You know the expression that in order to keep up with a workout routine, you have to love the activity so much that it doesn't feel like working out? Every time I've heard that, I've thought of dance. Because when you lose yourself in dance, it NEVER feels like a workout! But it is one of the best cardio -- and depending on what kind of dance, toning -- workouts you can get. That's why Zumba has blown up like crazy. And it's why Doonya is the next big thing!
Doonya, which means "world" in Hindi, is a Bollywood-dance inspired workout program that's been featured on The Dr. Oz Show and Today. I was lucky enough to try it recently in a private session with co-founder Priya Pandya in Midtown Manhattan, and it completely lives up to the hype of being the "happy workout" you actually want to keep doing again and again.
Also, trust me, you do NOT have to consider yourself "a good dancer" to get it, do it, and love it. I can prove it!
Here I am doing some moves with Priya, proving how fun and easy it is! Check it out:
See? It is much easier than I actually thought it would be, and it is so fun. You can't help but laugh and smile when you're in the midst of a Doonya class, because as Priya explained in our session, much of the music's roots lie in celebration. You get that vibe even when you're doing it alone, but in a class, it's like one big party!
In fact, you're having so much fun that you don't even realize you're actually burning tons of calories and doing moves that actually feel like they're replicating strength training. For example, "classical conditioning" routines, which borrow from Classical Indian dance forms Bharatanatyam and Kathak, work on toning calves, glutes, quads, hamstrings, arms, shoulders, and triceps. I really did feel the burn!
And after we worked out got our Bollywood party on, Priya and I sat down to talk about all the basics and benefits of Doonya ...
Priya and her founding partner Kajal Desai connected over their shared love of Indian culture and dance, which they both practiced while growing up in New Jersey and Mississippi respectively. But after college, once they were in the work world as young professionals, they were disappointed that dance wasn't a part of their daily lives anymore ... So they started teaching classes in their spare time. As their students began losing weight and getting stronger, they expressed interest in a more fitness-based program. And Doonya was born!
Priya explains how the super-efficient workout offers students visible results:
We did a challenge over 2-3 months where people came to class 2-3 times a week ... and [students] created a goal what they hoped to achieve, like being able to dance or try to lose inches off their waist. Everyone was successful in their goal! Some women lost 8-10 inches off their waist. We had people who started in the back of the room, and now if you come to the class, they're in the front row. They're almost leading the class encouraging people to try it!
I believe it! I feel like after just 30 minutes with Priya, I'd go to the front row. Okay, maybe not just yet. And while classes are only currently being held in NYC, D.C., and L.A., instructors are getting trained in other cities as we speak (including in other countries!) and you can always try the Doonya DVDs at home.
Intrigued? Here are a bunch of great moves and routines that showcase what Doonya's all about. The first one's set to Selena Gomez's "Come & Get It"!
You can also try it yourself with this quick 7-Minute Workout Priya and Kajal created for The New York Times!
Or if you want to purchase the Doonya workout DVDs or other cool Doonya year, check out the Doonya.com Shop and use the code MOMOCT13 for $5 off until October 31.
Would you try Doonya?
Image by Sasha Brown-Worsham