To dance, yoga or gym?


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
To dance, yoga or gym?

The rise in fitness centres across Chennai shows that the city has become conscious of living a healthier lifestyle and getting fit. Yoga studios are also springing up and there's a renewed frenzy in this form of wellbeing which takes care of the mind, body and soul. And dance, which also helps in keeping us fit,is integral to our lives here. But are we actually getting the right exercise and do we balance it with the right diet?

Before we get on the road to fitness it's important to be armed with some knowledge about our physique and what works best for us. Fitness trainer Abhishek Sharma says, "The Indian physique varies from region to region but largely, Indians have a smaller body structure as compared to people in the West. The men tend to accumulate fat mainly on their stomach and women on the waist and hips."

Experts also caution us about the mistakes we tend to make while exercising. "Just doing easy exercises which don't challenge the body is one of the most common mistake people make. For instance, a leisurely walk isn't enough if you want to change the shape of your body or improve your fitness levels. Another common mistake people do is while working out they skip out on the warming up and cooling down," adds Abhishek. Both, he says, are an integral part of a workout and necessary to get the maximum benefit and avoid injuries. And yoga too involves similar principles. While the gym focuses only on the physical aspect, yoga focuses on the mind, body and soul and that is what attracts a lot of people to it. Yoga guru Shantala Thimmaiah says yoga today is simplified by the teachers so that it can be followed in spite of all the challenges of modern living. "Yoga teaches you proper exercise (asanas), proper breathing (pranayama), proper relaxation (yoganidhra), positive thinking (meditation) and proper diet (everything in limitation)," she explains.

As we all know, Chennai is also home to art and culture and an integral part of the social milieu is girls learning Bharathanatyam (most often) ortaking up a form of dance from a very young age. Bharatanatyam exponent Srekala Bharath believes that dance helps in keeping women fit. "Bharathanatyam is a divine art. It's a form of yoga from top to toe where the movements are synchronized to perfection. And you are fit as from inside you are emoting historical and mythological stories and you feel energetic," she says. Today, numerous other dance forms are being taught in dance studios right from salsa to jive and the old and young are flocking to them - it's not only fun but keeps them healthy too.

So those who may wonder whether to take up dance, yoga or join a gym, it's ultimately what you feel comfortable with, say experts. Srekala strongly believes that the gym and dance complement each other. And as for those who ask whether they should take up yoga, Shantala says, "Practice it and feel the difference."

Exercise tips

1. Kickstart your day with stretching your spine.

2. In the morning, practice exercises that involve breath-movement co-ordination, like Surya Namaskar.

3. Through the day whenever you get a chance, climb a flight of stairs and go for a brisk walk.

4. Avoid sitting in one place and position for more than an hour; walk around and do some back-bending stretches intermittently.

5. Include a sustained cardio activity for at least 20 minutes daily, which keeps your heart rate up and going.


1. Avoid white sugar and all processed foods as much as possible.

2. Have a wholesome breakfast and a light dinner.

3. Include different tastes in your diet, from sweet to bitter.

4. Have a few almonds daily in the morning (soaked overnight) to kickstart your metabolism.

5. Include seasonal fruits and vegetables.
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Ruler's of Penmai
Registered User
Jul 26, 2012
I fully agree with the contents of this thread. Sometime we may feel very difficult to follow, but on the long run we will be benefited fully.

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