New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Concentrate on the base of your spine, focus on your breath and avoid spicy food. Thus go the tips from gurus as their politician disciples get into the heat and dust of electioneering in an Indian summer.
The men who tend to the spiritual needs of politicians are suggesting restraint and introspection to tide over the rough and tumble of changing political fortunes.
Vikram Mehta is a Delhi-based vaastu expert, numerologist, tarot card reader, reiki master, healer and guru of sundry politicians he declines to name.
He feels that politicians should meditate to cope with the stress generated by election-related lifestyle changes, campaigns, cut-throat competition, cutting edge decision-making and the ensuing fatigue.
'They can either meditate or practise 'dhyana samadhi' (concentration) by focusing on seven 'chakras' - the energy points in the bodies. They must chant the word 'Om' as often as possible to relax and tune inwards. The Sanskrit word - an ancient incantation - generates positive energy,' Mehta told IANS.
For stability, politicians must concentrate on their 'muladhar chakra' located at the base of the spine. 'It makes the politician stable, and also stabilises the party he represents,' Mehta said.
He explained that the positive energy produced by tuning into the 'chakra' flows from the politician to the party he is attached to and to the people with whom he interacts in the course of his rallies and campaigns.
'The pure energy spreads goodwill, benefits the party and keeps the immediate environment peaceful,' Mehta said.
The body, said Mehta, has seven chakras - the sahasrara or the crown chakra, ajna or the brow chakra, vishuddha or the throat chakras , the anahat or the heart chakra, manipura or the solar plexus chakra, svadisthana or the sacral chakra and the muladhara or the base chakra.
'Concentrating on the chakras disconnects the politician from the world and aligns his vibrations with that of the cosmos. It breeds impartiality and detachment which allows him to think objectively,' Mehta said, adding it also reduces errors in judgement.
Meditation master and stress therapist Yogi Anoop, who is well-known in the Congress fraternity, has been advising his clients to stay off spicy food.
'Diet should not generate heat or violence because the politician essentially has to fight verbally with his opponents, hurl abuses and rake mud during elections. It is important to maintain emotional balance and restraint in speech so that even the most provocative of verbal fights comes across as sweet and non-violent,' Anoop told IANS.
Politicians who stick to a bland vegetarian platter and plenty of liquids during election are less prone to emotional excesses than those who eat spicy and fatty food on the campaign trails and in rallies, he said.
'Water therapy (one glass of water or fresh lemonade every hour), a straight posture and a slow manner of speech broken with commas, full stops and pauses are the three most important health and lifestyle tips for poll-bound leaders.'
Anoop recommends light breathing exercises and speech training for politicians during elections.
'For instance, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's slow speech ensured that he was able to speak longer in contrast to Narendra Modi's violent burst of energy, facial stress and emotionally charged speeches which drained his energy faster.'
Over the past few years, more politicians have turned to spirituality, observes Vikram Mehta.
'Attribute it to the media which frequently stresses the importance of spirituality and alternative healing to cope with stress. Many politicians seek inner transformation to present a loving image to the people - to capture more votes and to connect to their inner selves, which is not always bad,' he said.
Consultant psychiatrist Samir Parikh, the coordinator of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Healthcare in Delhi, said effective and healthy management of stress ensures better 'productivity', even for politicians.
'It does not mean that every politician must go for counselling. An expert can provide unbiased and scientific mentoring or guidance. After all, politicians are human beings and in the lives of every human comes a moment which has a crucial impact,' Parikh told IANS.
The election is one such moment.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at email@example.com)