Meet Mickey Mehta the internationally acclaimed holistic health and fitness guru who advocates Yoga, Zen, Tao, martial arts, calisthenics, positive thinking and lifestyle modifications for a healthier and happier life.
He has actively mentored the who’s who of business, entertainment, politics, which includes India’s top industrialists, media tycoons, politicians, Bollywood stars, international supermodels and the senior cadre of the Indian Police Force. He has been a major contributor on holistic health to reputed portals such as Microsoft MSN, Times of India’s I-Diva and indiwo.com of CNBC.
Mickey Mehta has been a TV and Radio presenter (Radio City, Radio One, Big FM and FM Rainbow) and a columnist in various publications and websites sharing his skills on wellness philosophies. Prior to his involvement in the field of holistic health, he was a martial arts instructor at various institutions and worked with various international hotels in India and abroad as a Health Club Manager.
He has over 30 years of professional experience backed by extensive research, which covers physical fitness, mind science and spiritual growth. He has recently completed the filming of a documentary, ‘Gandhi the Healer’, which is scheduled to be released soon. He has revolutionised ‘Learn Swimming in 24 hours’, a concept which has put him in the Limca Book of World Records. He is also a pioneer of equipment free training in India and has been a recipient of several awards, citations and recognitions.
Mickey Mehta shares with us how his wellness initiatives are ‘healing the world’.
We know a lot about your public persona, but what is your private persona like?
I am extremely open, an accommodative and respecting individuality, easy going, compassionate and allowing near and dear ones to breathe easy with a lot of space – virtues for success and happiness in one’s life.
What are your likes and dislikes?
I like to work, work, work……. I enjoy yoga, I love swimming, love taking massages, love to meet learned and wise people and spend time with my inner circle of friends and support team. These keep the high voltage optimism alive.
What angers you the most?
I am a calm person. What disturbs me is the lack of awareness about wellbeing in a large number of people who do not take discipline and commitment to health seriously and choose to ignore the overall wellbeing of the mind and body. If you have a positive attitude, open mindedness and ability to absorb as you watch, then anger has no place in your life!
What do you do to calm yourself when you are angry?
When I feel the need to unwind or feel calm, I meditate and pray. Very often I stay silent in retrospection. This gives me a chance to reflect and de-stress myself or I simply work.
What was your childhood like?
I received my fundamental physical training from Bhosale Military School and the Boy’s Town Public school. This is where my orientation in physical culture and spirituality was born. Studies did not interest me much. I was keener on outdoor activities and anything connected with fitness. I have done yoga, karate, nutrition and a course in dietetics, naturopathy, massage etc. These courses have helped me a lot. I just went with the flow that opened up new avenues and connections and drew me to this sector. It has been 30 years since then.
Who were your role models in your growing years?
Deepak Chopra is my idol.
Do you ever regret dropping out of college?
I always found studies quite boring and gruelling. I attended two colleges; that is Siddharth and Narsee Monjee. I took up Commerce but realized I was bad with accounts. Studies did not interest me much. I am more of an outdoor and fitness type of person. I liked activity very much. These things interested me a lot. I loved the outdoors, and anything connected with physical fitness. So, no regrets! There was only one vision and one goal, when I started out and now – to help as many people as possible to evolve and be healthy and prosperous.
Can you share a little about your background?
From my childhood days, I had a passion for physical activity and swimming. Quite naturally, I moved towards the world of wellness and it has been more than 3 decades since then. My passion to heal the world, for excellence in this field and compassion for the human society and the environment helped me pursue this field. Then I delved into yoga, meditation, and natural nutrition. I began my chain of wellness centres in 2004. I have branches at different locations in the city like Babulnath, Tardeo, Dadar TT, Chembur, Bandra West, Malad West, Vile Parle East, Pune, Ahmedabad with swimming batches in Acres Club in Chembur. I plan to put up more centres and academies to support it.
Did you ever dream that you would become so famous?
Frankly, NO. Though I had many falls and failures, nothing could stop me from pursuing this field. Passion for excellence and compassion for the human society, commitment and vision helped me to never give up my pursuits and it is now more than 3 decades since I have been in this field. With growing urbanization, better awareness and better spending powers and with the boom in the wellness industry, it is now an easier task to take your belief and philosophy forward. Conceptualizing and developing my health portal has also been a demanding and challenging project. I wish to make this the biggest health portal on holistic health and have maximum captive audience world- wide.
Looking back on your life now, what would you say was the most important turning point in your life?
My milestone was and my most cherished moment is when people look up to you for guidance with love and expectations, to be complete and in a state of health and wellbeing. Fondest memory – the day when Mr Kumaramangalam Birla of Aditya Birla Group personally called me 13 years ago for his family’s well being.
Many opportunities came after that. Having more than two lac fans on my Facebook and being my karmic partners for building the “heal the world” community is another landmark moment for me.
What made you start on this journey of holistic health?
Primarily to serve the society, to offer services that can change the mindset of people from just fitness to a revolutionary ladder to wellness. My “Heal the World” campaign is my way of taking his belief forward and to reciprocate the love and support that I have received from my social media fans and other loyal patrons. “Heal the World” is not just a movement started towards spreading the message of love and compassion globally, but it feels great to be recognized by my fans on social media site.
Can you tell us more about the Mickey Mehta Wellness Temples?
My wellness temples are different from other gyms, in the sense that it provides not only physical but also mental and spiritual empowerment.
My emphasis is on equipment free training with exercises like Yoga, Calisthenics, boot camp, challenging cardio workouts etc. These forms of exercises address the body in totality and also provide tremendous recreational value. My mission has always been to create a functional exercise plan that is recreational as well as simple to pursue and sustain. The USP and focus is on lifestyle correction and empowering all our members to break free from depending on any equipment for fitness. Use of props like Swiss balls, medicine balls, resistance tubes, parallel bars etc make these exercises motivating and help to alleviate boredom as well. These exercises promote wellness by improving stamina, strength, tone flexibility, agility, helps maintain ideal body-fat ratio and boosts the immune and the metabolic systems.
Considering that you promote equipment-free workouts at your fitness centres, it was interesting to read that you were the brand ambassador for Milon. How did that happen?
My belief is that while exercising the body needs to be addressed in totality. Milon equipment is a 12 piece circuit which addresses the entire body. It gave me great pleasure to be part of the Milon family in India. I have always associated with brands that carry forward my sentiments and philosophy of holistic wellness and Milon was one such association with its advanced training system that offered wellness in 17.5 minutes on its circuit.
You’ve said many times that yoga by itself as just an exercise will yield no benefit. Can you give a few tips on how to get our mind, body, and spirit connected and disconnects ourselves from thoughts of everyday problems before starting yoga?
Most people practice yoga purely for physical wellbeing and for the flexibility that it offers. However, what they do not realise is that yoga is a combination of deep breathing exercises and meditation that cleanses the mind of negative emotions like resentment, anger, anxiety and alleviates, fears and phobias. Yoga is not completely effective unless combined with breathing and meditation. Yoga has a broad holistic approach towards life encompassing body, mind and spirit. It is one of the best forms of exercises that benefit both the creative as well as the analytical side of the human brain and offer many benefits like regulation of the internal organs, glands and the nerves, improves the endocrine and the digestive functions, improves self esteem, uplifts spirituality, boosts flexibility, coordination.
When is ‘Gandhi the Healer’ your documentary on Naturopathy set for release? What inspired you to make this documentary?
We all know about Mahatma Gandhiji’s freedom struggle, but not many are aware of Mahatma Gandhi’s passion for naturopathy and alternative natural therapies to cure ailments. Gandhiji was a staunch promoter of the principles of natural care. He used to eat raw foods, live frugally and I was always amazed at his energy levels and drive. Very little is known about Gandhiji’s contribution towards wellness and healing with naturopathy. Keeping this aspect in mind I decided to do this documentary. We have shot at various ashrams and locations including Kerala, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Bangalore etc.
It is a two part 90 minutes documentary film titled “Gandhi- the healer” to be released sometime mid 2015. The whole dynamics of its promotion and release dates are still being worked out.
You’ve coached many corporate bigwigs and Bollywood stars. Who would you say made an impression on you and why?
Have trained many Film and Television personalities, super models, industrialists etc. Have always been impressed with the dedication of Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra to name a few. Most of them today have good physiques, great body but their level of overall fitness can only be measured if they are content, happy, secure, emotionally sound and relaxed. For me, these are parameters of holistic wellness and wellbeing.
Could you give a few tips to the young parents in our audience on how they can teach their children a holistic approach to life?
Vibrant health and a strong immune system are important prerequisites that determine a child’s development into a sound, mature and well rounded personality on attaining adulthood. Children who are lethargic and continuously and consistently exposed to environmental and food toxins grow up to be lethargic with poor reflexes, balance and grace.
Encourage children to be active, play games and sports and instil healthy and good eating habits. Incorporate yoga either at home or through school fitness programs. Yoga is a form of exercise, meditation and breathing practises that brings clarity to the mind, improves concentration and enhances immunity and awareness. Yoga also helps them gain self esteem as they gain control over their mind, body and spirit and will help them handle stress better.
Parents must take an active interest in making meal times a fun and healthy time for the family. There is no doubt that youngsters, who are active, eat healthy with awareness and follow a healthy lifestyle, sleep early etc are by far more productive, creative and focused.
What fitness regime should a person suffering from hypertension or thyroidism or polycystic ovarian disease follow?
A holistic approach consisting of the following parameters:
- Physical exercises: Regular exercises to improve stamina, flexibility and tone and weight control.
- Add a brisk walk to your daily routine apart from your regular exercise routine. It provides aerobic fitness, strength and endurance and requires no special equipment.
- Include at least 3 days of yoga. Yoga is a preventive and healing therapy that boosts flexibility, coordination and regulates the nervous, digestive and endocrine functions.
- Breathing or pranayam must be done regularly to relieve you of daily stresses, insomnia, fatigue and tensions.
- Include foods rich in fibre like whole grains, millets, fruits, veggies, sprouts, beans etc. These foods are ideal to keep the bad cholesterol and constipation at bay.
- Keep yourself well hydrated with water. No other single food or beverage is as important to the proper functioning of the body as water does. Opt for water instead of caffeine laden sodas, or other sugary drinks.
Most people have desk jobs and hectic schedules. How can they fit in simple exercises that they can do in their office to increase their metabolic rate?
An integrated approach towards wellness comprising of regular exercises, a sensible eating plan, yoga, correct breathing exercises, rest and relaxation play crucial roles in making our lives ailment and stress free. Staying healthy is paramount for a long, disease free life, to boost energy, strength, stamina, flexibility, agility, conditioning, immunity, alertness, reflexes, self esteem and to maintain ideal body fat ratio.
You can do simple exercises at your work place like side bends, neck and shoulder rotations, leg raises, pranayam etc. and plan more movement in your day at work or at home to keep you active. Take stairs instead of elevators, walk around a shopping mall or play some outdoor or indoor games. Get into a routine: It pays to be regular, consistent and committed to your health and fitness routines.
How can we burn calories faster by using anaerobic pathways?
Yoga and pranayam and calisthenics when done on a regular basis can have tremendous effect on boosting your metabolism, strength, stamina, flexibility and will aid weight loss. They are creative, motivating and makes a work out complete in every manner. The sheer variety of exercises will boost your morale and enthusiasm to work out. All these are exceptionally recreational, injury free and can make exercising an enjoyable experience.
Do you recommend Protein Shakes? Is it really required?
Over exercising and over use of supplements can have damaging effects. So, my advice to you is to continue your exercises and if your supplementation and exercises are done under supervision, wisely and sensibly it can be a boon.
How would you compare Cardio training with Strength training? Could you help us understand how it works?
Fitness/wellbeing etc like everything is about achieving the right balance. Over exercising, either with weights of doing cardio can be a serious health hazard. I endorse any exercise regime which promotes simple exercises. Even weight training using your body weight and simple props like medicine balls, chairs, stool etc can target different body parts and help you achieve your goal in a holistic manner. Running on the treadmill for cardio is not my cup of tea. Brisk walks, swimming, cycling outdoors, boot camp etc are more enjoyable to attain cardio effect.
Is it important to eat before a workout? Why? What are the foods to avoid before exercise?
Yes it is important to have a small snack or a fruit half hour before your exercise routine to ensure that you get adequate energy and vitality to complete your exercise plan. It provides fuel and nutrients to the muscles and body. Going on an empty stomach can deplete you of energy and stamina. A nutritious snack provides benefits like blood sugar stabilization, control of acidity and boosted metabolism.
Will you be offering the Mickey Mehta’s Birthday Offer this year in August and September?
Is there any special offer for our Nirogam readers?
Sure. They can avail an additional week to any membership they purchase.
Mickey Mehta’s wellness philosophy is that holistic health can be obtained through right attitude and behavioural pattern and lifestyle correction along with Yoga, intelligent eating habits, physical activity, prayers and meditation. Eating healthy and exercising daily should be the mantra of your life.
For those of you in Mumbai, Mickey Mehta’s Birthday Offer is coming up in August and September and he has thrown in a free additional week especially for Nirogam readers. Take advantage of these offers and reach out for a new horizon in health and well-being.