Lara Dutta started practising yoga while training for the Miss Universe contest. Ten years later, the former Miss Universe and now Bollywood star has just released a set of fitness DVDs under the title HEAL with Lara. HEAL stands for Health Exercise And Longevity. The DVD is directed and performed by Dutta and produced under her new production house Bheegi Basanti Entertainment along with Mahesh Bhupathi’s Big Daddy Productions. The first in the series of fitness DVDs called Yoga—Recovery and Rejuvenation launched on 18 November. Back from shooting for Don 2 in Berlin, Dutta talks to Lounge about yoga and the USP of her latest venture. Edited excerpts:

What made you turn to yoga?

I used to think yoga was very sedentary and something older people did. But when I heard about power yoga, etc., I became curious. Over time, I explored various schools of yoga and figured out what works best for me. As an actor, I am required to look fit and good. Thanks to my profession, I also have access to whatever is new and most happening in the fitness world. I have tried everything and now know what works best for me. I suffered a back injury soon after Blue and did not want to lose what I had worked so hard to achieve. I was not allowed to run or go to the gym. That’s when I met my yoga trainer Tonya Clark. Doing yoga changed my body structure and was 90% of the reason for my back getting better. The idea of the DVD came from this injury.

What kind of yoga do you practise?

Vinyasa Flow. Tonya, who has also collaborated with me on the DVD, makes her classes meditative and restorative, which suits me and my lifestyle. I have used this free-flowing yoga style in the first DVD, Recovery and Rejuvenation. The asanas are created to restore the central nervous system. It’s a workout with something added and can easily be done at home. There are also breathing techniques and pranayam, which can be practised even at your desk. We have also added specific asanas for pre-natal, pregnant women, older people and those recovering from injuries. We have also made modifications to the asanas to make them easy for newcomers to follow.

What kind of results will the DVD yield?

I guarantee that the yoga will achieve muscle toning; it will rebalance your body and restore calm, which will lead to clarity and make you feel more active.

Your next two DVDs are on strength training and posture. But isn’t going to the gym and weight training in conflict with yoga practices?

Healing touch: Yoga healed Dutta’s injured back and made her a convert.

What are the three asanas you depend on?

1. Shoulder stand: It takes the blood away from your legs to your heart. It’s wonderful and a great cure for mild depression.

2. Camel pose (bend backwards and grab your ankles): This asana leaves your entire front exposed which means you are opening yourself up to new opportunities. It opens up the abdomen and is very good for those with thyroid issues.

3. Downward facing dog: For toning of legs and arms. This is a key part of Surya Namaskar.

How many Surya Namaskars can you do?

I am not sure. Over 100, I think.

How often do you practise yoga?

Every day. Even while shooting in Berlin recently, I would put on the rough cut of the DVD and work out. I even had my assistant doing it. I do try and exercise about five times a week.

What was the process of putting the DVD together like?

If was fun. I started my production company recently, and producing this DVD has been a huge learning experience. It was made in partnership with Mahesh’s company and Reliance came on board for distribution. I put the concept together, produced and directed it. It was an incredible experience to sit on edits and music sessions. I never knew work could be so fulfilling and I have a renewed respect for my industry.

What three wellness mantras do you follow?

1.Check in with yourself everyday. Find 15 minutes to come into yourself. Use the time in whatever way you like (a walk, pranayam), but it should be you-time—no TV, BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), Internet, etc. No exterior stimulation. It’s the key to knowing what is going on inside you.

2. We are what we eat. Turning vegetarian was a significant change in my life. It turned my system around. I don’t recommend it for all because it may not suit all body types, but I would say be conscious of what you eat and if you are aware, you will change your eating habits.

3. This is the toughest, and I have struggled with it but incorporate at least 20 minutes of exercise into your daily routine.

Yoga—Recovery and Rejuvenation is available at leading outlets such as Landmark, Planet M, Music World, Crossword, Reliance Time Out and Lifestyle.

Produced by Big Daddy Productions; released and distributed by Reliance Big Home Video;

DVD, 299; English VCD,199; Hindi VCD, 99.

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