I must thank Dilip for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with you all. Dilip and I went to the same engineering college in Jabalpur. However, after we graduated, we took to different professions (he joined the Indian Military Academy) and gradually lost contact with each other. So it’s great to be in touch again after so many years.
My College Days
I graduated in Telecommunications Engineering and then joined the IIT, Kharagpur for a Masters Degree program in Electrical Engineering. My first job was as a “Scientific Officer” in the Research and Development Organization of the Ministry of Defense.
After five years, I was selected as a ‘Govt. sponsored candidate’ to undergo the two-year M. Tech program at IIT, Kanpur. This was like a dream-come-true! I jumped at the opportunity joined IITK and two years later, got back to my job with Defence with an additional qualification of M.Tech degree in EE. I must say that despite the hardship that goes with a tough M. Tech program, I really enjoyed my stay at IITK. On a personal note – I even got engaged and then married while at IIT 🙂
Immigration to USA
After sometime my job at the Ministry of Defence became monotonous. I was fortunate as my sister, who had migrated to USA after her marriage, sponsored me for immigration and a year later my petition for immigration got approved.
Back to School
In the US I secured admission into the MS program in Computer Science at Nebraska Lincoln. I really enjoyed my time at the university even though some of the coursework posed severe challenges especially because I was out of touch with academic work for such a long time.
During the final semester, recruiters from various corporations descend upon the University for campus recruitment. I was absolutely thrilled to see my old classmate from Jabalpur in one of these recruiting booths. He was representing one of the most prestigious research organizations, The Bell Labs, the research wing of the telecom giant corporation, AT&T. To my good luck I got the offer to join at Bell labs. I was just very excited to work for this world-renowned organization.
I worked for AT&T, and its various incarnations, for about 25 years. In 1984, AT&T got split into several “baby bells” as well as another R&D unit which finally became Lucent Technologies.
The project that I was working on got moved to Lucent. I worked for Lucent until the late nineties when it got split further. At that time I became a part of Avaya which was spun off from Lucent. At AT&T, I started my job first as a Hardware engineer, and then moved to software engineering. Overall the work continued to be challenging and interesting for the most part.
From Corporate to Yoga
It was in the early nineties when I found my interests shifting toward yoga. I had been practicing yoga since my early college days about 3-4 times a week. My normal routine lasted about 40-45 minutes. With
growing interest in yoga, I decided to do a formal teacher training program. In 1996, I completed a 4-week teacher training program at the Swami Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia. This training was an “eye-opener” in many ways as in addition to asanas, I was introduced to several other aspects of yoga, including pranayama, meditation, relaxation and the underlying concepts in yoga philosophy. After this training, I started teaching about 4-5 yoga classes per week while still continuing with my job at Lucent.
Yoga Vedanta Philosophy
“During March-April 2006 I attended a two-month course, “Yoga Vedanta Philosophy”, offered by the Divine Life Society at the Swami Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, India. Topics covered included The Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, ‘Shad-Darshan’ – the six systems of Indian Philosophy, History of Western Philosophy, and Narada Bhakti Sutra. It was taught both by resident swamis of the ashram, as well as a couple of renowned invited professors. The course helped me gain a much deeper understanding of the Yogic philosophy as well as establish a well-grounded personal daily routine which includes asana, pranayama, meditation and svadhyaya (study of scriptures). I found the experience of living at the ashram (including waking up at 4 AM each morning) highly enriching.”
Purpose of life
With a deepening personal yoga practice and the ability to help others with their health-related issues I started getting more involved in the study and teaching of yoga. Also interest in my technical job waned.
It was around this time that I started asking myself questions “is there a deeper meaning to life beyond this mundane day-to-day life revolving around work and family?” I had a job with a decent enough salary to support us financially. However, gradual involvement with some of the concepts in yoga made me aware that I need to look for a higher truth beyond this corporate life. I started seeing more clearly where my priorities were. Interacting with my yoga students and sharing the benefits of a yoga practice with them became more meaningful. As soon my major family commitments were fulfilled in 2004, I decided to quit my corporate job and devote my time to yoga. In late 2005, I called it quits, gave up my professional career and moved to North Carolina (a slightly warmer and relatively less expensive place) to pursue my interest in yoga.
I now devote my time fully to study and teach yoga to several classes in the week, both in a group setting as well as in private, one-on-one
sessions. I also teach at a couple of local corporations during their lunch hour. All-in-all it is a highly satisfying and fulfilling experience, especially when I realize that I am able to impact the lives of my students in positive ways. Through personal interaction, via email or feedback from my website/blog, my students give an account of how they have benefited at various levels – physical, mental and emotional.
A Few Tips
No matter what profession you are in, I would strongly suggest that you try some yoga lessons from a teacher in your area. A regular yoga practice will help you live a more meaningful, fulfilling and healthy life.
I realize that in today’s busy lifestyle, demands of work and family leave very little time for any other activity. However, it is this busy and hectic life which is the main cause of much of today’s stress and resulting health-related problems that highlight the value of a yoga-based regimen. Even if you can devote about 40 minutes every day to a practice that includes some asana and pranayama, you will begin to reap the benefits of your practice.
Wish you all the best!