Triumph by fire

One of India’s youngest corporate trainers, Priya Kumar uses firewalking as a tool to boost participants’ confidence and enhance their personality.

CONQUERING FEAR : Priya Kumar walking on fire.

“The unknown brings adventure, it brings growth, it brings with it the promise of change and progress; it brings a new beginning and an end to the old....”, writes Priya Kumar, the author of bestselling book I Am another You. Priya believes that one can take a journey that starts out as ‘impossible’, and turn it into a ‘possible’ one. There’s no such thing as ‘impossible’, says Priya, India’s first certified fire walk instructor.

Trained and certified by Peggy Dyland’s organisation, Sundoor, US, Priya has made her passion to help people live happier lives into a successful profession. For her, fire walking is a tool of personal change which helps the individual to discover the power that lies within each one of us.

Says Priya, the CEO and chief facilitator of Priya Kumar’s Training Systems, “Firewalk is a great activity for self-development because no matter how much I may try and convince someone that it is safe to walk on fire, they have to find in themselves the courage to trust that when they take action with confidence and conviction, they will emerge unscathed.”

Human flesh burns at 200 degree Fahrenheit, and fire  walk is done on 3,200 degree Fahrenheit, thus through this, one may understand that one is far too smaller than fire. But bigger than it, she says, is the person’s willingness. 

Priya didn’t choose to be a motivational guru; it was “accidental”, though she started working at the very early age of 13. “I used to take tuition classes for kids. Motivation and inspiration were my teaching techniques. I taught for nine years. When I was 22, I got invited to social communities to give motivational talks.

After two years of speaking, I decided to take it up as a career.” At the age of 24, when her friends went on to pursue their careers that offered them a fat salary cheque, Priya treaded the path less chosen — to become a motivational speaker.

Priya believes that one’s purpose and personality must decide one’s career. Being a ‘people’s person’, communication came naturally to her. She says, “It is when people try to fit their purpose and personality into their career that they end up dissatisfied.”

The turning point in her professional life came when she got “bored” after having taught for nine years. “Though I was teaching and adding value to the lives of my students, I felt that they were moving on, but I was stuck at the same place.” As her personal learning curve was declining, Priya’s search for newer and bigger challenges grew.

After having decided to quit her established career, she embarked on a journey to become a corporate trainer.  Despite initial opposition from her parents, her quest to explore one’s “own greatness”, led her to become the youngest corporate trainer in the country. Since then, there has been no looking back.

Her unique technique sets her apart from the rest. Her real time learning from yogis, Shamans and several other remote tribesmen spread across the globe has enhanced her methodology. She incorporates their ancient wisdom and imparts them through her unique and highly motivating seminars.

“The point is that one is not taking a blind shot in my workshops. The fire walk and glass walk that I do are to help people understand that power lies in facing one’s fears. They are metaphors of the challenges one faces in life. So, it’s not that people are doing a random act by walking on a hot-bed of coal, rather, they’re walking on a controlled bed of fire,” says Priya. Her list of clients from India, South East Asia and the Middle East number more than 600. She has also held several training sessions with corporates in Bangalore and Delhi. Priya’s name has also been included in the 2007-2008 Princeton Premier Business Leaders and Professionals ‘Honours Edition’.

I ask her if the fire walk is scary. “Under guided supervision, it isn’t. Fire and glass beds are built with care and method, and it’s absolutely safe”, comes the answer. A specialist in fun-based and experimental learning, Priya who’ll soon be hosting a TV chat show on a national TV channel, says that had there been a possibility for people to burn, “I wouldn’t do the firewalk.

The onus lies in the hands or rather hearts of the participants whether they trust me enough and their judgment to step onto the fiery hot coal or shards of glass and emerge victorious.” However, she warns that the process shouldn’t be duplicated by participants.

With cut-throat competition in all sectors, people are getting busier and finding themselves under tremendous pressure, leading to a dip in their passion and positivity. Probe a little as to how her two-hour intervention which includes motivational talks followed by various activities help people, and Priya says, “My job through my workshop and activities is to distance people from their stress using fun and humour and then to challenge them to do and think out-of-the-box.

So, when people go back, they are charged-up, their confidence is renewed and so is their spirit.” And to make the sessions livelier, and to take their career and vision to the next level, her outdoor activities include a trek in the dense forests or a visit to shark reefs. “Though all the activities that I do may look serious or dangerous, I keep the session fun and light and inject a lot of humour into it,” says Priya, who has recently completed writing her third book ‘The Perfect World — a journey to infinite possibilities’, an inspirational thriller.

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