Anu Aggarwal always wanted to give back to the society in her own little way. With these thoughts in mind the Aashiqui fame actor, who is now a successful Yoga guru, had started her Anu Aggarwal Foundation (AAF). She often says how her life experiences inspired her to change her way of life.
“Bringing help and joy to people has always been my priority. I have mastered in social work and have also worked for the refugees, became a UNHCR ambassador way before I turned into a supermodel, a movie star with Aashiqui. I have always loved academia, which is more focused on self development. I then went ahead to be an advanced yogini, mastered alternative yoga and healing. I then self-healed miraculously and got back my health, found inner joy and it was my love for the community that brought me to share the healing secret through my foundation, AAF,” she says.
Sharing the objective of the foundation, Anu goes down the memory lane to share how it all started. Her non-profit organisation, registered under section 8 of the company’s act in 2017, is entitled for tax-free donations. And, it’s main focus being to maximise potential, raise joy and peace in people.
“We also work towards creating awareness about environment, societal causes for a positive impact in the community, while working on an abutment between the mental-physical-emotional-psychic health of an individual, and how to maximise his potential to get the best out of the environment he finds himself in. We create the much-needed awareness, to live in the moment, and to help each one to connect with their own gigantic power. We teach the miracle-recovery of Anu, the secret practices to access the superhuman power inside each being. The idea is to make every human live in harmony with nature, and bridge the gap between the personal (self) and the cosmic super-self to reduce stress, get better wellness, live in joy and a transcendental lifestyle to make dreams come true,” she adds.
Ask if her celebrity status helps the foundation and Anu hopes that it does. However, she also mentions that her celebrity status was never her focus point.
“On the other hand, I have always been a role model and hope my fellow public figures take the clue of our responsibility to the lesser-haves around us, I hope this serves as a reminder. Though there are a few celebrities who started this process I feel many more can join in. And it is time we started to think of divulging some of our wealth, expertise to the needy. I feel the mix of Independence with interdependence would aid world peace, for which, in the last 22 years, I trained and mastered meditation then ran a meditation center, lived yoga-life, monk, trained in neuroscience and sidelined my Bollywood career. And took years of practice to devise my miracle module Anufun, I teach myself, and get invited to share in health conferences worldwide, through which I also got honoured with the title ND (Naturopathy Doctor),” she says.
Talking about the kind of activities the foundation does, she says that today, one of her most powerful tools is alternative yoga therapy. This is used to better a multitude of people and transform their lives through creative projects, self-awareness building projects to stabilize the refugees, the underprivileged, outcasts and the displaced to improve through mind-based, holistic methods.
“Apart from mental health AAF has significantly contributed to make people stress-free, transform lives of destitute women, children, youth, men, projects to raise inner-peace in the girl-child suffering HIV+, youth, cancer, women empowerment, raising mental well being. These programs are tailor-made to suit different age groups. Till now, we have been able to impact about 221050 people,” she says.
AAF also has initiatives to promote mental health and wellness. Since 2014, AAF, in association with Kaivalyadham Institute in Mumbai, has launched International Yoga Day with unwavering consistency in various humanitarian avenues. They have also done TedX Talks and also held sessions at IIT Madras, IIT Mumbai, and IIM Indore, among others, and also in the US. The First International World Yoga Day was held on June 21, 2015, the same day Anufun yoga sessions were held for youth from 800 colleges in Mumbai. Yoga in Rishikesh invited AAF for World Yoga Day 2015, where Anu also got awarded by Government of India for Yoga. They have also done yoga rehabilitation programs for rag pickers in the streets of Mumbai. Mind management meditation as a part of AnuFun yoga has been imparted to ONGC Offshore employees who work in hazardous environments. Happiness education through arts and a literary festival for municipal and English-medium schools have also been organised. Environmental awareness when it comes to encouraging the use of wet and dry garbage to manage their waste was also a part of their initiatives. It was done in Goa. Many programs to spread awareness regarding the mental health of children have also been done.
“Though inner joy remains our focus, I am innovative. I feel that we need to move with the direction of the wind. I am grateful that my efforts are being rewarded, like recently I entered the Forbes list of 100 leaders/managers for my work for AAF. I also received the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Award, most Influential Asian woman, Black Swan award 2020, Yoga award from Govt of India, and many more. All these awards motivate me to do more. We have projects where we are working on with and for0 the tribals in Assam tea belt, women empowerment, and saving the girl child issues. Covid has brought urgent new causes that we have added focus on handicapped women, hunger and malnutrition in children, increased poverty and mental-health issues, which AAF is also working on now,” she signs off.