Dr. Advaita Manohar, Woodbridge-Toronto

An Interview with Dr. Advaita Manohar

in Opinion

Dr. Advaita Manohar is an expert on family and community medicine where he helps his patients with many illness prevention modalities. He also works as a part-time consultant in cosmetic medicine providing minor surgical procedures.

After earning his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the City University of New York, Dr. Advaita Manohar went on to pursue master’s and doctorate’s degrees from the University of Toronto in the field of Biochemistry. Once he obtained his Doctorate in Medicine, he began his residency program with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. One of his specializations involves emergency medicine.

Thus far, Dr. Advaita Manohar has had a chance to serve as a director of two long-term care homes for the City of Toronto. Additionally, he has worked for many years in emergency medicine. When it comes to his hobbies, Dr. Manohar ran several marathons, goes to the gym regularly, he is an avid reader and has been a keen yoga practitioner for several years. The yoga system he uses is derived from an ancient technique and taught to him by a highly respected Himalayan master. He has completed a 400-hour training certification program in Rishikesh India.

How do you maintain your own health with all the responsibilities you have to juggle?

I always look for healthy vegetarian options that include appropriate portions of plant-based proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables. As a yoga practitioner, I have a daily routine that includes postures, mindfulness relaxation, and contemplation. My view on life has changed over the years integrating my physical health and mental wellbeing with a focus on optimizing inner tranquility and happiness. This has been a pursuit of wellness that I find rewarding and sustainable with my current daily routine. My work is indeed demanding, but I find that the more emphasis I place on wellbeing for my personal growth, the greater is my reserve to offer care in a kind and emphatic manner. Thus, my work life and personal life overlap in a way that supports wellness and one complement the other allowing for sustainable delivery of care.

When did you get involved with yoga?

I was introduced to yoga at a very young age, but I did not immerse my self into it until 2010 when I met my teacher. He opened the world of yoga in a way that had a profound appeal to me. As a scientist at heart, I am not good at “belief.” I need openness and opportunity to assess critically. My love for yoga deepened when I was encouraged by my teachers to approach yoga as a science following a systematic approach. I now see it as explained to me and as proposed by the ancient masters as the “science of Yoga.” The difference is to use one’s own body and mind as the laboratory to undergo the experiment using time-tested protocols. The outcome is an experience that is dependent on one’s capacity and efforts. The masters of yoga silently withdrew from dogmas, and religious constraints and turned inwards following the instructions of their teachers in the particular lineage to attain self-mastery and inner balance. Based on my experience, such inner balance is an essential platform for wellness.

What is one trend that excites you about your industry?

I am excited to see younger people become more aware of many topics, some of which have had remarkable outcomes. Social media has turned into a great platform to share information that brings awareness to unfolding stories from all corners of the planet. The outcome allows all, especially the youths, to be more aware of local and global issues as they are engaged by the various social media connectivity.

It is clear that health outcomes have many factors and social determinants play an essential role in health promotion. We also know that we are now becoming a global family and distance does not mean isolation and as seen in the recent news waves.

I am excited by the many online forums that promote social justice and equity and denounce repression. This leads to global awareness especially on topics that go “viral” by young minds that support social justice. This awareness is key to promote social reform in support of various repressed groups and to support groups that protect the environment. It is great to see the various social media platforms being used to help people and the planet in ways that are very unique to this information savvy generation. It brings the global family closer to support each other in the struggle for social justice and the pursuit of wellbeing on many levels.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I feel the best achievement has been my pursuit and successful completion of my double doctorate degrees. The incredible opportunity to learn and to be involved in the latest technological advances in medical science has been humbling. However, the highest value for me has been the expansion of my mind to view life in a way that has been transformed by the process of multidimensional thought process using and integrating information to have a more wholesome view on life. Words are inadequate to express this experience. Thus in some ways, the greatest achievement is not the certifications that are summarized in letter designations, but it is the transformation in the thought process that has been my most significant achievement.

What is your advice to young people just starting their education?

My advice is to view education as a pathway to expand one’s mind to see life as a multidimensional expression of one’s self in the context of relationships to oneself, one’s social network and as part of the global family. Therefore, one needs to start by being kind and good to themselves by optimizing their physical and mental capabilities, which in turn enhances social relationships and one’s appreciation for nature and the environment. In my opinion, it is useful to see education as a gateway to the greater understanding of the totality life and this way one’s view is expanded from mere self-preservation to an understanding of the collective good.

Also to realize “learning to learn” is an important skill set, as life is an ongoing opportunity to learn and grow. Enjoy the process and pay attention to details while keeping awareness of the big picture. Education should not be limited to the coursework and to attain good grades alone, but it should prompt the student to generate appropriate curiosities and explore all dimensions of life – academic, physical fitness, mental discipline, and be open to explore that which is beyond the mental and physical domains. This is a tall order but our capacity as humans is extraordinary as proven by great ones before us, and thus let’s set the bar as high as possible to produce a new generation of thinkers and doers.

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