A Skeptic’s Dive into Meditation
Read Stephanie’s story: she lost a bet, but gained a life.
Stephanie made a bet with her friend that he could never muster enough patience to sit for meditation, even for ten minutes… not only did she lose the bet, she was catapulted down a path she would never have expected possible.
The Man in the Unusual Attire
This happened in 2011. One day I saw two dear friends of mine sitting still, entirely unmoving, in front of a laptop. There was no exchange of words as they watched a bearded guy with a turban and shawl speaking on the screen. The man’s attire seemed unusual to me, so I decided to sit and watch. And I kept watching and watching. I couldn’t get enough of his piercing clarity. He seemed both ancient and yet completely modern at the same time. That was my first introduction to Sadhguru.
Hours passed as I continued to watch video after video. I was completely blown away by his logic. But what surprised me most was that he not only answered all of my unanswered questions, he also answered those questions I had buried as a child.
And somewhere along the way I slowly drifted off, thinking back on the life I had been living.
Life Before Shambhavi
In my office, people were sometimes so unkind to each other. Jealousy, competition, bias – these were not unusual for the corporate world I was in. I was advised to stomach it if my boss decided to throw a tantrum, not necessarily because I did something wrong, but simply because that was the way things worked. And as much as I didn’t jive with this unspoken system, I found myself doing the very same to avoid any conflict. But I was burning in anger. I wanted a change!
A Lost Bet
Back to the bearded man. After our marathon Youtube session, I was hooked. Mesmerized. But I was still quite skeptical of the whole meditation thing. So when my friend suggested we should start practicing Isha Kriya, a 15-minute guided meditation offered by Sadhguru, I told him, “Well, you know, I don’t have the patience to sit in one place. And neither do you!” I made a bet with him that if he tried, he would not manage more than a few days of practice.
To my complete surprise, when we next met, he had already finished the entire recommended 48-day cycle of practice! And he was continuing his practice.
It became common for us to hear him announce, “It’s time for my dose of Isha Kriya!” His excitement was contagious. In a short time, I could see the change in him – he had definitely become calmer, yet he had this extra spunk. His experience made me curious and I decided to see for myself what the deal was all about. So I jumped the queue and got initiated into Shambhavi Mahamudra kriya in Singapore in 2012.
I vividly remember the day I first saw Sadhguru. It was entirely surreal seeing this white-bearded Guru I had watched on all those Youtube videos, actually standing there in front of my eyes. I was thrilled to finally get to see him in real life. Yet there was a mixed feeling in it, of not being able to come close to him. I felt I had to earn it.
I was never the kind of person to stick to any activity consistently. I would repeatedly find myself chasing one thing, dropping it and starting after another. But to my surprise, I was consistent with Shambhavi Mahamudra. I did not miss one day of practice. And this was the turning point in my life.
Life After Shambhavi
Those 21 minutes of Shambhavi Mahamudra became the highlight of my day – it was a window for me to completely focus inward. My time with myself, and only myself. The simple practice of Shambhavi gave me a sense of inner freedom that I had always thought was something I needed to find elsewhere. Imagine finding out that it had always existed in me since day one! The clarity of thoughts that came as a result of practicing Shambhavi was something I never would have imagined. Inexplicably, tears from nowhere would catch me off guard and yet they left me in a very pleasant state within. I could see my own limitations start to surface, but there was no resistance from my side. The feeling grew stronger as the days passed and I continued the practice.
After reading Sadhguru's biography, More Than A Life, all I really wanted was to do whatever I could, to share Sadhguru with as many people as possible. It came to a point where I started volunteering regularly – and I found volunteering so much more fulfilling than anything I had been doing in my corporate job.
Nothing Short of a Miracle
I knew I wanted more though. So in 2013, I did the 21-week Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at the Isha Yoga Center. In five months of daily practice of hatha yoga, the scoliosis that I had had since childhood was completely rectified. This was nothing short of a miracle. I never would have thought it possible without any medical intervention. But throwing myself into classical hatha yoga fixed me in more ways than I could ever understand. To this day, I find it extremely difficult to express this immense gratitude to Sadhguru.
Editor’s Note: Isha Hatha Yoga programs are an extensive exploration of classical hatha yoga, which revive various dimensions of this ancient science that are largely absent in the world today. These programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to explore Upa-yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Surya Shakti, Yogasanas and Bhuta Shuddhi, among other potent yogic practices.