This weeks Wellness Guru is a self-taught author, a yoga teacher and a life coach - Smita Joshi has some wise words for readers this week on how to rediscover your inner voice.
1. Tell us about yourself Smita, and how you got to be where you are today?
I was born in Mahatma Gandhi’s hometown of Porbandar, and moved to London with my parents at the age of ten. Having been raised in a traditional Indian home, I was encouraged to recite Sanskrit mantras and this gave me my early grounding in the values of my age-old culture. What I did not know at the time, however, is how much I would later draw on these values in times of trauma and crisis…
Discovering my inner strength while still in my teens, I was determined to stand on my own two feet and make a success of my life, completely on my own merit. I quickly found that I had a natural flair for winning new business and over the next ten years I furthered my retail career, working with some of the world’s biggest technology firms.
However, while my professional life was going from strength to strength, I felt unfulfilled in my personal life. Traumas from my childhood and teenage years were now rearing their head, and it was at this point that I turned to meditation and yoga to help me on my path to real contentment and happiness. By my late twenties, I embarked on a six-month quest across India. There, I travelled with yogis and gurus to see what more I could discover about the Self within.
Learning from them and India’s ancient texts - Vedas, Bhagvad Gita, Shiva Sutras, the Puranas and Upanishads – I soaked up whatever I could and went about applying some of these teachings to improve my quality of life, including my work. And that’s where the idea for the Karma & Diamonds trilogy was born.
All of these questions and all of my incredible experiences of tapping into the positive power of the inner Self have come together to form the Karma & Diamonds trilogy, a gripping journey of Self-discovery across continents and lifetimes.
As well as being an author, I am a life coach, I teach yoga and I also interview spiritual gurus, yoga masters, entrepreneurs and politicians as a freelance TV presenter and for my YouTube channel, Smita Joshi TV.
2. Tell us how you spend your average working day?
My day starts with morning yoga. I can be on my yoga mat from as early as 6.30am or it could be as late as 10am, depending on how I need to manage my work schedule on any given day. I practice Ashtanga Vinyasa based yoga.
My day starts with a glass of warm water with juice of one lemon, a touch of honey, black pepper and Pink Himalayan Salt, followed a bit later by a hot tea or cappuccino.
After my yoga practice, I love nothing more than some roasted almonds or cashews. After a shower, I get straight to work. As an author-entrepreneur, this involves writing for or posting on my social media profiles and website, as well as creating video content for my YouTube channel around the key concepts of wellness and the inner Self which I also share in my trilogy of books Karma & Diamonds. Increasingly, I’m asked to speak at more and more events so my day could also see me working on an upcoming talk too. I also teach yoga.
I’m a vegetarian, so lunch is usually some sort of protein, such as eggs with salad of roasted vegetables. Dinner can be a diverse variety of things, as I love to cook!
There are two things that are a must for me to feel satisfied with my day: practicing yoga and doing meditation. No matter how busy or uncertain my day, both of these things centre me and help me feel connected in a positive way.
3. What inspires you?
Personal growth and becoming more and more of who we are, fusing our humanity with our essential nature, our Greatest Self — what I call the Inner Diamond — motivates me massively.
I’m inspired by the possibility of being brilliant and excellent from within, as a human being, as well as in the those areas of life to which I give my most time, namely work, relationships and yoga and meditation practice. I want my time on this planet to have a positive impact, to leave a beautiful, life-altering gift through my interactions and ‘work’ for as many people as possible.
4. What’s your goal in life?
Like the ancient sages of India, I firmly believe that each one of us is a multi-faceted sparkling diamond of universal consciousness. If this is so, then the question surely must be, “Which facets of your amazing being are you going to express in your lifetime?” I’m constantly looking for ways of merging more and more with my deeper nature so that I’m more at ease in my own skin, so that life flows with greater synchronicity, lightness and joy, so that being alive is truly a magical experience.
My goal is to share this with as many people as possible so they too can experience this. When you're connected to this aspect of your being, your perspective alters dramatically. You begin to see life through the facets of your ‘Inner Diamond’, as it were, and then, so much more becomes possible for you.
5. What does Wellness mean to you?
In a busy world, one of key things that I believe makes the difference between success and failure is how well you’re able to deal with stress. There are many different kinds of stress that we need to deal with, not least those that arise in managing relationships and money. So, I believe the key thing is to understand how stress manifests for you, what causes it, and then becoming self-aware of how you react in stressful situations.
Wellness, for me, starts and ends with self-awareness. Being self-aware helps you recognise stressful situations arising in the moment so that you can choose to respond powerfully there and then. Where that doesn’t happen, it’s good to have enjoyable, health-promoting ways (that don’t involve consuming vast amounts of alcohol!) to soothe away your stress.
Along the way, you have to loop outwards to take care of the body through nutrition, exercise, fitness, etc. but essentially, all these things are only sustainable when they are initiated at your innermost centre; the core of who you are. That’s where bhava, or authentic feeling arises and for something to show up in reality, you have to feel a genuine desire for it. Wellness is about getting connected to what I call your ‘Inner Diamond’, that place of positivity that we’re all connected to and let that guide your every choice and action, big and small. Then, whatever you do will prove fulfilling, as well as long lasting.
6. What advice would you give to a person looking to transform their life?
Transformation is about completely altering your reality, not just making small changes to it. Be brutally honest with yourself about where you are in the key areas of your life, what’s missing there and how you would like to alter these aspects of your life. Then, don’t take on all the areas at once. Start with just one.
Get as much help as possible; find good courses that can help you to take a focused look at your life and also, get a good mentor for the area you’ve chosen. Select your mentors based on their track-record of having achieved success in what you’d also like to achieve.
Above all, learn to listen to your own inner voice. Sometimes, it’s really difficult to hear it because the noise of our negative ‘mind monkey chatter’.
Once you can clearly hear the counsel of your inner voice, you will take the right steps, every time, towards your fulfillment. That’s the incredible power of Atman and the Inner Diamond, so learn to tap into this treasure within.
7. Tell us more about your book series Karma and Diamonds, your inspiration and purpose in writing them.
Karma & Diamonds is a journey of Self-discovery across continents and lifetimes. It’s been dubbed as 'Eat, Pray, Love meets The Da Vinci Code'.
It’s a novel, inspired by real events from my own life, of powerfully overcoming the challenges that life throws at you by tapping in to the universal intelligence that is constantly guiding us.
A quest within a quest, the story starts in India, then to London and then on my search for answers in the foothills of the Himalayas. It follows my discovery of some terrifying and mysterious past lives in the desert of New Mexico, healing swimming with beautiful wild dolphins in the Pacific, off the coast of Hawaii, and being called to a mystical Shiva temple hidden in the tropical mountainside of the tiny island of Kauai.
I wrote the Karma & Diamonds trilogy to share about my experiences about how powerful and exquisite it can be to connect with the higher intelligence that resides within us, also called the higher or inner Self, or Atman, as the ancient Indian seers called it. I’ve had the privilege of getting in touch with this from an early age and over time, I’ve learnt how to connect to it consciously and seek its sterling guidance in all aspects of my life; whether it’s finding the right job or house, or even seeking out the very best doctors who saved my life. Along my travels, I’ve discovered the complex way in which our past karma weaves itself into our present reality and how to free ourselves from it so that we can have a positive and fulfilling future.
8. Tell us your top four tips for Wellness?
1. Learn how to deal effectively with your stress. As part of this, become masterful at letting go of your negativity – expectation, frustration, resentments, anger, bitterness, etc., India’s ancient sages said that life is merely leela, the play of life, as seen through the veils of illusion or maya. What this means is that what you see is all about your perspective and often, what you believe to be true is actually not real but merely a projection of your own point of view. Understanding this frees you to have a choice in shifting your perspective and how you see and experience life. You can then deal far better with the stresses of life without ceaselessly getting sucked into its dramas.
2. Exercise, breathe, meditate.
Exercise: Get physical and get the happy hormones flowing! Find a form of exercise – be it yoga, swimming, dance or whatever – that you love and do it at least three times a week.
Breathe: We take the breath for granted but contained within it is pure power of self-healing intelligence. So learn to breathe correctly. Maybe also learn some stress-busting yogic breathing techniques.
Meditate: Get acquainted with you inner world and make friends with you inner Self. Grow to love solitude to bring balance to your busy outer world.
3. Get clear about what your life is really for. Living with purpose makes you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you draw amazing people and opportunities to you. You can then take your life from good to fantastic.
9. So what’s next in your career/life?
I’m looking forward to releasing the next book in the Karma & Diamonds trilogy, 'Book 3 – Diamond Revealed' which will be out next year.
In the meantime, I’m continuing to look for ways of connecting with people to help get them in touch with their magnificent inner being, or their ‘Inner Diamond’. Doing this, I believe, has a quantum impact on the quality of a person’s life. Look out too for more great, inspirational content coming to my You Tube channel.