Theme of the Week: Well-Being

If you could wish for one thing, what would it be? Peace in the hearts of all, and peace amongst all nations?
A healthy population, we believe, is at the heart of a healthy society. This week, Election Masala focuses in on well-being.

NEIL PATEL is the founder of Chi Kri, a Health, Fitness and Well-being company.  42 year old Neil has taught yoga and trained yoga teachers for a quarter of a century. He has worked for large corporations like HSBC, and has had the fortune to take his trade all around the world. He is the director of the United Nations International Yoga Day in London.

Neil Patel 1
“In 2000 I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but refused all treatment only use yoga to combat the illness,” says the yoga expert.

He has released 3 books, a few audio CD & DVDs and has also invented Hip Hop Yoga.

Election Masala: What, according to you, is the British Indian community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

Neil: Yoga — the introduction of yoga teachers here has given the UK a new spiritual identity that is non-religious, but which at the same time can give white, black and Asian a united spiritual base, and without the need to convert or change religious status.

Neil patel 2

What has been your proudest British Indian moment?

I gave a speech about yoga to an audience at the Indian High Commissioner’s office.

What is your definition of well being and how can it be ensured in today’s times?

Well-being is being able to sleep with a clear heart, wake with a peaceful mind, and eat slowly without the need to rush. Well-being is being focused on all activates with laser-like concentration, it is the ability to remain unperturbed by trials and to be confident when challenges approach you. It is the ability to be strong when life demands it, and sensitive, compassionate and patient when others are suffering before you. Well-being is not health, well-being is deeper than all physical matters, it is peace with one’s own self through illness, bereavement and financial loss. The way to achieve all these things is through meditation.

As a British Indian, what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

They represent aspirational thinking and success.

neil patel 4
If you could wish for one thing, what would it be?

Peace in the hearts of all, and amongst all nations in their interactions with each other.

SOWMYA BHARANI has a doctoral degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from King’s College London. Having worked as a drug tester with the Anti Doping Agency in the London Olympics and Paralympics 2012, she volunteered as a research dietitian for the diabetics departments at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. She runs her own nutrition and diet consultancy service on Harley Street, London, and works closely with various schools all around London in order to improve the nutritional status of children and to help prevent childhood obesity.

sowmya bharani
Says Sowmya, “I have also conducted a nutrition education programme for school children and parents who might be susceptible to eating disorders. Moreover, I have introduced cutting edge technology to improve the lives of my clients by promoting nutrigenomics or DNA based diets. We analyse a clients’ DNA and analyse what diseases they are susceptible to and based on that I counsel my clients to help prevent the disease.”


Election Masala: What, according to you, is the British Indian community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

Sowmya: There are more than one million people of Indian origin here in the UK and it would be unfair to name one attribute. However in my opinion the brain power which the British Indian community contributes to UK is obvious for anyone to see — from the number of students who contribute significantly to the research being conducted in the UK, to the heads of various organisations who help to drive the economy of this country.

The Conservative party values aspiration, hard work, family and service above self. As a British Indian what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

I associate myself with aspiration, because that drives me to do well for my self, friends and family. Aspiration is what made me start my own business in the UK despite knowing very well that there would be some difficult times ahead.

When you think of the word ‘achiever’, who comes to mind and why?

Lakshmi Mittal is the name that comes to mind when I think of achievers in the UK. I am inspired by him not because of the amount of money that he has earned, but because of the sheer grit and determination with which he has built his own empire. Coming to the UK and settling down decades ago must have been very challenging. Moreover, achievements mean nothing if it does not help the betterment of society. Not only does his business provide opportunities for thousands of people, but his philanthropic work is also well known. His biggest achievement is that he is an inspiration to generations of Indians settling down in the UK and he shows that anything is possible if one works hard enough.
What has been your proudest British Indian moment?

The unveiling of the Gandhi statue in London as this for me symbolised the strength of the British Indian community in the UK and the respect the Conservative party shows this community.

If you can wish for one thing, what would it be?

I would wish for more opportunities and support for British Indians, especially for those with entrepreneurial inclinations. A louder voice for women in business and politics would help drive the society and economy forward.



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