WOW | People

Pursuit Of Happiness

A healthy body and mind can lead to a much happier life. WOW talks to fitness enthusiasts of different genres to learn what makes and keeps them strong.

Text by: Anushka Shrestha
Photos: Ram Tandukar / Gokul Shress

Alize Biannic
Founder, Solis Performing Arts

A professional French ballerina, Alize believes dancing nourishes the soul, mind and body. Alize did her training in Paris Opera Ballet School from the age of ten, then moved to the Ballet Schule der Oper Leipzig. At the age of 15, she joined the Young Ballet Company of Catalonia (Spain) and finally the Royal Ballet in London. She has also been involved in drama and movies.  She founded Solis Performing Arts in Nepal in 2015 with the aim to provide a platform for dancers in ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and jazz genre.

What are the benefits of ballet dancing?
It helps your body and mind work at the same time. Firstly, it is the muscles. When doing ballet, you are working on every single muscle of your body which keeps your body really fit. Secondly it helps to build concentration as you need to remember a lot of different steps.  Furthermore, it also helps people suffering from any kind of mental illness because it activates the mind.

When did you first get introduced to ballet?
As a child I always used to dance around the house. My mum noticed my interest and took me to watch a beautiful show in Paris where I witnessed a ballet performance. Ever since my love for ballet has only grown!

What are your thoughts on ballet as a form of fitness?
Ballet is very good for people of any age but the level of achievement varies. For an old person, ballet may help them to develop flexibility while for a young person it helps build muscles while growing up. Overall, ballet helps in maintaining the core stamina and upper body strength.

Do physical and mental fitness go hand in hand?
Yes it does. I live by the saying “dance for your soul”.

What is strength for you?
Strength for me is being able to overcome problems without hurting yourself or anyone else.

Ashish Yakhthumba
Crossfit Trainer, The Pump

Ashish has been working as a personal trainer and gym instructor for almost a decade at home and abroad.  He started training at a young age under the guidance of Sachit Pradhan, a prominent body builder and a trainer. In 2015, Ashish introduced functional fitness gym in Kathmandu, The Pump.

What is Crossfit?
Crossfit is a high intensity training which has many kinds of modified exercise. It is a sport and does not come under body building. The movements used in Crossfit conditions the body, sharpens the minds, keeps us alert and efficient throughout the day.

When did you first get introduced to Crossfit?
It was in 2010 while I was working in the Middle East. I was very inspired when one day I just happened to talk to one of the certified Crossfit trainers.

What are the requirements to start Crossfit?
The most important thing to know before starting Crossfit is that the person shouldn’t have any kind of injury in their body. Also, people with poor heart condition, pressure problems or diabetes will have to take a lot of time to adjust to this sport.

What is strength for you?
The desire of wanting to do something from within!

Doma Bajracharya
Zumba Instructor, Core Fitness Studio

Doma is a group fitness expert. She is a certified Zumba, Spinning, HIIT and Power Pump trainer. She trained under master trainer Salima Banu in aerobics and exercise in the 90s at Studio De Gaard, Holland. Recently she introduced “Strong by Zumba” a more intense form of Zumba at the Core Fitness Studio.

What are the health benefits of Zumba?
There are different programs of Zumba such as Zumba toning and Zumba fitness. Zumba fitness is more cardio-based and helps you to burn fat while the other helps to tone up the body.

What are the must haves while attending a Zumba class?
To start Zumba classes, you don’t have to belong from a fitness background. Anyone of any age group can do Zumba because the steps are simple. However, it is very important to be in comfortable footwear. For women, sports bra is necessary. I would suggest getting loose fitting t-shit and comfortable trousers.

What are the obstacles you face as a Zumba instructor?
There are a lot of new instructors who are not officially certified. When I tell them to give me their CV to teach in my studio, they come up with random certificates which makes it very risky for me to hire them.

What is strength for you?
Strength for me is being able to help somebody else to  become independent and most importantly to enjoy life to the fullest.

Vijay Vaidya
Yoga Instructor, Sooriya Wellness

A young and energetic Ashtanga yoga instructor, Vijay is passionate about what he does.  Influenced by his mum, who is devoted to Yoga and spirituality, Vijay started practicing at a very young age. He did his learnings at Mysore, South India, home of Ashtanga yoga and is currently teaching at Sooriya Wellness, Lazimpat. Vijay also conduct private prenatal and postnatal sessions.

What is yoga for you?
Yoga is when the mind and body become one.

How does yoga help you to stay fit?
Mentally, there is a lot of meditation that goes on. A lot of meditation are synchronised with your breath. Physically, it helps a lot with flexibility. There are Yogis who are 90 to 100 years old and are super flexible because of yoga.

When did you first get introduced to Yoga?
Although I was introduced to yoga at a very young age, watching my mum, I only discovered my love for it after coming back from the States. I was in the States for seven years. When I came back, I did not know what to do, so I started taking yoga classes from Sooriya Wellness; that is when I discovered my love for it.

What is the one thing you want people to know before starting Yoga?
Anyone can start yoga. Just don’t doubt yourself before trying it. It is as simple as breathing and stretching.

What is strength for you?
Strength is building up on a trait that you are good at.