“Yoga, Meditation, Zen – they are all a way of life. It’s about crating a positive lifestyle change!”, Manish Pole quoted. Teaching yoga for almost 14 years, Manish is not creating poses but also helping people improves concentration and healing diseases. We thought why not start this New Year taking some healthy resolutions? Hence, we had a talk with Manish, learnt about his work, his beliefs and his venture, Total Yoga. Below are the excerpts:
BV: How did Total Yoga come into existence?
Manish: Total Yoga was co-founded by Neetu Singh and me in Pune in 2010 – and ever since we’ve trained over 100 Total Yoga teachers and have spread to Bangalore, Singapore, Dubai, California, the UK and Auckland. The idea was simply that we were keen on creating a Yoga style focused on Mindfulness rather than just poses. Hence we called it Total Yoga – as we encompass all aspects: Asana, Pranayam, Meditation in each class.
BV: How long have you been practicing yoga and what are the changes you see today?
Manish: I’ve been Teaching Yoga 14 years. Back then a slightly older audience used to come for classes. It has now changed and Yoga is today uber-cool globally. That has meant that People are taking to Yoga much younger than before; and also more creative people are realising that Yoga training improves concentration and hence improves your Art – whilst doing wonders for your Health.
BV: Would you please explain on the type of yoga you teach?
Manish: TOTAL YOGA was conceptualised as a Yoga style that trains both Fitness and Mindfulness. This is different from Yoga styles focused mainly on Asanas, flexibility and so on. Mindfulness is what interests me most in Yoga training, and so I co-created this style that addresses Mindfulness in each pose more that any other pivot factor.
To accomplish this we designed the Total Yoga program to have 3 classes a week: Vinyasa where we focus on Flexibility; Hatha where we focus on Strength and Power Yoga on Cardio & Fitness. Each class is 45 mins Asana work and 15 mins Pranayam & Meditation.
BV: What do you prefer/enjoy about these forms of yoga?
Manish: I enjoy Total Yoga because of it’s mix from classical Hatha to dynamic Vinyasa and fitness-inspired Power Yoga. Every class you will sweat and then leave completely relaxed and rejuvenated.
BV: What yoga has done for you as a person?
Manish: I was a copywriter before diving deep into Yoga & Meditation training by living with my Guru for 7 years. Yoga has made me very comfortable with people – I’m confident as a Speaker/ Presenter which wasn’t the case when I was a Writer. Yoga has calmed me down in some ways and made me more focused in other ways. I love the fact that Yoga forces me to remain in the present as much as possible.
BV: Do you believe yoga is an alternative to healing and medicine?
Manish: Yoga is all about Integration of every aspect of your Personality – body, mind & spirit. We call this goal as Kaivalya. When you as training to integrate all of you – that’s when you become truly Healthy and not merely disease-free. This bringing together of body & mind brings us Health. So yes, Yoga is Healing. But if your body is quite ill – then you first need medicine. Later, once you are healthy again – you won’t fall that ill if you practice yoga as it relaxed the nervous system thereby promoting relaxation and rejuvenation in our high stressed times.
BV: What do you think of famous people getting into yoga? Is it good for yoga or does it made it a fad?
Manish: Famous or Unknown – people have the same needs physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. So everyone can do with Yoga in their lives. Just because an actress in doing yoga it doesn’t make it a fad – she’s going to benefit from the practice just as anyone else would.
BV: Is there any preferable time to do yoga?
Manish: Mornings are best but some people are more flexible in the Evenings and then they should do that. Afternoons are to be avoided.
BV: What makes you different from other yoga instructors?
Manish: Firstly, my Training. I lived with my Guru for 7 years. Most of my peers as Yoga instructors haven’t had that privilege. Their training has been in an ashram or Teacher Training course. So my perspective on Yoga comes from living with a Yogi rather that from text book knowledge.
Secondly, over the last 14 years I’ve made it a point to not consider myself a Yoga teacher. I’ve been conscious from my young days to not fall into the trap of what a Yogi should behave like if you know what I mean.
BV: Does Total Yoga conduct yoga retreats? What is the main objective of these retreats?
Manish: Yes, we do the YOMASTE Yoga+ Culture retreats. Main focus would be to get people together to practice Meditation & Trek in the great outdoors. We’ve taken large groups to Rishikesh, Mcleodganj, Ladakh, Sikkim, Bali & this November to Bhutan.
BV: How the interest levels of Yoga differs in India and other countries where you preach yoga?
Manish: The interest levels are fairly the same. In India we are getting used to Yoga being a part of the modern lifestyle. And so more and more Yoga centres are opening whilst in the US & UK it’s probably saturated. But Yoga is growing and so interest levels are on an all time high. Once we learnt that Yoga isn’t only a spiritual practice but has benefits on Health, the audience grew from spiritual aspirants to everyone!
BV: Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise and meditate?
Manish: Yoga, Meditation, Zen – they are all a way of life. As is Healthy living of which exercise is a part. So yes, it’s much more than a few stretches and breathing exercises. It’s about crating a positive lifestyle change!
BV: Would you like to mention regarding your yoga centers and the registration process?
Manish: Join us to experience Total Yoga at our centers in Bangalore, Pune or abroad. We’re soon opening in Mumbai & Gurgaon.
Visit www.totalyoga.in and come over for a trial class.