Bollywood actress, Isha Sharvani is much more than just an actor. In fact, it was her dancing skills in Subhash Ghai’s flick Kisna that grabbed public attention. Along with being a skilful dancer she is also trained in Rope Mallkhammb (a form of gymnastics) and martial art forms like Kalaripayattu.
In a freewheeling interview with India.com Health’s Pavitra Sampath, she tells us more about diet, fitness, her dance institute in Kerala called AARTI and how she has even designed her own art form which works on agility, style and flexibility.
‘Rope Mallkhamb works on building a healthy body and mind. It is an important form for dancers and athletes because it gives them a lithe and agile body essential for any sport or art form. It also helps in building a person’s sustainability and core strength’ Isha explained.
Mallakhamb, the only Indian sport played against gravity, is actually the name of a tall wooden pole traditionally used by wrestlers to practice their skills. Practised either on a fixed mallkhamb (a wooden pole fixed in the ground), hanging mallkhamb (a wooden pole suspended with a hook and a chain around four feet above the ground) or rope mallkhamb (a modern version practiced on a suspended rope made of thick cotton fiber.
Apart from helping one develop speed, reflexes, concentration and co-ordination, training in Mallkhamb helps in gaining perfection in other sports such as Wrestling, Judo, Gymnastics, Athletics, Horse riding, and Tennis etc. For gymnasts, Mallkhamb helps by developing flexibility, grace, swiftness and rhythm which is very essential for a successful gymnast. In athletics, Malakhamb increases the endurance, strength and stamina. For people who play Tennis or Badminton, it helps to strengthen shoulder muscles, girdle and forearms; it also helps to increase the flexibility of the wrist joints. When practiced by a swimmer helps by increasing core strength and flexibility.
‘The art requires constant practice and a never-give-up attitude. The diet and training patterns of someone practicing Mallkhamb are essential’ Isha clarified. She follows a strict diet in tune with the energy need for the art. According to her, going on a starvation diet or cutting out certain elements of food in one’s diet can have catastrophic repercussions later in life. She is a follower in the principle of ‘everything in moderation’. She believes that a person should eat everything, but work out equally to burn off the excess calories.
‘My father used to tell me, beta, dil khol ke khao (eat to your heart’s content)’ said Isha with a smile in her voice. ‘I stay away from fad diets, I feel they sap the body of essential nutrients and can cause a person to age before time’. ‘I urge people to maintain a healthy lifestyle and include wise food choices as well as a sound exercise regime into their daily lives. Avoid anything labelled low-fat because they contain ingredients that are harmful to the body’ she added. Looking at how well Isha is doing and her quick recovery from various injuries she had on the sets of Jhalak Dikhla Ja, we are sure the actress has got her fitness mantra just right.
It seems that everyone is concerned with losing weightand fewer people
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