In 1970, when Mumbai was Bombay, an eight-year-old boy was restless. It would be his birthday the next day and all he wanted was to join a gym. His mother suggested he should ask at the nearby YMCA.
“So I went to Lamington Road YMCA. As I sprinted up the stairs, I was bubbling with excitement. I could see some of the members working out. It was where I wanted to be.”
But… “They said I was too small and I should buy equipment and train at home. This seemed a very good idea and I told my mom. But she said it was not something we could afford. And she then said the strangest thing. She told me to use my mind and body to build my physique instead of depending on equipment.”
Not sure what exactly his mother meant, the very next day, on his birthday, Mickey Mehta locked himself in his room and started stretching and doing freehand exercises.
Fifty years later, Dr Mickey Mehta stands tall as one of the leading holistic health gurus and corporate life coaches in the world, having trained Bollywood superstars, top politicians, beauty queens, and the personnel of the police, army, navy and air force. He is also a published author and a regular on various television and radio shows.
Seek and find
Just a few days after the newly nine-year-old Mehta began freehand exercises in his room, one of his uncles dropped in, carrying a book by Yogacharya BKS Iyengar. “I was so fascinated by the book that my uncle gave it to me,” says Mehta. “That was my first initiation into real yoga.”
Iyengar led to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who led to Osho, Ma Hansaji, Sadhguru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev and Deepak Chopra, all of whom Mehta considers his gurus. But he is actually the quintessential Eklavya, having never really trained under anyone.
“Never go to a guru who is too serious. When you meditate, you realise that life is not something one should get too serious about.”
Still, Mehta has met most of his gurus. “The common thread among them is that they are always in a state of joy, always smiling,” he muses. “Never go to a guru who is too serious. Go to people who can loosen you up. Laughter is a miracle drug! When you meditate, you realise that life is not something one should get too serious about. Because everything is transient.”
Half a century ago, Mehta began doing yoga to build his body. Now he understands that yoga is about the mind and soul. Here, he shares his 10 commandments of wellness.
- Let wellness be the religion. Yoga teaches you that swasth is your swarg – your health is your heaven. It builds your character and personality.
- The goal should be evolution, not weight loss. Yoga is a service, not just something you practice. The change of the body is the lowest hanging fruit.
- Yoga teaches you that the best exercise for your biceps is not lifting weights, but uplifting the poor.
- For strong shoulders, take on responsibility for the underprivileged.
- Be rooted in humility to be better fruited in humanity. Yoga annihilates your ego. As the song made famous by Gandhiji says: Vaishnav Jan To, Tene Kahiye Je Peed Paraaye Jaane Re Par Dukkhe Upkaar Kare Toye Man Abhiman Na Anne Re.
- While doing asanas, you preserve your breath and conserve your body. That rhythm transforms your desires into aspirations of sharing.
- Sleep every night with a wish to heal yourself and wake up every morning with a promise to heal the world. Yoga teaches you stillness. Swasth is about three things: swayam mein sthit, swayam mein upasthit and swayam ki upasthiti. This means: Established in your individuality. Individuality that cannot be divided into duality. The presence in the essence of the being. The all-pervasive conectedness with you and the cosmos. The confluence of all energies. The presence of the eternal atman. That is healing.
- Don’t move through the postures fast. Settle into them with reverence. In the being is the seeing. For example, dhanurasana shows how the bow helps the arrow hit the target by giving it alignment, trajectory and stability.
- Asanas are the seat of awareness.
- The main thing about yoga is breathing. Breathing is swara. Swara se baney sur and sur se baney sangeet and sangeet se hum ho jaye tarangeet. This means, swara or sounds become notes and notes make music, which charges the body. The tarang is the bio-electricity of the body. It harmonises you with your own being and the cosmic being. So, get energised and Mickeymised.
From HT Brunch, August 30, 2020
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