Discover and explore the art and science of Partner Yoga with Zubin Atre in this interview below. He shares great insights from his newly published book It Takes Two to Yoga: Asanas for Couples & Partners,
Please share a brief about your profile, journey and work?
I am a founder of the Atre Yoga Studio in New Delhi, and I have more than 9,000 hours of experience teaching yoga. I have designed sports yoga programmes for ace athletes, stress and energy management courses for multinationals and transformational programmes for couples and individuals.
Dipping into my knowledge of the human anatomy, yoga and psychology, I have developed a unique style of teaching. This comprises a series of meticulously crafted asanas, all of which convey my commitment to detail, to an interactive learning experience and to making the wisdom of yoga relevant to real-life situations.
I write regularly for and have been featured in major publications, newspapers and magazines, besides appearing in television shows in India and abroad. I hold a degree in business and when not teaching yoga, I like to travel, learn languages, write and go exploring by motorbike, (this, I refers to as a form of meditation). My first book It Takes Two to Yoga: Asanas for Couples & Partners, Rupa publications was released in July, 2016 and is available in all the major book stores in India and all the digital platforms globally.
Congratulations for your newly published book “It takes two to yoga” what inspired you to write it?
We have been offering partner yoga classes quite regularly at the AtréYoga Studio in Delhi. It started almost for fun with the students who regularly come to class, then the demand for partner yoga increased and we conceived specialized workshops entirely dedicated to partner yoga sessions. However, the idea of writing the book did not exactly evolved over time; it rather surfaced up suddenly when my editor Dharini Bhaskar, raised the idea to condense my experience with partner yoga into a manual that could allow a wider public to benefit from this amazing practice.
The book shares and emphasizes on ‘Partner Yoga’, can you share some of its benefits?
Doing yoga with a partner can actually improve your individual practice, as it will help you understand the biomechanics of the asana from a different perspective. Partner yoga will allow you for instance to get deeper into the posture, to get a more intense stretch or to increase your sense of balance, as the body of your partner will work as a leverage or it can have a counterbalancing effect. Partner yoga will also teach you how to work together as a team and to be more sensitive towards the needs of the partner, increasing your awareness of your body and mind and how you interact with the other persons.
Partner Yoga sounds like it has a lot of unique psychological benefits that might be a little different than the other practices of yoga? How true is that?
I think there is a big challenge we face in partner yoga which is that one has to come out a bit from his/her comfort zone to perform this practice. In couple yoga, the synergy between the two persons is essential in order to get into the asana and to maintain it. In some postures, the body of the partner works as a counterbalancing force, or as a leverage to deepen a stretch or a bend, so the two practitioners (who naturally will have different bodies, medical histories, and different levels of flexibility) will have to mediate to find the perfect point of balance between the two of them that allows to stay in the asana and rip its benefits.
This requires working on one’s skills at non-verbal communication with the partner, acceptance of one’s momentary physical limitations, learn how to let go and fully trust the other person, surrendering to the support offered by the partner while in the posture. Partner yoga works with a pattern of interdependence, increasing mutual trust, instinctive connection, awareness of one’s body and mind and the difference one can make in soothing, comforting and supporting the other person’s body and mind.
How do you practice Partner Yoga yourself?
At Atréyoga studio we often organise partner yoga workshops. I normally demonstrate the postures with my wife and we also practice together on our own often, discovering each time new postures or new challenges which is fun. One of the positive aspects of partner yoga is that it allows you to be creative and make you teach new corners of the asanas each time you practice
How important is intimacy with yourself or with others in the process of healing?
Being at ease with other and content with yourself is key for our well-being. Yoga allows you to cultivate awareness and a deeper connection with yourself. Through partner yoga, you learn how to embrace trust and to let go, as you rely on the support of the partner to enter into the asana and to maintain it. You also learn to work with touch and the proximity of the other person’s body, observing how the two bodies and mind learn to work I synergy.
What are the common obstacles/problems you face with your own commitment to the practice of yoga and how do you overcome it?
We all live a very hectic life and have a lot of commitment to fulfill during our daily life that can distract us. For a yoga teacher it can indeed paradoxically become difficult to find time for one’s own yoga practice as teaching absorbs a lot of energy and time. I personally try to incorporate yoga daily in my routine, even if I travel frequently. It does not necessarily has to be a long or intensive practice, sometimes it can be just some rounds of sun salutations or 15 minutes of meditation.
How has yoga changed your own life? Your story of transformation?
I was born and brought up in a very healthy and happy environment. I started doing yoga at a very young age together with my father, who is a very dedicated yoga practitioner. As I grew up, I studied physics and biology and I later moved to business and management while engaging more and more into yoga. Currently I am interested in biomechanics, sport sciences and astrophysics and exploring how yoga can work in synergy with these disciplines. In a way yoga has always been a part of me and if my approach towards life and the things I like to do.
We live in a world where technology is buzzing everywhere, how do we live a mindful life?
Living a mindful life and using technology does not contradict each other; you can still live a mindful life while using technology. You just need to know where to draw the line to avoid addictive behaviors by maintaining your awareness levels high and remaining in the present moment. Yoga, proper breathing and meditation can certainly help you improve your capacities to live mindfully while enjoying your everyday life.
What can readers expect from the “It Takes Two To Yoga”? And from where to buy it?
This book guides the reader step by step, be it a beginner or advanced practitioner. There is a first set of individual preparatory asanas that the reader can practice to gain confidence and prepare the body for the partner yoga sequences. The method of each asanas is broken down into: getting into the asanas, maintaining the asana, coming out of the asanas, followed by the ideas guiding the asana tips to focus your awareness. The asana bank in the book give the reader the possibility to select the most beneficial series based on whether you are a beginner, intermediate student or an advanced practitioner. In any case, the essential rules apply: be gentle with your body, do what you easily can and whenever possible practice yoga under the supervision of a teacher.
“It Takes Two to Yoga: Asanas for Couples & Partners” is now available in the bookstores across India, as well as on Amazon and Kindle Link here!