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The Masala Bhangra Queen, Sarina Jain celebrates 10 years

It is a pleasure that people see my workout as inspiration - Sarina Jain
by Hiral Dholakia-Dave

Sarina Jain celebrates 10 years of Masala Bhangra

Sarina Jain has the unique credit of bringing Bhangra to global fitness industry. That too exactly a decade back!

A handsome mix of Indian folk dance, Bollywood steps and fitness routines, her brand of Masala Bhangra Workout is a hit with the A-listers as well as the hoi polloi.

Dubbed the "Indian Jane Fonda," her certified and patented Masala Bhangra Workout is in the list of top 5 workouts in the US according to AOL. On the eve of the 10th anniversary celebration, one more addition to her already long list of achievements comes in the form of this big announcement - exclusive to Desiclub - Sarina Jain is the new face for Nestlé FITNESS® where 2.6 million cereal boxes will have the Masala Bhangra Workout video inside them and go all over Latin America! This is part of Nestlé FITNESS® launch of its "Flat Belly" promotion. It will last from June 2 until the stock is exhausted.

No wonder her clientele includes the likes of Paulina Porizkova, Joanna Garcia, Emmanuelle Vaugier and Deepak Chopra, apart from celebs Sunita Menon, Jazzy B and Sukhbir.

Sarina has been a certified fitness instructor teaching a range of classes, including step, kickboxing, cycling, total body conditioning, high/low impact aerobics and cardio salsa. She has also successfully created dance routines for music videos, commercials, cultural festivals and concerts using her knowledge of bhangra, Indian classical dance, salsa, hip-hop and other dance forms.

Desiclub caught up with this spunky lady right before she took off for her Mexico City Nestle PR tour.

You have been a path breaker, a pioneer - it certainly must have demanded a lot of hardwork. Did you ever imagine Masala Bhangra would become this big?
Yes, it demanded a lot of work, a lot of dedication and a lot of self-belief. I never thought that I would hit a 10year mark. This is quite exciting. The best gift given to me is when Nestle decided to go with Masala Bhangra and me for their new look. They love my workout, as it has proven to help so many people lose weight and get off their feet to start to workout. I am loving what I created. I am loving what I do and I love the fact that it has helped people of all ages and shapes.

How did Bhangra enter your scheme of things?
I was in high school when we did our first Bhangra competition. I was also teaching aerobics at that time so I started at a very young age. Moreover, I grew up with the desi culture around me so Bhangra was very much part of our worlds.

What inspired the big idea of blending Indian dance and fitness workout? Did it require specific studies/research?
I was and still am a big fan of exercise-cardio. I truly believe you live a long life when you exercise. I truly believe you look younger and feel younger. The biggest reason why I decided to create the first Indian inspired dance workouts and become the pioneer is because I lost the most important person in our lives-our father-to a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 47. He was not big into exercise as I would have liked him to be. He was young and never got a chance to say bye to him. He was proud to be a desi in the US. And he was also very much exposing my sister and me to the desi culture so we would not forget our roots. Well, not only have I not forgotten, I feel like I am promoting it every day through fitness. I wanted to create a workout where all the aunties and uncles would get up and workout. But the funny thing is like anything else ? it is the Americans that just have believed in me more and have taken my Masala Bhangra workout seriously. Today Masala Bhangra is one of the top 5 workouts in the US according to AOL. I did my research for one year and put out all elements together before releasing my 1st workout video. It has been 10 years to it now! I am on my 7th workout video and more to come!

When did you get the big break?
Well, my first workout video came out in 2000 and it was not even three months before it came out and I was a guest on a national TV show - The Ainsley Harriot Show - it was amazing! Truly blissful! I moved to NY in 2001 on invitation of the New York Sports Clubs since it was a business decision and I knew my career would grow in NYC. If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere!

Success these days easily spawns copycats.. how would you define your cutting edge?
When a good idea is received, there are going to be copycats. It is a pleasure that people see my workout as inspiration. However, the original will always be original.

What did it take to reach at this point of your professional success?
Hard work. Lots of hard work and just believing that it will happen. I did not give up and I know I have created something where people can start to feel rejuvenated!

Are you single/married? If single, do you think successful women intimidate guys?
I am single. I believe that when the right person will come along, I will know. Yes I do think that successful women intimidate some men. It seems that men want to be with someone who is successful but under their terms. I think that is a bit unfair.

How does your typical day sound like?
Waking up at 5.30 am ? teaching my 6.30 am class. Training a client. Then coming back to my desk to pull my emails out. Answer emails. Eat food! By 1 pm try to take a nap if possible then out again at 5 pm to teach three classes back to back. I teach 17 classes at the moment per week and I travel over the weekends to do the Masala Bhangra workout teacher trainings. I do have some time off this summer as I am making that happen.

Besides Masala, what else interests you?
Everything. I love learning. Culture. Why people do what they do. I love politics. I enjoy reading. Love to cook and eat!:-)

What's next on your agenda?
I am sitting right now in the Delta lounge getting ready to go to Mexico City for the Nestle PR tour. I am very nervous! I still get nervous!

What has been the biggest compliment you received ever?
There are so many. I think when people tell me "Thank you for creating this workout. You helped me and my family get off the couch" is when I know that I am doing something right. The biggest, however, came from Deepak Chopra. He said, "You have a gift. You energize people and make them want to live long." And the other was when a deaf lady came to my class and did the entire class with her full heart and sweat. It was truly gratifying.

Whom do you look up to?
People who are making a difference! I want to go down as someone who has made a difference and created a path for many!

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