x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Indian holistic guru driving attitudes of Priyanka Chopra and Aamir Khan

Rest, philosophy, swimming, staring at the stars, meditation and a good bath - the secret to a healthy work-life balance according to Indian life coach Mickey Mehta.

Mickey Mehta at his 360 degrees Wellness Center in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National
Mickey Mehta at his 360 degrees Wellness Center in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

Mickey Mehta’s client list reads like a who’s who of India’s elite: ranging from some of the biggest business families in the country, including the Ambanis and the Birlas, to the Bollywood stars Priyanka Chopra and Aamir Khan.

Mr Mehta, 51, based in Mumbai, describes himself as a “holistic health guru” and “a life coach and philosopher” and has spent his 30-year career believing that the pursuit of money and fame often drives people to sacrifice their own health, fitness, and emotional well-being – elements he says are vital to a successful working life.

He aims to help rectify this neglect. His services do not come cheap, however, at about 100,000 rupees (Dh6,000) for a one-hour consultation, which increases threefold if he has to travel out of Mumbai for sessions.

“With my involvement, what happens is a shift in attitude, a shift in understanding, perspective management, makes them handle, understand and recourse better,” he says of the work he does with his clients.

Demand for his advice is not only highly sought after in India but also in Dubai, which he visits once every two months to consult clients.

However, while he prefers to remain tight-lipped about his wealthy clientele – “I don’t like to drop names” – he is happy to explain why his services are needed.

“People are consumed by their work and they get reduced,” Mr Mehta says. “Instead of wanting more, I ask them to be more. Being more makes you able to manage more but simply wanting more creates huge steps. It’s about stepping back, breathing easy, setting priorities, doing purposeful and meaningful work.

“Once you see that you need to approach life and business with meaning and purpose, all the frivolities will be sidelined. Your focus will be concentrated on purposeful and meaningful things. You at the level of management will be able to get the right people on board, to delegate things well.”

Among his roles, he is a wellness adviser to the Bombay Stock Exchange Brokers’ Forum, which involves conducting lectures and programmes for traders.

“People are lost chasing the Sensex, Sensex,” he says, referring to the S&P BSE, which is the benchmark index that measures the performance of 30 major Indian companies. “I tell them as much as their wealth is important, so is their health, which will allow them to enjoy the wealth that they earn. You need to be well to be a sound thinker and to do good analysis.”

But what does he actually do with his individual clients, many of whom play key roles in the country’s economic development?

“There are a host of things I do,” Mr Mehta explains. “I read them philosophy, I read them text from different religious doctrines, which are very contextual to life and living, to managing our lives. I take them out swimming, I take them out for walks, I make them do appreciation exercises, sky-watching, oceans, everything in nature. We do stimulation through taste, meditation.”

His approach has been diversely influenced by elements of Zen, Tao, Tantra and Vedic. He explains that he typically spends at least a year working with a client and tends to spend an hour four to five times a week with them.

“You can’t make a big difference in a short time,” he says. “My whole endeavour is to make sure that they get to the level of absolute awareness where they see the whole life as a ecosystem of relationships, a web of relationships, of co-existence of things, people, circumstances.”

This in turn helps to improve their working lives and manage stress, he says, adding that physical fitness and a healthy diet are also of paramount importance.

“Exercising is very important, rest is very important, remaining calm, cool, composed is very important. This is where you come alive. Speed disintegrates, speed scatters you and disorientates and displaces you.”

Mr Mehta also stresses the value of very basic things such as personal hygiene.

“I would first naturally teach personal hygiene. When you’re clean, you’re confident.”

But surely India’s billionaires must be somewhat taken aback at being told they need to improve their personal hygiene?

“I do it very discreetly,” Mr Mehta laughs. “I would create metaphors and analogies and would not be direct. I would give them examples of how I feel when I take three baths a day, what kind of energy levels I enjoy, what kind of clarity of thought I enjoy, and what kind of confidence I enjoy.

“My participation is very discreet and diplomatic. I’m never imposing,” he adds.

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