With every new year, come January 1st, most of us fall prey to the alluring gym membership offers in our vicinity. Resolutions to get fit may well be a clichéd form of starting the next year but it is one that we are all familiar with. While the tedious forms of strength training may not be everyone’s cup of (herbal) tea, there are other forms that have been highly scrutinised for their methods and gains like pole dancing fitness as a form of workout.
This past decade saw a plethora of variations that bastardised traditional yoga forms with cat yoga, beer yoga and even anti-gravity yoga. Nonetheless, the amount of ways to get fit haven’t ceased to amuse Indians, who enjoy these unconventional ways of getting in shape. Here are a few popular trends that cropped up and are still popular with Mumbaikars even today.
Balle balle to body-building
Tricha Kumar, 27, has been dancing and performing Bhangra since 2012. However, she took to teaching Bhangra as a fitness routine only last year on popular demand from fellow fitness enthusiasts in Mumbai. “People were actively looking for fun ways to workout as opposed to just going to the gym and lifting weights,” she says, adding, “A lot of people who looked to dance fitness were looking for something that made them tired and something that made them sweat. Bhangra does that whether you are doing this as a fitness routine or not.
Tricha Kumar teaches a Bhangra fitness class
So what is Bhangra fitness? Tricha explains, “When you say Bhangra, people always assume it’s some type of ‘balle balle’ or jumping around, but they don’t realise it requires professional training like that of ballet. In order to do authentic Bhangra correctly there is specific targeting of muscles that needs to be focused on.”
But unlike other workouts, Tricha doesn’t do this only to burn calories but also to target muscle groups. “We use our traps (trapezius) and delts (deltoids) to do the shoulder movement. We also use our knees, calves, pelvic muscles and our hips to get the bounce movement right. There is also core engagement to keep your balance,” she says.
Bouncing on a trampoline may have hardly seemed like a fitness regime when you were little and yet this was one of the trends that emerged in the past decade.
A recent inauguration of a park with over 130 trampolines in Malad, Mumbai, encourages a hefty hamstrings and quadriceps workout all while having fun and bouncing around. Their reasoning behind introducing a trampoline park, called Bounce, to suburban Mumbai is an alleged NASA backed statement — “10 minutes of bouncing on a trampoline is a better cardio workout than 30 minutes of running”.
A girl jumps on a trampoline at Bounce Inc
Bounce Inc, founded by director, Antony Morell says this fitness regime engages various kinds of muscle groups and the body’s ability to “burn calories more efficiently”.
Anand Barot, CEO and director, Bounce Inc India says, “We have 60 hosts at our Mumbai venue who have the skill set to teach our customers various tricks like backflips and front flips. Moreover, trampolining stimulates the blood flow in a way that helps rid the body of toxins and waste. Trampolining is not all about burning calories but also about the health benefits from rebound exercise such as cardiovascular fitness, coordination and agility, muscle toning and stress relief.”
Up in the air
Twirling up in the air on nothing but a fine rope or silk ribbon and occasionally viewing the world upside down – this graceful dance form is called aerial art. It is also defined as a form of gymnastics performed on different apparatuses like the hoop, trapeze, or cubes. Dare compare this workout regime to antigravity yoga and instructor, Shruti Jasani of The Wooden Stage studio in Vile Parle will prove you wrong. Her argument – “There is nothing like antigravity yoga. Yoga cannot be practiced without earth.”
So, how is aerial art a workout you ask? It engages every muscle group, “including fingertips and toes which is almost hardly ever used in any other form of dance or workout,” she says.
A woman performs aerial art using a hoop at The Wooden Stage
While listing out the restrictions on people who won’t do well with this form of workout, Shruti rules out “terrible listeners” as those who shouldn’t engage in her class. Having done this for 11 years now, Shruti says beginners would start with simple floor exercises. “We start off with building strength and flexibility through floor exercises. There are loads of beginner aerial conditioning exercises that get you into the groove of hanging and looking at the world upside down at an advanced level,” says the 34-year-old.