Keeping a balance between work and home keeps me fit, says dancer Jayalakshmi Eshwar
For Bharatanatyam exponent Jayalakshmi Eshwar, dance provides a holistic approach to maintaining a balance between body and mind. She believes that the activity involved in being a dancer, as an instructor to her students, and also managing a household, that negates the need to hit the gym to keep fit.
“Dance is spiritual. Like yoga, it keeps the energies focussed and releases them in a channelled manner which is visible during performances. This takes care of things like tension and keeps me mentally balanced,” she says.
When it comes to her health, the Delhi-based seasoned danseuse prefers keeping things simple. She lays much emphasis on maintaining “regularity in eating” and consciously avoids junk food and eggs. “Food for me is vegetarian, traditional South Indian cooking, done at home.”
Lunch is usually “two rotis, rice and lots of pulses and vegetables” which she cooks herself. “A lot of yoghurt” is also a permanent fixture in her diet.
The physical intensity of dancing, long hours of rehearsals and the practical instruction required to give to her students take a toll on the body. She keeps fatigue at bay with the help of a routine glass of milk often with bananas for added energy or the juice of a tender coconut.
Even during periods of much stress when a she is preparing for a performance or choreographing her troupe, like during the recent International Dance Festival held in New Delhi, she does not let go of the household work. “While it might be considered orthodox by some, finding the balance between home and my work keeps me on my toes and gives me my share of exercise,” she reasons.
About the benefits of Bharatanatyam, she adds, “It has proven scientific benefits for the body, the mudras keep the body in shape”.
The dance form involves much squatting which often affects the knees, and can take a toll on a dancer’s body at times. When that happens, Jayalakshmi prefers to “take a break for 4-5 days to address the uneasiness before returning to dancing.”
Jayalakshmi believes that while the current trend among the younger generation is to head towards gyms for fitness, one needn’t necessarily strive for a “health run”.
A lifestyle that includes “small physical activities” along with habits like “timely meal and sleeping correctly” is sufficient to keep fit.