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Yoga Bear

Stuart White

The World in Black-N-White

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured,” but you wouldn’t have thought I knew this last week when I was more than half way through a rather vigorous yoga class when I hit the wall and thought  ‘I can’t do this’. It was during a Bikram yoga class which is a grueling 90 minute workout conducted in 40degree heat and humidity.


I still don’t know if it was a mental problem or physical problem but I picked up my mat and exited the room after about an hour. The class teacher chastised me with her judicious comment “did you have a late night last night?” I was furious. As far as I know there is supposed to be an unspoken rule of “no judgments” in every studio, and I vehemently resented her remark. You don’t know me I thought, you don’t know what I am going through today.


I wanted to scream at her a defence like telling her that I have been doing this kind of yoga for over 8 years and I have never once failed to complete a class. As this record has now been broken I fumed during my shower and thought flashed through my mind that I should tell the receptionist a lie in order to gain some sympathy and thereafter she would tell the yoga teacher why poor Stuart couldn’t complete the class. This would have the effect of making the yoga teacher feel like a heel.  I settled for a moan to the receptionist and a little white lie about not feeling very well.

But the matter didn’t end there. As I left the studio I had two options: go home and enjoy the evening or let the problem eat away at me for the next few hours and ruin my evening. Against my better judgement I did the latter. I wanted to ignore my lack of stamina and resolve and deflected my true feeling of disappointment in myself towards my anger with the yoga teacher.


I thought about writing a letter of complaint as I replayed the comment in my mind.  By letting the problem replay over and over in my mind I was engaging in a process which is called "rumination." This is the tendency to repetitively think about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of one's negative emotional experience.  It also refers to the practice of cows chewing the cud repeatedly in order to thoroughly digest their food but it was having the opposite effect on me.  It was giving me a bad case of mental indigestion and nothing would settle it.

Now I am an executive coach and I know all of this stuff; the difference between healthy and unhealthy thinking, yet here I was acting like a child and blowing something relatively inconsequential way out of proportion (in hindsight, of course). In the clear light of day all that had happened was that I did not complete a yoga class and the teacher had made a comment. It was hardly a major disaster but I was reacting like I had been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to death.


Instead of letting it go my mind was working overtime trying to think of ways to get even, stay mad and keep the issue alive. Even to an extent up to when I started writing this article as my intention was to write about why yoga teachers shouldn’t be judgmental and therefore the failure was poor teaching on her part, not poor studenting on mine.  Yet as wrote I become conscious of my overreaction.


As a coach I have been taught to be mindful of seemingly extreme behaviour and thoughts and to observe them, non-judgmentally. This facilitates personal leaning and growth which enables change. So here I was ruminating – not good, not least because ruminating makes you stay upset longer and research has established that people who over-think and over-analyse are much more likely to develop problems with depression and anxiety, and then it is hard to overcome if they fail to change these thought patterns.

Swami Sivananda says “yoga teaches you the truth that everyone has within oneself, various potentialities and capacities. Man has within himself tremendous powers and latent faculties of which he has really never had any conception. He must awaken these dormant powers and faculties by the practice of Yoga”. It sort of makes you wonder after 8 years of the practice what I am still not getting.


Yoga is supposed to be the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, in other words, you are doing it in order to achieve mental clarity, stillness, and freedom from the monkey mind ,all of which I had forgotten in this instance. The yoga icon B.K.S Iyengar says “Yoga, is an ancient but perfect science, which deals with the evolution of humanity.


This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union — the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions.

So why did I feel neither very evolved nor balanced in attitude during this incident?  Perhaps there is some self-realization and that is that the mind will always be an obstacle unless we transcend its limitations and remove its compulsions? Accepting emotions means noticing, identifying, and understanding our emotions without blaming others or judging ourselves for how we feel. It's not helpful to tell ourselves that how we feel is someone else's fault. Indeed the goal of emotional intelligence is to acknowledge your feelings without letting them run away with you.  

Of course the real issue here is that I was judging myself and found wanting. I was angry at my weakness for not finishing the class because that’s just the way that I am wired, but I am old enough to understand deflection and I am also sort of angry with myself for falling into that trap. Deep breath, you’re still learning, no more judgment, no more blaming, and next time stay on the mat!

Next yoga class is tonight and this time more tantric and less tantrum. I shall conquer!

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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