sample text

sample text

Manish Pole

/Manish Pole

About Manish Pole

Yogi, Yoga Teacher, Speaker & Writer on Yoga, Wellness & Meditation, Co-Founder+Director of Total Yoga

The 4 Categories of Meditation

We Humans have explored a wide variety of ideas over Millennia to craft Meditation practices. What's interesting it that right from primitive awareness techniques to highly fine-tuned methodologies, each 'Meditator' has attempted to reach a similar state. A state of Silence, Focus, and profound Clarity and Joy. Isn't that Why we Meditate? So let's explore the broad categories into which we can divide the multitudes of Meditation practices.  Of course there will be many that don't fit into these categories; but even those ones will be close to one of these four. Over the course of our lives we would have experimented with each of these 4 categories. Some of them in the form of Prayer and some as Mind training. Slowly, we come to realise that one of these suits us best, and then we work on it. Once exploration matures, then comes the hard work of daily practice, often over years to keep improving the experience. 1) Awareness of a Body Rhythm/ Function as Meditation Mindfulness practices are all the rage nowadays. And they are some of the world's oldest Meditation techniques. One of the most important techniques here would be 'Watching your Breath'. Every time you tune in to a body rhythm, you become more Meditative, Grounded and very much in the 'here and now'. It's a simple technique that has huge benefits in terms of your Health and Mental well-being. Similarly you could tune in to the rhythm of your heart beat. 2) Chanting certain Words/ Syllables Since our Mind 'thinks' in words, and is always engaged in an inner conversation - using Words as a Meditative practice becomes very effective. Chanting or 'Mantra' repetition is the most common Meditation practice used by all major Religions and Spiritual [...]

Meditation is our Birthright!

Let nobody tell you that Meditation is difficult. Let nobody tell you that it requires learning complex techniques. And let nobody tell you that it requires lifetimes of practice. Meditation is your Nature - every animal, tree and rock is naturally inclined to being Meditative. So why should it be a struggle for us! And yet it is. Worldwide, people are turning to Meditation to find Peace, Balance and an Anchor in their chaotic lives. And they are doing this in the millions. So much so that, there's now a global market for Meditation! You can shop online using any number of Mindfulness Apps. Or you can read a growing array of Self-help books. Or join your neighbourhood Chanting, Philosophy, Meditation circles. And if you're more curious, then you can join the Guru du jour to learn his/her well-branded Meditation technique. Chances are you'll soon find millions of 'fellow-meditators' ('Guru Bhai's if you have the same Guru). And you'll be a part of a support structure that nurtures your Meditative practice - which is very useful at the start. Soon enough you'll be part of a whole new eco-system with new Friends et al. But was that Why you started Meditation practice to begin with? So, what can I do to get started....right here, right now? Understanding what is Meditation and the types of Meditations will help you find your own practice. You will have to experiment a bit to see what suits you. But then it's better to spend that time and create a set of practices that work for you. This is better than spending year after year with a technique that isn't Transforming you or even Inspiring you to practice it. Of course you will need a technique to get [...]

By | October 20th, 2017|Meditation, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yomaste|1 Comment

Everyone is a Yoga Teacher today! Finding the Yoga TTC that fits you.

Today, more people practice Yoga that ever before in History! And that's to a large extent because there is a Yoga Teacher in almost any corner of the World! So how did the Yoga TTC become so ubiquitous; and if you are considering a Yoga Teacher Training Course, what should you look out for? The modern Yoga TTC template was established by the Sivananda Ashram in the 1970's when they began offering a 1 month Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh. This allowed aspirants from across the world to take 1 month off their schedules and travel to India to learn Yoga and train to Teach as well. In the West, there were very few Yoga TTC programs till the boom happened post the mid-1990's, with Bikram Yoga and other Yoga Institutes then starting to offer Yoga TTC's. Now, the average American Yogi didn't have to travel to Rishikesh, Mysore, Pune or other Ashrams in India. They could learn in their City without having to take a retreat from their Professional and Family lives. Hence in 20 years, we've seen a proliferation of Yoga Teachers and that's spawned an entire sub-Culture that has made Yoga a universal language today. 3 things to consider before embarking on Yoga Teacher Training: First things first - starting Yoga Teacher Training is a commitment to a life-long study of Yoga. For want of a better term, we refer to this as a Yoga Teacher Training course. It is actually a deeper study of Yoga including the underlying Philosophy - beyond the Yoga classes you attend. You won't learn everything or even most things in the few months of your TTC, but you will be exposed to and hopefully get Inspired to pursue learning different aspects [...]

By | September 21st, 2017|Asana, Knowledge Articles, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yoga Teacher Training|Comments Off on Everyone is a Yoga Teacher today! Finding the Yoga TTC that fits you.

The Life of the Teacher is the real Lesson!

As we celebrate Teachers' Day today, September 5th in India, we honour a rich and timeless tradition of the Guru-Shishya parampara (Teacher-Student relationship) that has been the bedrock of our Indian civilisation. For millennia, seekers around the world have turned to some of the finest Teachers in history for spiritual, intellectual and emotional learning and that vast source of Knowledge continues to Inspire millions in the form of Yoga, Meditation and more. I've been privileged to attend the finest of schools and through the institution of St Joseph's, imbibe many qualities that great Teachers stand for. I've been blessed to also live many years with my Guru, wherein the subject I studied was Life itself. When you live with a Yogi, you don't go to learn Yoga - rather to become a witness to how a Yogi lives and through that you are inspired to grow yourself. We all have our boxes, pigeon holes that we exist in - however, to live around a truly liberated being shows us our own limitations; and hence drives us to break through our self-constructed barriers. Qualities of a Good Teacher Firstly, there is no such thing as a bad Teacher - cause if you give the person a couple of years; they probably won't be around as Teachers. That a person survives as a Teacher in the free market usually means that there is some quality worth learning from the Individual. Last year the BBC did a research piece on the toughest jobs to replace by AI and Counselling and Teaching were deemed to be the toughest jobs to replace. These require Emotional Intelligence. Having said that here are a few Qualities that would serve anyone well: Stay a STUDENT forever: [...]

By | September 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Mindfulness: Simple, yet not Easy

Mindfulness is the practice of training your Awareness to remain on one thing - this could be your Body, your Breathing, the Sounds that your hear, or even the Thoughts in your mind. You could become Mindful of any other aspect as well. When you train your Awareness to become one-pointed, your ability to Focus is enhanced. Mindfulness practice is extremely beneficial in managing our Stress. Origins of Mindfulness The practice of Mindfulness as a formal training finds it roots in the Buddhist traditions. These were perfected in Japan in the Zen traditions. It's interesting to note that the word ZEN was originally a mispronunciation of the word Dhyaan! As Buddhism spread to China, Dhyaan was pronounced and became 'Cha'an' and as it spread to Japan the word became Zen. Observation of Self or Swadhyaya, is a Yoga principle that that is a pillar of the Ashtanga system laid forth by Maharishi Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. In fact. Mindfulness is integral to most Meditation systems of the World. It is within the Yoga and Zen systems that is has been given special focus. Mindfulness in Daily Living Exercise 1 Often is our busy lives, it is difficult to take out 1 hour daily to practice Meditation. In such a scenario, one has to creatively place Mindfulness into one's daily routine. If you think about your daily life, you will find ways to become more Mindful. One of my favourite times for training Mindfulness is when I travel in a Taxi! I realised that I spend over an hour daily commuting in traffic. So I swapped driving my car and switched to using a taxi so that I could sit with my eyes closed and train the watching [...]

By | July 27th, 2017|Knowledge Articles, Meditation, The Fun side of Yoga!, Total Yoga, Yoga in Daily Life, Yogis-on-the-Run!|Comments Off on Mindfulness: Simple, yet not Easy

Know your Asana: DANCING NATRAJASANA

DANCING NATRAJ asana is one of the most recognisable modern yoga postures. Although it finds no mention in the traditional Yogasana repertorire; Dancing Natrajasana has become ubiquitous in Yoga studios and Instagram posts of Yogis worldwide! What makes Dancing Natraj asana so special? Mythologically, we say that Yoga originated from Adiyogi, an aspect of Shiva. Shiva is also the celestial Dancer or Natraj - the Lord of Dance. It it said that Adiyogi spent all his time either Dancing ecstatically or sitting in deep Meditation - only these two states! Hence Dancing Natrajasana pays tribute to Adiyogi and reminds us of the value that Dancing brings in terms of Catharsis, for a Meditative practice to flourish in an Individual. Chakra-wise: Being a Balance pose, Dancing Natrajasana helps us train to become more grounded. This helps psychologically with feelings of Stability and Security, which are the key aspects of Mooladhar or the base Chakra. All balance poses helps us work on our Mooladhar chakra and sets the stage for an inward Journey through the various Chakras and corresponding levels of Awareness. Benefits of Dancing Natraj asana: Balance poses in Yoga train our Awareness of our bodies, so that we have a heightened sense of the simplest of activities like standing; on one leg of course. To maintain balance; both hemispheres of our Brain need to co-ordinate. Whilst we have both Logical (left-brain) and Artistic (right-brain) faculties, we often choose to live life in one extreme. Balance poses force us to co-ordinate better between both hemispheres - thereby bringing about a more balanced personality. This is also the reason why Women are better then Men at balance poses - the Corpus Callosum, connecting both hemispheres it thicker [...]

By | July 13th, 2017|Asana, Balance Asanas, Knowledge Articles, Total Yoga, Yoga, Yoga for Runners|Comments Off on Know your Asana: DANCING NATRAJASANA