As the International Yoga Day approaches, one wonders what meaning yoga gives to life. Is it scientific? Is it spiritual? Or is it just a form of physical exercise?
Manish Pole, who started Total Yoga along with Neetu Singh says, that as time changes, students come looking for different things. “The aim of the student is constantly changing. Sometimes it is for weight loss and physical well-being. Or it is for a spiritual reasons often to bring about focus and mindfulness. The approach keeps on changing.”
The yoga industry is booming in the west due to its commercialisation and also finding increased prominence in India. Pole and Singh started Total Yoga in 2010 with the intention of introducing their students to bringing about focus and mindfulness in their lives. Total Yoga is now established and working in Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi in India, Dubai, US and UK.
“We believe in our motto – Fit to Sit. Fitness is just a part of yoga. Here, we train students to be so fit that they can sit in dhyan. We aren’t restricted to asanas. We explore pranayama and meditation, flexibility and strength by teaching Vinyasa flow, Hatha yoga and Power yoga.” As yoga is subjective, Pole agrees that a split is not an end to itself.
The world is advancing technologically at a rapid pace and Pole believes that yoga will still have its significance because it is recognised scientifically as well as spiritually. “In the 1960’s and 70’s, it wasn’t possible to make a living as a yoga teacher. But then it went to America and now it is practised world over.” Speaking about the cultural appropriation that yoga currently faces, Pole explains that in the process of yoga travelling to the globe, its holistic nature has been sacrificed.
“There needs to be a modern Indian voice for yoga. We currently don’t have that. There is a vacuum and India does not have a thought leader in yoga.
But thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s work, people are being reminded that this is our national heritage.”
Refusing to ape what is done in the west, Pole states that they do not mix yoga with other things, “There is something called ‘Beer Yoga’ and that is a practise we don’t subscribe to. We aren’t going to teach a form just for the heck of it. We have to stay true to ourselves.”
Total Yoga is organising ‘Chakras Rising’ on June 18, International Yoga Day. This 70-minute master class will blend yoga with music that has been tuned according to each chakra.
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