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Ajachi's Story

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

What looks perfect, may not feel perfect and with all said and done, it all comes down to one thing and one thing alone: how you feel?

Ajachi Anthwal

How does practicing yoga help SAP scrum master Ajachi Anthwal keep peace of mind while managing life’s challenges?

 

When I think about it, yoga has always been a part of my life. Starting from my primary school days, when my friends and I gripped about the two hours of compulsory yoga, which we had every Wednesday. Of course, the complaining emerged from a general lack of awareness and an overall wearisome approach to the concept. Back then, I was unable to comprehend the impact yoga could have on my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.

Years later, what kindled my interest and drew me back to my childhood days, but this time with greater awareness and zeal, was a brief encounter with anxiety. I lead a busy life, with schedules and deadlines, personal and professional commitments. Myself and my community can become so fixated on the aesthetics of the “external” that we lose sight of the mess we are making to our '”internal” sense of being.

What looks perfect, may not feel perfect and with all said and done, it all comes down to one thing and one thing alone: how you feel?

I wanted to break the monotony and the constant competition I often engaged in with myself and rather focus on my mind being at ease. That's when the memories from those childhood yoga sessions hit me, profoundly this time, and I realized what we were being taught had so much value once my stint in the real world begins. And so, I decided to return to my yoga practice not just for physical health but more so for mental energy, patience and stability. To make sure that my focus and practice is unwavering and meticulous, I chose an intensive yoga teacher training course.

I am a scrum master at SAP, the youngest scrum master hired in my line of business at the time. I was a bit apprehensive about asking for the necessary time off – one month – to complete my yoga teaching training, but I knew I needed a break. My manager absolutely understood the value of this time off for my own personal wellbeing and growth. He appreciated my stance that I would come back to my team with more energy and more passion for my job. I truly feel that no other company in India would have let me take that time off. I took time to plan out my tasks, and team members stepped up to take over small areas of my work, so that it was equally distributed without too much trouble to any one colleague.

That one month can be best described only as transcendental. I found my Zen and no, it is not overrated. In just one month, deeply immersed in my teacher training, my perspective altered in the most beautiful ways possible. The most important take away for me was: you can't serve from an empty cup. These seven words changed the way I approached my personal and professional spaces. How will I take care of my family if I don't take care of myself; how will I motivate my team if I am not motivated myself; how will I ever love other people if I don't love myself. And so, a new journey began for me, one where I prioritized myself. When I returned to SAP, I brought that renewed positivity to my team. I knew how to best stay motivated and happy in our high-stress environment. The reason for all this positive change in myself is my workplace: the flexibility it gives, the trust it entrusts on its employees. SAP is my happy place!

My yoga teacher training has led me to teaching yoga to children in my community in Bangalore. For most of the people here in India, "mental health" is a taboo that only the very privileged or very wealthy can talk about. The very thought of looking after your mental health is considered very out-of-reach. Children experience mental stresses too, just like adults, and I firmly believe yoga can bring them peace. More than the posture, I really try hard to concentrate on the mindfulness aspect. I was told yoga will not give food or shelter to the kids, true but it will certainly give them peace of mind to tackle life’s challenges and live a happier life.

I am also currently partnering with the SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility department in Bangalore to teach Yoga to the underprivileged children in the city. I feel absolutely privileged to be able to build my career at a company like SAP, where I can balance and even merge my passion for work and yoga.

 

 

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