Changing ideas through dialogue

I recently surpassed three years of employment at UGE, which means I have had the pleasure of watching a lean, mean start-up turn into New York’s leading clean tech company; one that is poised to change the face of the global distributed energy market.  Through my position on the business development team, I have been in contact with innumerable other companies, and often I am given an inside look at their company culture. I have never come across another company as focused or as dedicated to improving the world and expanding distributed renewable energy as the members of UGE’s team. Being an integral part of this team has certainly been rewarding, so much so that at times I have had to be careful to ensure that I still have other interests.

Other than working for UGE, one way I love to spend my time is practicing Bikram Yoga. Combining a 90 minute moving meditation with intense cardio in a 110 degree room is an experience like no other. Even if my lovely wife Julia were not the best Bikram teacher in New York City, I would still blog enthusiastically about my practice and the thoughts that arise during moments of clarity.


The final third of each class includes a short break between each posture during which you lie still on your back in Savasana. As part of the dialogue of Bikram Yoga, during one of the Savasanas in each class, the teacher says something along the lines of, “This is your gas station. This is your chance to recover and allow fresh oxygenated blood to flow throughout your body.” However, whenever I hear the teacher say these words I cannot help but think about oil pipelines, spills and exhaust pipes spewing tons of carbon into the atmosphere every day. How is a lover of the environment supposed to enter a meditative state with these thoughts in mind?

What if, instead of saying gas station, the dialogue were to say charging station or better yet UGE Sanya Skypump powered by VisionAIR, the industry-leading small wind turbine! Hearing those words during Savasana would surely fill my head with much cleaner thoughts.

Since Bikram Yoga was founded in 1973, the community has grown to 700 studios worldwide, and each studio serves, on average, 300 unique students each year. That means, given my proposed dialogue shift, the notion of powering up using the abundant clean energy from the wind would be planted in the minds of more than 200,000 people every year.


Communication is the first skill we learn and it remains our strongest tool throughout life. I recently walked into a hardware store and an employee smiled at me and said with a big smile on her face, “Hi, good morning, thanks for coming in. If there is anything I can help you with, just let me know!.”  This compared to other retail experiences where I have received some variation of, “What do you need?” is a stark contrast. The first example makes your day, while the second makes you want to walk out. Do not underestimate the power of the words we choose to communicate.

Could a simple shift in language spark a critical mass that creates a paradigm shift in the way humans use and create their energy sources? Could the words we use to communicate about consumption have a significant impact on the world? I say yes.

-Ryan Gilchrist, Business Development