career-choices

Awakening to our inner engineer

career-choices

While engineering may have been the plan all along, sometimes your heart points you in a different direction.  Check out Anuja’s October column in The Ann where she discusses her exciting transformation from UM engineering student to Founder & CEO of BollyFit®.  The Ann is the informative, critical, and inspiring magazine distributed monthly in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and annarbor.com.

 

She welcomes hearing about your experiences as you swirl through life – are you finding yourself wanting to dance rooftop to rooftop too?! Comment at facebook.com/bollyfit, tweet us @bollyfitwinkles and email anuja@bollyift.com.

 

Above is the quilt put together by Anuja’s oldest son for his younger brother’s birthday.  It features mementos and memories including a tie from Anuja’s dear father which was a gift to his grandchildren.  He encouraged Anuja’s path into engineering but shows her development into a creative spirit and how she encourages creativity in her own children.

Awakening to our inner engineer

The author, Anuja Rajendra, is the mother of two sons. A U-M grad, she’s lived in Ann Arbor for 16 years. She’s the founder and CEO of BollyFit. She can be reached at

anuja@bollyfit.com.

“If you want to guarantee yourself a job when you graduate, you should do Michigan engineering. Otherwise you may as well go to any less expensive school for a liberal arts degree,” advised by father – who, not coincidentally, had a Ph.D. in engineering – as I sifted through college options.

Like millions, yet one in a million, my devoted dad is an incredibly intelligent immigrant who literally had to illuminate his world in a new country after arriving in East Lansing from India in 1970 with the quintessential $100 in pocket and suitcase in hand. His ticket to transcend the transcontinental tracks was admission to the physics Ph.D. program at Michigan State. He had experienced the realities of supporting a family as he counseled me.

So, with my big sister already at Michigan (in – surprise! – engineering), the campus social scene helped entice me to join her. Plus, the prospect of being among the best bellowed to me through branding that began even before Brandon.

The choice was simple: engineering and pre-med at U-M (yes, as an overachieving Indian American of my generation, both) or bust.

Only after my parents shelled out $785 for an MCAT test prep course and I skipped 99 percent of it, did I realize that being a doctor was not my heart taal. Hearing my inner voice for the first time, I opted out of taking the MCAT, even though I had taken all of the pre-med requirements. At least the 50 percent refund I managed to negotiate with Kaplan soothed the seething of my family when I came out to them after the exam and told them I had not taken it.

 

Years later at business school, I surrendered to my surroundings which screamed success in three words: Consulting! Marketing! Finance! I buried my internal internship calling, which was to work for an inspiring startup, because working for an investment bank sounded better. I literally dragged myself there all summer.

 

Even after I had children and started teaching a couple of classes that became the buds to my now blooming business, I saw it as a filler until I found a “real career” that would do my business school colleagues proud. At the time, I did not see something artistic as falling in that category.

Today, my soul feels successful – many days – and flows with my energy field – family, flexibility, friendships, fostering community for others and furthering myself and everyone around me beyond the limit of our current forms. I think less about what others think and more about simplifying to savor even more. My dad is totally happy for me.

As for the kids, my husband suggested I think about how we guide them as a funnel. Our job as parents is to expose them to a wide variety of things at an early age and let what’s best for their souls guide the way.

 

We recently switched our kids out of private school to the local public school. We decided that nurturing community connections and getting exercise by walking and riding to school were more important for their essence than a potentially more rigorous private school education.

 

Wanting for my boys to step up their sports acumen, I lobbied for them to do travel soccer. Sensing that I was worried about what that would mean for our family schedule, my 8-year-old let me off the hook with the coaches. He said, “Mama, just tell them I like soccer, but travel will cram my schedule and I’d rather play for fun with my friends in the local league.” He already knows what success means to him, at least for now.

 

I’m awakening by kids. They want me to go back for a Ph.D. in a liberal arts field when they are college undergraduates so we can all graduate together. They’ll be studying something sensible like engineering – if that’s what’s in their hearts.

community_photo3

BollyFit® serves their community

community_photo3
September is a busy month for BollyFit®.  Serving our community is one of our top priorities and this fall it is in high gear!  Helping others energizes our souls just as a BollyFit® session energizes our bodies.  Dance workshops, health talks, and even serving as an MC for an event are some ways that we choose to give back this month.  We will be assisting other organizations with their causes through our gift of dance, time and enthusiasm!  Enjoy your September!
September 9: DJ Night
7:15 pm @ the Ann Arbor Senior Center
September 12: DJ Night
7:15 pm @ the Ann Arbor Senior Center
September 18: Indo-American Chamber of Commerce
6 pm-8 pm @ The Westin Southfield Hotel – T.C. Linguinis Ballroom
1500 Town Center, Southfield, MI 48075
Anuja kicks off the USA Women Empowered Event with her talk at 6:15 pm
September 18: Bloomfield TV’s Health Talk with Dr. Niru Prasad
11-11:30 am–Anuja will be a guest on Dr. Prasad’s show
September 28: AIWA 2nd Annual Leadership Summit
10 am – 2 pm @ Schoolcraft Community College Vista Tech Center
18600 Haggerty Rd, Livonia, MI 48152
Anuja will be the MC this year at the summit, following being invited as the keynote speaker for 2012
September 29: Ann Arbor Active Against ALS
1-5 pm in Burns Park–BollyFit® workshops will be ongoing in addition to many other great activities
October 5: Documentary Premiere
5 pm-8 pm Bridge Over Destiny: Poverty, girls and their education in North India
Zion Lutheran Church 1501 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI
BollyFit® Guide Suman will be helping out at the documentary by leading BollyFit® workshops
beets

Beet the Heat with Blissful BollyFit® Slaw – Vegan and pretty much Raw

beets

BollyFit®’s Best Beet & Cabbage Slaw

 

Be sure to watch the video for fun and helpful tips on making this blissful recipe even more zingy with a BollyFit® and Indian kick…and protein! . Plus, Food Processor 101!

 

2 medium beets, grated
3 large carrots, grated
1 kohlrabi, peeled and grated OR 1 cup Napa Cabbage, sliced thinly
1 medium onion (optional)
1 apple, grated
sesame or sunflower seeds, toasted
green chili pepper (optional)
olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
agave nector, honey or brown sugar
cashews lightly roasted on oven

beets1
Grate vegetables into a bowl. Chop onion, if desired, and add to bowl. Toast sesame or sunflower seeds. Add when cooled. Add olive oil and lemon juice as a salad dressing to suit your taste. Be careful of too much liquid. The tartness of the lemon should be prominent. Serve immediately or marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Click here to watch Anuja make this recipe and see her BollyFit® and Indian innovations added to it! Plus, get tips on the food processor, what to do with that CSA share, and more!

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GARDEN_KIT-01-2

You’ll be busy this fall, but you don’t have to be stressed

GARDEN_KIT-01-2

The flurry of fall no doubt brings “busyness” with school back in session, activities starting back up, and sports in full swing.  It can at times, appear to be overwhelming.  Check out Anuja’s column in the New York Times supplement, The Ann.  The Ann the informative, critical, and inspiring magazine distributed monthly in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and annarbor.com

 

You’ll be busy this fall, but don’t have to be stressed

 

The author, Anuja Rajendra, is the mother of two sons and two four-legged, almost-human sons. She’s a member of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and founder and CEO of BollyFit. She can be reached at anuja@bollyfit.com.

Moms, let’s carry the synchronized summer stillness into the flurry of fall. Let’s enjoy everything this September.

 

We associate summer with slowing down, swimming along sand dunes and savoring squashes grown in our gardens.

 

Whether we slept in backyard tents or trekked to Traverse City, we enjoyed some illuminating moments and lingered lounging this summer.

My family planted a garden, forgot to cage it, and decided to feel good about feeding the neighborhood bunnies a bounty of beans and tomatoes. Our Community Supported Agriculture experience was made better with the fun of sharing scallions with friends – and my stress level plummeted from no longer having to figure out how to use up the huge box.

With fall’s increased after-school activities, resumption of homework, and the assumption that professionally we should achieve as much as possible between September and the December holidays, the weight on mothers’ shoulders appears to increase with the start of the school year.

Here’s what has worked for me as I attempted to bring that carefree consciousness from summer to fall:

 

  • Read books such as “Lean In” by Facebook COO and mother Sheryl Sandberg, who reminds me that I do not need to always operate at 100 percent but to surrender at 95 percent – the part I devour repeatedly – when that is all a particular situation requires.

  • Recognize the difference between stress and busyness. Even saying “stress” out loud makes my insides tighten. “Busyness” is cool and means I’m connected with the world.

  • Relax with three conscious breaths, especially if I’m running late or feeling overly busy. Whether it’s waking up sleepy kids for school or stepping out of the SUV for an important meeting, awareness as I inhale and exhale connects me with that tingle in my belly – the aliveness within myself. That tingle energizes my soul and smile and helps bring the essence of myself to situations.

  • Remember what I have to do and what I choose to do. Whether it is volunteering in the classroom or cooking a five-course meal from scratch, knowing/remembering what is a choice opens space for it to feel like an intentional mini-vacation.

  • Rejuvenate myself – and everyone around me – with exercise that I enjoy. A good sweat brings out aliveness, joy and clarity within me that ripples beyond myself through my interactions with others.

  • Accept and embrace more. React less. Know this is a season of change and soak in the warmth as if I was up north, enjoy a snazzy scarf as if I was at the Sochi Olympics, and get myself a stylish umbrella as if I was strolling the streets of London.

 

More than anything, each progressive school year reminds me that my children are borrowed and someday will lead lives that do not need me daily. Sometimes, this reflection alone helps me to remain relaxed.