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Leadership at the Vyayamshala

As a kid I started my exercising to impress girls. I used to go to this Vyayam Shala ("school for learning exercises", when literally translated). This is an old style wrestling school. They teach you exercises and they teach you wrestling. It is an open air setting.

Every morning at about 4.00 the school would open. There would be some 2 or 3 senior students who would come in, perform the morning puja with the coach and start exercising. The coach, who was an old man in his late 50s would have a large stick in his hand and he would thump it on the ground giving rhythm, walking around. And the students would perform the dand (better known as the hindu pushup in the west) in that rhythm. It would start with 2 or 3 students but as people start coming in, they would join the group and soon we have an entire class performing the dand in perfect rhythm. There is no counting. Just performing till you can't do even one more. Then one of the senior students would get up and relieve the coach. He would take the baton from the coach and start giving rhythm himself while the others continue to do the dand. He would continue giving rhythm till another student gets up and relieves him so that he can go and do the other exercises. This continues till late morning almost 9 am.

These were some unwritten rules. Nobody told anyone to do anything and everyone volunteered and yet these processes were formed. It was only because the school behaved like a family. Everyone was a brother and cared about each other. The seniors taught the juniors and the juniors helped the seniors in whatever way they could. And in the process everyone built a stronger body and mind.

Leadership lessons that I learnt there:

Leadership should be perceived as a responsibility rather than a reward

Leadership is volunteering to guide others, not because you are better than them but rather because you must

Leadership is giving everyone the rhythm that they need to be their best instead of orders to suit your needs

Leadership is handing over the baton to the next leader gladly to move on to other responsibilities when it is time?

And last but not the least, Leadership is to toil to get stronger when it is not your time to lead

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