One of the best life skills to learn

On business and MBA blogs, the word heartburn is generally used in a symbolic manner to refer to stress. But I’m talking about the real thing here – the burning sensation that you’d get due to indigestion and acidity. It’s got nothing to do with the heart and there’s nothing burning either. Just like gulab jamun has nothing to do with either gulab or ja…sorry, we’re digressing. But the proximity of the symptoms to the heart may cause some confusion and probably that’s how it got the name.

Timeout…why are we talking about medical issues here? Is it because the MBA industry has been facing some rough weather and MBA Crystal Ball is diversifying into medical entrance exams coaching?

Nope. This topic comes up because heartburn (in its myriad forms) is a common health issue that most hard-working MBA students, professionals and pretty much anyone who has a tough working life faces at some time or another. It gets worse if you haven’t been following a regular schedule and your eating patterns are erratic. You still want that consulting and I-banking job? Over time, it becomes a condition that you take for granted.

How not to deal with stress in life and at work

B-schools won’t tell you how to manage this common side-effect of chasing success. And I don’t think any management researcher is burning the mid-night oil to come up with an effective 2X2 matrix to solve the issue. So don’t hold your breath, hoping Harvard Business Review will have something exciting in store.

So what are you most likely to do when you get heartburn? Gobble down antacid tablets in the hope that the titration process that you learnt during high school days, finally gets a chance to show its value in real life…in your stomach. Works fine in the early days and then your digestive system gets used to it. So without any medical consultation, you heroically increase the dosage.

And the antacid ads on TV don’t really help, as they almost encourage folks to take a few tablets and start hogging again. What you are effectively doing here is – trying to tackle the chemicals that your body is spewing from within, with more chemicals from outside. [if you ever felt this blog lacked chemistry, this paragraph should address that concern]

Any other (safer) options to explore? Sure, if we are willing to temporarily turn our back on management science and head back to the wisdom we’ve inherited from our desi ancestors. Yoga.

‘So, why Yoga? Is it because MBA Crystal Ball is getting into…’

Arey nahi re, Raja. We are still sticking to MBA admissions consulting and career counselling. Just thought it would be interesting to talk about this technique that I had picked up many years back in a free yoga class. The teachers were sincere and not in it for the money.

One of the best life skills to learn

While all management gurus talk about the virtues of meditation (pretty powerful stuff if you can master it), there’s another category called kriyas (Kri = To do) as opposed to asanas (all the funky poses and postures that are more popularly associated with yoga).

Within this, there’s a sub-category called shuddhi-kriya (cleansing techniques). Dig a little deeper and there’s a gem of a kriya called – Jal Dhauti.

I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritties of the technique. You can check up more relevant websites and or better still reach out to the right teacher (preferably someone who doesn’t have any interest in politics + doesn’t constantly wink with the right eye).

The only thing you need (once you are fairly trained in it) is lots of water. Lukewarm water and a little salt works best for newbies. Over time, I managed to do it with tap water (not a good idea though).

Did I mention that it involves drinking water and then vomiting it out? [waiting for you to react]

Let’s skip those ‘how gross’ reactions. We’ve been regurgitating stuff all our life – as a student first (when you couldn’t digest the theory), then as a professional (when you unleashed all those company policies on your unsuspecting juniors). Doing it for health reasons now can’t be so bad. It’s much better than the building and nurturing a toxic chemical sewage inside your body.

As with anything done in excess, Jal Dhauti has its drawbacks as well. Read up on it before you proceed.

Getting curious? Here’s a video that should give you an idea of how it works.

Word of Caution: Don’t get carried away by the background score and the shady ambient lighting in the video (which, depending on your interests, might remind you of some 5-star hotel elevator music or one of those, er, videos you used to watch). Anyway, when you really feel the need to do Jal Dhauti, the last thing you’d want is someone playing romantic music in the backdrop.

The sad and scary part of this story is that I’ve seen this being performed in circus acts! In India, anything can be passed off in the name of entertainment. But having been a long-time practitioner of this kriya, I truly believe it can be a hugely beneficial skill to pick up. Better than any management text book or reference guide can teach.

As a consultant in my corporate days, I’ve been put in remote, godforsaken locations. With a big presentation scheduled for the next day in front of a big audience, the last thing you’d want is heartburn, with no antacid and no doctor in sight for miles. Jal Dhauti saved the day (night, actually) and I could sleep well before the big show. True story!

Maintain a good work-life balance. Eat well. Eat right. Eat on time. And learn some basic yoga.
Disclaimer: I have very limited medical knowledge. I am not qualified to give you any health advice. The only intention here was to create awareness, so you can read up more on the topic, get expert help from qualified professionals and decide what you should do in case you face similar issues while you are busy climbing up the corporate ladder. Without the right knowledge and training, don’t try any of this at home, office and definitely not as a stunt during your farewell party.

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Till we meet for another professional or life skills session, this is Baba Sameeranand signing off.

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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin


  1. Balki says:

    Good one. Is Jal Dhauti same as Kunjar kriya?

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    Yes, Balki, it is the same. But I believe the pronunciation is Kunjal (not Kunjar) Kriya.

    Anyway, like the great Rakhi Sawant once said – What’s in a name?

  3. Rajesh says:

    Wow that’s a really good article. Thanks for sharing it with us. I saw it on the International Yoga day. What timing!

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