Do the New!

Till about 5 years back , NOBODY who knew me could have associated me with sports or fitness.

Not my friends, nor my family. I was always THE one who kept away from the school playground , avoided the P.E. classes and  never really pushed myself to exert. It just did not make a connection with me, my personality and the way I was.  Over the years that general perception shaped into a self belief that active sports just wasn’t my thing.In my mind – sports was for others – the ‘sporty kinds ‘ –  whatever that meant!

Yes, the interest in living healthy was always there and growing up I did go through the Jane Fonda phase with its funky leotard adorned aerobic routines, using ketchup bottles as weights. We did buy a lot of ketchup. Well ;).  There was also the off and on experimenting with Yoga routines (thanks to my mother) with some Swimming (thanks mom!) but I wouldn’t really call it a regular fitness regime.
Cut to post-marriage and kids , I kept my rendezvous with walks in the park and an odd jog thrown in – but nothing to write home about. With a highly busy daily routine juggling between keeping house, raising babies and helping run our business , a regular work out just wasn’t on my priority list. And it showed. In low stamina, odd aches and pains, mood swings and a body that wasn’t functioning at its optimum best.
However, my tryst with a regular fitness routine did not as much begin with an intent for a healthier body as it was to do with wanting to break through some self-limiting perceptions and attitudes.In the early 30’s , after a few years of marriage and kids and work ,when restlessness set in and a strong need  to break away from the rut of predictable routines  took over , it was time to challenge some  self – perceptions and do the new! With something I had always dreamt of . And I got back to an unexpressed, dormant childhood fascination with martial arts.  I have ’36 Chambers of Shaolin’ seen as a teenager to thank for that deep impact on my psyche! It was quite contradictory to my beliefs about my physical capabilities.

And, here I was – 32 years with 2 kids, a multitude of responsibilities and the minor issue of never having ran even a 100 m race ever!It did not quite fit in. It was too late in life. I had never really been into sports.

Yet, it was sure that if not now, then when? The responsibilities would only increase and so would age. I had to create my own opportunities to do something new, challenge myself, discover my potential  and break some long held self-beliefs. Must have been some good past life karma , but when I was going through the turmoil of wanting to do something more with my life I met Master Kanishka Sharma, the only Indian Shaolin Warrior to have trained at Shaolin Temple,China. The same movie had impacted him too , but he did something about his passion. His is an amazing story of  going after a dream with perseverance , self belief and dedication. In short, my 10 day workshop with him encouraged me to do something about what had always interested me.An year later , a now-or-never mindset gave  the impetus to get in touch with a Third Dan Karate Black Belt and a Kickboxing expert. Excited and nervous, I started training with a motley group of 8 men..mostly training to be guards and some who were just crazy about the art. Not keen on the gym based , musical cardio kickboxing routines, the aim was to rough it out and learn the art. So, without and creature comforts at the training facility (read : air-conditioning!) , bare feet and with a group wondering whether I was at the wrong place, I began to live my childhood dream.

Practice zone at home . Also a venting – machine 😉

Waking up at 4.30 am to hit the 5.00 am class in a school building basement , three days a week- summers or winters – I returned by 6.30 am ,just in time to wake the children and get them ready for school. Those 2 years of rigorous training , sparring and learning to kick ass with a group of tough – as – nails men taught me some valuable life lessons and broke all my perceptions about what I could and what I couldn’t do. 
This single initiative brought to my life the belief that I could do more than what I believed my capabilities to be and that all I needed to do was break through the mental barriers and self-imposed limiting thoughts.
Yea, that’s posed.Ahem.

I had NEVER been happier. Just because I had taken the first step to move out of my comfort zone, live a dream and try something new . Doing something I loved. Thriving in that rigorous , uplifting , bursting with energy workout and loving what it did to my body and soul. High on endorphins and with a renewed sense of self confidence , I knew I had begun my love affair with fitness – and it was going to be my antidote for most of life’s challenges and stresses.

Fast forward to a couple of years later and the urge to challenge myself rose its head yet again. I had discovered that I could be as sporty as the ‘sporty’ person next door.It had all been in my mind! I had surprised myself with my flexibility, agility and aggression on the mat. But could I handle longer bouts of intense physical activity? I had never prided myself with possessing the virtues of will power. I was the sorts who gave up a little too early and easily. Or, so I believed. 
Starting a 21km run.  Without training. Ignorance is bliss.

I introduced myself to Running , starting with a 21 km half-marathon! Not advisable. Not if you haven’t trained for it. But sometimes all you run on can be a dream , adrenalin and sheer will power.

Those 21 km had to be the most torturous and grueling routine I had set myself up for. 
Gasping for breath and water.Not a pretty sight. Barely alive there.

I  ended up losing 2 toe-nails, bloodied feet, screaming – for – mercy muscles, and an agonized body.

But my spirit soared to new heights. Sheer, unbridled joy.

I had not given up. 

All that was needed was the will to break old habits,beliefs and thought patterns. Well, the timing was way more than a trained pro or the regular runners, but it was a start, a glorious start.

The 21 km has since been followed up with shorter runs of 10km and 5km. I am still not in love with running but am starting to enjoy it. And every time I run , I up my self belief a little bit more.


Today , I juggle between at home Kickboxing practice, Running ,Gymming and Yoga. There are days when I fall off the bandwagon and miss exercising for days. But the endorphin high of a glorious workout beckons me yet again and I fall under its spell – a promise of blood, sweat and tears.
And unbridled joy at having broken through my mental barriers and pushing myself yet again.
Some valuable life lessons have been learnt :
1.  It’s never too late to start living your dreams. All you need is to take the first step.
2. You are capable of doing much more than what you think you can. Just give yourself a chance.
3. A regular fitness routine can do much more than just help you reduce weight or give you a toned butt! It keeps those feel-good hormones in a trigger happy mode – firing up your energy, confidence and happiness quotients.

Talk of breaking through….Leaving you with an inspiration in Dr.Ashis Roy!

78 years, running his 104th Marathon – 42 km!


Till the next time I can’t hold myself back from writing, have a super energetic time!


  1.'s pushing me to live my dreams and break MY mental barriers..and I agree- If not now, then when? Thanks for inspiring..


  2. Thats super inspirational Vandana!!!

    Though the feeling of breaking through the monotony of life was there for some time…had recently started following my childhood passions for some time now…but reading your blog has made this feeling much stronger…

    Way to go!!!


  3. Thats super inspirational Vandana!!!

    Though the feeling of breaking through the monotony of life was there for some time…had recently started following my childhood passions for some time now…but reading your blog has made this feeling much stronger…

    Way to go!!!


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