Atmananda Gets A Lovely New Location
(Jhon T) referring to the reopening of the studio on East 54th street. “It was a visualization I had two years ago.”
His visualization, however, didn’t include ownership of the new space. Jhon T was looking to franchise his brand in order to free himself up to teach internationally.
“A physical location would hold me from doing that because of all the logistics of running a studio,” he explained. “My vision was to travel internationally - to disseminate and teach and share information with people.”
So when Nargilya Alekperova, a student of Ayurveda, asked to franchise, he agreed.
“A miracle happened,” Nargilya said. “I had always dreamt of having a studio where we can provide people with all kinds of services for health. In Ayurveda there are ten steps to healthier living, and one of these steps is yoga. So I approached Jhon T to ask if he would franchise, and here we are.”
Sharing the block with the Lipstick Building, the studio is centrally located in midtown. Once inside, the brightly lit lobby welcomes with a tropical red wall. There are big windows
leading out to a terrace, chandeliers illuminating the check-in area, and earth toned accents to ground the space. The design is minimal with no Hindu symbolism that frequently occupies yoga studios.
“Hinduism has nothing to do with the practice of yoga,” said Jhon T. “The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, when you really read deep into it is just spirit awareness; it talks about consciousness and awareness. Hinduism is a religion. We don't want to change anybody's religion. That's not our job. Our job is to respect who you are, and share a common practice to keep the body healthy so we can live longer in a healthy way.”
Currently, the schedule holds seven classes throughout the day starting with 6:45am morning express, and ending with 8pm beginners. All classes follow the Atmananda Sequence which is comprised of the seven asana groups - standing poses, balancing poses, backbends, forward bends, spinal twists, inversions and arm balances. The sequence, created by Jhon T, is based on Iyengar, Ashtanga and Hatha, and practiced in a vinyasa flow.
Students are encouraged to use the Atmananda Yoga Mat which has mathematically designed shapes and lines to help maintain proper alignment.
“Everything we teach is based on alignment. And these mats become a visual guide, a map that make it easier not only for the teacher to teach, but also for the practitioner to practice,” said Jhon T.
In a Soul Flow class with Noel Barrott, the lines and shapes on the mat were integrated as cues. In warrior one, he directed the students’ feet to the 45 degree line. In standing lunge, it was the purple circles, and in downward dog, the red X box.
Amenities include a spacious changing area, scented soaps and showers for those heading straight to work after class.
There are also three treatment rooms used for the Ayurvedic services. Abhyanga, Marma Abhyanga and Shirodhara are just a few of those offered by Ayurveda Wellness consultant Amita Banerjee.
There will also be workshops and teacher trainings.
“We open the doors to anybody that wants to come here and do a workshop, a program, a
seminar, and share knowledge. We are facilitating the container for students to come and get knowledge,” Jhon T said.
The teacher trainings are offered throughout the year as one month intensives at the 200 and 500 hour levels. There is also a customized program which enables students to fit the training around their individual schedules.
Jhon T will continue to supervise the TT.
But it’s Nargilya who will handle the day to day operations of running the studio which has its ups and downs. “It’s my life. You cannot say 'Oh my life is tough.' Of course, it’s tough. You have to live step by step. I am trying my best,” she said.
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