business and industry, which his centre feels is suitable for the Indian ethos. "The idea is to develop a holistic vision of your life and have definite goals to work for. These management workshops help you define these goals with clarity." Someswarananda also offers yoga and meditation in his workshops.

Swami has conducted workshops for executives from companies including TVS Srichakra, TCS, Indian Airlines, Mafoi Management Consultants, Dun and Bradstreet, Satyam Software, Telco and others.

Several executives, who attended a workshop held in Chennai recently, opened up Most said they were sceptical to begin with but felt `immensely rejuvenated' when they finished. "In the long term, it builds leadership and teaches one to cope with stress," a senior executive with Dun and Bradstreet said.

IVB Sasikanth of Indian Airlines had this to say: "It taps your inner potential of which you may be completely ignorant." Whether managements are seriously interested in the wholesome development of their employees or whether it is the `in' thing to do, it is certainly a step in the right direction for executives. "Life has become so complex with many contradictory forces working on the individual. He needs to be fast, creative and calm. Yoga and other forms of meditation help harness nervous energy into productive energy," says Sundar Iyer, managing director and yoga consultant, Sanjeevani Yoga Ayurveda Foundation (P) Ltd. The foundation is one of the latest to join the band. It offers holistic health programmes for corporates with pranic healing, yoga, ayurveda, aqua aerobics, transactional analysis, et al. The aim, Iyer says, is to promote Indian techniques as effective means of controlling stress and meet the challenges of the day. Stress is an important aspect dealt by the modern Gurus. "The body takes a real beating when it is trying to manage decision-making, time and change at the same time. It has been proven the world over that the Monday morning attack is the most common form of cardiac arrest," Mind Dynamics Centre director Muthiah Ramanathan says.

The centre conducts training programmes for corporates which focus on individual self-awareness by tapping the sub-conscious mind using TM. Muthiah has Apollo Hospitals, Indian Oil Corporation, LIC, Pond's and MRF on his client list. And, no one is complaining. If this is the pace at which corporates are taking to Indian techniques for improving the quality of their personnel, one can witness a revival of sorts in the ancient Indian techniques for achieving perfect health.

Copyright © 1997 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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