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Staying fit in Coronavirus Situation

Q1. What is wellness according to you? How is physical health important for mental health?

Wellness is being able to align your mind, your body, and your soul altogether. It is not just important that you work out to increase your immunity but at the same time you need to eat the right kind of foods that nourish you, you need to make sure you are breathing through your workout so that you are decreasing your stress levels, you need to meditate a little bit to make sure you are not allowing negative thoughts to take over and you can focusing on being positive & positive thoughts. It is really important that in this lockdown we look after our mental health – I have seen a lot of strong people around me who are getting frustrated with being at home and not being able to do anything. We just have to remember that this is a pandemic and it is beyond our control. There is nothing that we can do to change the situation. The most important thing for wellness is to be well enough to accept a situation and to be able to deal with it - make sure we keep our calm, we keep our wits around us, we don’t allow negativity to get the better of us as much it tries to.

Aligning our mind body and soul is really important. I believe that each of us has the power within us to do it, to maintain the balance and the equilibrium. But sometimes it gets difficult. Especially at a time like this, if we feel like we need help from outside to get that order within, we should not hesitate to use it because this pandemic is a situation which we have never faced in our lives. There is no right or one answer to it, so everyone just needs to do whatever is important to increase this wellness around us and that is how we can make sure our physical health can also lead to mental health together. It is just about aligning the both together.

Q2. Any two/three Fitness Mantras that you would like to share to keep fit in any situation such as these long lockdowns?

My three favorite fitness mantra are

  • Be fit because you deserve it - I believe that each one of us deserves to be fit. And we need to do everything that we can to make sure that we achieve that.
  • You are as young as your spine is flexible – Pilates and yoga both work a lot on your spine. Having a fluid and flexible spine definitely makes you age slower, makes you younger. There are a lot of people who are inactive, whose spines have become inflexible, and you see that they look much older & move more like older people. People who are more flexible with their spine and who are able to do things, who are active seem to be younger. So, I definitely believe that you are as young as your spine is flexible
  • Fitness is a journey, it's not a destination - We do have goals, but it's not where our journey ends. It needs to go beyond those goals because once you achieve certain goals your journey doesn't stop there. You have to make sure that you can maintain those goals. This is something that I always tell people - let's set short term goals, let's set long term goals, and then make sure that we continue to be fit and make it a journey. I have a lot of people who come to me and say they hate exercising and they only exercise because they need to or that they've started various exercise programs and gotten bored or for XYZ reasons have stopped doing it. So my goal is always to make people enjoy working out, finding the kind of exercise that works for their body. For me each person is an individual - their requirements are very individualistic to themselves and are unique. So I try to find that within each person, and make them follow their personalized path to make sure that it becomes a journey and it doesn't stop halfway.

Q3. As fitness industry is hitting badly because of social distancing, how is entrepreneur Yasmin dealing with the entire COVID19 situation? Like motivating the clients, employees and keep the "Life" going?

When the lockdown first started, I started out by doing live sessions on Instagram and Facebook for people all around the world and I had a lot of people working out with me. Also when we first got into the lockdown, there was a lot of uncertainty about how long we would be in lockdown and what the situation was going to be like. In the beginning we felt that it would just be two weeks and we would be free of the virus. Of course, little did we know that it was here to stay for much longer.

So as time went down on and we went into the Phase two of the lockdown, we at Yasmin Karachiwala’s Body Image started virtual training our clients. We reached out to our clients and asked them if they would like to train virtually. We got a lot of people signed up, we opened our group classes which the instructors are taking for people all over the world. We didn't just limit it to our studio but opened up to a lot of people outside our studios who could come in and work out with us. We reached out to our clients through emails and whatsapp every time I uploaded a video on YouTube or I was going to do a live workout to let them know just in case they wanted to join in. We totally understood that there were a lot of people who didn't feel comfortable training virtually, and that was okay. We tried to reach out to them still making sure that we could do whatever was in our capacity to help them to continue working out.

We have weekly staff meetings between all the employees and myself to make sure that we stay connected. I like to keep motivating my staff, to keep making sure that they know that I'm there. We worked on how we would be able to pay them through the COVID situation. We started looking at our finances collectively and were very transparent with our employees.

Q4. Everyone talks about 'the success' but is there any regret that 'successful Yasmin' holds?

I've had a lot of obstacles or speed breakers as I like to call them on my journey. I think each one of them has taught me to come up stronger, to fight back, to make sure to stick to what I believe in. I think that's the reason of me being successful - I really stuck to my beliefs and didn't get wavered from it. Of course there were lots of times in my career in the last 27 years where there were people who were doing better than me, or who started way after me and shot up to the top. I had to review and see where I was - whether there was something that I was doing wrong or there was something that I could do differently? I questioned myself; I did a lot of introspection into my work. And every time I came up with the same answer - that I did what I did because I believed in it and it was okay if somebody else came up and shot to the top, as long as I was going at the pace that I was comfortable at, it didn't bother me. I think this is one of the reasons why I have managed to survive in this industry. A lot of people shot up and a lot got shot down as well, because they weren't too much of a haze. I never ever traded my values for success.  I seriously have no regrets to anything that I've done in life and I just feel that I'm blessed and I'm thankful that I was on the right path, and I have been able to be as successful as I have.

Q5. Anything that you would like to advice people for health and happiness?

The only advice that I could give people for health and happiness is "do what makes you feel good". I always like to tell my clients that exercise is supposed to nourish your body. Choose the kind of exercise that makes you feel good, whether it's yoga, weight training, Pilates, walking, swimming or cycling. The goal is that it needs to bring you happiness. Don't do something because XYZ got fitter doing it or because somebody else lost some more weight than you did in the last one month doing a different routine which you really don't enjoy doing but you're going to do it anyways.  Anything that you do that you don't enjoy will not be here to stay. So definitely just focus on what makes you feel happy, what makes your body feel good.

The kind of foods you eat is also really important - try to cut out eating junk food. Honestly it is very temporarily satisfying. In the long run it creates a lot of harm to your body. So, try to keep your junk food to a minimum. Try to focus on your breath, try to focus on the right exercise and eat foods that feed your body with good nutrition.

Yasmin Karachiwla has been part of the fitness industry for 27 years. Today Yasmin is the most sought-after celebrity fitness trainer in Bollywood. The person behind Katrina Kaif’s figure in Tees Maar Khan and Deepika Padukone’s gorgeous body in Ram Leela, she knows how to work with every body type to transform it to its fittest form. She is the proprietor of her own personal fitness studio Yasmin’s Body Image – which was founded 12 years ago and is constantly bustling with the who’s who of Bombay. She is also the first BASI certified Pilates instructor in India, and established the first Pilates studio in Bombay.

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