March 2018

Live Yoga Live Green

Our daily chores, activities and tasks fill our mind to the brim.The psychology paper due next week, the big project at work and the growing to do list as the week goes on removes us from being mindful of and engaged in the present. As one ISU student knows well, through purposeful mindfulness we enable ourselves to dismiss all the mind clutter and thrive in our present moments.

Growing up in Jaipur, India, Ankur Sharma (graduate student in computer engineering) practiced mantra meditation and strived to live a life focused on yoga principles, taught and guided by his family’s values. By seeing the improvement in his own mindfulness he was inspired to share this knowledge and practice as an ISU student. His inspiration led to the founding of a uniquely-focused student organization — Live Yoga Live Green (LYLG).

LiveYoga, Live Green aims to address the origin of unsustainable living and nurture change.

Through Sharma's leadership, the club holds regular meetings that align with the principles of yoga: non-violence, generosity, sharing and truthfulness. With these in mind, the members of the of the club strive to live mindfully and sustainably with an eco-friendly lifestyle through activities, such as cooking workshops, Asana exercises, Musical Mantra Meditation (also known as Kirtan), philosophical discussions and education on yogic living.

“[My favorite part of being in LYLG is] being part of a community that cares about making this world a better place for everyone to live -- by addressing not temporary solutions, but the root of the problems," Sharma said.

Through meetings, workshops and discussions, members are equipped with the necessary knowledge to live out their values through everyday actions and learn how to live consciously within the three facets of sustainability (social, economic and environmental). LYLG meets on Sundays to practice Asana exercises and musical mantra meditation; everyone is welcome to join.

Sharma’s favorite way to be present and ensure a mindful connection is through mantra meditation -- freely thinking and focusing on the meditation of the moment at hand, as well as pairing mantra meditation with yoga Asana, utilizing breathing techniques to fully connect body and mind.

He believes that by facilitating connection to responsibility while holding mindfulness as a priority, we are able to create a clearer mind, focus on things that are happening in the present and connect inwardly. He reminds that any time spent giving mental energy to clutter without mindful thought is time you take from yourself.

“Although these [thoughts] may not be intrinsically ‘bad’, they take away the mind from the present, which can be counter- productive to oneself or worse, harmful to oneself and others.”

Sharma tries to live a simple and introspective lifestyle by participating in service and volunteering as well. By founding the club, he has also been able to share and encourage mindfulness of service and volunteer activities with members.

“The club offers me a way to remember that I am not at the center of the universe; there are innumerable others here with me. My existence in this world is temporary, although I myself am not, so I should learn how to live in harmony with all living entities through the way I live my life.”

Sharma plans to continue to share his passion for sustainable living through mantra and holistic living after his education at ISU by continuing
to practice meditation and mindfulness. Professionally, he plans to work as a chip designer and eventually teach science and engineering.