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Total Yoga Blog

16 12, 2014

Who is a Guru?

By |December 16th, 2014|Meditation, Total Yoga, Total Yogis on the Road, Yoga|0 Comments

While playing Lumosity, customized online games designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory and attention, my 6 year old daughter was asked to come up with a word starting with gu-. It struck me that like most 6 years old she did not come up with a word gum for example but the word GURU. In Hinduism and Buddhism a guru is a spiritual teacher, one who imparts initiation and knowledge often through oral teaching to a dedicated pupil. I guess all the world travel and 2 years in India have made an impact on her.

This same child has ascended Eifel Tower when not even 4 years old with a twinkle in her eyes and has ever since jumped up and down every time she sees a photo of Eifel Tower at random places. This child has traveled to Hong Kong when only 18 months and has climbed 286 steps to visit The Tian Tan also known as The Big Buddha, while most of her peers have gone as far as Disneyland.  We have visited Disneyland, described as the happiest place on Earth, but when we gave our children a choice after a day in Disneyland, they chose to spend the next day at the beech playing in the sand and waves.

While on my yoga mat, I have often mulled over our frequent moves and uprooting our family every couple of years. As a mother of 2 I have worried about my kids adjusting in new schools, making friends, fitting into a different culture or missing out on some of those cultural experiences. Our family and relatives often offer well-meaning advice on how to raise our kids and worry that moving them too often may […]

9 12, 2014

Why Sexual Abuse happens in Yoga Ashrams?

By |December 9th, 2014|Total Yoga, Yoga|0 Comments

Over the years I’ve wondered about the ‘loss of innocence’ for young spiritual seekers who leave their homes to live in Ashrams and gain spiritual growth through Discipleship under a Guru; and later report that they were abused physically and sexually! This should never happen. It is the equivalent of the Christian priests abusing young children – wherein unsuspecting children and adolescents are abused and don’t know how to react. Their parents are often disciples of the Guru and will not see the Man claiming to be a Guru for whom he really is. Worse still, many disciples think that the sexual abuse/initiation is for their spiritual growth! Often it takes years before the discipleship wears off and adolescents (now adults) come to terms with the fact that they were abused and seek retribution.

This week, Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia has been hearing evidence against Swami Akhandananda from India and his second-in-charge, Shishy, an Australian woman. Akhandananda set up the Satyananda (Mangrove) Ashram outside of Sydney in 1974. This is the largest Yoga Ashram in the southern hemisphere. The gruesome specter of Shishy slapping children and also bringing them in for ‘sexual initiation’ by Akhandananda is damaging enough; let alone his abusive physical and sexual relationship with her. The Swami was jailed for 2 years in 1989 for cases of sexual abuse relating to 4 under-age girls. While the charges were overturned in 1991, he died of the effects of excessive alcoholism in 1998.

Why has so much Sexual abuse happened in Ashrams, Churches and other centers of Spiritual growth? 

While abstinence is recommended by many systems for spiritual growth, the point is that not many people are actually suited for a […]

8 12, 2014

June 21 to be World Yoga Day

By |December 8th, 2014|Total Yoga, Yoga|0 Comments

When PM Narendra Modi appealed at the UN General Assembly to celebrate World Yoga Day; little did we know that 170 countries will support the plea and that the UN would announce by mid-Dec that June 21 will officially become World Yoga Day!

Why is a World Yoga Day important? Worldwide millions of people are turning to Yoga for more than physical health and fitness; they practice Yoga for emotional comfort, de-stressing mentally and spiritual insight. In fact, Yoga is today one of the world’s great unifying factors with people across continents sharing a common language of Yoga that transcends all other language, national, religious and social barriers. People in New York, Barcelona to Shanghai, Melbourne and Mumbai are all connected through a common practice of Surya Namaskaars and Shoulder stands! When you travel around the world and meet urban yogis from every corner of the world – you can immediately connect with them irrespective of if you speak each other’s language. Yoga is providing a communication bridge for people to share and connect with others around the world. And they learn that the differences are not many between people separated by geography!

7 12, 2014

Should all modern Yoga classes be re-named Asana classes?

By |December 7th, 2014|Total Yoga, Yoga|0 Comments

Increasingly around the world people are taking yoga and mixing it with various forms of fitness and calling it yoga. In fact, even most ‘traditional’ Yoga classes don’t involve Pranayam and Dhyaan. In that context shouldn’t we look to re-name “Yoga” classes into simply “Asana” classes? And then you can have Acro-Asana or SUP Asana and there won’t be any belittling of the Yoga science.











Trivial as that may sound; it may be the most logical solution. When a Gym offers a Power Yoga class that attracts students who want to tone their Abs or Butt mainly and who have little interest in Meditation; shouldn’t that class that be called Power Asana? I don’t think that the Teachers and Students would really mind, and in fact it would help everyone understand what the class offers better. Also, Yoga has become so mainstream now that most people recognize the term “Asana”. It’s perceived as primarily a body-work practice within yoga which maintains health and fitness of the Body.

Otherwise, entering a modern studio Yoga class, one is always caught between what you see happening there and the sage-like Yogis you see in the Himalayas. The disconnect is way too stark to call both these sets of people as Yogis, don’t you think? One group is track pant-clad, sipping green teas and perfecting their downward dogs whilst the other Yogis are persons whose life is dedicated to a yogic pursuit of seeking Kaivalya or Enlightenment. While I jokingly refer to my students as yogis; there is no doubt that this is a very revered term actually kept aside in India for the Enlightened Beings.

As more people are drawn to Yoga for a wide variety of needs from the […]

19 11, 2014

Total Yoga Newsletter

By |November 19th, 2014|Total Yoga, Yoga|0 Comments

It’s Yoga Retreat time!
Join us at Total Yoga’s ‘Days of Zen’ retreat at Devbagh Beach.
Yoga Retreats are a great opportunity to deepen your practice of Yoga while also spending time by yourself in Meditation. The Total Yoga retreat will take you through intensive Yoga on the Beach sessions, deeper Pranayam & Meditation classes, internal cleansing Yogic Kriyas to rejuvenate the body and Dancing on the beach! All this happens at Devbagh – one of India’s most magnificent and exclusive beach resorts! Read on…

“Yoga is not a fight with your Body. It’s a fight with your Habits.” - Bharat Thakur (founder, Artistic Yoga and our Guru)

Total Yoga in California!

Slavica Gokul completed her Teacher Training course here with us and is now setting up TY in California! Singapore is our other int’l presence.
Attend when you travel! >

Volunteer at Vidya!

Your Yoga journey will remain incomplete without service or Karma Yoga! Join us on Thursdays 10am when we volunteer to teach Yoga at the Vidya Foundation.
What’s Karma Yoga? >

Cycle Day Indiranagar

We’ve partnered with the B’lore Govt and other NGOs to promote Cycling & Health. Welcome to Cycle Day Indiranagar on Nov 30th – it’s a great day out with the family!
Follow FB for updates >

Come on over and do the twist…
Total Yoga in now soon in five locations – Bangalore, Pune, Delhi, Singapore & California!

30 10, 2014

Benefits of Yoga! Benefit number 3

By |October 30th, 2014|Asana, Asanas Directory, Total Yoga, Yoga|0 Comments

We’ve seen two key benefits so far, Yoga helps you sleep better and lose weight.

Let’s take a look at Benefit number three:


Are you slouching right now, as you read this? Do you always look for something to lean on while standing?

If you do then you must work on your posture. I’m sure you would’ve heard this from your mom or grandparents in the past, but I don’t mind saying it again. Keeping a good posture is extremely important for your spine; after all it’s your spine that supports you all day long!

A bad posture not only results in medical issues like chronic back pain and osteoporosis, it also messes with your confidence and happiness levels! I’m not kidding! The next time you are low on confidence or feeling a little upset notice your posture.

I don’t blame you if your posture needs improvement. It’s our lifestyle these days, like long hours at the desk at work or increased time in the car due to heavy traffic, which takes a toll on our body! Also, we are so distracted with our work or personal life that we don’t think twice about the way we sit or walk!

Here are a few quick Yoga moves that will help strengthen your back and improve your posture.


Stand with feet shoulder width apart
Raise the hands above the head and interlock fingers, pressing the palms toward the ceiling, elbows stretched completely. Begin to feel a lengthening of the spine.
Lift and ribcage and raise the heels, coming onto the toes. Stay in this pose for up to one minute, or as long as is comfortable.




Lie down on the stomach
Place the palms next to the chest.
Begin to raise the chest and […]