Yoga is a human endeavour to learn from nature, and is not associated with any religion, says dietician and physical fitness trainer Mirza Hina Khan, while recommending all women, especially from the Muslim community, to benefit from the ancient Indian body and mind fitness system.
Hina, who successfully runs a Nutrition Counselling and Yoga Centre in South Delhi, relates the level and awareness of physical well being with empowerment of women. But, she feels it is still a long way to go. Physical fitness of women is least priority of Indian households in general.
”Since the day I realised the importance of Yoga for good health, I have been convincing women from my community as well as others to shed any misconception about the system as something part of any religion. I tell them that when we produce a prolonged ‘Ohm’ sound during the yoga, it is simply a vibration which activates dead cells, and is not to be confused with any religious practice,” she said in an interview with India News Stream.
Like all women have a right to health and right to do what they think fit to achieve their goal, says Hina.
She says she was lucky in having the full support of her parents and her husband and in-laws in doing whatever she wanted but not all women enjoy such support, and struggle a lot to make a place for themselves and chose a career of their liking.
Hina started with a course in holistic health with initially having no plan to make a career out of it. She soon got married at an early age. But her interest in health persisted and she went in for a diploma from South Delhi polytechnic.
But she soon found that the course was not enough and she had to delve deep into the subject, and that led her to Acharya Prem Bhatia Yoga Institute in Preeti Vihar. She completed her course but could not take it up professionally. Soon after she passed out of the Institute, she had a son, which kept her engaged for a few more years.
”One day, my neighbour came to me with some pain in the neck and waist for which I told her to some exercises and she did and was cured of her problem”.
Then they would with another friend do yoga together and she finally decided to open a yoga centre in the locality but none came for weeks. However, slowly the word spread about what she was offering and women started coming. But in the meanwhile, she and her husband shifted to Sarita Vihar in South Delhi where Hina set up her Soul Fitness Centre with very encouraging response from the very beginning.
”I have a great sense of fulfilment when a number of women were cured of their problems through yoga exercises and diet regime I recommended, she said.
Besides teaching yoga, she also does counselling about wellness through naturopathy. She has also participated at a number of health events abroad.
In October, she was sent to Indonesia for training government employees in yoga.
While a strong believer in the efficacy of Yoga, Hina is open to any other system of physical exercise that can benefit her clients. Along with Yoga, her Soul Finess Studio in her Sarita Vihar house also has sessions of fitness dance Zumba. This dance is an exercise fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 1990s. ” Zumba is performed to energising music, and has yielded very good results to those wanting weight loss,” says Hina.
From a teenage bride, Hina has traversed a long way to a successful health entrepreneur. And the reason lies in her realisation at an early stage that physical exercise and nutrition was crucial to health which in turn was crucial for realising the full potential of a human being.
”My husband Sharique Khan has been my best companion in this journey, and of course there was full encouragement from in-laws too,” says Hina.
Yoga comes on top of all for her when it comes to physical exercise, and eating food in its most natural possible form and avoiding processed food is her mantra for her clients when it comes to nutrition.
”Avoid brown bread, eat simple home made roti with unsifted aata, and also discard sausages, bacon and all kinds of processed meat, white sugar and refined oil to stay healthy,” says Hina.
She advises cutting down on meat, because in today’s life physical activity has declined.
For the most common problem of Indian women–the bulging belly, she recommends yoga, and strictly forbids doing crunches in gyms, which she leads to back pain.
The thing which is most strongly on her ‘Don’ts’ list is three whites–sugar, rice and ghee. For those fond of sweets, she recommends plant sugar which is available by name of Stevia in all big stores today. Stevia is plant sugar which is least harmful, and it was this sugar which Japanese used for sweetening their food and drinks, she said.
Hina hopes to open more branches of The Soul Fitness Studio ”to spread health and happiness”. She recently set up one in Johari Farm in Jamia Nagar.
Mirza Hina Khan
Founder – The Soul Fitness Studio