Navratri is almost upon us, but even if we’re going to avoid doing the garba in public, it’s a good idea to take us a class. Why? Perhaps because you’ve seen the videos – men and women in a studio twirling away as garba music blares from the speakers. That’s right, the garba workout is officially a thing.

Que spoke to dance instructor Khushbu Shah, who runs Sway Dance Academy in Ahmedabad, to find out more about the latest international exercise sensation. Shah believes that it was only ever a matter of time before the garba workout hit the big-time: “It’s non-stop cardio – 45 minutes to an hour of the purest cardio workout you can get. If you do something this high-intensity, your weight is sure to decrease since your heart rate has increased.”

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Dance Your Way to Fitness

More conventional exercise regimens such as cycling or jogging don’t offer as much variation as a garba workout, which includes everything from jumps and twists to squats and skips. This is perfect for when your body has grown too used to a certain exercise regimen and you’re looking for a way to shock your body into further weight-loss or to increase your fitness levels.

However, there are still some things we have learned over the years due to an exposure to the science of exercise and fitness. In the long-term, garba might be detrimental to your health. Traditionally, garba is performed barefoot, but we know now that working out barefoot leads to a lot of pressure being put on your joints – from your ankles to your knees and back, garba puts a lot of strain on them so remember to keep sessions short.

Shah recommends that you use it as a workout for a limited amount of time and then switch to a combination of cardio and strength training: “Garba is an excellent short-term workout, but it’s important to remember that it’s just pure cardio. For a more balanced workout, you should consider a session of 45 minutes of cardio followed by at least 15-20 minutes of strengthening exercises.”

Garba All Over the World

Garba has come a long way to enter the spotlight. You know something is popular when it has as many variations as the humble dosa. Aerobics garba, salsa garba – you name it and people are probably already twirling around to it somewhere in the world. “At first, people only saw it as a regional thing, typical only to Gujarat. But things have changed and the world has become much more open to experimentation. We’re always looking for something new when it comes to their exercise because they don’t want to get bored by what they’re doing. When it comes to dance styles, Contemporary and Bollywood have been done to death, but garba? People outside Gujarat are often amazed at the thought of non-stop dancing for nine days straight,” says Shah as she holds back a laugh.

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Cover Image Courtesy: Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela

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