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"You should practice meditation regularly; even five minutes in your car is worth it." says Sharmila Tagore
Sharmila Tagore Says Re-energize yourself in 10 minutes
An Indian actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Sharmila Tagore is a name that created a wave in the Indian film industry from the 60s to the 80s and still continues to do so. In a brief chat with Divya Sachdev, she shares how meditation adds value to people’s lives.
Q- What are your views about meditation?
Sharmila Tagore: I think it is absolutely essential today. It should be a part of our school curriculum and parental upbringing. To me meditation means calming down; it’s like being in touch with yourself amidst our daily buzz of coping with traffic hassles, work stress etc. It is the best way to stay healthy and balanced. For one’s own sanity, a little bit of meditation in the day is a must-do.
Q-Since you belong to the film industry, how do you think meditation can help the pressure-stricken film fraternity?
Sharmila Tagore: Every profession has some sort of pressure, the film industry is not unique in that respect. A labourer’s life has pressure, a doctor has pressure. Look at writers: they too have so much pressure. Today, pressure is universal. But in our particular field, meditation not only helps to calm down but it also helps to concentrate. It helps in memorizing lines and being relaxed in front of the camera. If your face is relaxed, you definitely look good. When you are sitting down calmly looking at a nice flower, thinking nice and happy things, it immediately makes you feel better, instead of running all the time.
Q- So it actually adds value to people from all walks of life?
Sharmila Tagore: Most certainly. Meditation adds value and keeps them healthy and happy, because anything you decide and do in a calm frame of mind will be a better decision, than doing it in a hurried and agitated fashion.
Q- Whenever you have practiced meditation, what has been your experience?
Sharmila Tagore: I have felt happier. I remember once my sister and I were coming back from the hospital and I suddenly felt very claustrophobic and I wanted to get out of the car. We were in a traffic jam. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt my heart was bursting. My sister calmed me down just by talking to me and making me go through some breathing exercises. In about 20 minutes, rather 10, I felt much better. That feeling of agitation vanished. I was so calm that I was almost falling asleep. Before the meditative breathing, I really thought I was having a panic attack! Obviously it was just stress. It was a mental condition, which got cured with a breathing exercise which my sister taught me. And that is what I call meditation. And of course there are many phases of meditation: the more you practice, the better you get. Calming down and breathing properly and concentrating on the good side of ourselves and the world helps us to get in touch with our better self and that keeps us healthy. Our postures, our digestion, our thinking and our sleep - everything becomes better by meditation.
My sister is so much younger than I and yet she has that gift of calm because she practices Sudarshan Kriya and meditation regularly. Therefore she remains positive. A calm teacher is better than an agitated teacher. Calmness spreads happiness and positive feeling all around. If we raise our voice, become impatient or bang the door in anger, it only adds to somebody’s stress.
Q- Do you meditate often when you feel low?
Sharmila Tagore: I should meditate more often than I do. But at least I understand the value of meditation. And I try to meditate as often as I can. When I get agitated I try to control my breathing and that helps me to calm down.
Q- So apart from making you peaceful and calm, is there any other aspect of your life which you feel has been affected my meditation?
Sharmila Tagore: As I said before, it helps me to sleep and eat properly, so definitely it adds to my overall health. It helps my concentration as well. It helps me in my public life because as an actor I have to remember my lines. I have to remember my speeches. Concentration helps the memory. Also by being calm, you make less mistakes and it most certainly helps to make better decisions.
Q- How would you inspire all those fans out there who are probably going to read this interview?
Sharmila Tagore: Although I don’t meditate regularly, I most certainly think it’s a very good thing as it has so many benefits. You should practice meditation regularly; even five minutes in your car is worth it. Just start with one minute, two minutes and concentrate on breathing evenly, sitting straight and reflecting inwards. Meditation adds years to your life. Instantly you feel re-energized and all the tiredness disappears.