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Creating A Sensation Called Masala Bhangra

She's famously called the ‘Indian Jane Fonda' with her brand of Masala Bhangra workouts bringing the best of Indian folk dance and Bollywood steps into fitness routines.

Sarina Jain added one more feather to her long list of achievements when in June she was chosen the new face for Nestlé FITNESS where 2.6 million cereal boxes with Masala Bhangra Workout video inside them were distributed all over Latin America as a part of the launch of its "Flat Belly" promotion.

Jain's workout has made it to the top 5 workouts in the US according to AOL and she just celebrated 10th anniversary of the glorious existence of her certified and patented workout last month.

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 utilizing her knowledge of bhangra, Indian classical dance, salsa, hip-hop and other dance forms. "I thought it would be so cool to infuse Indian dance into a fitness routine that everyone can do. I finally did it and I am proud of it. This year, we are celebrating 10 years of Masala Bhangra. I can't believe it!"

When Sarina Jain pioneered this concept and introduced it to the Americans little did she know that in a decade hundreds will turn up each week for regular classes at major health clubs in New York and San Francisco that is.

"I was very young when bhangra was introduced to me. We entered into dance competitions and we were one of the first all girl bhangra teams called "Dhamaka." It was something that was not hard for me to learn and it was like bhangra was in my blood, " she says.

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 utilizing her knowledge of bhangra, Indian classical dance, salsa, hip-hop and other dance forms. "I thought it would be so cool to infuse Indian dance into a fitness routine that everyone can do. I finally did it and I am proud of it. This year, we are celebrating 10 years of Masala Bhangra. I can't believe it!"

Sarina's parents belong to Jaipur. Her father, an engineer moved to US in the 70s. In 1994 though, at 47, he died of heart disease compelling the siblings Sarina and her sister Sheila to think, "If he had exercised more, would he have lived a longer life?" After completing her studies in marketing and public relations, Sarina launched her own company, Masala Dance & Fitness, Inc., in January 1999. Since then, Sarina has directed and produced a series of MASALA BHANGRA WORKOUT™ videos and cultivated a large audience for the program.

"There are many advantages. People of all ages can do the Masala Bhangra Workout. You take it at your own pace. It is a calorie burning, certified fitness program through dance. Many people have lost weight of the Masala Bhangra Workout. Your arms, legs and core get worked!"

Her sister, Sheila completed a dual bachelor's degree from UCLA in Chemistry & World Dance/Cultural Studies, where she acquired training in several world dances including Indian classical, West African, Flamenco, Latin Jazz, and many others. She went on to pursue a master's degree in Public Health/Epidemiology and became involved in Chronic Disease research, specifically the promotion of cultural dance to increase physical activity and improve physical fitness among ethnic minorities. "She teaches for me on occasion. My sister has three degrees and would love to be a full time student professional," says Sarina.

Sarina did face resistance from the community initially but not one to be affected, she kept walking on her chosen path. "I did not face any struggle only because I did not allow myself to be around people who might be negative. There were people, within my own community, who were always mocking me but now that I have made something out of scratch, those same people are proud. It was very unfair and very immature for my own Indian people not to believe in me from the start. But the American culture and people have always supported and it is because of them that I am successful."

Sarina's first workout video came out in 2000 and it was not even three months to it and she was a guest on a national TV show - The Ainsley Harriot Show. Soon an offer from New York got her to move to the Big Apple where her career grew exponentially. "If you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere!" she says.

Initially she was called upon by the New York Sports Clubs. They asked her to come to NYC in 2000 for two months, travel around and teach the Masala Bhangra Workout at different clubs. Same year they offered her 15 classes to move to NYC. The rest as they say is history.

"I want to go down as someone who has made a difference and created a path for many!" is her parting shot.

[ By hema fernando ]

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