Combining dance and fitness is nothing new; after all, dance is one of the best forms of exercise there is. But, in recent years, combining fitness with different international dance styles has become increasingly popular. Following a similar model as fitness programs, which incorporate the steps and music of Latin or Asian dance into exercise routines, Doonya uses dance moves and music inspired from the Hindi film industry in Mumbai known as Bollywood to give participants a full-body workout incorporating both strength and cardio components.
Though Bollywood dance moves might be new to many people, the strength, balance and high energy of these dance elements make a Doonya workout fun as well as challenging. Even beginners can get a great workout but, as they become more familiar with the steps, they can increase the intensity of the routines and burn even more calories. In addition, the repetition of many of the same movements across the different routines makes them easy to master quickly. Similar to other dance-inspired workouts, Doonya aims to make exercise fun and, at the same time, introduces participants to lively Indian music and to the unique style of Bollywood dance. Like the hula that many people may be more familiar with, Bollywood dance also uses the hands and arms to communicate the story of the music so as a result, the Doonya workout incorporates the entire body in every movement.
Developed by Kajal Desai and Priya Pandya, both certified dance, yoga and fitness professionals, Doonya (named for the Hindi word for world) is the first exercise program designed around Bollywood dance and music and the workouts are designed to burn fat, increase strength and improve balance, all while enjoying fun and high-energy Bollywood routines. At the start of the class, Kajal said that it’s just as important to have fun, as it is to work hard so “be sure to smile.”
Each Doonya class is structured to work the entire body. There's a warm up section, then the class peaks with the most intense cardio routines followed by strength conditioning and a cool down. If done full out, the one-hour workout can burn as many as 600 calories. Each class also incorporates different types of dance and music. The Bolly-Pop routines blend traditional South Asian styles with hip-hop moves, the Pop Bhangra songs feature energetic dances from northern India and the classical conditioning focuses on ancient movements, including the traditional hand motions.
Currently, there are Doonya classes available in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC but, even if you don’t live in one of these cities, you can benefit from the Doonya fitness program at home with the 3-disc series, "Doonya: The Bollywood Workout," which is available online through the company’s website (doonya.com). The set includes DVD 1 “Beginner Breakdown: How to Bollywood Dance,” which breaks down each move; DVD 2 “Cardio & Conditioning: Transform Your Body and Mind Through Dance Fitness,” which features a sequence of eleven routines to make up a one-hour total body workout and DVD 3 “Abs, Glutes & Cardio: Express Workouts for Sculpting & Weight Loss,” which provides three shorter but high-intensity dance workouts.
Thanks to Kajal and Priya, anyone can dance their way to a stronger and fitter body, all while enjoying the energetic music and dance of Bollywood.