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Yoga Flow with Zubin Atre, Yoga Expert and Author

This International Yoga Day, stretch your body, strengthen your muscles and calm your mind with an exclusive 20-minute yoga flow with Zubin Atre. Below are excerpts from a conversation with the yoga expert.

By D Tejaswi
21 Jun 2021

A good teacher explains. A superior teacher demonstrates. A great teacher inspires. Zubin Atre, founder, Atré Yoga, is known for his innate energy to inspire his students. Based on an in-depth awareness of human anatomy and movement, the asana series at this yoga studio take into account person-to-person variations on flexibility, strength, balance, and breath.

On this International Yoga Day, here’s URLife’s exclusive interaction with Zubin. We delve into this background interest in yoga, his training, and the benefits of doing yoga.


1.What’s the story behind Atré Yoga?
The story of Atré Yoga started 11 years ago when I opened my first yoga school in Delhi after graduating as a yoga teacher. I thought that a lot could be changed in the way the asanas are being done and taught in India. I found a few gaps. I began to note down the specific technicalities of each asana and the physical forces that apply along. Understanding the biomechanics of asanas gave me unique confidence in my own teaching methodology.

2.You train athletes and corporates; how do you merge modern science with the ancient practice of yoga?
It all starts with an understanding that different humans have different body shapes and needs, but the geometry of the yoga mat is constant. At Atré Yoga, we demonstrate a precise sequence of asanas with reference to the shape of the rectangular mat and other geometric shapes. We use this constant shape of a yoga mat to have precise placement of body parts on the mat. As a student grows into the practice, we start to mark your mat for further precision.

This combination of science and ancient practice eventually improves muscle memory, sense of proper reception, quality of breath and joint movements—overall improving the mind-body coordination.

3.How can yoga and meditation improve our day-to-day life?
Yoga and meditation help you feel much more awake, alert, and aware—of both yourself and your surroundings. It keeps you calm and sane.

4.Yoga and meditation can be quite intimidating for beginners. What is the best way to start the practice?
My simple advice is ‘Don’t think too much, and don’t wait for the perfect moment’. Stay away from excuses such as “I am not flexible or I am not simply built for yoga”. Associate yourself with the right yoga teacher and begin with it.

5.During these turbulent times, can one lean on meditation to find strength?
In fact, these can be one of the best times to begin to meditate or practice yoga because you have a lot of flexible time today. Moreover, there are fewer distractions as you travel and move out less.

6.Atré Yoga comprises a structured series of asanas. Tell us about them.
The yoga training at Atré Yoga starts with six basic leg movements that are focused on the movement of the spine. Once that is achieved, the focus is on increasing the strength and flexibility of the hip followed by moving the lower body muscles and joints.
The idea is to first work on the central nervous system and then start a sequence of yogas that focuses on the muscular system of the body. Once these are attained, we go deep into different structures. This strategic sequence aims at attaining a balance between both mind and the body simultaneously.

7.Could you share an easy grounding activity that one can do before an important task?
My favourite grounding activity before doing any important task is bhramari pranayam. It’s an activity where you withdraw your senses/and withdraw yourself from the surroundings around you. To do this, you keep your thumbs on your ears, little fingers on your mouth, ring finger at your nose and the remaining two fingers on the eyes. This helps to reset your senses and helps recharge the brain. Simply, bhramari pranayam is like a massage to your brain.

8.Importance of pranayama or yogic breathing.
The science of yogic breathing is closely related to the lifespan of an organism. On average a human being breathes 12-22 times in a minute and lives about 70 years. On the other hand, a turtle breathes four times in a minute and lives for over 200 years. A lesser number of breaths slows down the aging process. So, in a nutshell, if you want to live longer, you need to lower the number of breaths. Pranayama or yogic breathing slows down the number of breaths.
To do pranayama, you place your index finger on one nostril and the last two fingers on the other nostril to continue a series of slow breaths in a cyclic manner. The main benefit of pranayama is the expansion of lung capacity.

9.Please share three common myths about yoga that are not true and why?

Myth 1: I am a gym person and not a yoga person.
If you are a gym person, you are likely to find yoga more helpful. Yoga practice actually nourishes what you do in the gym and helps you recover better. Yoga helps dissolve the lactic acid build that occurs doing strength training in the gym. So, if you are serious about keeping your body healthy, complementing your gym sessions with yoga helps immensely.

Myth 2: I am too young or too old for yoga.
There’s no right time to begin yoga. Whatever stretches you do on a yoga mat, think of them like your savings for life. The earlier you start, the better it is.

Myth 3: Yoga has magical powers to cure many health ailments.
While yoga has a lot of abilities in keeping you fit and healthy, yoga cannot be an alternative to a lot of things, especially when you need medical attention. Yoga can surely help you recover faster but you cannot stop any kind of medical treatment by altering with yoga.




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