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★FitStars: An Interview with Hemalayaa Behl

2008_04_03_YTC_Hemi_Core_0695If you’ve never done a Bollywood workout DVD with Hemalayaa Behl, you really should give it a shot. The videos are fun and goofy, and more about enjoying your body and dancing than perfecting a routine. It’s shocking to me that Hema once felt “goofy and uncoordinated” doing aerobics classes, yet she can actually move her hips while the FBGs cannot. But she does give me hope that with practice, I could at least improve upon my booty-shaking skills. Hey, a girl can dream. Read on for our interview with Hemalayaa Behl.

FBG: How did you transition your dance training into fitness videos? How did you get started on the path to making Bollywood workout videos?

Hemalayaa: I taught myself dance by closing the curtains, playing music and going wild—letting myself be silly, play and dance. I wasn’t into going to a gym to exercise. I couldn’t do aerobics classes—I felt too goofy and uncoordinated. I wanted to find a workout that inspired me and made me feel really good. I continued to dance in my living room. It motivated me enough to get off the couch, so it was good enough for me. Bollywood music inspired me so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. I thought there must be others like me who want something fun in their own homes; that’s where the transition into making DVDs happened.

FBG: Do you plan on doing more yoga DVDs? Does yoga influence your dance-based workouts?

Hemalayaa: Yes, I have a new yoga DVD coming out in early 2009 called Yoga for Everyone. Yoga influences everything I do, so yes, it is infused in all my workouts. I believe yoga brings a balance to every aspect of us: body, mind, spirit. It is a perfect enhancement to dance and movement.

FBG: Any advice for dance-challenged women with no rhythm?

Hemalayaa: I will share with you that I was born very uncoordinated and clumsy. I learned to move the way my body wanted to and not try to look like someone else. That helped me get out of my head and into my body. Do what feels good, not what I think looks good. For those who are doing the DVDs, my advice is, try it over and over again. You will get it. I promise! And dance for fun by playing your favorite music and going for it! Right now I am hooked on “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé.

FBG: What other workouts do you do beyond dance? What’s a typical week look like for you?

Hemalayaa: Walk, walk, walk. I try to walk every day, even if it’s only a few blocks. I hike about once a week. I stretch first thing in the morning, before I get out of bed, to get my body ready for the day. Then I go to about one to two yoga classes a week at the neighborhood studio. Or do my own practice of about 15 to 20 minutes every day. I go to a free-form dance evening or a dance class about twice a month.

FBG: What kinds of music do you like to work out to?

Hemalayaa: I love hip-hop. Bhangra—Punjabi folk music—especially mixed with hip-hop tracks. Pop—I don’t listen to the radio much, but I occasionally hear certain songs that catch me and I get hooked on. They inspire me to make up fun moves.

FBG: Any tips for staying fit on the go or when traveling?

Hemalayaa: I’ve had to incorporate and create a lot of traveling stretches on planes, cars, etc. Most importantly, remind yourself to breathe and drink lots of water. Then try to stretch while seated or at the airport. Neck stretches and twists are great ones that are almost un-noticeable to others. On my way to India and Thailand a few years ago, I brought my yoga mat, plopped it down in different waiting areas (airports, ferries, buses, etc.) and did some practice before taking off. I had a few strangers join me, and that was nice.

FBG: We are huge fans of Ellen DeGeneres.

Hemalayaa: AMAZING!!! She is a beautiful ally for teaching people about health and wellness. And, she does it with such charisma and humor; what a gift! I had a wonderful time on the show, and everyone was really sweet.

A big FBG thanks to Hemalayaa for answering our burning questions. Although I don’t believe it, I love how for a moment she makes me believe that with practice I could improve my elk mating-call moves. I also love how un-self-conscious she is regarding workouts on the go. Anyone who can whip out a yoga mat in an airport gets a gold star from the FBGs … what a stellar idea! —Erin

Don’t forget: We’ve got an astounding FIVE copies of Bollywood Booty to give away this week. Leave us a comment in yesterday or today’s post and you’ll be entered to win!

If you missed it, check out yesterday’s review of Hemalayaa’s Bollywood Booty! Check out the Bollywood Dance Workout while you’re at it!

Not a winner but still interested in seeing Hemalayaa in action? Check out Bollywood Booty on Amazon!

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Every Gym's Nightmare says:

    Great interview!

    Kelly Turner

  2. R says:

    Great interview! Thanks for introducing me to her & these DVDs. Def will check them out.

    She was hilarious on Ellen!

  3. Erica says:

    So cool! I’d love to try this workout! I love her traveling workout tips!

  4. LJK says:

    I’m going to go check it out. If she really was uncoordinated at one time, maybe there’s hope for me!

  5. imadedinner says:

    very cool!! THanks for a great interview!

  6. David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com says:

    Dancing is a fantastic form of exercise. What is great about it is that it really is fun (or at least it can be). I enjoyed the interview almost as much as your interesting website. I looking forward to coming back to see what you’re up to.

    – Dave

  7. Amelia says:

    Great interview. I’ve already got one of her DVDs in my netflix queue!

  8. Emily says:

    I am always up for new means of exercise!

  9. ModelBehavior says:

    This was fantastic! Thanks so much!


  10. Sagan says:

    Ooh ooh can we get entered in the giveaway twice if we comment on this post and the last one? Hehe:D

    Great interview- she sounds so real. That’s very encouraging. And am just so happy that she adores walking too.

  11. Tish says:

    lol i shouldn’t like hemalayaa…she’s way too perfect. i mean who closes the curtains and learns how to move that way?! it’s unnatural! but i love her…sigh.

    i want in the drawing!!! me me!

  12. ala says:

    that’s great, thanks..

  13. pseudostoops says:

    I, too, am goofy and uncoordinated. This is why dvds are such a good choice for me- my living room doesn’t have an audience. I’ll be sure to check these out!

  14. Shawna says:

    How fun! Great interview!

Comments are closed.