My Other Life with Geeta Padbidri

PM360 recently spoke to Geeta Padbidri, former Director of Commercial Strategy & Analytics at Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals, about spreading the love and stopping violence.

Geeta’s involvement in From India With Love was largely motivated by concerns about the impact of violence on children. Here, she and her daughter participate in a nonviolence gathering at UN Plaza in 2013, where her daughter performed an Indian dance as part of the program.

PM360: How did you get involved with the nonprofit Media Rise and its “From India With Love” campaign?

I am in a yoga and meditation group with someone from Media Rise who told me about this project to help people deal with the violence that’s going on in the country. I’m shaken by some of these incidents myself as I have a child in middle school. When I read about violence happening in the schools, I just feel very helpless.

Tell us more about the actual campaign.

The idea started with teaching people who have suffered from violence to better cope using yoga and meditation. We put a simple post on our Facebook pages to find people who had experienced violence firsthand in the U.S. and we heard back from several people including a mom who had lost her kid during the Connecticut school shooting.

They were all struggling to get out of the emotional trauma and had tried several techniques, including going to a psychiatrist and hypnosis, but nothing was really working for them. And so we thought of taking them on a journey to India to learn about the yoga and meditation techniques that we personally have benefitted from.

Why did you choose India?

One reason is Media Rise is actually based in India. Also, we took inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who went to India in the 1950s and had a very transformative experience.

What was the trip like?

So far, we actually have taken two trips. In March ’16, we took a small group of people who had experienced violence firsthand, and then in October ’16 we took a group of three U.S. mayors who wanted to learn techniques they could take back with them to help others in their communities. Upcoming trips have been arranged around a holiday in India, so people can experience some of the local festivals and celebrations.

For instance, since October 2 was Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, the group visited his ashram in Sabarmati, India, from where he had started the non-violence movement against the British. The group learned breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation firsthand from local experts. They also spoke to mayors and members of congress who had used these techniques in their own villages and cities to help cope with violence.

How can others get involved or help contribute to this campaign?

Media Rise is trying to generate funds to complete a documentary about people’s experiences during these trips and how it has transformed their lives. Please go to fromindiawithlove.org to learn more about how you can help. Or reach out to me at Geeta.Padbidri@gmail.com.

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