I was delighted because finally, I found a very dear childhood friend of mine on Facebook after eons. We got chatting reminiscing the good old days and the conversation shifted towards our physical transformation over the years. My kindhearted friend complimented me after seeing my current pictures. “You have maintained yourself very well even after delivering a baby. Please share your diet regime. Do you hit the gym often?”, she said. I chuckled and thanked her for her generous words. When I told her that I have never entered a gymnasium in my entire life and am a big-time foodie, she was astonished. She jocularly chided me for hiding my presumed “trade secret” as she went offline to tend to her small baby.
Well, truth to be told, I am not a gym person at all and dieting is a preposterous thought for a food connoisseur like me. But, I do strongly believe in the fitness of the mind, body and soul. Survival of the fittest in this world is a fact and not just a quote. Though I indulge in various fitness activities every now and then, my favorite fitness mantra is dance, dance and dance. My passion for dance is not unknown to my near and dear ones. But I dance, not only because I worship it, but also for the reason that I appreciate the immensely therapeutic effect it has on me. For those like me who find the mechanical exercises monotonous, dancing is the best way to keep the body moving. It is a super fun, gratifying and convenient fitness activity, as you can indulge in it at any time of the day or even night for that matter without much planning or any external motivation.
You can do a simple Google search to discover umpteen research based articles which talk about the proven health benefits of dance. Stronger muscles, improved stamina, better heart health and enhanced body balance and co-ordination are just some of the physical health perks that you can derive out of dancing. However, this is merely one side of the story. Needless to say, fitness is not simply physical but it is as much mental and emotional. A person may have the best body with high levels of stamina but if the mind is not at peace, the physical fitness can only take you so far. This is where dancing works best for me and for many other dance lovers across the globe. It heals, rejuvenates, calms the mind, stirs the soul and connects you to your inner-most self. It is a great way to overcome the undesirable emotions like anger, jealousy or grief that we experience in life from time to time. Concurrently, it is a wonderful way to celebrate as well which is why it is an integral part of parties, functions and festivities.
I personally had a metamorphic experience wherein I witnessed how dance and music can act as a curative for the deepest scars inflicted by life. During my stint as a volunteer with a NGO, I recommended a “Dance Therapy Workshop” as a part of the counseling and rehabilitation process for survivors of human-trafficking. I was uncertain how this suggestion would be received but to my surprise, it was approved and I was given the liberty to design the workshop based on whatever knowledge I possess in the field of dance. The fact that this workshop was chosen as one of the three high impact workshops conducted by the organization for that year, is a testimony to its effectiveness and reception. It is highly inspiring to know that some of the survivors have made dancing a part of their life since then and they are now looking at life with a renewed zeal and optimism.
Depending on the specific objective of your workout sessions, you can choose a suitable dance form from a plethora of options. Though every dance style works on your mind and body in its own unique way, some of my personal favorites are Bollywood, Hip-Hop, Rock n Roll, Classical dance forms, Contemporary and Indian Folk. If you want to keep it simple, just go freestyle! You need not be technically correct to enjoy dancing. All you need to do is feel the music, let it tug at your heart strings, have a conversation with your soul and get grooving. I can assure you that you will concur with me on the contents of this article once you embrace dancing and experience its joys. My concluding message below is the philosophy of my life which is the “secret” of my fitness.
If you are happy, dance. If you are sad, dance. If you are in love, dance. If you are angry, dance. If you are pumped up, dance. If you are exhausted, dance. If you are excited, dance. If you are bored, dance. If you want to, dance. If you have to, dance. Whatever be the situation, dance it out. Dance your way to fitness, dance your way to life!
// This article has been published by the leading Indian magazine Woman’s Era in their October 2016 I edition.