Ananya Birla: I practise mindfulness before stepping on stage each time

Updated: Oct 09, 2019, 07:56 IST | The Hitlist Team | Mumbai

Five musicians let us in on how physical dexterity enhances their act on stage

Ananya Birla
Ananya Birla

Ananya Birla

I can only give my all on stage [if I can] feed off the energy of my fans, and for that, I need to be fit and in the right frame of mind. I practise mindfulness before stepping on stage each time. I work on my stamina, and on a good day can go on for 90 to 120 minutes. If I’m too tired before a show, and go on stage breathless, I can go off note. So fitness is an important part of my routine. As a child, I would swim. I took to the gym later, and also do a mix of boxing, pilates, and yoga. Meditation is a big part of my life.


Over the last four years, the aim has been to feel good instead of focus on losing weight and adding lean muscle.

Arjun Kanungo


When one must perform for two hours in a show that has you jumping and dancing, while singing, you need to be fit enough to keep your voice steady. Also, if your energy drops, the crowd can instantly sense it. I have been physically active since childhood. My mother is a Commonwealth Games medallist, and I too have been a three-time national level medallist in pistol shooting. I have also been a national level basketball player. So there isn't a phase in my life where I haven't been training or playing a sport. The skills you develop as a sportsman train you to be disciplined, and encourage you to learn new things.

I joined the gym when I was 14 years old, but before that, I have practised basketball, football, cricket and shooting. Over the years, I started adding weight-training and cardiovascular training to my routine. But, I lose muscle when I practise the latter, and hence prefer high intensity interval
training, where you work out for short bouts of time. In a week, I'll hit the gym three times, play football and basketball one day each in a week, and also practice one of the three: Taekwondo, running or skipping.

Shekhar Ravjiani


Hitting the gym regularly helps me not only pull off energetic performances, but also recover faster from the physical strain of the show itself.

After years of putting my work before everything else, including my physical well-being, I thought it was time to set the balance right.

Working out is a mood-lifter and puts me in a positive state of mind. It makes you feel more capable of managing stressful situations. Creativity is much easier to harness when you feel good from within.

For the last six months, I have managed to keep up an unbreakable routine, regardless of the travels, shows, or even the jet lag. I've noticed that sticking to a programme has made the real difference. The only way to make it a habit is by doing what you enjoy. You've got to find happiness in the process too.

Neeti Mohan


As a performer and singer, I need my breath in control all the time, and I need to keep my core activated while I sing. It was in 2013, while preparing for Bombay Velvet, and belting out jazz songs, that I had to execute diaphragm breathing. Singing utilises different muscles, especially the core and diaphragm. If I can keep the muscles strong, I can perform better. This is especially required with fast songs, like a rap, or those that need to be belted out in a high pitch. Also, when you are someone who must also dance on stage, breath-control and body posture are essential. For over 15 years, I have been actively dancing and training. I also perform yoga and aerial silk, which includes inversions.

Number of years since Mohan actively took to training

Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan

As a frontwoman, on a show-day, I will practise yoga and breathing exercises, because, if I don't, I won't perform to the best of my ability. It opens up my chest and lungs, and [mobilises]my body. The more I work-out, the better I sound, and the more agile my body is on stage. I grew up with an actor-father [Kamal Haasan] who was known for being fit; one who did his stunts.

As a child, I constantly saw him prepare for roles by creating a [muscular] body, gaining or losing weight, and learning stick fighting or MMA. That motivated me. On the days I don't train, my state of mind is negatively affected. I perform cardio, flexibility exercises, and yoga.

There is always a 30-minute fitness component to my day. Regardless of whether you are an instrume-ntalist or a frontwoman, physical dexterity is required in this profession.

World Mental health day special

Anany Panday: Social media needs most cleaning

ananya Social

As the country celebrated five years since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Campaign, Ananya Panday used the opportunity to draw attention to social media platforms that "need the most amount of cleaning". With an array of celebrities increasingly talking about the incessant trolling that one can be subjected to online, Panday, under the #Swachhsocialmedia campaign, urged fans to refrain from abusing, or tolerating trolls. "Even one person realises that s/he shouldn't post something vile owing to my campaign, I'll feel like I've [achieved something]. We love having idols, and as an actor, I know there are a lot of young girls out there who [will] copy me," says Panday, well abreast that even at the age of 20, she is setting an example for teenagers.

Over the past three months that the actor took charge against bullying and mental harassment with her platform So Positive, Panday has understood the crucial role played by individuals who share their stories. "We've received videos of people's personal experiences as they attempted to encourage others. A particular video about an [aspiring actor], a Bengali, being subjected to mocking due to his accent, has gone a long way in inspiring others," says the actor, also pointing out that soon after she launched So Positive, Instagram too took a stand against trolls. "They made changes to their policies. If you are about to post anything that's hurtful, you will get a notification," says Panday. On her part, she switches off from social media and spends time with her loved ones, whenever she's overwhelmed with the trolling. "It is the best medicine."

Also Read: Shruti Haasan spills the beans on her ex-boyfriend and what the relationship taught her

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  • 1/17

    You've heard of people working out together but did you know Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan practise yoga together? The Nawabi couple does a form of yoga called Yin Yang Yoga or Partner Yoga. How is Partner Yoga beneficial for couples? It enables in creating harmony and balance and enhancing an understanding of one another. Kareena and Saif practise for an hour and fifteen minutes. This form of yoga is tailor-made for couples, says their personal trainer.

  • 2/17

    Saif Ali Khan, who adopted the practice of yoga from his wife Kareena Kapoor, invited his 'Cocktail' heroines, Deepika Padukone and Diana Penty, to join him during his yoga sessions on the sets of his home production. Saif took a fancy for yoga on the sets of Tashan. Not only did his romance with Kareena start on the sets then, but he also managed to lose some kilos, thanks to the gruelling yoga sessions.

  • 3/17

    Malaika Arora is 46-years-old and the mother of a 16-years-old son. Who would believe that? Malaika maintains her svelte figure by practising yoga regularly.

  • 4/17

    Instructor Anshuka Parwani used to help Malaika Arora get closer to her fitness goals as she combines the best of aerial yoga, aerial Pilates and aerial fitness into one power-packed hour for a full-body workout.

  • 5/17

    A fitness freak and an ardent advocate of yoga, Shilpa Shetty credits her weight loss, after becoming a mother, to yoga and working out. She maintains her svelte figure by practising power yoga. She even launched her own DVD in which she demonstrates several asanas which can help people lose weight the right way. The actress has even launched her holistic wellness app called the Shilpa Shetty App. She wrote, "This app will help you achieve your fitness goals with curated diet plans in a holistic way with new and easy ways to lose weight" while describing it on Instagram.

  • 6/17

    An ardent advocate of a healthy lifestyle, Lara Dutta too has yoga DVDs to her credit. She has been practising yoga for many years now (more than a decade). She started in New York during her Miss Universe days. She has tried different kinds of yoga from Iyengar, Ashtang and Hathayoga to Aquayoga.

  • 7/17

    Bollywood actress-turned-columnist and interior designer Twinkle Khanna shared this adorable picture of her daughter Nitara practising yoga with her. Known for her wit and sense of humour, Twinkle Khanna warned the yoga guru Baba Ramdev of competition from her little one. She tweeted, "Baba Ramdev you have some tough competition coming your way as Baby Nitara learns all the moves #YogaFilledLife." 

  • 8/17

    Well, even Sherlyn Chopra has a DVD to her credit which is a mix of weight training, gymming, yoga, functional training and martial arts.

  • 9/17

    Riya Sen is a certified yoga teacher and trainer. The sultry actress says yoga transformed her life and gave her inner peace and is keen on extolling the virtues of yoga than acting. She has been posting a lot of pictures and videos on her Instagram page, with an intent to inspire more and more people to practise yoga.

  • 10/17

    Kangana Ranaut swears by yoga and it has changed her life. In an interview to Vogue magazine, Kangana said, "Yoga is a gift and I actually think that I have survived due to it. Through meditation, pranayama and yoga postures, I could vent out a lot of restless energy. It brought a lot of spiritual and physical balance in me and I think it helped me gain qualities like perseverance and patience or controlling my impulses. I think I lasted and survived and could achieve all I have because of yoga."

  • 11/17

    First, Kareena Kapoor Khan got good friend Tusshar Kapoor to try out power yoga classes. Later, the actor got his sister Ekta to try it out as well. Tusshar alternates between weight training and power yoga and does two sessions per week to keep fit.

  • 12/17

    Tusshar Kapoor performs a Fly-Fit pose at Anshuka Yoga studio. His instructor Anshuka Parwani shared this image and captioned it, "The #AirFit inverted #ButterflyPose #Baddhakonasana helps to open up that groin, inner thighs and hamstrings while working that core with all the benefits of an #inversion. #aerialyoga #painful #destressing #bandra #strengthening #balance #peace #bloodcirculation."

  • 13/17

    Huma Qureshi too practises yoga. Her instructor Anshuka Parwani shared her image and captioned it as, "Huma Qureshi performs a Fly-Fit yoga pose at Anshuka Parwani's yoga studio!"

  • 14/17

    Yoga has not only helped Jennifer Aniston maintain her slim frame, but has also proved to be a positive influence on her to quit smoking. The FRIENDS actress attends at least 5 yoga sessions in a week.

  • 15/17

    Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen spends her mornings practising yoga for an hour with daughter Vivian by her side. She posted this picture online along with a message, "Practising yoga with my little partner before going to work."

  • 16/17

    Popstar Nicole Scherzinger keeps herself fit by doing yoga. Nicole, who has in the past confessed to having dealt with bulimia - an eating disorder - now seems to be leading a healthy lifestyle. The singer even posted this picture of herself doing a perfect split mid-headstand on her Instagram account. She captioned the image with a piece of advice for her fans, "Monday morning #yoga! Never stop stretching and challenging yourself. First headstand!".

  • 17/17

    Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr has a body to die for and guess how the dimpled beauty maintains it? By doing yoga for 30 minutes daily.

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