Tune into your inner Guru
Trained in Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Iron Yoga, Shaloo Dogra is a well-known Yogacharyaa from the Uttarakhand Sanskrit University who specialises in yoga, meditation, fitness and nutrition awareness. Her journey with meditation started in 1993 with a formal meditation self-help course which then evolved with teachings from Advaita Vedanta, Dzogchen, Mindfulness, Shunyawastha and other Vedantic and Buddhist wisdom. Shaloo has a Masters Degree in Yoga and is a published author. She speaks to Corporate Citizen on her health and wellness journey
Corporate Citizen: Your philosophy on wellness?
Shaloo Dogra: My philosophy on wellness is a deep focus on inner wisdom, Nirguna Brahman, Shunyata or the Absolute. In simpler terms, a Practise-in-Peace. I also recognise the importance of a healthy body and mind, so, I practise yoga and meditation. Also, I love to read yogic and our ancient texts and nurture this habit every day. It helps me to use my discerning power with ease.
CC: How does your profession help you in dealing with stress and anxiety?
Doing sessions every day rejuvenates me as I get to talk about a subject am most passionate and excited about, it is also richly rewarding as my clients feel better physically and mentally. They are able to reverse ailments, cut back on medicines and deepen their awareness of the power of nature. For myself, stress and anxiety are alleviated due to strong practice and foundation in meditation over many years, a deep understanding and recognition of a force beyond all words.
CC: Your mantra about keeping fit and well?
“If you don’t use it you lose it” that’s the message for the body… so, it’s better to move with mindfulness and also to rest when needed. The body and the mind are both trainable and at the same time, there is no hurry, I try to do only as much as I can at any point in time.
CC: What keeps you fit and healthy? Share with us your secret ways of keeping your mind calm and cool.
Yoga, meditation are my go-tos. Also, eating with gratitude and ‘never say never’ for all food types which means no food is bad but high nutrition is a need of the body. There is no secret, everyone actually knows but forgets it. Yet, everyone is on their own journey. To keep cool in this world, a good practice is to know that you are only as important as the other. We are all connected, be it a tree or a person. A wise man once said, “For the sake of peace you love and in that is great wisdom”.
CC: Your stress busters? How do you like to rejuvenate and recharge and de-stress?
Taking regular breaks during the day to walk and stretch, watching documentaries when alone or thrillers and light-hearted comedies with my family and reading non-fiction every day. This keeps my mind active and happy. Spending time with my family, talking to my kids and husband is very rejuvenating for me.
CC: Your food philosophy? Is that also part of your wellness regime? Your diet fads?
Yes, food is an integral part of health. My food philosophy is to stay simple, and not complicate dishes. I pride myself in partaking in no diet fads/cults, rather I like to eat healthy proteins and produce with an emphasis on fresh and natural. At the same time, I do not like to say ‘never’ to any food. I am a grazer, so it’s mostly small and frequent meals for me, unless am on a holiday where snacking gets limited as meals become fuller. I like quality over quantity and enjoy Italian, French, some Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. I also love khichdi and authentic Indian dishes. I feel happier when am clean eating and intuitive eating.
"To be fit in the body, one has to take care of all the five elements of fitness that are: Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Endurance and Stamina. One can’t be more important than the other"
- Shaloo Dogra
CC: What about your exercise fundamentals?
For me, exercise is about intuitively following the body, sometimes it’s Yin, sometimes more Yang so Vinyasa, Hatha may get intertwined. I like to do functional exercises which means that it helps me to have a more rejuvenating day rather than an exhausting routine. There is no timer to my workouts and I stop whenever tired or out of time. I usually practice about 3-4 times a week but there are no such rules as I may just end up doing very short bursts since work takes a lot of my time. I do feel very happy if I get a good one-and-a-half hours of yoga once in a while. I am trained in strength and interval training too, so I use those also, a tiny bit once a while.
CC: How do you set out your priorities to keep your work and personal life balanced?
Regarding work and home balance, even though I was never a completely stay at home mom, I took a call many years back about which one will be my priority and now that my children are older, I have refocused on work. But even now, the scalability of my work is not with any force but rather an organic process. While at work, I take regular breaks since my work is continuous. Daily, I do one to one sessions and since I have to stay focused for many hours back to back, I take 3-5 min breaks every hour to walk and stretch. I try to switch off work after 6 or 7 pm (after sessions) though as a wellness coach that is not always possible.
CC: What helps you the most in maintaining calm and peace despite an overload of work?
Taking regular small breaks during the day helps me. I just need to spend time alone to recharge. Else, listening to other people’s problems: mental and physical maybe exhausting for some but somehow, I don’t lose myself as I see perfection in them. After many years of working with peoples’ bodies and minds, I see how innocent they are to believe in their problems. The unravelling of their thought patterns is richly rewarding for them as well as for me when I see them happier and healthier.
CC: Five tips that work the best for you to maintain a work-life balance.
- Regular hourly breaks
- The strong support system at home so that I can focus during my sessions.
- My ability to switch off after work
- Enjoying my work. I played my role as a mostly-at-home mother (I was lucky that I could do flexi-hours) when my kids were small and slowly progressed my working hours over the years. It was a per sonal choice to step back for a few years. So now, I am enjoying my work routine.
- Sharing my life with my husband and kids is a very refreshing and revitalising aspect of my balance.
CC: What would you like to say about keeping fit and on holistic wellness, what can others learn from your learnings?
To be fit in the body, one has to take care of all the five elements of fitness that are: Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Endurance and Stamina. One can’t be more important than the other. Also, each muscle/body part is important so mindful and functional training is great. It is best to overcome the fear of working out and ease into movements for even 5-10 mins a day. Yes, that is all it takes to start a practice. I also don’t believe in the ‘No Pain No Gain’ philosophy while working out, rather have a fun approach and stop when physically or mentally tired, then move on to another asana or type of exercise, so very intuitively working out. One must enjoy what exercise one chooses, it could also be a sport. This type of discipline which comes from interest, curiosity and wonder, not fear, is the best way. Remember, the inner Guru is easy to-but not to be ignored.
CC: Can you define yourself in one sentence?
Honestly, I am always the same to me though it’s amusing to see how others may witness me as different at different times.