It’s a line we all may have perhaps said at least a few times in our life: ‘I don’t have time for myself!’ This is just the refrain Rhea Pillai too has heard from people young and old during her tours across the world while speaking on the principles of Art of Living.
The common complaint most people have is ‘I don’t have time for myself’, says Rhea, a model who worked in television and advertising, and is an international senior teacher with the Art of Living (AOL) spreading its principles worldwide for the last 25 years. (A non-profit organization, AOL offers educational and self-development programs for those seeking inner peace, happiness and well-being.)
‘Across continents I came across people who say they have no time for themselves, and this was reflected in how a lot of people lived their lives,’ says Rhea, in an email interview, ahead of her arrival in Dubai where she will be attending the PosH-RacK festive show on September 16 at The One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai.
Mindfulness is key
Rhea herself has her day chock-a-block with tasks. However, she appears to have maintained a perfect balance.
‘Fast paced, working with deadlines and expectations, [so many people don’t] see reason enough to take time out or see the value in getting to know themselves better, or understand the power of one’s breath or to live the one moment which is truly yours- the present,’ she says. ‘The world has changed today. Mindfulness is the new mantra and it’s a good place to begin.’
She credits the principles of AOL for bringing about a sense of balance and fulfilment in her life.
‘The Sudarshan Kriya was my initial experience with the teachings of the Art of Living,’ says Rhea. ‘It quite simply changed my world.’ A powerful breathing technique, it detoxifies and harmonises the nervous system. ‘I had no idea I would experience something so profound so quickly. Needless to say I never looked back.’
Over the years, she has taught and given talks in the US, the UK, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Jakarta to name a few places, on the power of breathing techniques and the ability to detox the nervous system and reduce stress levels.
Her aim is to empower an individual’s emotional, mental, physical, intellectual and overall well-being.
‘The youth of today have opportunities and options that weren’t available before. They determine where they want to go, who they want to be, what they want to be, who they want to be with… And to be able to get it right, to choose wisely, and make better decisions, it’s imperative they start the conversation with themselves. Asking these questions of the self is what spirituality is all about,’ says Rhea who believes love is not just an emotion but one’s very existence.
Named Woman of the Year by the Maharashtra government in 2003 for her active participation in social service, Rhea has also worked as director of the International Association for Human Values. She says that the skills she learnt at AOL ‘changed my life completely.
‘I learnt how to empower myself; learnt skillful ways to heal and harmonise my body through breathing techniques and [realized what] makes life wondrous even though everything is not perfect.’
Living in the now
A person who believes in living in the present, she says setbacks and hardships are momentary, and an integral part of life.
‘If you get stuck (on dwelling too much on them) you get stressed out. Accept that all is transient. If you live life honestly and with pure intentions, you cannot go wrong.’
Rhea cannot overemphasise enough the importance of breathing correctly. ‘It can sometimes do for you what no doctor can,’ she says.
With more and more people realizing the importance of mental well-being for a holistic healthy life, what tips can she suggest to improve mental wellbeing?
‘The first thing I would like to make clear is that nothing troubles you more than your own mind,’ she says.
Another key element to improving the body and the mind is breath control and practicing proper breathing techniques. ‘Breath is the key to making life peaceful and productive,’ says Rhea.
‘Lastly, remember, so often the answers we look for are in the simplest areas of life. Learn it, use it, live it.’
Late in 2016, Rhea launched The Temple House By Rhea Pillai, a holistic brand that deals in organic and natural fabrics.
‘The Temple House by Rhea Pillai came to be quite by chance,’ she says, explaining the origins of her label. ‘As I had spent the last 25 years predominantly doing humanitarian work, a friend suggested I do something commercial suggesting I marry my time I spent as a model with my spiritual interest; that’s how The Temple House by Rhea Pillai came to be.’
The fashion products are a nod to sustainability with a focus on a healthier world.
Having been a successful model, she clearly knows fashion and styles. About modelling, she says, any girl can make it in the modelling world if they have the ‘confidence, belief in themselves and the ability to remain true to their own uniqueness. There is no other you. Claim it. Feel beautiful and people will recognise it,’ she said.
Rhea has said that she has no long-term goals. ‘I live life, and each moment, with utmost honesty to who I truly am. And then I move on to the next moment.’