For wellness, forever

The Winnipeg Foundation

Sharing Circle of Wellness founders
Sharing Circle of Wellness founders (left to right) Devi Sud, Shaila Deshmukh, Manju Lodha and Tara Sampat in the temple at Hindu Temple and Dr. Raj Pandey Hindu Centre.

When the Sharing Circle of Wellness gets together every week, the focus is – as their name suggests – on the interconnected aspects of well-being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Members discuss and share best wellness practices with the goal of feeling the best they can. Their Donor-Advised Fund at The Foundation helps ensure the various costs of running the group are covered.

The group of 20 to 25 meets weekly at the Hindu Temple and Dr. Raj Pandey Hindu Centre in southeast Winnipeg. Members participate in yoga and meditation sessions, hold panel discussions and presentations, go on field trips, and more, all with the goal of incorporating modern wellness practices to improve their day-to-day lives.

The group, which was co-founded by Manju Lodha in 2011, is open to all.

“Holistic wellness is very important. To have money, wealth, or corporate achievements is one thing, but the well-being of the human mind, body and soul is the most important thing to enjoy anything in life,” Mrs. Lodha says. “The mantra of a good life is wellness.”

The group puts a lot of focus on the panel and group discussions. These have centered around many different aspects of wellness, including best nutrition practices, advice from holistic and traditional healers, and even the affect music can have on mood and health.

Recently, they’ve launched a program for seniors every Wednesday, focusing on issues and discussions that are relevant to the aging population of the community, including yoga sessions that are tailored to older participants.

“Leaving our home country, we came here when the climate can be very different. Most of the times we met in the houses or in the temple, and we weren’t exercising or thinking of our wellness as much,” Mrs. Lodha says. “The feeling of being connected, the feeling of belonging is very important. When we do things together, we learn from each other as well.”

Mrs. Lodha and her husband Ganpat, along with other members of the Hindu Society of Manitoba, established the Sharing Circle of Wellness Fund at The Winnipeg Foundation in 2011. Mrs. Lodha and a few other female members of the Hindu Society were initial contributors to the fund, and they’ve been helping to grow the fund annually ever since.

“In my experience The Winnipeg Foundation has been very open to any questions we had, and any way they could help us or support us. They’ve been very helpful,” Mrs. Lodha says.

Mr. and Mrs. Lodha both feel a sense of duty to give back to a community and to society, feeling blessed with the lives they’ve lived. In January, Mrs. Lodha and collaborative partner Ray Dirks received the 2017 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Inter-Religious Understanding. The award was given in recognition of their work during the last 10 years to promote understanding, respect and acceptance for the many faiths and cultures that make up Manitoba.

“It’s not only about me or my family, but I think when we enjoy something that’s good for everyone, it’s good for us too,” Mrs. Lodha says.

“By God’s grace and by good luck, we have been reasonably successful in our life, but in becoming successful, we’ve gained a lot of benefits from society. Now through time, and with a little bit of money here and there, it’s our duty to also help other people in society,” Mr. Lodha says. “So, if we can contribute in any way to improve the lives of other people in our community, we do. On one hand I’ve assisted in a small way, but it has opened up my eyes to do something bigger: it’s been a lot of education and inspiration.”

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