Liz Spencer: Welcome to business connection I’m Liz Spencer. We have a wonderful group in our studio today for you, something new and exciting to learn about. I have Denis Morentsov and Manisha Handa and you’re from a meditation group that is a little different from the rest of us. I’m going to let you tell me about it and tell me the name of your group.
Manisha Handa: Okay, so this is the Sahaja yoga meditation and we’re a non-profit group and this meditation is practiced in local communities. It’s a very simple approach to achieving a meditative state. And when you’re in this state, it gives you a general balance in life, you get to a calm and peaceful state and view the world in a more balanced approach.
Liz Spencer: Oh, we all need more balance. Denis, what I found that was interesting about this is that it’s really a gift from those who practice it to the rest of us who haven’t figured it out yet. So, tell me a little bit more about
Denis Morentsov: That’s very true, that’s very true. I think all of us started meditating due to some circumstance in our life where we felt like we needed that glimmer of peace and harmony within ourselves that we’re looking for. And I think everybody is trying to find in a different way perhaps. You know, where we all resort to different methods to find that peace and I think meditation holds a very, it holds a mystery and a promise from the East that something maybe I can do about myself that will help me achieve the harmony within myself and with others. And when we all started, we come to a class and it’s often, you know, sometimes the classes are more like paid. With Sahaja yoga what we do is we give it for free, because we’re not really giving you anything, we’re letting you experience what is already within yourself. So we can’t really charge for it and it also makes us feel good that we are hoping to help you to lead a more balanced than a harmonious life as well.
Liz Spencer: I think I might argue a little bit that I think you’re giving more than you think you are. But you have partnered with the Naperville Public Library?
Denis Morentsov: That’s right. We often hold classes in public venues. Libraries are one of them. They have been very kind to offer us rooms that we can do this classes in and I think the community really, you know, the community support is really helpful because the library, when they see that people are coming, they’re interested, they’re willing to provide these facilities to help us help other people lead better lives. So, libraries, community centers, we often rent halls if the programs are large, we often do music and meditation programs which combine the artistic aspect with meditation, which really helps us to relax and feel a little bit more fulfilled within ourselves.
Liz Spencer: Manisha, how did you come to this?
Manisha Handa: Well, I guess you could say, like Dennis mentioned, there’s some circumstance or the other which drives you to explore meditation and for me, I guess, life had gotten busy. I was always in a state of hurry, whether it was getting someplace or getting something done. There was the common theme in my life was rush. And I had read books about meditation and I tried to meditate. It seemed just like a lot of effort for something that I wasn’t even sure I could achieve.
Liz Spencer: That you’re doing right? You’re just thinking, what are you doing?
Manisha Handa: Exactly. So, I walked into Sahaja yoga meditation class at a library once, just as an experiment, to see if it could possibly help me and right away I felt the difference. I mean, it just helped me calm down. To me, that was something that I had not felt in a long time. I continued week after week and over a period of time, it’s been three years now, I felt a transformation within me, in terms of my relationships, in terms of how I deal with situations, how I interact with others and how others perceive me, that part has changed all in a good way. So, I’m very happy.
Liz Spencer: That’s awesome. I think Americans, you know, we’re always rushing and we also don’t necessarily live in the here and now. We are always planning ahead and I think a little bit with yoga and meditation that that might help us focus a little bit more, which we’re always talking about wanting to be more focused but yet we are not doing it very well, Denis.
Denis Morentsov: I agree. I agree. Focus is an interesting concept. We often think that focus can come through exercises and to some extent, it can but the greatest amount of focus comes from relaxation. When you’re relaxed, you’re the most focused.
Liz Spencer: Really? I’m surprised by that.
Denis Moretsov: Yes, that’s something, focus is being able to concentrate on something for extended period of time and do it well. In order to do that, you have to be full of energy, you have something to give to that problem that you’re looking at, trying to solve. In order to have that energy within yourself, you have to be relaxed, you have to be confident, you have to be at peace with yourself first of all. And in order to get there, meditation is essential because it really gets you to the place where you can find peace with yourself. Whatever you are within yourself, whatever problems you think you have, you can find a glimmer of peace within yourself and then take that peace and bring it to the aspects of your life that you want to improve.
Liz Spencer: Amazing. Now, with the class, are you are you mostly meditating or are there some yoga moves in this class?
Manisha Handa: No, yoga moves are not involved at all. Anybody’s welcome, we sit down around a table or in a room and it’s very simple, no external exercises, no yoga pants required. We just sit and in a very relaxed state. Some people bring along cushions to make them comfortable. I guess if the body is comfortable, the mind is less likely to wander off. So, the goal in this meditation is we’re trying to find a peaceful point in our mind, and the thoughts that are constantly chattering in our heads, they tend to slow down. And what Dennis described, then we find that peaceful harmonious state which then in turn energizes us and gives us that refreshing feeling of just being full of energy.
Liz Spencer: Interesting. Denis, we have talked about the idea of trying some meditation here for like 20 seconds, so that we don’t scare the folks thinking that I’ve just stopped talking. Let’s be really clear, I’m going to meditate, I’m okay. So, if you were going to guide somebody in that, what would you do?
Denis Morentsov: So, our classes are very simple and the amazing thing about Sahaja yoga is that the meditation that you experience, it’s built in. Sahaja really means built in. It’s already within you. So, there’s energy in your spine and when it awakens, it automatically puts you into state of meditation, which means really thoughtless awareness, when you’re aware of everything but you’re thoughtless, your mind is clear. And in that clarity, you can feel and see everything very, very well. There comes this inner clarity which otherwise is very hard to achieve when our mind is kind of blocked with thoughts about future and the past. So, the meditation is very simple. Basically, you would just sit like this, with your hands open on your lap and close your eyes for 10, 15 seconds.
Liz Spencer: Okay, here we go. Don’t worry folks, I’m just going to close my eyes for 10, 15 seconds.
Denis Morentsov: And just focus on your palms. Just see, simply see, you in a very relaxed way, what can you feel on your palms at the moment, try to observe the centers of your palms especially and oftentimes, in meditation, you will start finding sensations on your hands. They may be like tingling sensations on your fingertips, you may feel lightness on your palms, almost like cool or warm air over your fingertips. And when you simply focus on those sensations, your mind will automatically slow down and eventually stop, to the point where you will feel at peace, completely at peace. This is the basic premise of Sahaja yoga, that this energy within yourself, will take you into meditation, if you just let it, if you just sit for 5, 10 minutes and take a moment to really come in touch with yourself. Can you feel anything?
Liz Spencer: Oh, yeah, I definitely could feel my palms. But I also, and I know they’re giving me the wrap signal, I also know that six months ago, before I really started to get into yoga, I don’t know if I would have gone there before you.
Denis Morentsov: It’s good to hear.
Liz Spencer: I can’t thank you guys enough for coming on by. You’re offering this, I think it’s really a gift to the community, free classes Wednesday nights Manisha Handa: June 26.
Denis Morentsov: Nichols Library at 7 p.m. So, we’re holding free classes, so everybody’s welcome to learn how to meditate and improve their lives.
Liz Spencer: That’s awesome. So nice to meet you both.
Denis Morentsov: Thank you for inviting us.
Liz Spencer: We’ll be right back with more business connections, stay tuned.