Mumbai Port Trust’s meditation classes help employees beat stress
Everyone should meditate as it improves the quality of your life. Regular meditation helps to deal with stress
In a large conference room with portraits of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Mumbai Port Trust employees practise meditation every Tuesday and Thursday, mostly during lunch hour. They sit on chairs with their eyes shut and concentrate in the presence of a trainer for 30 minutes, in an attempt to attain calm.
This programme was started in 2016, when Sanjay Bhatia became chairman of the Port Trust. Employee participation is voluntary.
Initially, employees thought of the meditation classes as “odd”. Today, the sessions have regular sign-ups, with 70-100 employees participating on an average on Tuesdays. “Meditation is an internal process, we don’t really need a special room for that,” he explains .
Bhatia, who has been doing meditation for 17 years, says: “I have come to this conclusion that if the employees and the officers need to bring change management and motivation, meditation is the best method, because it helps to change them internally and impacts their consciousness.” People who miss sessions on Tuesdays, the main day, often attend on Thursdays.
Bhatia had started the practice of meditation even in Cidco (City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra). He was heading it before he joined the Port Trust, a government-owned corporation that administers the 400 sq. km Mumbai port.
Bhatia believes that practising meditation regularly helps improve trust between employees, officers and outside stakeholders.
But it is not always easy to introduce a new idea like meditation in the workplace. Bhatia says it took three months for people to accept the programme and sign up for it. He used to be present for the initial meditation sessions. Trained to conduct sessions, he continues to hold one at his residence near Pedder Road every Sunday that is open to friends and neighbours.
There are many branches of meditation. Bhatia practises heartfulness meditation, and this is what is practised at the Mumbai Port Trust. In this, you sit with your eyes closed, focusing on your heart and the sound of your heartbeat for as long as you can.
Ajay Magodia, assistant superintendent, state department of Mumbai Port Trust, claims that apart from enhancing focus and concentration, meditation makes a person more humane and gentle.
“It regulates your mind and unwanted feelings or emotions like anger are flushed out,” he says.
Priyanka Sethi, the heartfulness meditation trainer at the Port Trust, says the families of employees also benefit from these sessions. “People who practise meditation are usually better adjusted. I am sure employees, when they go home, are in a better mood after a session and interact with their family in a happier frame of mind,” says Sethi. “Some of the employees have told me that their partners remind them to attend the sessions now!”
Bhatia, who is also in charge of the Kandla port in Gujarat, has started meditation sessions there too. “Everyone should mediate as it improves the quality of your life. Regular meditation helps to deal with stress. In fact, psychosomatic disorders can be controlled if your meditate as stress is the main cause for that. I believe meditation also helps people become more creative.”
The Wellness Room is a series on how employers are creating designated areas in offices for employees to engage in wellness practices such as workouts, yoga and meditation.
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