With names designed to confuse more than just your tongue, yogalates (a marriage of yoga and pilates), Bollyrobics (blends Bollywood dance and aerobics) and Masala Bhangra (Punjabi folk dance and aerobics combo) have taken over the exercise floors across fitness centres in Delhi and Mumbai.
Mixing and matching fitness trends with popular culture is getting more people on the exercise than ever before.
Yogalates — described as a meeting place of East and West because it effectively merges the ancient practice of Yoga from the East with the core stabilising, posture enhancing dynamics of Pilates from the West — forces your body to workout in ways it normally wouldn’t.
“There’s so much synergy between the two,” says fitness expert Hetall Madiwala of Frequencee in Mumbai. “The philosophies of both make blending the two very natural. You’re not mindlessly on a treadmill or exercise machine. The mind is very focused on the body, on the breathing techniques,” she adds.
“The reason such workouts are effective is because they combine the best elements of two systems of wellness or exercise,” says Shalini Bhargava, founder, director and instructor at the suburban, Santacruz-based JGS Fitness Centre.
“What works in favour of these routines, particularly for Masala Bhangra, is that it breaks the monotony of exercising and creates an atmosphere of enjoyment for everyone — the instructors and the students,” says Sucheta Pal, co-founder of Horn Fit Please.
Depending on the intensity of the workout and the amount of strength one uses, one can burn 800 to 1,000 calories in an hour. The workout not only is one of the best forms of cardio workout, it also helps tone shoulders, arms, legs and abdomen.
“People prefer to move on bollywood and Punjabi songs. Bhangra is especially popular in North India as most can relate to the steps. It makes working out so much fun. In fact, it was on popular demand that we introduced bhangra and bollywood steps with latino-american zumba beats,” said Tarun Kumar, fitness trainer in New Delhi’s Fitness Fusion.
Owing to the tremendous response, the centre is soon going to start a session for children also. “These sessions take place in groups that adds to the fun. One fusion aerobic group comprises between 8 and 20 people,” said Dr Namita Agarwal, who runs the centre.
Shweta Dewar, who signed up for masala bhangra sessions with Horn Fit Please, agrees. “Masala bhangra never feels like a rigid workout because everyone is enjoying themselves and dancing together,” says Dewar. “There is a high, positive energy level in the classes.”
Others opt for it because it can easily be adapted to the their needs. Mumbai-based businesswoman Sheela Ranjwani, 40, for instance, underwent knee surgery four years ago and picked this form of exercise at the JGS Fitness Centre.
“The advantage of this routine is that if there is a step that I feel uncomfortable with, the instructors can modify the choreography to suit my needs,” says Ranjwani. “As an added advantage, I now also know what steps I can use while dancing to reduce the chances of getting hurt.”