Mickey Mehta gives his take on health, yoga, and 'Mickeymising' fitness
In today’s fast-paced world, fitness is key to staying on top of your game. And helping you do that for the last 36 years is holistic health and fitness guru Mickey Mehta. An advocate of yoga and equipment-free workouts, he has done extensive work in the space of physical fitness, mind science, and spiritual growth.
That is not all. Mickey is also credited with introducing the concept of ‘Learn Swimming in 24 hours’, which put him in the Limca Book of World Records. His clientele includes several renowned industrialists, politicians, and Bollywood celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta, and Aamir Khan.
As we observe the fifth International Yoga Day, Mickey Mehta talks about his fitness journey, the essence of yoga, and holistic living in an exclusive interview with YSWeekender.
YSWeekender: How and when did you start your journey towards fitness?
Mickey Mehta: When I was young, I used to admire all my cousins who had earned black belts in martial arts. Whenever they practised their moves, I would quietly stand in a corner, watch them, and emulate. Later, I made it a point to lock myself in a room and practise. I formally began learning martial arts in 1981.
After three to four years, I earned a black belt and began my stint as a trainer. As time passed, I got into other forms of fitness like yoga and began spreading the word about holistic living. In 1993, I received the opportunity to coach the Femina Miss India; many business tycoons and Bollywood stars followed.
YSW: What distinguishes yoga from other forms of fitness?
MM: Yoga is not just a tool to lose weight; it’s a way of life. According to me, it is the ultimate form of wellness. Yoga is an all-encompassing science that is capable of preserving the physical, mental, and emotional state of people. It can build people’s personality and psyche, and lead to a sense of fulfilment. And, most importantly, yoga is the only form of fitness that rejuvenates the outer body as well as the inner body.
YSW: How do you think yoga has evolved over the years?
The science of yoga is all about holistic and healthy living
MM: The science of yoga, which originated in India, has shown people to live intelligently, sensibly, and ethically. It has spread peace and harmony across the country. Though there are different versions of yoga, the bottom line is still the same: holistic and healthy living. Besides, yoga has become very pervasive. The myth that it is meant for the old and ageing no longer exists. Awareness has improved exponentially.
YSW: Can you tell us about the ‘Yo workouts’ mentioned in your book?
The Yo workout is a great hit among young people
MM: Young people today are constantly on the lookout for innovation. Hence, I decided to give a twist to traditional asanas and breathing techniques.
A ‘Yo workout’ is a fun set of exercises consisting of warm ups, stretches, muscle strengthening, cardio, abs training, and so on. The design of this workout aims at improving your strength, stamina, flexibility, digestion, and blood circulation. I have written about it in detail in my recent book, Lose Weight, Gain Shape.
YSW: According to you, what is an ideal yoga regime?
MM: Every minute spent practising yoga is sure to enrich people’s life. I would suggest about 10 to 15 minutes of meditation, followed by pranayama and some basic yet effective asanas like Surya Namaskar, Pawanmukta Asana, Tadasana, and Naukasana. This will surely to lead to a healthy body, amplify blood circulation, and keep one healthy.
YSW: What would you advise people who have never tried yoga?
A yoga class with Mickey
MM: Yoga might seem tough initially, but it all boils down to practise. Anything is possible if done on a consistent basis. The right postures and asanas can be attained with commitment. Yoga is such an attractive and intense form of fitness that if people start, they won’t discontinue. After all, it uplifts one’s senses and brings an immense amount of joy and optimism. So, let your soul get energised, your strength get maximised, and your inner self get Mickeymised!
YSW: How can people derive the best results from yoga?
MM: If integrated with the right diet and lifestyle, yoga throws up phenomenal outcomes. A simple way of life and wholesome vegetarian food should do the trick. Also, yoga needs to be accompanied by deep breathing and meditation. It is not enough to practise only the asanas. Sleep, recreation, and healthy habits are a must.