x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Artistic yoga counts as cardio

Artistic yoga is a fusion of ancient yoga-based techniques, strength training and cardiovascular endurance.

Jomon K Devassy leads an artistic yoga class at the Fit Lab at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Jomon K Devassy leads an artistic yoga class at the Fit Lab at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Created in 1999 by the yoga expert Bharat Thakur, artistic yoga is a fusion of ancient yoga-based techniques, strength training and cardiovascular endurance. Besides being the path to enlightenment and a super bendy body, artistic yoga is a great way to build muscle tone and increase your fitness level.

Before completing a postgraduate degree in exercise, Thakur spent 14 years in the Himalayas studying several forms of yoga including hatha, ashtanga and kundalini under the guidance of his master Sukhdev Brahmachari. "I believe my path in life was chosen for me by my master to whom I am eternally grateful," says Thakur.

The 38-year-old came up with the concept of artistic yoga after noticing a niche in the Indian market. "I met people who had been practising yoga for 20 years and they had pot bellies and couldn't even touch their toes," says Thakur. "Their daily postures weren't having any impact. That gave me the incentive to create a powerful form of yoga that includes cardio and core strength training."

The fast-paced nature of artistic yoga not only reduces stress and boosts your happy hormone levels, it encourages weight loss.

"People often think of yoga as a passive exercise but artistic yoga is a real workout," says Vivek Kapur, a Dubai-based enthusiast. "I've been practising it for almost a year and I go three times a week. My goal was to get a flat stomach and I've achieved it."

The yoga master trains many famous faces including his wife, the South Indian actress Bumika Chawla, who fell for his charms while attending his classes.

The Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor credits Thakur for getting her in amazing shape before her movie roles. "Artistic yoga is a more vigorous and dynamic form of the Indian science," Kapoor told The Times of India. "It has put my thoughts together and made me focus in one direction."

Thakur also counts the former tennis champion Boris Becker, the cricketer Shane Warne, the business tycoon Ratan Tata and the Hollywood superstars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas among his clientele.

Thakur, who has homes in Mumbai, Bangalore and Dubai, manages to merge the spiritual with the commercial world. He has businesses in film production, software engineering and the spa industry yet, despite his commercial ventures, spreading the benefits of artistic yoga remains his top priority.

"We already have yoga centres in India, Spain, Russia and the UAE. Now we're hoping to take on the UK, France, Italy, China and Japan," says Thakur. "Artistic yoga is not just a business, it's my passion. Our mission is to take it all around the world."

 

Artistic yoga classes are available in Fit Lab at Emirates Golf Club. Call 800 9642