Ishan Shivanand: Helping Good People Become Better


‘Start today. That is the mantra I want to give to people. Don’t procrastinate growth’ said Acharya Ishan Shivanand when asked to share a mantra for everyone. ‘Success is today, Life is today, Love is today. The greatest gift you can give to your family is undivided attention. The greatest gift you can give yourself is undivided attention. That is my mantra for you. Start today!’ he shared.

Ishan Shivanand at just 30 years is a charismatic personality – a globally renowned motivational speaker, life coach & trainer and over ten years of conducting global meditative self transformation programs. He has actively engaged in inspiring and motivating a universal audience, comprising an eclectic mix of youth, grown ups and the elderly alike.

He is son and disciple of Dr. Avdhoot Shivanand, an Indian spiritual leader and founder of ShivYog, a non profit organization that offers meditation programs around the world with an aim to activate inner healing. Ishan was brought up at the ashram, where he received intensive spiritual and practical training in Meditation, Yoga, Vedic Traditions and also trained his physical self in Kalari, an ancient martial arts form from Kerala.

Ishan wants to carry forward his father’s legacy of sharing the knowledge that for thousands of years was the vanguard of the sadhus and ascetics, and making it contemporary and available to all. ‘My campaign is sort of, if you want to summarize it…in one line I can say my campaign is to help good people become better.’ He said.

‘When I went to the best tech company in the world and they had the most amazing technology, beautiful resources; with spas in their offices, and even a masseuse on call. All the food that you can eat was laid out and coming from an ashram and for me, was a big deal. And here I am in this place that has all of these wonderful facilities and they are talking to me and they are saying, “we are most stressed out”. And then I start to realize that there’s such a big difference in having resources and in enjoying life. People are working so hard and giving so much of themselves. But there is a huge difference between having something and enjoying something. Are they happy? Do they have inner peace and relaxation? That is something very very important. And what I’ve come to realize that the only way to peace is meditation.’

He illustrated his point by saying that our stresses in life are like carrying babies in our arms as time goes on our arms feel heavier and heavier. Similarly we carry many mental babies which is like a computer or mobile device running multiple programs concurrently leading to decrease in performance. ‘Meditation is an art of just letting go of the mental baby for some time. It is imperative, it’s important…because if we don’t do this, it’s going to get from bad to worse. And I’m not saying that the baby is not important, no. They are extremely important. But once in awhile, every few minutes, or every few hours, or every few days, we need to detox. We need to have that ability to become the best version of ourselves. To increase our quality of life and that is what meditation is.

‘It is young people with their young thoughts and their young minds changing the world. And that is the future that my father saw – that the world needed a young thought even in spirituality. Because today we live in a society which has the greatest generation gap that the world has never seen before. 200 years ago, the grandfather rode horses, the father rode horses, the son rode horses. But today, the grandfather had the gramophone, the father had the Walkman and the child has the iPod. Where is the connectivity? If you go with that mentality to a young child trying to prescribe spirituality, then all these thoughts that are spiritual will go extinct.’

Ishan’s teachings are easy to understand as he uses examples and anecdotes that are aligned to the youth, with his sense of humor and quick wit. He has now embarked on a mission to instill in the youth a fire of success, a spark of evolution so that they are able to tap the latent potential within them, as in every human being, and be successful and happy. A win-win and work-less-accomplish-more approach to replaces ruthless and reckless competition.

Young at heart, wise in ways is what defines Ishan the best. He comes across full of energy and enthusiasm. ‘The word guru means the one who knows and the one who teaches. Guru is not just about being a philosopher because everybody can talk and share ideas. So the first thing that I was made to go was to master myself. How can you be a guru if you have not mastered your thoughts, your body and you have not mastered the arts that the world has to offer? I was born to one of the greatest shiv-yogi masters that the world has ever seen. And this is what he trained me for – to awaken the God in each and everyone of us, to be the best version of ourselves. This is the sole purpose of my life.’

More about Ishan Shivanand, his work and events at

by Poonam Sagar