What’s the first impression on hearing the word ‘Zumba’? People working out in a non-traditional way, breaking the monotony of the gym? Yes, but did you know Zumba can help someone heal internally?
For this Ranchi girl — Sucheta Pal — Zumba turned out to be a very effective form of rediscovering herself. An engineer who decided to pursue a career in dance, she now is the lead Zumba Education Specialist in India.
“I call Zumba the happy drug – Sucheta Pal”
Stressful work hours, odd sleeping patterns and unhealthy food habits took a toll on her health, causing a setback in self-confidence and pushing her towards anxiety disorder.
Excerpts from the interview with SheThePeople.TV:
“Dance was my only cure. All ailments vanish when I am on the dance floor. Quitting a cushy corporate job wasn’t an easy choice, but equipped with a passion and a strong will, I decided to embark on a journey of professional dance training at 25,” Sucheta echoed.
Women always have a choice. We can throw in the towel or we can use it to wipe the sweat off our face. We, women almost always choose the latter.
“To survive it all and earn my three Vada Pav meals a day I ended up doing odd jobs. Working for an NGO to sell books for a commission, managing karigars in a Dharavi factory for a fashion house and transcribing cassettes. In 2009, a move to the US changed everything. I discovered Zumba on a cold winter morning in Connecticut,” she recalls the days of uncovering her love for Zumba.
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Three aspects — Managing work, family and personal time. Together they make you who you are. The formula to success is incomplete if one is missing or one overpowers the other.
Taking The Zumba Route
Sucheta shares, “An 8 am Zumba class had 80 participants and a slightly overweight instructor whose size was no one’s worry. She was inspiring the 80 of us to move to foot-tapping International songs and we were smiling right back at her as were sweating out the 800 calories. I was instantly hooked and never looked back.”
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Amidst all this Sucheta found her true calling, “For the next three years I trained in every possible format of Zumba and taught across the state of Connecticut as a licensed instructor. In 2012 April, I received a call from Zumba Miami headquarters to audition for the role of the lead Zumba Education Specialist for India. It was the life-changing moment which brought me back to my country to re-launch Zumba in May 2012 and since then it’s been a challenging yet immensely satisfying role.”
Today, my team has 10 master trainers and my 4000 Zumba Instructors all my babies make my family and we are striving to inspire one Indian at a time to a healthier and fitter life.
The Success Story
Her personal journey of becoming the first Indian to be the Global Brand Ambassador and additionally a Business Advisor for India is intriguing. Sucheta now leads the country and the rest of Southeast Asia, officially, as the Master Trainer. And, her stint let her explore different sights and leisure too.
“I have been lucky to have a role to educate and it has taken me to the beautiful places,” an ecstatic Sucheta said.
Setting fitness goals, being disciplined towards the regime and constantly striving for strength gives a different high.
“People say it’s lonely at the top, but if you’ve been good to the people by your side on the way up it’s an amazing party. I have a long way to go and one of the major challenges I’ve faced is a frog in a bucket mentality in the country. If we all understand that the industry is small and we are on the journey of growth then we will realise that by working together we will reach the destination faster,” claimed Sucheta who was recently featured on exclusive Zumba television series.
A 60 minute Zumba class results in an average of 500-800 calorie loss, giving an individual cardio and muscular endurance benefits. But Zumba is more than just a workout. It’s a lifestyle.
So what is the core passion and long-term vision? Sucheta says, “My core passion is recognising talent and ability in a person that they themselves may not be aware of and help them bring it out for the world to see. I’ve had this opportunity through my work today and the vision is to create a nation of true leaders in the fitness and health industry. I’ve had the privilege to create an opportunity for alternate careers through Zumba where from a housewife to a teenager, from a corporate professional to a 65-year-old all have taken up this path and are in turn inspiring much more.”
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Sucheta has had an impact on her family too. Her mother-in-law who is 65 had been diagnosed with arthritis, took to Zumba two years back, and is now one of the most loyal and loved students. “My most cherished moment was when she joined me on stage for a Cumbia Zumba song. Never after that have I ever made an excuse about not achieving a goal because of age.”
Tips for working women: Let the heart decide the destination and the mind chart the journey. Emotional Quotient is the strength we need to harness to create value for the society we live in.
Women and Zumba
When asked about Women and Zumba, Sucheta thinks, “More and more women are taking up this fitness routine for more reasons than one. They get to shed their inhibitions and get to initiate a fitness journey in an inclusive environment of love and care with similar like-minded individuals.”
Talking about her achievements so far, she added, “I’ve had the pleasure to train and license the now almost 4000 Zumba instructors. And this is only the beginning! ”
Prescription For Mental Health
The effect on mental health? She believes, “It’s endearing to see so many transformational stories not just of physical transformation but more importantly for mental health. I cannot think of a better example to drive home the point than my own personal journey overcoming social anxiety disorder with Zumba. Today, this happy drug coupled with my will power has given me the strength of the mind.”
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Today, this workout is being taught in 185 countries by licensed instructors across the world, giving not only physical benefits but huge psychological once too. Zumba fitness in a gym as a class offering, warm up for marathons, Breast Cancer Zumba Awareness initiatives, Zumba in the club, or simply a Zumba dance-fitness party is one of the many events taking over India.
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