We’re celebrating 5 years this June! We’re asking all of you who have been part of this journey to spare a couple of minutes to answer these 5 questions that will help us set our goals for the next 5 awesome years! Thanks to all you Yogis for the memories Survey >>
The Total Yoga Idea:
On March 1st 2010 I broke my ankle playing football in Dubai. My wife Neetu and I would come to Bangalore for surgery and recuperation. This was our first break in over 7 years of Yoga and Meditation training, living with our Guru Bharat Thakur.
During the month and a half of bed-rest I started wondering about setting up a Yoga school of our own. I now know how in subtle ways my Guru had nudged us in this direction. Parting ways with our Guru was the toughest decision we ever had to make, but having done so we felt at peace and ready to take on the challenge of setting up a Yoga school. Little did we know we would be embarking on the most fulfilling journey of our lives and closely interacting with so many wonderful people over the next 5 years and counting…
We wanted to create a Yoga school that taught yoga for the sake of enjoying yoga! That meant we were not going to market it as a weight-loss regime, or as a therapeutic class. We were looking for healthy people who we would help make fitter and then start to explore Pranayam and Meditation. This was the way we had been taught and the way we approached yoga – we were sure there would be more people like that looking for a true Yoga experience!
The first decision was what do we call our school? There were many options and the temptation to use a Sanskrit sounding name. We thought about this long enough and also asked friends. Finally, we settled on Total Yoga. Firstly, we have always represented a complete experience of Yoga training – from Asana to Pranayam & Meditation; cleansing Kriyas; Service through Karma yoga projects and much more. So Total Yoga seemed like a name that conveyed this. And secondly, we were looking for a simple enough name that even non-English speaking people would be able to understand….who knew, maybe we would set up Total Yoga in different parts of the world some day!
The next thing to do was decide on a logo. Our dear friend Nishanth Narayanan from Dubai helped us by providing a wonderful logo. We chose the colours by associating the word ‘Total’ with Green – to convey a green, organic way to stay fit and we associated ‘Yoga’ with Orange – from the Ochre-coloured clothing that a yogi wears. We found that that by adding White in the logo; we were using al the colours of the Indian flag – indirectly paying homage to Yoga’s Indian roots.
Armed with a Brand we now had to create a Yoga School! We started thinking where we should set up Total Yoga? We were keen on moving to a new city that we hadn’t lived in before. Finally we agreed on Pune. The reason was very interesting. Pune was home to 2 of the most legendary Teachers of the 21st Centtury. On one hand was BKS Iyengar and the strict discipline that Iyengar Yoga stood for. And at the other end of the spectrum was Osho with freedom and zen-meditative quality! For multiple reasons we felt that what we stood for with Total Yoga was right in between – it had the traditional discipline and regime of asana practice while our focus was also on meditation and freedom. Voila!
We had a city now and all that was left to do was go to Pune and set up school. The only problem ….. we didn’t know anyone there! And with not a lot of financial resources with us, we had a pressing need to set up fast and succeed instantly! As luck, or rather Grace would have it, we found the right studio to set up Total Yoga and from then on there was absolutely no turning back……
(In the next article we’ll cover the Total Yoga journey in Pune where our paths crossed with those of some wonderful people – Anil, Mukesh, Charulata, Pallavi, Zahabbiya, Divya, Pooja, Sarika, Toshita, Chinamayee, Yashodhara, Mrunal , Sachin, Alwyn, Udita, Nabeela, Aman, Hitesh, Preeti, Ruchira, Pragati, Harsha, Bhupi, Sashmita, Deborati, Vibha, Tanu, Hamsa, Uma, Bobby, Shubhali, the Aggarwals, Uncle from Rajput Teri Dairy and so many more …)
I thank all of you for taking time to read this. It’s an important exercise for us not just to relive wonderful times but also learn from them and perhaps most importantly to understand whether we are on the right path in terms of achieving what we set out to through Total Yoga. To envision the positive impact we all can create together through Total Yoga in the next 5 years!
– Manish Pole and Neetu Singh (Co-conspirators in Total Yoga)