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Exclusive Interview with Mukesh Kothari

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This week we had the opportunity to speak with Mukesh Kothari, who took us deeper into the meaning of Yoga.

Thank you for your time answering the questions. Please tell us a little bit more about yourself. When was the first time you’ve started practicing Yoga and give us a bigger picture of what are you doing regarding Yoga?

I was born in Rishikesh, India in a Brahmin family. My father is a doctor and my mother is a social activist. I have two younger brothers, one of them is a Yoga teacher and manages our school in India and the other one choose to stay with Bank. I started doing yoga from my early school days, I studied in a Hindu school where spiritualism is a core of education and also included Sanskrit and yoga education. In 2003, I went to the Yoga school to finish my education in yoga and naturopathy (Ayurveda).

Now I share what I have learned from masters and school through yoga classes and courses. I conduct courses for general students who want to deepen their practice and also those who wish to share the same what I did by becoming a yoga teacher through yoga teachers training 200 and 500 hours.

 

Please explain a little bit for the readers, what is let’s say the difference or “better” in Bindusar Yoga and other kinds of Yoga, or Yoga is One and there are no differences? How can Yoga and Bindusar Yoga help people in generally speaking?

Technically yoga is the same, and no one can brand it to his invention. All yoga styles taught in modern time are inspired by Hatha yoga, and they are representing its method irrespective of the name used. Only difference occurs how much of its authentic nature is kept as per Hatha yoga teachings.

In Bindusar we try to deliver the lessons purely and practically, we include awareness of all yoga contents such as purification methods, asanas (posture control), pranayama (breathing methods), meditation and even enhancing its effectiveness by assimilation of Ayurveda in the form of diet, lifestyle and yoga therapy. Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences, and yoga widely quotes ayurvedic terms and concepts, so involve both for better understanding and effectiveness. We also explain why the practice is relevant and how it can be significant in the students’ life.

 

As some big yogis say, that Yoga is actually a way of life, and more than in western society people understand (not just exercise or respiration techniques), what do you think is it easy to adapt in daily lifestyle for people in western countries, or there are cultural or other boundaries?

There are no big, or small yogis, where big and small exists, then ego also exists, and yoga is all about dropping the ego. They are also right when they say it because postures and respiration method are just a tip of an iceberg of the yoga world. It needs well-trained teachers to grow awareness about the depth of yoga. But anyway, yoga is all about flexibility, either body or mind or even attitude to yoga itself. People can begin with postures and respiration method, and soon with the help of a good teacher, they can deepen the practice. Yoga is not meant for one culture; it is flexible and can be adapted to cultures, just keeping its effectiveness.

 

We understand that you are teaching in lots of countries, but you are living in Budapest. How Hungarians or people in Central and Eastern Europe understand Yoga or particularly Bindusar Yoga, is it easy to adapt in people’s daily lifestyle?

Precisely Hungarians and Romanians are deep thinkers, and their understanding and orientation to yoga are excellent. They are adapting the yoga in their daily life very well, even with 20 minutes of sun salutations. I have been teaching in Hungary for the last ten years, and yoga has evolved here a lot. In Bucharest, I came to train trainers in 2015, and during that time just a couple of small yoga studios exist and yoga is more seem like either a physical exercise in gyms or as a cult, but as I see now in 4 years, yoga has grown all over Romania and even in smaller towns. Our trained teachers have opened around ten studios all over Romania. We have done many Yoga teachers courses even in cities like Cluj, Brasov, etc. and are invited to Sibiu, Timisoara, Iasi, and Oradea. So, this shows Romanians are very keen to practice yoga and learn it well.

As a Yoga instructor, we are sure that you’ve met many people from different cultures, and as we know nowadays Yoga is a trend, too. From your experience have you seen people who really could adjust Yoga or particularly Bindusar Yoga as a lifestyle/way of living, or people just want to learn Yoga for their specific needs (ex. weight loss, for muscular system, relaxation or curiosity), and then they just quit.

People come to yoga for different reasons, such as you mentioned Philosophy, practice, and effects of yoga on health. My experience in Romania have proved people want not just health with yoga but also wants to accept yoga effectiveness in lifestyle such as eating, positive thinking, joyful living, good relationship, stress reductions, etc. With Bindusar we bring a method, where we analyze the student’s health, body and mind state, starts with easy yoga and slowly grow them with the safe practice to an advanced level at the same time improving the different dimension of life.

 

As we see you have several upcoming events in Hungary, Romania, Austria, one of those is this weekend, ” Bindusar Spine Yoga Therapy” in Romania, what can people learn there?

We regularly conduct workshops and courses in Europe. Mainly we run the series of workshops that are designed to help students either with their physical health, mind or spiritual motive. The Bindusar spine is our standard class that is taught by our trained teachers, and its primary purpose is to prepare students safe movements of the body with keeping spine and back safe. It helps students to understand their body so have an injury-free yoga practice. The Bindusar spine is also recommended for people with issues with the back, as the class is gentle and can help them to progress in the world of yoga safely and effectively.

 

Your Yoga classes have specific needs for people, dietary changes, for ex. Ayurveda or you accept anybody, who is willing to learn?

Yes as I mentioned with, we have system placed to introduce people to yoga in steps by steps. Our studios or course always invite beginners with spine classes after six weeks, they can enter to hatha and then to basics, basics 2, etc. Here is our chart attached that shows our method.

 

What do you think, why people should invest in Yoga?

Just for two reasons and those are health and good state of mind.

Take an example that most people want to amass wealth, career, status, family goals, etc. in their life the journey cost their health and peace of mind during the process. So, yoga helps you to achieve everything you need but keeping you healthy to enjoy the fruits of hard work.

Second, is a state of mind; every second we are becoming Vikshipta (distracted either with desires or fears) as said by sage Patanjali. Distracted state of mind always keeps us unsatisfied and anxious. Therefore yoga is the only solution to attain the Ekagara, the focused state where we keep the mind quarantined from negativity.

In conclusion, Bindusar Yoga system brings yoga in daily life to help students to enjoy fulfillment and stay healthy without moving to caves or jungle for peace of mind. 

 

About Mukesh Kothari

Mukesh Kothari is a spiritual counselor for some and yoga guru to others. He was introduced to yoga at an early age due to the surrounding of his native village in Rishikesh (The yoga capital of the world” a town in the Himalayas). Later, the quest to understand it in depth took him to many Himalayan gurus and yoga school. 

He has been teaching yoga since 2003, immediately after finishing his formal education in Yoga and Ayurveda. His teaching includes the style of Hatha yoga and inspired modern styles such as Ashtanga Vinyasa, Vinyasa, and self-created Bindusar yoga system. 

His teachings also include the study of classical texts like Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Hatha yoga texts such as Hatha yoga pradipika, Gherand Samhita, Hatha ratnavali, where the complete approach of asanas, pranayama, meditation, and Vedanta emerges. 

He has regularly been teaching in India and West since last 15 years, where he has gained the competency to explain the old tradition of Vedic yoga and Ayurveda knowledge to western students easily.  

He was introduced to Ayurvedic lifestyle since from his childhood due to family and social environment, as his father is a doctor in an Ayurvedic system. He started learning yoga concepts at an early age under the guidance of Swami Hanumant Giri.

Mukesh Kothari has a high influence of yoga and spirituality during his school education of 14 years at the school of Honorable Swami Omkarananada Saraswati (www.omkarananda-ashram.org).

He is actively teaching around the world with his courses and Yoga teachers training 200 and 500 hours and set up his stable teachings along with a very dedicated team in European cities such as Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Moscow, Bratislava, London, Moscow, Sardinia, Cluj, and Bucharest. He has trained over 600 Yoga teachers in the European continent since 2012. 

He is the founder of BinduSar Yoga Rishikesh and Yoga studio in Budapest, where more advanced courses and teacher development programs are conducted regularly.

For his courses in Europe and India, please visit: www.bindusaryoga.com

 

 

Fintech

Chinese fintech attracted investments of USD 962.2 million in 2H 2019

Vlad Poptamas

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Fintech companies in China attracted USD 962.2 million in investments from venture capital, private equity and M&A in 2H 2019, resulting in a total of USD 4,479 million in investments for the whole of 2019, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’19 bi-annual report on global fintech investment trends.

Fintech investment in China took a breather after a massive 2018, but the country’s fintech market continued to see substantial activity and Chinese companies still ranked among the largest fintech deals in Asia Pacific for the whole of 2019. China’s large technology giants continued to focus on growing their reach geographically, making investments or plays well outside of Greater China. Ant Financial, for example, submitted an application for a digital banking license in Singapore in late 2019, while Tencent made a number of significant investments in fintech companies in other regions throughout the year, including Ualá in Argentina.

Investors in China also began to turn their attention to up-and-coming areas of fintech. These include regtech, which has appeal among VC investors because of its ability to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess risk and identify fraud. China-based investors are also interested in fintech companies that use these technologies more broadly to improve the operations of banks and financial institutions, such as improving operational efficiencies, generate and analyse data, as well as support wealth management.

The third quarter of 2019 saw the People’s Bank of China unveiled a three-year plan to support the development of the fintech industry. Since then, there has already been a number of moves focused on implementation. For example, a fintech sandbox is in development, with testing currently being concluded in Beijing. It is expected that this plan will help fuel future investment in fintech, particularly in key areas like risk management, cybersecurity, big data, artificial intelligence, distributed databases and authentication.

Chris Wang, Partner, Head of Fintech, KPMG China, commented, “China’s central bank and other authority bodies are working to move fintech in the country to ‘2nd half’ as part of their three-year fintech development plan. We anticipate an increased regulation and guidance for the industry and an enhanced infrastructure to support fintech development. For example, sandbox mechanism is being designed and may soon roll out to test the concept of different fintech to make sure they comply with regulations and will achieve the desired results before they enter the market.”

The fintech market in Hong Kong saw some resilience in the fourth quarter of 2019, particularly on the back of Alibaba’s decision to do a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which raised USD 11.2 billion, making it the largest listing of the year globally.

Earlier in 2019, Hong Kong issued the first batch of eight digital banking licenses. ZhongAn was the first to launch a digital bank pilot, with others expected to follow suit in 2020. As the licensees continue to formulate their digital bank offerings, Hong Kong could see an upswing in investments in related areas, like KYC, regtech, digital onboarding and communications, and digital banking infrastructure. The issuance of digital banking licences has also spurred traditional banks to improve their own digital offerings and experience.

Avril Rae, Director, Head of Fintech, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “We’re starting to see ecosystems evolving with respect to digital banks. Partners are coming together to get digital banking licenses. Once they have their pilot projects underway, and they have proven their technology both internally and to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, we’ll start to see them leveraging those partnerships more deeply – integrating banking services with other offerings like travel bookings or insurance to provide their customers with a seamless experience.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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Fintech

Chinese fintech attracted investments of USD 962.2 million in 2H 2019

Vlad Poptamas

Published

on

 

Fintech companies in China attracted USD 962.2 million in investments from venture capital, private equity and M&A in 2H 2019, resulting in a total of USD 4,479 million in investments for the whole of 2019, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech H2’19 bi-annual report on global fintech investment trends.

Fintech investment in China took a breather after a massive 2018, but the country’s fintech market continued to see substantial activity and Chinese companies still ranked among the largest fintech deals in Asia Pacific for the whole of 2019. China’s large technology giants continued to focus on growing their reach geographically, making investments or plays well outside of Greater China. Ant Financial, for example, submitted an application for a digital banking license in Singapore in late 2019, while Tencent made a number of significant investments in fintech companies in other regions throughout the year, including Ualá in Argentina.

Investors in China also began to turn their attention to up-and-coming areas of fintech. These include regtech, which has appeal among VC investors because of its ability to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess risk and identify fraud. China-based investors are also interested in fintech companies that use these technologies more broadly to improve the operations of banks and financial institutions, such as improving operational efficiencies, generate and analyse data, as well as support wealth management.

The third quarter of 2019 saw the People’s Bank of China unveiled a three-year plan to support the development of the fintech industry. Since then, there has already been a number of moves focused on implementation. For example, a fintech sandbox is in development, with testing currently being concluded in Beijing. It is expected that this plan will help fuel future investment in fintech, particularly in key areas like risk management, cybersecurity, big data, artificial intelligence, distributed databases and authentication.

Chris Wang, Partner, Head of Fintech, KPMG China, commented, “China’s central bank and other authority bodies are working to move fintech in the country to ‘2nd half’ as part of their three-year fintech development plan. We anticipate an increased regulation and guidance for the industry and an enhanced infrastructure to support fintech development. For example, sandbox mechanism is being designed and may soon roll out to test the concept of different fintech to make sure they comply with regulations and will achieve the desired results before they enter the market.”

The fintech market in Hong Kong saw some resilience in the fourth quarter of 2019, particularly on the back of Alibaba’s decision to do a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which raised USD 11.2 billion, making it the largest listing of the year globally.

Earlier in 2019, Hong Kong issued the first batch of eight digital banking licenses. ZhongAn was the first to launch a digital bank pilot, with others expected to follow suit in 2020. As the licensees continue to formulate their digital bank offerings, Hong Kong could see an upswing in investments in related areas, like KYC, regtech, digital onboarding and communications, and digital banking infrastructure. The issuance of digital banking licences has also spurred traditional banks to improve their own digital offerings and experience.

Avril Rae, Director, Head of Fintech, Hong Kong, KPMG China, said, “We’re starting to see ecosystems evolving with respect to digital banks. Partners are coming together to get digital banking licenses. Once they have their pilot projects underway, and they have proven their technology both internally and to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, we’ll start to see them leveraging those partnerships more deeply – integrating banking services with other offerings like travel bookings or insurance to provide their customers with a seamless experience.”

 

SOURCE KPMG China

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Fintech

CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Announces Best Paper Winners for 2020 Academic Research Colloquium

Vlad Poptamas

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The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Best Paper Awards that were presented last week in Arlington, Va., during the Center’s fourth annual Academic Research Colloquium for Financial Planning and Related Disciplines.

  • The TD Ameritrade Best Paper Award in Behavioral Finance – Sung Lee of Stern School of Business, New York University, for “Fintech Nudges: Overspending Messages and Personal Finance Management”
  • The Northwestern Mutual Best Paper Award in Insurance/Risk Management – Hossein Salehi, CFP® of California Lutheran University, and Charlene Kalenkoski, CFP® of Texas Tech University, for “The Relationship Between Ownership of Insurance Products and Retirement Satisfaction”
  • The Emerging Scholar Best Paper Award – Derek Tharp, CFP® of University of Southern Maine, for “Consumer Perceptions of Financial Advisory Titles and Implications for Title Regulation”
  • The Best Paper Award in Investments – Da Ke of University of South Carolina, for “Left Behind: Partisan Identity and Wealth Inequality”
  • The Best Paper Award in Household Finance – Nick PretnarAlan Montgomery, and Christopher Olivola of Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, for “A Structural Model of Mental Accounting”

A full list of 2020 accepted papers is available here.

“We received many compelling paper submissions this year, but the committee selected those that they felt demonstrated the highest research standards,” said Charles R. Chaffin, Ed.D., director of Academic Initiatives, CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. “We congratulate the winners for their contributions to knowledge and innovation in the financial planning industry.”

The Best Paper series of awards recognizes authors from a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines that relate to financial planning. The award carries a $2,500 cash prize for the author(s) of each winning paper.

The colloquium gathers the global academic community to showcase rigorous and relevant research within financial planning and related disciplines that directly or indirectly relates to the global financial planning practice and the body of knowledge. The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning hosts the colloquium in collaboration with FP Canada and the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd., owner of the international CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certification program outside the United States.

The colloquium is made possible with support from the Center’s Lead Founding Sponsor, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and Founding Sponsors Northwestern Mutual, Envestnet and Charles Schwab Foundation, in partnership with Schwab Advisor Services.

 

SOURCE Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

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