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Thursday, November 5, 2015

'Raising the Baa' - destressing the people & making them feel relaxed !!

Have not you heard this ?  -  a few decades ago, in Schools and at Home, when one was not studying properly, the Teacher and Parents used to scold  - you are fit only ‘for taking care of cattle’, especially buffalo ! – herding sheep, buffalo, - cattle was considered to be menial and a task to be performed by those who do not study and who do not have any other worthy job. 

Life is all about observance, motivation, learning, knowledge, performance, earning,  relaxation and enjoyment.  When you live in closed doors and when your mind is closed, you are most unlikely to understand leave alone enjoy things.  Literally, one needs to keeps the doors open ! [and mind too].  The modern day offices are with good interior decorations that look deceptively attractive – they protect you from rain and shine – also keeps you away from nature, not letting you know how hot it is outside nor would you know of the pleasant drizzle outside.  The walls and structures are no longer open with big windows but are closed to contain the cool air provided by airconditioners inside.  There are many a  Venetianblinds made of slats of fabric, wood, plastic or metal that adjust by rotating from an open position to a closed position by allowing slats to overlap. 

People respond to stress in different ways, namely, by becoming overwhelmed, depressed or both.  Whatever will be, will be ! – work is not stressful to every one – not to those who love thy work and those who know how to remain relaxed without getting the tensions on to mind.  There are so many  relaxation techniques of  methods, processes, activities and even of remaining simply naïve – activities that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness; or otherwise reduce levels of anxiety, stress or anger. One need not be a Yoga expert; there can be simpler practices as well.  To some music is relaxation, to some looking at some serene setting, a look at fishes swimming in a tank, or birds can be. 

A couple of years ago, in a study performed on the Ovisaries [common domestic sheep], two University of Cambridge researchers found the long-underestimated mammals could pass a psychological test that stumps most monkeys.And it was all by accident, according to New Scientist.Laura Avanzo and Jennifer Morton were researching neuro-degeneration, with a focus on Huntington's disease, an inherited disorder that leads to nerve damage and dementia.As part of their research, Avanzo and Morton focused on a new breed of genetically modified sheep which carries a defective gene that causes Huntington's in humans.They put seven normal sheep through a set of challenges often given to humans suffering from Huntington's.

The researchers found that sheep could learn to recognise patterns in colours, change their behaviour when the pattern changed, and even conquer "intra- and extra-dimensional set-shifting", which is a complicated way of saying the sheep learnt to recognise and respond based on the shapes of objects, instead of their colour.New Scientist said that is very difficult for most large animals - except humans and other primates - to do.There is no doubt sheep have a powerful herd or flock instinct that appears to kick in and override other rational thoughts.But the next time you watch a kelpie usher a motley flock of sheep through a gate at your local showgrounds, best you think twice about who is really in control.

Away from this is ‘Raising the Baa’ – the Corporate executives paying  £2,000 to de-stress by learning to be sheepdogs.  MailOnline had reported about this course run by a working shepherd who is turning his hand to executive training.It is the latest craze in motivational and team building for deskbound executives and a far cry from taking them paintballing or teaching them to juggle.

Raising the Baa: The company website asks: 'Is your team the best in your field'. It pledges to help companies find out if workers are leaders or followers.  The office workers turn up at a Wiltshire farm to be greeted by shepherd Chris Farnsworth and his ‘Raising the Baa’ course.He gets the groups to act as sheepdogs and, just as the canines do on One Man And His Dog, round up sheep and get them into a pen.The way the various city slickers work not only helps them bond and develop teamwork, but also shows who are the natural leaders or followers.In other words, which of them is the human equivalent of shepherd, dog or sheep and how that could relate to their day jobs.

People on the motivational course are filmed rounding up sheep into a small pen. The course works out which of the employees is the human equivalent of shepherd, dog or sheep and how that could relate to their day jobs.  The teams are filmed as they try and work together to round the sheep up and then it is played back to them as their roles are shown and defined.

Chris and his partner Caroline Palmer run the course on local farms where Chris has been a contract shepherd for neighbouring landowners for over 30 years.However he was once a sales executive while Caroline works in marketing so they have both have seen the stress of busy, more urban lifestyles first hand.For fees from £400 to £2,000 they offer courses called Lamb, Ewe and Ram for various size groups.  It is reported that  everyone from bankers to retail executives are flocking to his courses, a gentle British version of the cattle ranching course in the famous film City Slickers.

They call it -  Open Ewe-niversity ~ and  there is learning everywhere !!
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Nov. 2o15.

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