How I came to join Total Yoga

As a Chef, I am very particular about working with wholesome, fresh ingredients. They really bring out the flavour of the dish you’re cooking. Add a pinch of love, and a whole lot of energy, and you’ve got the makings of a great recipe. Which is what got me thinking about my life in Bangalore, and the essential ingredients behind the roller coaster of the experience that is my existence in the Garden City.

I moved to Bangalore around a year-and-a-half ago to start The Travelling Chef. In addition to the bad traffic, bad roads, congestion, distances, I also didn’t know many people, and had to accept the fact that it would be some time before my social life was well and kicking.

It wasn’t all bad; having just left my life and friends in Delhi, Bangalore welcomed me with open arms – awesome people, vibrant and diverse food, wonderful cultural and musical events, and a little more. It was around this time that at the Sunday Soul Sante, a friend introduced me to someone who was part of Total Yoga. While having a casual chat with her, she told me more about Total Yoga, and simply asked me to come for a free trial class to see if I liked it.

I did go for one of the classes. I loved it. And I stayed on.

Ingredient 1: Yoga

Reflecting back, I would say that I loved Total Yoga primarily because of its informal structure and casual, yet focussed teaching methods. Not only did I learn yoga, but the instructors also spent a lot of time discussing and helping me with the core areas I needed to concentrate on as a chef. I know that I have mentioned this in my earlier posts, but I feel that it is important to mention again that apart from my fitness levels being up, my energy, concentration, and especially my patience has also increased. There are things I can do now that I couldn’t do a year ago, and I’ve surprised myself as well.

Ingredient 2: People

What made this whole journey and experience wonderful was the people that I met at Total Yoga. Apart from bringing the diversity of the city to the classes, these people also helped me adjust a lot faster to the Bangalore way of life. In turn, I ended making a lot of great friends that I do hang out with, even outside of class. We’ve had conversations on every subject on earth including food, wine, places to visit, travel, work, family life… the list just goes on. These are exactly the kind of people who make the experience really special.

Total Yoga has also had a lot of instructors visit from Delhi, the United States, Singapore and even Romania. Some of them visited as part of their Teacher Training Program, and others came down to provide a little extra guidance to the students. Most of these instructors are now on my Facebook friends list, and also on my list of people to visit on my travels.

Ingredient 3: Activities

The third key ingredient of my experiences, let me begin by telling you that the activities have a little bit of yoga, and a whole lot of fun – we’ve had water-polo matches, done a Sholay trek, Yoga Brunches most often performed to live music, and even weekend cleansing getaways.

Additionally, some time ago, we began Yoga in the Park at Cubbon Park on Saturday mornings, which was a huge success. People from the other classes in Koramangla and Whitefield came down to perform Suryanamaskars on the dew-moistened grass in the early hours of the morning.  Then we usually head out for Brunch at the Airlines Hotel. Who does that?

Total Yoga is also actively involved in giving back to the community, and through the Karma Yoga programs, teaches yoga to women from under privileged backgrounds at the Mali Foundation. We’ve (the students and instructors) cleaned up Cubbon Park on Gandhi Jayanti, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of both initiatives.

We’re constantly thinking of new things to do to add to the activities. As we say in the kitchen, a little pinch here, and a little dash there, can really tweak the recipe.

Ingredient 4: Food

Bangalore would be incomplete without food, and people who come to the classes, Bangaloreans from all across the country, nay the world, have a keen interest in food, and as such, love to share the foods of their region.

Every so often, we have a community pot luck – we decide what type of cuisine we are in the mood for, tell people to join in, and then meet up after class to catch up on some great conversation over some great food.

It’s sort of like the end of the Masterchef ‘Masterclass’ episodes where they all sit down together, think about the week they’ve had and just chill over all that is cooked and on the table.

Ingredient 5: Lasting Relationships 

So, we’re all great friends at the end of the day, chill and hang out, celebrate birthdays, talk shop, come up with great ideas for future activities. The final ingredient is what made all the difference to my life in Bangalore. What more do you need?

With Diwali just around the corner, I hope you stay safe and celebrate this festive season with all your family, friends and loved ones.  If you feel that you want to add a few of these ingredients to your life, or want to add on other ingredients that I may have missed out, drop an email to director@total-yoga.org. They’re always happy to hear new ideas. And if you just want to drop in for a class, a pot luck, join us in our activities, or just say hello, come on over. You won’t be disappointed.

Shyam Nair is the CEO and Executive Chef of The Travelling Chef. Aside from enjoying travel and food, he is a keen writer, a bit of a tech-head and petrol-head, and loves old Hindi and English music. A yoga enthusiast, he has been practicing for the last year, and is now a contributing writer for Total Yoga. You can connect with him on Facebook at TheTravellingChef or on Twitter @thetrvllngchef.