You can tell Rhea Pillai’s smile comes from an inner calm, a sense of peace, which eludes most people. The former model credits it to Art of Living, which she says gave her life a whole new spectrum. In fact, Art of Living, she says, is how she got over being the ex-wife of Sanjay Dutt and began her new happy life, with tennis player Leander Paes.
Rhea and Leander met and fell in love at an Art of Living course, where she was his teacher. Rhea, a qualified instructor, has conducted courses all over the world and imbibed the principles in her daily life. “Art of Living is what has given me the strength to face life with all its ups and downs,” says Rhea, now mom to a beautiful little girl.
What is it about Art of Living that made you so attached with it?
Art of Living is about the moment called NOW. It combines simple traditional breathing techniques with cutting edge management mantras (be focused, for instance), so you can enjoy life in all its delicious detail without sacrificing your natural, normal desires.
Breath is a potent tool. When a baby is born, it takes a deep breath in. When we die, we breathe out. What’s in between is what we call life. We use only 30 per cent of our lung capacity. It’s important to toss out the toxins with our breath. Breathing in the right manner eases the knots in our system — both physically and psychologically. The Sudarshan Kriya incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath, which harmonise the body, mind and emotions. This unique breathing technique eliminates stress, fatigue and negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression, leaving you calm yet energized, focused yet relaxed.
How has Art of Living helped in tiding over personal crises?
There’s plenty of calm within. The inner peace, confidence and grace naturally get reflected in your actions. Further, you are in touch with yourself and understand what you want.
Has the Art of Living gathered momentum mainly because of celebrities?
People tend to hype the candy floss element instead of the substance of such movements. It’s sad. But yes, celebrities have undoubtedly popularised it. Spirituality has definitely become commercial; there are pros and cons to it. The popularity for instance has made it is easy for a Guru to reach out to many people and it is possible for them to bring about greater health awareness, leading to a better quality of life… with love, peace and joy.
Being an ex-model are you still attached to designers as far as your dressing is concerned?
I have an eye for all that is aesthetic. My wardrobe has a bit of everything, from hardcore Indian, to fusion and funky western. I love Armani for his classic cuts at times, and then also like Manish Arora’s madness and Roberto Cavalli’s play of colours. So fashion for me is self-expression, it reflects how I’m feeling on a particular day. Denim is my hot favourite.
BOX : What is Art of Living
The Art of Living Foundation is a volunteer-based, humanitarian and educational non-governmental organization, founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with the vision of creating a stress-free, violence-free society.
Art of Living Foundation (AOLF) has its international headquarters in Bangalore at Ved Vignan Mahavidyapeeth or VVM campus (usually referred to as the Art of Living’s international facility in Bangalore, or as the Bangalore Ashram) and has regional centers in more than 150 countries. In Europe, the organisation is known as the Association for Inner Growth.
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