Artistic yoga is intense and dynamic: Bharat Thakur

  • Deepshikha Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2015 14:30 IST

Bharat Thakur is no new name in the world of yoga. The founder of Artistic Yoga, a new style of yoga which is a combination of ancient yogic knowledge with sports medicine, Thakur today is a rage worldwide.

On the occasion of International Day of Yoga (June 21), The Story of Yoga, an inspirational voyage into a widely popular discipline that embraces a holistic approach to a healthy mind, body and spirit, will premiere on Discovery Channel on June 20 and 21. Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, modern yoga exponent Bharat Thakur, actors Anil Kapoor and Shilpa Shetty and yoga guru Baba Ramdev will help viewers understand the spiritual and healing powers of yoga. The show will be telecast in five languages - Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu and Bangla.

We spoke to Thakur on the 6000-year-old exercise form and took some handy tips to maximise its benefits.

How do you think International Day for Yoga (June 21) help people?
International Day of Yoga is a national celebration where people from all aspects of life and faiths will come together and practice yoga. People of all age groups will get together on this day, which will work towards building national solidarity. Yoga works on the individual and better individuals will form a better society and country.

How does yoga help an individual in the long run?
Practicing yoga can make a huge difference to an individual, as its benefits are felt on every level. Yoga with its combinations of asanas, kriyas, pranayama, bandhas, relaxation techniques and meditation, helps the systems and organs of the body to function more effectively. Yoga believes that maintaining flexibility of the spine is paramount and keeping the spinal cord flexible heals many health problems. An effective functioning of the spine and improved functioning of circulatory, digestive, lymphatic and other systems takes an individual to better health. Kriyas help cleanse the internal organs. Pranayama strengthens the respiratory system while bandhas restore the hormonal balance in the body. Relaxation techniques help individuals to relax and distress and meditation helps to calm and balance the mind.

How is Artistic Yoga different from other forms of Yoga? What are its benefits?
Unlike other forms of yoga that focus on flexibility and strength, Artistic Yoga focuses on five aspects of fitness - strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, agility and coordination. Artistic Yoga classes are intense and it tones various muscle groups, increases energy levels and also helps those who need to lose weight. Additionally, Artistic Yoga draws on the full spectrum of yoga asanas. It does not restrict what you can eat but, as students get fitter, more flexible and develop more stamina, they automatically adopt healthier eating habits.

Tips before and after a yoga session:

How long should a yoga session ideally last?
A yoga session should ideally last between an hour and an hour and a half so that it can include warm-up, work-out, stretching, relaxation, pranayama and meditation.

Weight loss is something that a lot of us look forward to. How is yoga better than other forms of exercise and weight-loss techniques?
Artistic Yoga is different from other forms of Yoga. Artistic Yoga classes are intense and dynamic and develop all the five aspects. It is a ground-breaking system of yoga that is thoroughly researched and combines ancient yoga techniques with modern exercise principles. Each class works on different body parts and different muscle groups. Through a combination of asanas and variations, the various muscle groups are contracted, toned and stretched. The Artistic Yoga system is ideal for those who want to lose weight and the results are seen very fast.

Five asanas that any healthy individual can do everyday?
The five asanas that can be done everyday are surya namaskar, pavanmuktasana, merudandasana, bhujangasana and naukasana.

Can one learn yoga from books and DVD?
Practicing yoga after reading books or watching a DVD won't give the desired results. Yoga is a vast and ancient science. It should be learnt from an able master and teacher who understands and knows the ins and outs of this science to guide you through this practice to get the best results. Also, doing certain practices without correct guidance (such as the correct way to breathe while doing asanas) can be harmful.

What are the conditions under which an individual should abstain from doing yoga?
Those with a history of diseases and ailments such as cardiac blockages, broken bones, extreme pain and serious medical conditions should abstain from doing yoga. If there are any medical conditions, individuals should consult their doctor before considering taking up yoga.

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