A Program Manager Talks about Yoga and Emotional Health | Rathna Kalyani #TalkbackTuesday

#TalkbackTuesday number 65 – with Rathna Kalyani, and we talk about yoga, Oracle, and personal well-being.

Cover | Rathna Kalyani #TalkbackTuesday

Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday. This week’s interview is with Ms. Rathna Kalyani. See her interview below.

Talkback Tuesday is a weekly interview with everyday people. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another person and realize it is just as complex and large and confusing as your own.


1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what is your current side project?

I am Rathna… officially Nagarathna Venkatesh, although my friends call me Rats. I am somebody who is curious about a lot of things, mostly trying to understand why people do what they do.

Also, I’m a jack of a few trades trying to master one. I am currently working with Oracle as Program Manager. I really do appreciate the work-life balance that Oracle gives me. It helps me pursue all that I am interested in and care about.

My current side project is working on myself. I’m doing Yoga teachers training from Atmadarshan Yogashram. They Teach Yoga in the Bihar School of Yoga style – completely authentic and traditional way of learning Yoga, which is what I love the most.

In a Glance: Rathna is a program manager at Oracle and a yoga teacher-in training. She enjoys exploring human behavior and personal development.

2. Tell me about your yoga training. What do you love about the art of yoga? How did you get inspired to become a yoga teacher?

I’ve been doing yoga since 9th grade. As I started working in HP and Cisco, I started working out at the gym, and did aerobics for about 8–10 years. But there was something missing in my life. After I joined Oracle, there was a gym but no gym instructor.

I always felt I needed instructions from someone to workout. So I was looking towards alternatives to somehow keep myself fit.

That’s when I came to know about this place called AtmaDarshan Yogashram (ADY), where they were teaching Yoga for students to become teachers. It’s a 2 years course. Every alternate weekend I am at ADY from 8.30 to 3.

Running | Rathna Kalyani #TalkbackTuesday
Rathna is also a runner, frequently running 10k and more.

It’s a lot of commitment, to invest my time and energy into a lot of learning. It is special because I used to think Yoga meant just asanas. But I learnt that asanas are only a part of Yoga — a side dish. The main course is Karma Yoga.

I was taken aback. The very first lesson that hit me hard was this: Karma Yoga means involving yourself completely in any activity you take up with all your heart and soul. Doing the best you can and not caring about the results.

All this while I had gotten it wrong. [I thought I had to] treat everything with detachment, which is completely wrong. If you don’t involve yourself, how can you do your best? Only once the job is done can you detach yourself. But when you are doing something, do it with all your attention.

Why I love Bihar School of Yoga Style is that it not only teaches Yoga Asanas (Also called Hatha Yoga), but also Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Gnana Yoga and Raja Yoga. This Holistic approach is what I love the most.

It’s all wonderful to learn but unless you implement what you have learnt, it doesn’t add much value as knowledge you don’t use. That’s why I wanted to become a teacher. The best way to learn is to teach somebody. Hence I decided to become a Yoga Teacher.

I am also learning Sanskrit at ADY just to understand Patanjali Yoga Sutras, so it has been a wonderful journey so far.

3. That’s amazing. So tell me about your work at Oracle. What does being a program manager mean? What aspects of your work excite and motivate you?

I am currently handling release management for My Oracle Support (MOS — a collaborative support platform for Oracle Support engineers, customers and partners), with a new feature release that happens every quarter.

Toastmasters | Rathna Kalyani #TalkbackTuesday
Rathna is also a Toastmaster, a member of Oracle’s “IBC Titans” club in Bangalore.

I also train Oracle JAPAC customers and partners on the MOS platform to help them leverage it to the best of their ability through online webinars.

I love to work independently with little supervision. What keeps me motivated is that my manager has given me complete authority over the projects that I am handling, giving me support when I need it the most.

4. So as someone who enjoys both her work and her passion project, what are your top 3 pieces of advice for living a fulfilled and passionate life?

  1. I came across this quote by Sadhguru — “It’s not the content of your life that matters but the context. Ultimately our life depends not on what we do or not do. It is how we do that changes life.” I totally agree with this, and it helped me a lot when I was struggling to find meaning in my life. I am focused on giving my best to every responsibility I take up. There are times when you can’t give your best. Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t. Just do the best you can.
  2. If you care about something, keep it alive in your life. If you love running, run. If you love practicing Yoga, practice it. Whatever it is you want to do, keep doing it. If you do what you love everyday, happiness is a byproduct. I know there is always competition and people praise the best, but don’t get disheartened. The only way to beat competition is to not stress yourself. When you feel a lot of stress and start caring only about results, it is an indication that something is not right. See if you can make any changes with how you feel about what you are doing.
  3. Always take care and be aware of your physical, mental and emotional well-being. That’s the most important thing. If you are not well, there is nothing you can add to someone else’s life. Give yourself time and stay away from people who don’t treat you well.

In a Glance: How you do things affects your life, so don’t beat yourself up. If you care about something, keep it alive in your life. Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health.

5. Great. Finally, what can you leave the audience with? What should they explore next?

I would like to say that there is always hope. Always hope and work towards being the best you can be. Work to the best of your ability. Without hope, there is nothing.

There is a threshold (your best self) that keeps running farther from you like an oasis while you’re parched in the desert. Keep chasing your threshold. Don’t mix it up with somebody else’s threshold.

I am trying my best, still. All this while I was collecting beads. I was a blogger (Rathna.blogspot.com), I’m a Reiki master and teacher and certified sound healer. I learnt Kriya yoga & Swara Yoga. Now I’m learning Yoga from ADY and it has given me a platter to arrange all that I have learnt.

Whatever you have learnt is never wasted. A time will come when everything falls in place. You will know why you learnt it. Keep learning and keep implementing what you have learnt. Be the best you!


Thank you for reading Talkback Tuesday! Did you enjoy it?

Next, check out the previous interview from last Tuesday with Bijin Davis by clicking on the image below. Bijin Davis talked to us about furniture design, dogs, and balance between the two. Bijin is a designer at Urban Ladder and currently fosters two sweet pups named Chia and Oats.

Cover | Bijin Davis #TalkbackTuesday
Click the image to see the interview.