Fit India ambassador, global fitness guru and life coach Mickey Mehta on self-love, why mindfulness is a no-no and more…
Mickey Mehta is a force to reckon with in the realm of fitness and holistic living. His unique perspective on healthy living is refreshing and breaks away from several modern fitness stereotypes that we are often led to believe are the only way to stay healthy. With a focus on the mind, body and spirit, he is an ardent advocate of self-love and to say his methods have yielded successes would be an understatement. We caught up with the award-winning holistic living guru for a little tête-à-tête to find out what makes him tick.
Here’s an excerpt from our conversation.
How did you first get into yoga and holistic healing?
For some, life is shaped by intention; for others, it just happens, and the latter is exactly how I find myself where I am today. Focusing on fitness, health, wellness and wellbeing is something that just “happened” in my life. The direct outcome of that was pursuing yoga and holistic healing as a career and life choice.
In a world that’s constantly changing, how have you had to adapt professionally?
Change is constant and thus a wisdom-based approach will get re-calibrated from time to time.
For the most part, I have been very comfortable with change. However, I am not comfortable with the new technology coming in for fitness, health and wellness. I don’t particularly advocate counting your reps, steps and calories with digital machines and electronics. Fitness, health and wellness must be as natural as possible. The more dependent we are on machines, the more we think like machines, become like machines and are limited by machines.
If you want to be limitless, you must use the intelligence of self, connected with the intelligence of the cosmos and become the intelligentsia of this universe.
Would you say the clientele and audience that you target has influenced your position in the industry?
Yes and no. Yes, because it just so happened that I had the opportunity to train the Miss India contestants like Priyanka Chopra and Diana Hayden. So that claim to fame was there.
But then television happened and I started writing articles, which contributed to solidifying my place. However, apart from all this, I would say good quality work and diligent service were key. Word of mouth has been the main reason for my growth, more than anything else. I’m grateful to God that I was at the right place at the right time.
Looking back, what moment would you say you cherish the most?
There have been many, I can’t really think of one such moment. Being invited to train the Miss India contestants was huge, as was training participants of Indian idol – Fame Gurukul and Nach Baliye for a couple of seasons. Being invited to speak at Harvard, IIT and IIM are also pretty special moments. I was at my happiest when I was invited by the Sports Authority of India to be a Fit India ambassador. The moments when my first book The Shoonyam Quotient was released and when my first medical journal paper was published were also very exciting.
What are some of the biggest health-related misconceptions out there?
The biggest misconception is that super fitness and bodybuilding are the be-all and end-all of being healthy. Alongside a sound body, it is important to have a buoyant spirit. Many people don’t focus on breathing which is enriching, empowering and strengthens the lungs and heart – this is where yogic postures and regulated breath disciplines like pranayama and meditation are essential.
We live in a world where the pressure to succeed is high and failure is not an option – your thoughts?
Morning and night, dark and light – opposites cannot exist without each other. The same is true for success and failure – there is not a single person who is super successful that has never failed.
It is a part of life and perfectly fine because the more you fail, the more you learn, are enriched, and wisen up. In fact, people learn more from people who have failed because they have more to teach than successful people. And it goes without saying, success after failure is much sweeter.
People find it taxing to concentrate while meditating, how would you suggest one combats that?
Stop doing and start being, that is what meditation is about. The goal is to put everything on pause and allow for reorientation. Concentrating while meditating is completely inappropriate – concentration and focus require the use of the mind and in meditation, we need to lose the mind. So, the whole aspect of mindfulness is complete humbug. When meditating one must free the mind of thought, awareness and consciousness. Any effort put into meditation defeats the purpose.
What is the best yoga position to help with stress?
Balasana is very good. It requires completely surrendering to Mother Earth, allowing gravity to take away all physical, musculoskeletal, psychological and emotional stress. It helps the body let go of toxins and relaxes the back as well. Other postures like Bhujangasana and Tadasana are also very good for releasing stress. Forward-Backward movements, Cat and Cow poses are also helpful.
Any recommendations to maintain consistency in fitness routines?
Consistency should be a way of life. Be compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic consistently. Be sincere and devoted consistently in your prayers. Eat, exercise, rest and meditate the right way, appropriately and consistently. The way to bring about consistency is through self-love. If you can love yourself and serve yourself the most, you’ll be able to serve this world better. Be selfish. As the first Aadi-Yogi said; “Yatha Pinde, Tatha Bhramande” – As is the atom, so is the cosmos.
What is the first step toward becoming healthier mentally, physically and spiritually?
The first step towards becoming healthier mentally, physically and spiritually is to understand that our breath is the most fundamental aspect of life. And the first step towards wellness is ensuring that it is conscious and regulated.
The second is eating clean (fresh, wholesome, plant-based foods), and the third is exercise. Finally, meditation and prayer are essential.
Any tips on building confidence?
Confidence comes from self-love, prayer and meditation, and mingling with the elements. These elements of fire, earth, ether, air and water uplift, stimulate, nurture and nourish the elements in you. Remember, nourishment first starts at the cosmic level and then at the food level. Eating fruits and satiating yourself with fructose, vitamins, dried fruits and nuts also bring a lot of confidence.
What is the biggest secret to happiness?
The biggest secret to happiness is fulfillment, contentment, santusthi; which comes from vairagya, which is nothing but secession from desires. As much as you desire, chase and aspire there will be disappointment. However, rather than talk about happiness, I would prefer the word joy. If there is happiness there has to be sadness because opposites always follow, so happiness can bring disappointment, but joy is a more central concept.
The secret to finding joy? I say, seed your desires on the banks of time and forget about them. Allow them to become fragrant gardens, orchards and forests. They will automatically manifest.
If you chase them, they might recede. I believe that philanthropy and prayers with gratitude bring a lot of joy. “Jo karuna ki dhara behke bahar jaati hai, wo radha banke laut aati hai”.