Saturday, August 21, 2010

"The" AOL course

So well, I attended the art of living session yesterday. Predictably, I felt relaxed after the session. The dim lights, the comfortable chairs and the speaker's voice all put me to a deep sleep. I was more relaxed than the other souls who practised the art of breathing. In fact, so relaxed that my friend had to keep pushing me off her chair.

There was this guy in front of me who too dozed off for the entire 2 hours of the session. When the artificial tones of the accented English of the anchor floated down to him, he woke up with a start. The anchor was asking everyone how they felt. Poor soul .. he looked lost .. he probably was cursing her for dragging him out of his wonderful dreams.

The best entertainment came after the event. The food was rather miserable. Cold pakoras, Oily samosas, and some kinda bread. The saving grace were the raw carrots and the big oranges. Food was not such a huge concern as we friends were planning to eat out anyhow. But, the fact that we were not allowed to even eat this stuff in peace was really bugging. First, it was a really really Pretty Young Thing (PYT) in a beautiful blue outfit. She caught me. Kept wanting to know if I'd join there overly priced YES+ course. I managed to give her the slip by telling her about my current engineering project. Short lived peace ! we friends were talking when an aunty caught hold of my friends. My friend (in)advertly tore her name tag in front of the aunty, giving her an excuse to find a waste basket. Aunty left us. And then came the star of our irritation.

A PYT (Pretty-(Y)ugly-Thing) in ultra mod clothes. Her looks themselves put me off. She started with an introduction to herself. Now, I hate people who unnecessarily laugh after every sentence, and she was no better. Every sentence was followed by a 'holier-than-thou' and an artificial laugh. A 21 year old thing, and she is all ready to teach yoga in the West in 2 months ... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. She listed out the attributes of AOL yoga, adding EMPOWERMENT as one of the benefits. Empowerment ?? Empowerment ??????? I couldn't keep quite any longer, and my eyebrows automatically arched themselves upwards to tango with sarcasm that threatened to flow from me.

Me : Empowerment ? Did you say empowerment ?

PYT : Yes, you know , the feeling powerful

Me : I see, so feeling powerful is empowerment

PYT : I think we should all be powerful. Empowered. Women are such sentimental fools. We get attached to everyone. And we are emotional. We get attached to our parents, our family, our friends

Me (higly raised eyebrows) : I see

PYT : Don't you want to be powerful ? You know , when I joined college, I didn't even know to wash my own clothes. I cried to my mom 'how could you put me here, i have to wash my own clothes' , and now i know to wash my clothes.

(Me looking at my friend to suppress her and my laugh )
Me : I don't see any problem in my life right now. I don't think I need power

PYT : But, we should have power. I want to be the most powerful. (Looking at my friends) Powerful (back at me) Don't you want to be ? Don't you want to be able to face any situation ?

Me (thoroughly pissed now): I am fine the way I am

And the worst dialogue:

PYT : Join AOL, and make your life fun

Another arched look from me,

PYT : No, I mean, more fun than what it is now. I bet you are all fun folks, but experience the course and it'll change your life.

That reminded me of the 'Self Control' guy in 'Jhankaar Beats'.
Initially, I felt bad going for free food when I was so skeptical about AOL. Now, no regrets what-so-ever. 45 minutes with such PYTs can only be handled with generous amounts of free food.

P.S : I am not against AOL, but I found a lot of things that disturbed me in their agenda. More on this in future posts.


mystic rose said...

Lol. you made the whole thing sound comical :).

Anonymous said...

lolz it was gr8 fun reading your post after i attended basic course i was also thinking whether Rs1250 it was worth it

Anonymous said...

Wow, it was a great read :) More please. Empowerment! She compared empowerment to washing clothes!! Oh god! I don't understand one thing - are these people really dumb or they act like one. A friend of mine joined AOL but not for 'empowerment' but so that he could meet his girlfriend there :D

kanagu said...

LOL!!!! I think this has become more of business... instead making the people join who are interested, they force people which i don't think is good..

And empowerment and washing clothes.. lol!!!

Dawn....सेहर said...

This post was funny - but long back I am done with AOL...long long back... :-)
Thanks for visiting and please do come again

starry said...

Made me laugh.too funny.

vimmuuu said...

LOL, I mean, AOL ! :D You know what, some more posts and you will end up being in jail for trying to assasinate the person behind AOL !! They are looking out for that person, be careful :D :D :D

Deeps said...

LOL...if not anything, the discussion with that PYT must have made you feel empowered for sure, right??

I'm not against anyone following a certain faith or belief..what annoys me the most is when people try to force their faith on you. Its so irritating, isnt it?

As for, AOL, have heard a lot of positives abt it, my co-sister, who is French is an ardent follower and teaches Yoga.I've been wanting to attend at least one session. Will let you know how I find it if I get to attend one :)

Swaram said...

I have met a few ppl who are all praise for AOL too and if it helps anyone, there's nothing better :)
But eh, imposing something on anyone is not good @ all :)

Swaram said...

Can I know the free food Menu :P
I am feeling hungry nw ;)

Bikramjit said...

he he he you made it sound hilarious..
See she tried so hard you should have joined he hehehe :)

She learnt to wash clothes just imagine what all you wud learn to do :) socho socho socho he hehehe

Anonymous said...

Hey nice one haan...I came on ur blog for the first time and I enjoyed reading it... Felt like ur's writing style is sumwat like me... u can go thru my blogs too at

and recently I attended the orientation programme from, my college too where I was a hosst..I felt the same feeling as I can relate to this post...

lostworld said...

You know I empathize with you. I attended an AOL course (the beginners one) and I called it Art of Sleeping course! :) It was so boring & fake. The so-called teachers really irritated me.

I'm waiting for the next post on this :)

Anonymous said...

Haha.. once a friend had forced me to accompany her to AOL course and I just escaped :) glad I dint go :P

Renu said...

Lol:) even i ahve nothing against AOL, but the way they want every participant to keep quiet about what he is taught and not disclose evn to his family makes me feel skeptical, as its a ploy to bring more people only..pure bussiness.

Chandrika Shubham said...

Interesting naration. :)

Sujit said...

he he.. looks like it was nice fun out there.. :)

Rakesh said...

i hate all those fake swamis who sport long beards n beads and talk all goody two shoes!

All r frauds i tell ya!!

Sudeep said...

Learnt how to wash clothes?? he he.. is AOL art of laundering :)
So are you getting empowered or you don't want to learn how to wash clothes? :P

Vivek said...

Thank you for confirming my long harbored skepticism about the effectiveness of these AOL courses.

Sh@s said...

I have no idea about AOL but i can definitely say that you know the art of conversation as you could put up with the conversation of PYT. It was hilarious that you and the person in front of you, both slept throughout the session.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

mystic rose :
looking at it now, it was comical !

Anony :
i believe it was not worth it ... but the experience of realising it was not worth it , was worth it

ajay :
empowerement and washing clothes :D :D

Kanagu :
i know ... i agree !

Dawn :
thankss ....
i am also done with AOL

Starry :
thanks. how r u ?

Vimuuuu :
i am innocent

Anonymous said...

a walking talking irritating ad for the course!! I'm glad she was in front of you instead of the tv, otherwise, you would have just changed channels and this whole dialogue wouldn't have been blogged :)

Had fun, thank you :P

Anonymous said...

These gurus do not need any license to teach!!!

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Pinashpinash :
hey !
glad u enjoyed !
thanks for the compliment !

nadunudi :
hey !
oh yes, they need a license ... the license to be aggressive and intrusive

Rakesh said...

no reply to my comment huh? hmmmpphh

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,
I see you are making fun of Yoga and Meditation as a general just by looking at some people who want to force their ego on others in the name of Art of Living.
My advice is to not generalize and read below.

If you truly want to know the magnanimity of Yoga and Meditation, then donot go to any classes. Just read the book "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda. Its available freely online here:

This book is considered as one of the Top 100 books of 20th century by renowned magazine in Spiritual category. Here are the reviews this book got from world over both from Individuals and world press media including from United States and rest of the wrold:

All you need to have to know GOD and to be in control of self is the bility to love others and self unconditionally and practice of Yoga and Meditation. But please read above book first and then proceed in yoga and meditation. I can say after reading this book and from my own personal experiencs that while the Western countries had seen only 1 Lord Jesus Christ, India with its magnanimous Spiritual wealth, had silently but surely had produced Christ like saints in every generation without failure.

Yuou will know this truth once you complete reading this book. Also, this book got reviews on amazon etc that may be useful to you.

If you still want more info on this, go to

Anonymous said...

By the way, what the AOL instructor mean to convey by taking the example of "Crying to do Laundry" is that we tend to loose our strengths for silly things and we cry to even handle the simplest of the things that we have to do. If this is the case, how can we handle the tough responsilibilities and also face the tougher world that is ruthless out there and waiting to take advantage of us and our circumstances?

For facing the world we have to have a huge amount of self control, a huge amount of strength and courage to face any challenge that may come in future. This can be done only if we are of the realization that we are not the mere physical bodies or the Minds, but a lot more than that. Remember what was told in Bhagavadgeetha? That we are not the bodies or the minds, but we are the ever existing entities called souls, and that souls doesnot have birth or death and that birth/death are only for the bodies.

Once you realize within that the self is nothing but the ever existing Soul, then, you will never ever cry again for the dead ones, just like the way a child doesnot cry when the mother leaves the child for work if the child had the realization that the mother is not truly leaving but will be coming back.

How does one attain this realization if the individual is all along is lurking in the material pleasures? To get this realization, one has to do some sort of spiritual practice and there are different ways for carrying spiritual practices, namely by way of Bhakti , by way of unselfish service to others, by way of carrying out duties without any expectation, by way of Yoga/Meditation . Depending on ones abilities or interests, one can follow any one path or if time permits, one can follow multiple paths depending on how the individuals mood is, at different times.

Yoga and meditation has the specific attribute of bringing this realization at the fastest pace and this is the reason why one is advocated of following Yoga and meditation techniques, especially in todays world where people are busy running for better life with no considerable time for spiritual practices.

By the way, I donot have any association with AOL or its organisations or any other organization.

Hope this helps.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Shas :
thank u , thank u ....
i bet a lot more were sleeping !

Vivek :
it always pays to be sceptical

Sudeep :
heh heh .. come on .. i've been washing my clothes for ages now ... where have you been, btw ?

Rakesh :
i dont agree all are fake. maybe they started out the right way, but their followers turned it into a scam. some like Shankara Mutt , are still good (I believe)
heh heh heh .. Brattu ... now u realise how it pricks when u dont reply ... hmmmfffh

Sujit :
it was in a way

Chandrika :
it was an even more interesting experience !

Rocklad said...


~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

2 Deeps :
I know ... there are a lot of good things about AOL ... but there is something when it is packaged for the west in a form which is more commercial than spiritual

2 Swaram :
oye girl !
i am totally for yoga and all that, but not the way she was marketing it .... you can talk about the good things, but not infringe on others.

2 Bikramjit :
heh heh .. i cant even imagine .... thank god I didnt join :D :D

White Magpie said...

It depends on whether you are a tourist or a will figure this out later in your life comments and the person you met not withstanding..and it may or may not be aol

Sorcerer said...

"Control kar Uday...Control kar..."

Lol!! Nice..

I tried to learn yoga..but stopped when i learned that I wont be able to breathe fire or..bend a spoon.

When I was in school..Shavasana(a yoga posture) was my favorite!
"When life give you yoga close your eyes and sleeeeeeeep"

ps:You are already so empowered..

Anonymous said...

dear sorcerer,
by learning Yoga and meditation and by practicing them, you can realize the magnanimous universal power( that creates, sustains and destroys the drama of life) within your self and then you will be able to breat fire or bend a spoon by just you looking at it.

But it also depends on weather you deserve to have that power within and if given will you use it for your selfishness or will you use it for the good of the suffering ones. Great saints and enlightened ones did not give access to the common people like you and me that easily since we, with our mediocre and half knowledged brains may end up misusing it.

So, its better if we donot even practice the Yoga and meditation.

Deeps said...

Hey, whats this, updates?? C'mon, new post please!!

Royal Desperado said...

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.


wanderlust said...

Recently I read an interesting book - "The geography of Bliss". One of the countries the author visited of course was India. He was in the AOL ashram in Bangalore and had pretty much something similar to say.
I know a couple of people who have benefited from the course. But when they start stuffing it down your throat, you start choking. That is when we LOL and AOL.

Btw, how are you?

Anonymous said...

Yup. You are right wanderlust. One should never teach or give the knowledge or wisdom to anyone who is not in receivable state. It doesnot make sense to teach 10th grade math to 1st or 5th grade student. Does it?

There are multiple ways to gain spiritual progress, and of all, just doing a simple pranayama for only 15 minutes on a daily will void the need to join AOL or any other gangs. Sit quietly at home may be after shower and do basic pranayama for only 15 or 30 minutes and that is it. Do this daily and then gain gradually control over the body and mind. This things are not a once in a while practice things. You have to be regular and punctual even if you have to do pranayama for 15 minutes. Over a course of time, it will aid you to a great extent.

If you can get access to any Yoga practicing person who is genuine , then see how they do this basic pranayama or just use Baba ram dev's video online and do this pranayama. Once you start doing, you can feel the immediate changes probably in a month or so. But you have to be sincere in the efforts.

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Anony (Nov 4) : I agree with the benefits of yoga, but i also find that it is individual dependent. For e.g. surya namaskaara works for me, but not my roomie

Wanderlust : am doing ok. i agree w u 100%

~*. D E E P A .* ~ said...

Anony ,

U r getting me wrong here . I believe completely in yoga and spiritualism, but not the kind that AOL and many other fake organisations and swamis do. they might have started out with good intentions, but sadly something goes wrong mid way, and it turns out to be one huge commercial experiment !

Anonymous said...

this is hilarious Deepa chan! lololol
i wonder if that aunty has seen your blog. hehehe
have a lovely evening!!

Anonymous said...

mmmm sharing views... good..
@ anony :

here is the link

White Magpie said...

:)take it easy..I met this lady in Paris who has started a yoga school after doing it for 3 years. Seriously, its painful to see the wrong stuff being imparted but somewhere I hope at least the thirst will awaken to find the real thing even if it takes a few false starts.

Teal™ said...

Deepa - you have mirrored my sentiments here! I had not attended not one, but two AOL courses :-) and yes I was surrounded by maniacal fanatics to arrange more ppl and more courses bla bla ... brought back the hilarious moments of the course. :)