Over the past few years yoga has become tremendously popular throughout the world. Especially in the west it is an alternate way of exercise or workout. June 21st is celebrated as International day of yoga globally which was declared by the honorable prime minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi.
Recently we had a great privilege and opportunity to meet Padmashri Dr. H.R. Nagendra in Dallas, who is best known to us as Guruji, a guide and a yoga consultant of Mr.Modi.
Dr. Nagendra is a very well known scholar,yoga therapist, academic writer and the founder and Vice chancellor of S-VYASA university Bangalore, Karnataka India. He shared his knowledge and views about how to stay healthy by making yoga relevant to modern lifestyle during his visit with us.
Guruji has written 35 books and 100+ research papers on yoga. While answering the meaning of yoga, Guruji said, It is very important to understand the meaning of yoga. It is not just only asanas. Yoga is a way of life. Mastery of mind.Taking into consideration, the very meaning of yoga “Yujyate anena iti Yogah” it is the process of joining. Swami Vivekananda expanded the scope of Yoga to encompass all streams - Jnana, Bhakti, and Karma also to lay the foundation from the four main streams of yoga and the purpose of all yoga is to realize, be in tune,and ultimately merge with reality.
The holistic definition of yoga is most relevant to the modern society where the matter based paradigm has become the truth of the times.Yoga postulates Consciousness based paradigm and emphasizes that we are not robots governed by a set of physical laws driving us as machines.If we are more efficient than a robot sometimes or work haphazardly we do it consciously with intelligence.This power of consciousness is featured by the freedom in all of us to choose - to do, not to do or do it differently “kartum,akartum,or anyatha va kartum”.
Dr. Nagendra advised NRI community to contribute their time towards practicing yoga in order lead stress free and healthy life. He mentioned that “Unfortunately many NRI people are
becoming more prone to diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Yoga is the wonderful solution that will help to prevent many diseases and promote positive health”.
He was very excited to announce that VYASA academy for prerequisites/training will be opening soon in Dallas under his guidance and with the support of local team.
Success is not about what you accomplish in your life. But it is about what you inspire others to do. Like we hear from our mentors “ We must learn to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we mess up greatly sometimes. Failure is not opposite of success but it is a part of success”.I would like to share one of such inspirational journey towards success of an entrepreneur, leader and a mother Ashwini Patil, Vice President of IOT solutions at Prolim. Started in 2005 Prolim PLM services is a leader provider of end to end PLM and IT solutions to global fortune 100 companies Company has pocketed 27+ precious awards and various recognitions providing serves to 400+ global customers from 9 global locations. Prolim focuses on addressing the specific needs of women towards development and grooming the next generation women leaders to fill up the top roles. Recognized as Top 100 fastest growing companies among Dallas for the third consecutive year and 2018 small business supplier of the year award by Siemens USA INC
I spent the first 22 years of my life in India. Since I was very young, I always dreamt of being a doctor. I loved to take care of people and help them feel better. While I was in 7th grade, I had decided which Medical institution I wanted to pursue my degree in. I did not have access to internet then and I tried to gather more information on Medical degree and its requirements by talking to people and reading books. As I found out more about Medical field, I realized that was not what I really wanted to do. Computer Science was a new domain and I became curious about Computers and started enjoying it. I then decided to do my Undergrad in Computer Science. After I moved to US, I took this one step further my completing my Master's in Computer Engineering.
Since I was a young child I was interested in Dance. I joined a class when I was in 6th grade but could not continue as the logistics did not work out. I then got busy with Education, Career and family life – working full time and raising two kids I had no time to even think about dance. Now that my kids are grown up and independent I am able to pursue my passion for dance. I found Zumba class was the closest to dance and started with it. 5 years ago I was fortunate to meet a professional choreographer and started learning bollywood dance. We have 2-3 performances in a year and performed at various events in the past 5 years. I am not a born dancer but enjoy learning and performing.
Growing up did you always dream about being an entrepreneur and being your own boss?
No Since school days, my dream was to be a working woman. I dreamt about having a nice job and being financially independent. Soon after my Undergrad, my family wanted me to take a break and relax. It was just two weeks after my final exams and I could not take it anymore. I convinced my parents and they agreed for a part-time job while I was waiting for my results. I started my first job as a teacher at a Computer Institute teaching C programming.
Any inspirations or mentor ship that influenced to initiate the venture
My entrepreneurship journey started after I moved to the US. I was taking a web technology course during my Masters at Wayne State University in Michigan. Within our network of friends we had businessmen and doctors. Casual conversations around web technology and doctors/hospitals provoked the idea of a web-based application for doctors/hospitals which resulted in the Medical company.
Every morning I think of all the customers and employees associated with PROLIM. There is one quote which has motivated me for many years – “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up!'
Multiple locations globally can get overwhelming. But, having great leaders at every location who are committed makes it a lot easier. We have thought leaders who are very independent and manage day-to-day operations very efficiently. There is no micromanagement, leaders work independently and communicate with the management when needed.
Learnings throughout my journey :
Know your priorities in life! You should what to focus on at a given time, it will be different things at different times. Just follow your dreams. If you are working hard every single day with your heart, mind and soul into it, you are already a winner!
Do You all know it takes more energy to frown than to smile? Laughter is the best medicine and always will be the best form of therapy to enjoy life and stay happy and healthy. Skydance entertainment in association with Aux media along with Mr. Mehta brought Mr. Appurve Gupta a very well known stand up comedian from India to Dallas. Mr Gupta is known as hinglish (mixed humor of hindi and english) stand up comedian,and a Satirist. He was ranked second in “top 20 Indian stand up comedian in 2014” by CNN and was shortlisted in the Forbes India 100 celebrity nominee list of 2015.
Toppick had the privilege to meet him and talk to him about his life as a comedian during his show at Dallas. When he realized after completing the bachelor of technology in electronics and communication engineering, it is not his cup of tea, he decided to go after his passion and turn it as his profession. He started performing as stand up comedian. He said, “ The response and applause that he receives from his audience is addictive almost like an alcoholism and I just can’t stay away from it”.
Eventually his shows were received well by the audience and he became a successful stand up comedian. He says “ He loves to make people laugh because he does not like sad faces” His shows are all about his real life experiences and stories.He always find humor situations when he meets new people, visit different countries and places.
“Finding new things every time to make people is a tough task.But I have chosen this profession. So I can do it!”
Whenever and wherever funny things happen in my life, they will always go on to the stage.Because I don’t want them to go free of cost. I get inspired to share them with my audience and make them laugh. His advice to may budding artists who would like to become a comedian is “Give yourself time to grow.It may take one year or two years or even three no matter how talented artist you might be”. Dallas audience enjoyed his performance at grand center plano on March 29th
Our very well known beloved leader Mr. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is a very powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. A very true statement indeed!
A well structured education is a fundamental tool and a requirement for every child that deserves to have a successful life and a promising future.
I would like to introduce a very humble person who is already known in the community for his volunteer work and for making a difference in student’s lives to benefit their future. He is none other than Mr. Gopal Ponangi.
Education is a great equalizer and a very important part of one’s life!
With this statement Mr. Gopal Ponangi - an accomplished community leader, dedicated father, and a committed volunteer - announced his candidacy running for the Frisco ISD Board of Trustees for the upcoming year of May 2019. I had an opportunity to meet him to learn about his thoughts, ideas, and future plans for FISD and his message for the Frisco community.
Mr. Ponangi was born and brought up in Hyderabad, India. He holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Technology and completed his MBA from Kakatiya Uni. in Warangal India. Coming from a family of five siblings he always had a strong connection to education and a great passion for music.
He moved to Frisco in 2003 with his wife, who is currently a teacher, and two daughters, one pursuing her undergraduate degree in computer science at UTD and the younger one a 6th grade student. He then started his journey towards giving back to the community.
As a founder and president of Shubham foundation, a non profit org. which strongly supports education and healthcare areas, he continued his services to the community for more than a decade. He also served the community as co-chair of IAC (Indian Affairs Committee), on the Ad-hoc committee of Mayor of Frisco, and was director of the Sanatana Dharma foundation.
He led many fundraising events and successfully raised and donated $400K to organizations to support education at the grassroots level. He was also part of the FISD Programs and Facilities Evaluation Committee.
He was very excited to answer few of my questions about his interest in being part of FISD.
What is your view about education. Mission statement?
Education is a great equalizer and a very important part of anyone's life. A high quality of education is needed to ensure that kids get all around development with the skills needed for a rapidly changing work space and global economy. We definitely need students to be future ready and to confidently enter college or real life once they are out of high school. Well-educated citizens are needed so that the country has access to a well-trained, skilled workforce for the businesses that make the US shine. This needs to be done with a keen eye on budgets to ensure that the taxpayers are not burdened unnecessarily. A decent balance is the key.
As an elected BOT of FISD what would you like to focus primarily on?
I have been fortunate enough to serve the community in a number of roles over the past several years. Education is my passion and my service has been directed primarily towards education. Playing the role of Frisco ISD Board of Trustees, I can harness my passion and experience to ensure Frisco ISD continues to serve its students, teachers, parents, and the community well.
I have served FISD and the community by being a part of the “Programs and Facilities Evaluation Committee” and made recommendations to the Board on the recent bond package which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. I am currently a part of the the “Long Range Planning Committee”.
Through fundraising I have provided support to the Frisco Education Foundation to provide scholarships for Frisco ISD students.
What would be your future plan of accomplishments towards FISD?
I would like to focus on providing the appropriate and optimal use of technology for our students and teachers. Gone are those days where a book, pen, pencil, blackboard and chalk are usedasprimary tools. There is an abundant use of technology both in teaching andthelearning space. Students learn from the teacher, watch a youtube video, do their homework online and submit online. This will continue to change as technology continues to play a key role in teaching and learning. FISD is doing an awesome job in embracing the new technologies. With my strong knowledge in Information and Technology and experience the last two decades, I would like to extend my help to ensure the appropriate and optimal usage of technology is available both for teachers and students.
Another area of interest to me is ensuring the future readiness of the students. This world is dynamic and things change on a daily basis. Some of the things relevant and important in the past are obsolete today. The same is going to happen to what we have today. There is a decent chance that it will become obsolete tomorrow. In this continually changing world, we need to ensure that the students are Future Ready. Elementary students will need to be ready for the change of ways of learning in middle school. Same with Middle schoolers; they need to get ready for the changing ways of learning in High School. And high schoolers should be ready to embrace life and be ready for a college education and their future. Frisco ISD offers programs like Independent Study & Mentorship (ISM) designed for high-achieving juniors and seniors. The district also provides another program called Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in collaboration with the Chamber. YEA Program guides middle and high school students through the process of launching and running their own businesses through hands-on projects and activities
Both ISM and YEA are amazing programs. I would like to focus my efforts on ensuring more students get the best of these programs. This needs some collaborated work with the District, City, Chamber, Community and Industry. I can confidently say that I will be able to positively contribute to make the changes happen.
You are a very accomplished, dedicated, hard working community leader and served 11 + years. What is your message asking the community for support so that you can have this great opportunity to give back?
I strongly believe in giving back.The community has witnessed my work and supported me for more than 15 years. I will continue to do this while I take up the responsibilities as Board of Trustee. It will be a great privilege and opportunity for me, so that I can exploit my experiences and passions to ensure that Frisco ISD continues to excel in serving its students, teachers, and parents in an exemplary manner. I would need the support of every parent in order to represent the entire community and be their voice in every important decision making process in the District.