Malaika Arora might have embraced yoga only five years ago but today, the TV personality-entrepreneur can’t think of a life without. “I’d be very incomplete without it. If it wasn’t in my life, I’d feel like I’ve lost a very dear person!” It might seem like a hyperbole but Malaika couldn’t be more serious.
It was a dance injury that nudged Malaika toward yoga. “It was a bad injury and I was doing a lot of physiotherapy.” Then someone suggested yoga and she hasn’t looked back. Not only is yoga an integral part of Malaika today, she has also invested in the business with the first Diva Yoga Studio in Mumbai, and yoga and wellness start-up Sarva.
What drew you to yoga?
For me, it’s the very holistic approach—mind, body and soul. It made a huge impact on my being, my mental state, everything. I felt so much more connected, so much more at ease, at peace.
How does yoga affect your mental well-being?
Yoga happened to me at a time when all the wires were crossed in my head. I was just dealing with a whole bunch of things. With yoga I feel I was able to de-clutter, and compartmentalise things. I was able to think clearly, to do things better. Of course, none of it happened overnight—it took six months to a year for me to feel the benefits.
How do you manage to fit yoga into your crazy schedule?
The good thing about yoga is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, depending on what suits you. I’m a morning person and wake up pretty early. So, I like doing all physical activities, including my yoga in the morning. I also like waking up and doing it first thing because it just clears my mind of all that clutter, and gets the blood flowing.
How do you explain the popularity of yoga in show business?
I think it’s much needed. I would like to introduce it to a lot of people, especially in this business where everybody is constantly looking for quick-fix measures. It’s why everybody goes on a diet or something like that. But yoga is long term. You just have to make that little space and change in your life, and incorporate it.
Would you recommend it to others?
That goes without saying. You can do whatever form of exercise that works for you but do it in conjunction with yoga and it works wonders, even if it’s twice or thrice a week. You’ll never have all those unnecessary body pains and that physical torture you feel when you go to a gym and lift weights.
Why is fitness so important in your life?
For someone with an external view, it might seem that I’m so into fitness because I need to look a certain way. That’s a very physical way of looking at things. But it has made tremendous changes in my life. I feel far more disciplined, far more connected, I feel good about myself. Why wouldn’t I want to do something that makes me feel good? The effects on one’s physical appearance are just the by-products. If you’re looking fit, looking better and your jeans fit better, you will feel amazing.