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Art of simplicity

You can be spiritual and still enjoy life in all its delicious detail, says Rhea Pillai, model-turned- Art of Living instructor in a chat with T. KRITHIKA REDDY


SHE MOVES in a circle where desires are airborne. Where the corporate rung-ho types are wrapped in a blanket of blue. Where stressed-out yuppies are looking for a quick fix. Where hip housewives are battling to banish boredom. Where filmstars see no silver lining. Yet Rhea Pillai (Dutt?) is a picture of peace. Thanks to the new age palliative — Art of Living.

In Chennai to participate in a talk show organised by The Park-Ellements, the all-woman's club, Rhea, happening model-turned-Art of Living instructor, speaks convincingly about spiritual quotient (SQ). Easy, feel-good, demystified spirituality that stirs. One that facilitates a dialogue between reason and emotion, mind and body. Spirituality in a lucid language and with a perpetual smile, much like her Guru Cool Sri Sri Ravishankar.

If you were waiting for enlightenment to hit you like a thunderclap, please... . "Human beings are no doubt inherently spiritual. But only some are aware of it and remain focussed. As for me, I was drawn to philosophy at an early age. I used to read a lot. I still love books on conversations with god for their liberal, open take on spirituality," says Rhea, during a brief interview.

"Existence is a fact, living an art. In today's stress-saturated life, there's constant depletion of energy, decline in concentration and physical fatigue. The mind keeps vacillating between a hot past (can be anger, bitterness, regret, etc.) and a cold future (stemming from anxiety, frustration or fear). As a result, we lose touch with the present. Art of Living is about the moment called NOW," she says, snapping her fingers.

Giddy? Yes, yet good. She goes on... "By combining simple traditional breathing techniques with cutting edge management mantras (be focussed, for instance), you can enjoy life in all its delicious detail. That's without sacrificing your natural, normal desires."

"Breath is a potent tool. Something which you don't pay for. 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," she adds.

Moving from the art of breathing to the reality of relationships in the present milieu, Rhea says, "Bedrooms have become boardrooms. Love's like a business deal. It's no longer unconditional. First, it's important to seek the love in you, find company in yourself. If you can't enjoy your own friendship, who will? You need to be true to yourself and true to what you do. Only this will translate into healthy relationships."

Well... how has Art of Living helped her tide 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."

About the spurt in yoga centres and their commercialisation, she comments with a genial smile, "It's good that we have woken up to such solace-giving techniques. But about commercialism, if the money is going to some charity work, then it's valid and justifiable. If it's for personal gain, then it is questionable."

Has the Art of Living gathered momentum mainly because of celebrities like her? "For everything there's a pro and con. People tend to hype the candyfloss element instead of the substance of such movements. It's sad. But yes, celebrities have undoubtedly popularised it."

Successful model, glamorous brand ambassador for Chopard and Piaget, jet-setting spiritual instructor... Rhea is today an eloquent expression of inner peace. Something that has come from inhaling good, exhaling bad. And consciously assimilated SQ. Anyone?

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