By Juhi Mohan:
Yoga and Startups are two hot buttons today. No matter which paper I read or which social media platform I log in to I am inundated with startup tips, tricks and what not. And, for the past one week or so, there has been a lot of buzz on Yoga Day. Yoga has been my mirage, something I have always wanted to do but have been too lazy to. I tried in the past with my dad but he likes to do his practice at four O’clock in the morning! Thank you very much, I say.
Last week I was at a friend’s place for his birthday celebration. Okay, so this friend is an IITian with a bunch of ‘startup’ friends and more often than not I find myself a misfit with his gang. But a birthday is a birthday and there at the party, I happened to meet Kshitij Garg, an unassuming soft spoken guy. We got talking and it turned out that he was the founder of a startup. Not again, I muttered. I wanted to run away but to be polite I asked what his startup was about.
It turned out that it was a wellness provider (Healers At Home) that makes physiotherapy and yoga sessions available to people at their homes and at a time convenient to them. Not bad I thought. “So, if I want to practice at 10 in the morning I can,” I asked. “Yes,” he said smilingly. He is not a typical 20-something rude founder, I thought to myself. But the sceptic in me blurted out, “So, do you really believe in yoga or is just a way to mint money and start a startup?” He didn’t get angry and said, “As a schoolboy, my father tried to inculcate the practice of yoga in me, but I frowned upon it. It was something I had no interest in and something which would have made me less hep amongst my friends.” Hmm…gift of gab, I muttered under my breath.
But I really wanted to know the story so dug deeper. It turned out that Kshitij was living the dream at IIT Kanpur – studying at a premium institution with a golden future to look forward to. However, amidst CGPA and industrial training he developed a serious back condition which required steroids, something that is not advisable in the longer run. That was when he started undergoing physiotherapy. “That was the first time I realised how beneficial exercise can be,” said Kshitij narrating his experience.
“So then the startup,” I interjected. “No, net yet,” he said. “It was during my first job. The condition aggravated due to long hours and improper posture. That was the time I finally went for yoga and voila, it amazed me with its benefits,” he continued.
According to Kshitij, he started yoga for health reasons, but the more he delved into it, the more it percolated into other spheres of his life and helped him focus better. Not only that, the regular practice made him a better person. That was quite a confession I said.
I asked how it made him a better person. He replied, “There is a shloka in Sanskrit which I use daily in my yoga practice.
ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु
मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत् ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
May all be happy,
May all be healthy,
May no one suffer,
May there be peace around
And my guru taught me that when I chant it, I should think about three tiers. The first being me, my family and friends, the second, the people I work with and interact with, and the third was the whole world. And as clichéd as it may sound, it has made me a better person and a better entrepreneur.”
“How a better entrepreneur?” I asked again. “To be honest, it was yoga which made me an entrepreneur. It was the light which helped me identify the gap in the market and how I could contribute my bit to fill it,” he answered. “When we started Healers At Home, there were a lot of challenges and yoga helped me throughout. Insecurity is a major stress-inducing factor in the startup world. One has to scale at a certain pace and at times compete with organisations with deeper pockets. Yoga helped me to focus on myself and my work and helped me douse the noise of insecurity. It gave me the tools to work harder, efficiently and sans stress. Most of all, it taught me how not to compare my graph with those of other entrepreneurs. Yoga means the sum, to join, to unite. A regular practice of yoga helps one to go deep inside and channelise all the positive energy to create something beautiful and long lasting,” he answered honestly.
As a parting thought, he tells me, “From my personal experience I tell you, practice yoga. It does wonders to one’s mind, body and soul.”