I'm Neelu Jain

MBA + Social Values = Modern Professional

This article was recently published on Social Edge, “It doesn’t take an MBA – or does it?“.

In the budding industry of social enterprise, I find an MBA immensely helpful. The combination of passion, commitment, and desire with strong management technique is essential. One without the other is inadequate, while together very powerful. In any MBA program, managing people, resources, and partners is openly discussed and studied. Every social enterprise must consider these topics.

Now you certainly don’t learn everything in an MBA program. Can leadership be taught? And I certainly did not learn much about sales, but I find myself selling/pitching everyday.

I find the skills for being a successful entrepreneur are akin to that of administering social change — innovation, leadership, risk-taking, the ability to “sell” — your vision to potential partners, funders, and employees.

Coffee Shop Encounter in SF

I just had the most wonderful encounter an hour ago. I walked to Coffee Bar in Potrero Hill to have lunch.

It was crowded, so I sat next to two fifty- to sixty-ish old gentlemen at the counter who were dressed in khaki pant and jacket business garb. They were engrossed in a business conversation about a deal they were trying to raise money for and setting up a golf meeting for an interested party.

After a few minutes, one of the gentleman says, “you know what I’ve been thinking about lately is the power of thought to send positive vibrations out in the universe.” Continue reading “Coffee Shop Encounter in SF” »

RAW Food Diet

The convergence of three events catalyzed my entry into the world of RAW food.

  1. Costco
  2. Living in Las Vegas
  3. Coaching

About a month ago on a fateful Wednesday afternoon, I walked into Costco to buy Kleenex and soap. As I was pushing my cart through the aisles, there it was — the Vita-Mix 5200 demonstration and display. I knew a high quality, high speed blender was crucial for making raw food meals.

Continue reading “RAW Food Diet” »

Animal Totem

I decided to go on a road bike ride this afternoon through the Red Rock Canyon loop. It was a gorgeous, cold winter day, sunny on one side of the canyon and cloudy on the other. The 15 mile ride is stunning, hilly and my favorite in the United States. Two feet of snow from the recent storms remained in some places.

This ride ALWAYS centers me –something about the land out there, the canyon, its age, and the tectonic shifts that produced such a variety of colored rock. Continue reading “Animal Totem” »

Enlightenment in Las Vegas

There’s an old saying (or maybe it’s my saying, I can’t remember–it becomes irrelevant):

Question: What do you do on the way to enlightenment?
Answer: Carry a pail of water to and from the well.

Question: What do you do after enlightenment?
Answer: Carry a pail of water to and from the well.

While engaging in a deep spiritual journey over the last few years, I disengaged from the interests and patterning of mainstream society. I unlearned structures, found freedom from the constraint of my mind and an overall lighter way of being. Continue reading “Enlightenment in Las Vegas” »

The Ashram of Santa Monica and My Second Company

My experience over the last three years was expansive, un-grounding, lonely and freeing. I sought and I found.

By early 2006, I knew that I wanted to work with business and spirituality. The question was, “How?” How were people doing this? What did this mean for me? Did I want to run a non-profit or for-profit business? Did I want to be a new age, self-help type or motivational speaker? I looked for trends and noticed a number of entrepreneurs had been on significant spiritual journeys, including living at ashrams in India. A few immediate examples come to mind: Larry Brilliant (Neem Karoli Baba ashram), Steve Jobs and Mitch Kapor (founder of Lotus, taught transcendental meditation).

by Nina Paley

But, where were the stories about women? I couldn’t find one of a highly successful female entrepreneur that pointed to a significant spiritual journey. Who could I identify with? Kali? But, she wasn’t an entrepreneur. Oprah? Was a masculine-centric business environment keeping the feminine approach at bay? Mother nature likely agrees.

I felt like I needed some help, a teacher or mentor to guide my way here. Two weeks later, I found one. Continue reading “The Ashram of Santa Monica and My Second Company” »

A Spiritual Awakening and My First Company

It was early December 2005 and I was on a plane to India. A few months earlier I had come back from running and going through a yoga teacher’s training in Tulum, Mexico. I had started teaching yoga in Santa Monica and loved it. I sensed that I would be leaving my position as General Manager of Power Yoga soon, mentally noting end of March 2006 as a target.

The trip to India was inspired by my cousin’s wedding; we arrived about two weeks before the event to do some sight-seeing, a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi (Jai Mata Di!), visit family and go shopping. India is always an adventure; and this trip continued the trend.

Growing up in the US, I saw most of my extended family on trips to India every five years or so. So, it was always a rare treat to meet family members even if we didn’t have much in common.

Picture 10The time for my cousin’s wedding arrived. Indian weddings are a blast, replete with multiple ceremonies, singing, dancing, food, and rituals. As I was watching one of the ceremonies a day or two before the wedding, a woman came up from me from behind asked if she could hug me. I said, “sure,” a little confused and also why not.

Later, at the wedding, she came up to me again and asked her family to take a picture of her with me, a saint. I said without hesitation or thought, “of course.”

About this time, I ate a pakora, an Indian appetizer; it was so spiced up, I couldn’t taste what was inside; and, a few minutes later I realized it had peanuts in it.

Since I was a toddler, I’ve had a very severe allergy to peanuts, so this was not good news. I did not know how bad the reaction would be and it resulted in anaphylactic shock. I go into detail about this experience here.

I came back to the US from this trip to India in a high vibratory, enlightened state. Continue reading “A Spiritual Awakening and My First Company” »

Golden Pots: My Father’s Advice on Life

My twin sister just wrote this post on her blog about the advice our Dad gave us while growing up and I’ve chosen to re-post it here. I’ve had the chance to re-hear much of this advice while I’ve lived in Las Vegas with my parents the last couple of months. I was even around during Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, in October and was able to re-connect with some of the beautiful traditions of my Indian heritage. I’ve included photos from that evening in this post.


Written by Neeta Jain, Photos by Neelu Jain

My Dad is a wise-guy. He likes jokes of any kind. The corny ones go over well. He’s also a very wise guy. He would get a kick out of the double meaning.

He’s taught me a lot over the years like how to make really good Indian style scrambled eggs for Sunday brunch with key ingredients of cumin, coriander, tomatoes, onions, and serrano peppers- the same stuff you can get on the street corner in Delhi without the E. coli. He also has a lot of ideas on how to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

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Continue reading “Golden Pots: My Father’s Advice on Life” »

How I Found Yoga through Business School and Opened my Heart Chakra

My heart chakra journey began while I worked as a business school intern at Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga in the summer of 2003 in Santa Monica, CA. I was a student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and I wanted to do something entrepreneurial and fun. While seeking advice on a business plan for a restaurant concept, I connected with Bryan’s business partner, Chris. I had a fun summer learning how to run a start-up and started practicing yoga. I decided to work with Bryan and Chris full-time after I graduated. Unbeknownst to me, I was making the choice to step into a deep personal journey under the dis(guise) of growing a startup.

I had incentive to focus on the area in the back and front of my chest, in the area of my heart chakra. I had a ski injury back in college at Dartmouth over 12 years ago where I compressed five vertebrae in my thoracic spine; there was a lot of scar tissue to loosen up. It’s amazing how an injury really encouraged me to pay attention to a certain part of my body where not only the physical field was affected, but the energetic one as well. Continue reading “How I Found Yoga through Business School and Opened my Heart Chakra” »

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