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Total Yoga Blog

Practicing Yoga in Shanghai: What experience are you seeking?

By |May 3rd, 2016|

The popularity of yoga (瑜伽) in Shanghai, China has taken a great leap forward over the past five years. An initial internet search easily brings up over forty yoga studios in the Shanghai area, many with several branches, and this number is not inclusive of fitness clubs with yoga offerings on their class rosters. The rising wealth of the city and a growing focus on quality of life have opened up a huge market space for the health and wellness industry, easily visible in trends like the boom in farm-to-table restaurants and health food eateries like Hunter Gatherer and Sproutworks, wellness centers and educational collectives like Sprout Lifestyle and Octave. The yoga scene, arguably already well-established before the peak of this wellness trend, has benefitted tremendously. Even while maintaining a prohibitively high price point, the last five years have seen yoga broaden its membership from an expat niche market to a primarily well-heeled local Shanghainese base.

This blog aims to provide a flavor of yoga studios in Shanghai across the broad range of offerings available here. I tried out both the large, high-end yoga chains such as Y+ and the smaller bespoke studios such as Red Door. Having moved to Shanghai after several years of living and practicing yoga in India, I admit that I initially experienced yoga culture shock. Shanghai definitely has a unique yoga culture often highly influenced by U.S. fitness focus and, perhaps more interestingly, mixed with Taoist energy practices and philosophy. Here’s my experience with four studios in Shanghai.
The Big Players
Y+

One of the most established high-end yoga chains in the city, Y+ was the first studio I tried upon arriving in Shanghai. I was attracted by the great locations (one studio was […]

5 Ways that I use Yoga, Daily!

By |May 3rd, 2016|

Yoga is such a vast repertoire of Knowledge that includes so many different practices which benefit your Health, Fitness, Self-understanding and much more. While the general use of Yoga is as a 1 hour Exercise regime, there’s a whole lot more that you can incorporate into your Daily routine to improve the Quality of your everyday living. Here are 5 ways in which I use Yoga daily in order to ease and Enrich my everyday experience of living!
> Exercise:
Yoga as an exercise form is quite amazing. I use Yoga as my main form of Exercise to stretch, strengthen and tone all my muscles, joints and internal organs! My 1 hour routine would include everything from Surya Namaskaars, specially chosen Asanas, Pranayam, Bandhas and Meditation. Apart from doing Yoga, I Run everyday, but that’s only complimentary to my Yoga practice and if I had to make a choice on any given day due to lack of time, I’ll prioritise my Yoga practice. Yoga helps me stay Healthy, Fit and Energetic – the 3 things you want from any exercise routine!
> Focussing my Mind:
Long before Yoga was cast as an exercise form, it had been created as a means to Focus one’s Mind and explore deeper realms. Even today, the range of Yogic practices devised to Focus, Concentrate and generally stay Present are unparalleled in all of mind-work. This is a testament to the longevity of Yoga’s appeal, that 3 millennia after some of these practices were mastered they are still just as efficient! I use Chanting (‘Sumiran’ in Sanskrit), Deep Breathing and practices like Trathak to focus my Mind either when all hell is breaking loose around me, or even just to get through the mundane, repetitive chores that […]

Yoga@Workplace – Your morning routine!

By |April 12th, 2016|

Good day Workaholics!

Here is a reference sheet for you to use to energise your mornings. Do this routine which will take you not more than 15mins and will make a difference to your day! You can click on the image and download it or print it so that you have it as a reference at home!

Let me know how you go!

Indian Govt to pass Law of 33% Reservation for Men in Yoga classes

By |April 1st, 2016|

India’s HRD Ministry today announced that the Government is looking to pass a Law regarding 33% Reservation for Men in all Yoga ashrams and centers across India. The Indian Government has been closely associated with Yoga ever since the PM had called for the United Nations to adopt June 21st as the International Day of Yoga in 2014. In fact, at the International Yoga Day last year, the PM was part of 35,000 people who did Yoga together at Rajpath in Delhi. This was organised by the AYUSH Ministry creating the Guinness World Record for the largest Yoga class!

The HRD Minister said that, ‘Yoga is a part of India’s spiritual and cultural heritage, and traditionally most Yogis were Men. In fact, even the Gods do Yoga!’ The statement went on to say that the trend of Women being a majority in modern, studio Yoga classes was a Western Yoga influence where Yoga is treated mainly as an exercise form. In fact, the latest Yoga Journal & Yoga Alliance statistics in the U.S. show that 81% of Yogis in studio classes are women.

India’s Yoga Gurus throw their weight behind the proposed law
This announcement from the HRD Ministry has been hailed by India’s pre-eminent troika of Yoga Gurus. Incidentally, Baba, Sri Sri and Sadguru had supported the PM’s call for International Day of Yoga and had conducted mass events last June 21st. In fact, Sri Sri had conducted a Yoga session at the UN General Assembly in New York.
International Yoga Brands to wait and watch before launching in India
Lululemon, Gaiam and Manduka – the best-known international Yoga merchandise brands have been waiting to enter into the booming Indian Yoga market. Lululemon has said that they will wait and see if the Law […]

5 Self-Transformation lessons that Easter teaches Us all

By |March 27th, 2016|

I was born a Christian and for years I’ve reflected on the significance of Jesus’ message in my Life and on the Culture of our World. For starters, we call this year we’re living in 2016, mainly because it’s 2016 years since Jesus’ birth! For one MAN to mark Time for the entire Human Race is perhaps the greatest tribute that could be paid to anyone! Amongst the greatest luminaries and Men of Ideas of the Western Civilization; from Socrates to Newton, da Vinci to Darwin, this simple Man’s Idea of LOVE has stood the test of time….of 2 Millennia! So today, I reflect on what Easter means in terms of daily living.

> (In recent years, rightly so, it has been changed from B.C. (before Christ) to BCE (before Common Era) and A.D. (Anno Domini) to CE (Common Era). That’s how it should be, promoting a more inclusive World Culture and so we find ourselves in 2016 CE.)
1) The Ultimate TRANSFORMATION.
Easter represents the Ultimate Transformation; a transformation from Death to Life. Overcoming Death is a Metaphor for overcoming the negative, repetitive habits we possess and transforming ourselves into the Person we aspire to be. It would be naive to say from Good to Bad; but transforming from undesirable habit patterns deeply ingrained in our Psyche to our true, liberated, joyful Selves. This is at an everyday level.

Easter is all about such Transformation, about being Re-Born. In Indian philosophy we use the prefix Dwij…twice-born, to represent a Master. Proficiency in any subject merely makes you an Expert; the word Master (or Buddha) is reserved for those rare Individuals who have through self-study, ‘Master’ed the workings of their own Self and thereby Transformed!
2) Transformation is HUMANLY possible!
The beauty of the entire story is how Jesus becomes Christ. As Jesus, […]

5 Life Lessons my Doggie taught me …

By |March 23rd, 2016|

Most of us have had a Pet at some point in our Life, and if we haven’t then we should definitely experience it. It’s a remarkable experience and our lives will certainly be more richer through it. Exactly 2 full moons ago, my Partner and I chanced upon a post on Facebook asking if someone would adopt a rescued Labrador. We had been looking for a Dog and immediately volunteered. By that night, not only had She attended a full moon Meditation session with us, she also had a name…LOVE! :) Over the next 50 days, she became the centre of our attention and an integral part of our Yoga classes, as she would attend every class that Neetu taught at our Total Yoga Centre. During these 2 months, here are 5 things that I learnt …
1) Life has Multiple Perspectives.
Walking LOVE everyday, I would be surprised at what caught her attention. While we Humans are more reliant on Seeing things, Love would Smell her way, curiously discovering the neighbourhood. I quickly gathered that LIFE CAN’T BE HUMAN-CENTRIC ONLY and that even amongst us Humans, every Environment and Experience pivoted differently depending on our own interests. MY PERSPECTIVE can never be the sole one, in fact everyone sees life differently. That has helped me be more patient and inclusive in my relationships with everyone.
2) Unconditional Love!
Real Love. Unconditionally. It was incredible to be welcomed with the same loving affection every single day irrespective of whether I came late, didn’t walk her in the morning or didn’t play with her. I experienced what is meant by ‘non-judgemental’, and that sort of love is what truly liberates a person in any relationship. To look into her compassionate eyes was worth much more that I knew […]