By Roel Raymond
Saying that you don’t have time to improve your thoughts and your life is like saying you don’t have time to stop for gas because you are too busy driving. Eventually it will catch up with you.”
— Robin Sharma, The Monk That Sold His Ferrari
It was this that got to me. I had no idea who Robin Sharma was or why he sold his Ferrari (he didn’t, I later found out, he only wrote the book), but I did chuckle at what he said. It was true! I had known for some time now, that Ijhaz Mohideen was conducting a Lifestyle Programme that endorsed healthier living. While I righteously acknowledged that this was just the sort of thing one ought to do, come the week the course began, I found that I was already telling myself that ‘I couldn’t possibly make it’.
I had all the excuses; that bill that just had to be paid this week, the inclement weather was getting in the way, I was too stressed out, had to report to work early the next day and was really just too tired. And then I remembered the Monk That Sold His Ferrari (or the one I thought that did) and I realised that as tired and as beat-up as I felt, that if I didn’t stop now, at this point, to fill up on gas, it would eventually catch up with me. And that is how I came to be a part of Ijhaz’s second batch of students, attending his programme on Self Mastery Through Stress Management.
The programme, costing a minimal introductory fee of Rs. 3000, ran its course one day a week throughout all of just six weeks, and was open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 55. On the first day, the magnificently dreadlocked, muscled, tall and tanned Ijhaz introduced us to the Surya Namaskar — the yoga sun salutation that flows through the 12 postures, beginning and ending with the pranamasana or prayer pose.
He then showed us the nadi sodhana, or the alternate nostril breathing — an extremely easy step to learning to meditate — and explained to us the importance of learning to focus, for often it is when we are unable to focus and finish the plethora of daily tasks and responsibilities at hand that we berate ourselves, lowering our own self esteem — leading to a vicious cycle of despair and depression! I was surprised to find that in spite of being naturally skeptic of new and fanciful ideas and beliefs, that Ijhaz’s mantra was not only simple, but also completely logical!
We spent the next five weeks learning to explore our own selves, where we were pushed to realise our own aspirations, face our own fears and to achieve whatever we truly wanted in life in a balanced, focused and mindful manner. We were encouraged to drop off the baggage of the past and work through the fears of the future. We learned to ‘tune our body, mind and spirit’ and to work in an organised, timely and stress-free manner. We learned nutrition awareness, relaxation techniques, the dos and dont’s of self medication and how to fruitfully balance work and recreation.
What Ijhaz’s did, above all, was to teach his students to recognise, acknowledge and utilise the strengths and tools within themselves, in order to live an emotionally, spiritually and physically fitful life. And six weeks was all it took. Gas pumped and ready to go.
For more information or to make positive and personal changes in you own life, Ijhaz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.