Everyday, we try measuring our health in so many ways, from the amount of calories that we’ve taken to sleep patterns and heart rate. But, do we pause to think about how where we are actually impacts how healthy we can be?
“When I am in the outdoors (specifically the mountains), I start eating a lot more. I feel much healthier. And over the course of time, I have begun to realise that I am much more suited to life there, than in my own city.”, says Manish Pole, co-founder of Total Yoga, a school that aims to take Yoga beyond the mat through journeys and retreats.
We talked with Manish earlier about nature, the outdoors and his interesting take on what being healthy really means. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:
1) What inspired you to be a Yogi?
15 years ago (I was working as an advertising copywriter then), I wanted to train myself to become more focused. That’s when I decided to learn meditation and yoga and it changed my life. It made me realize that this is what I really loved doing. I then trained for 7 years living with my teacher and went on to set up Total Yoga. It’s been 8 good years.
2) That’s inspiring! Do you like spending a lot of time outdoors?
Yes I do. I make it a point to do a lot of walking. I enjoy doing this. I step out quite often and I travel a lot. Trekking in the Himalayas and spending time at a beach are my two favourite things. It brings me closer to nature, and I make it a point to do this at least twice a year (if not more).
3) Speaking of nature, do you think it impacts your work?
Practising yoga and meditation requires a certain ambience. It was conceptualised in nature and generally needs a place that is quiet and in the exclusion of crowds and distractions. Hence, yes, I would definitely say nature plays a significant role! In fact, being in the outdoors is perfectly suited for my work.
4) A journey that changed your life …
Was my first trip to the Himalayas. I have been in love with the mountains ever since. It’s so majestic and very imposing. It doesn’t intimidate me but it has taught me humility. You feel that there’s some greater force, much larger than all of us, larger than any human.
5) Have the mountains made you a healthier human?
Definitely. I’ve grown to love the crisp air, the simple food and the minimalistic lifestyle in the mountains. As soon as I am there, I eat a LOT more. I feel much healthier.
And over the course of time, while I have liked the city life all along, I have slowly started to find a deeper connection with nature, to the point where I feel next year, I will make a shift and move to the mountains in McLeod Ganj.
6) Any message that you’d like to give our readers on World Health Day?
You’re healthy if you keep growing as a human being. It’s not just about a lack of disease – it’s being in this state of constant growth.
And you have to also remember that we’ve borrowed every part of our body, our organs, what we eat and a lot more from Mother Nature. If you’re wise enough to be in sync with nature, respect it and have humility, then your mind and body will be healthy, creative and fresh.
PS: we’re partnering again with Total Yoga on a week of self-discovery in Ladakh. Together, we’ll do some soul-searching to rekindle that spark within, meditating in the great Himalayan outdoors, re-energising our mind + body, and learning to FIND YOUR FIRE every single day! For more details, enquire here : https://byd.tl/Ladakh_Yoga