Fitness - a word with as many meanings as those who follow in it’s pursuit. It’s a word we’ve inherited from the world, filled to the brim with all the things it stands to mean, and stands to be. And yet, there are some who’ve made the word their own in a way we can only begun to see - feel - understand. To say that Tanvi Mehra is one of them, is irrefutable. Guided by her love for dance and yoga, she went on to start Tangerine Arts Studio - a physical embodiment of her definition of fitness. We got chatting with her about how she chooses to define the word, how she has found a place for it in her life, and sought out advice for all those standing at the forefront of change.
HG: How does a typical day in your life start out?
TM: I wake up pretty early, freshen up and head out to teach yoga. This is my routine 7 days a week. I teach till early noon and then come back home to rest before my classes resume in the evening.
HG: What brought you to start Tangerine Studios? According to you, what is the one thing that separates it from similar spaces?
TM: The lack of a space dedicated to everything I love i.e. Dance, Yoga and Fitness. Earlier one would have to travel to one point for a class and another for another class, which resulted in a great waste of time, energy and money. People lose the inclination to do things if it is not convenient. At Tangerine we provide convenience by way of bringing different teachers from different fields under one roof. Tangerine has personality, warmth and a soul and that will always differentiate us from others.
HG: You practice and teach Yoga. What does the yoga way of life mean to you.?
TM: Be good, do good. Its simple and there are no two ways about it.
HG: Of all the different fitness classes at the studio, which is your jam, and why?
TM: Dance is my first love and I look forward to the different dance workshops we organise fortnightly with my dance friends/teachers namely Mrigakshi Jaiswal, Shazeb Sheikh, Rohit Behal, Trishita Sengupta, Hemanshi Choksi and Virali Parekh. Hip hop, Jazz Funk and Contemporary are some of the dance forms that work really well at our space. Infact, I am most lucky as often I fall in love with a song and tell my friends to choreograph a routine on it and they come up with stellar routines. We end up repeating their workshops twice due to the success and demand rate. I also really enjoy the sheer grooviness and music of the House dance class by Elvis Mascarenhas, that is a weekly feature at our space.
HG: When you need to get time outside to work out, where do you go and what do you do?
TM: Put me under a tree and I’ll be most happy. I love practising at my farm Tanpura, which is a 2 hour drive from Bombay. It is a space surrounded with mountains and greenery and thanks to my lovely parents, I now have a massive Yoga deck there where I can do a self practise and organise yoga retreats. Parks and a beach would be great too for an outdoor practise for which I usually like involving partner yoga work or vinyasa flows.
HG: How has your view of fitness changed over time?
TM: Earlier I would reject everything that was remotely fattening or unhealthy and NO was my favourite word. This just stunted my personality growth and made me difficult to be around. The greatest lessons I have learnt through my mistakes, and not through books or others experiences or advice, is to strive to be perpetually fit over being perpetually thin. Yoga gave me this clarity and balance.
HG: What is body confidence to you? Has anyone ever said anything to you that made you change the way you thought about your body/ body image?
TM: I will never forget this teacher I had who would pinch my waist fat each time I was in dance class and it made me want to starve and lose more weight. The opinion of others, especially my teachers, mattered most to me but not anymore. I have learned to accept myself - weight or no weight. I guess I am just a happier person in general so all this doesn’t affect me anymore. There are bigger things to work on and I am invested more on the inside that the outside.
HG: If you had to break down fitness to five core elements, what would they be?
1. Sleep enough and get to bed early
2. Wake up early
3. Eat sensibly every two hours
4. Get away from everything digital
5. Learn to breathe well
HG: Often we see people buy memberships for months, and hardly make any use of it. What have you found is the trick to sticking to a fitness resolution?
TM: Find a good teacher/coach/instructor and put all your trust in them. They will help you deal with procrastination, excuses, lethargy, fatigue and lack of willpower. Also pay as you go or pay for a month instead of 3 or 6 months at a time, this will save your hard earned money.
HG: If you were to pack the studio into a suitcase, what would you take with you?
TM: Carry a mat and you can conquer the world. You can salvage your entire being on that mat as it nullifies the impossibles.
HG: Your go-to yoga asana for when you need to shake some stress off? You love to dance too right?
TM: Headstand + Shoulder stand + Plough pose + Fish pose + Corpse pose in this order for a few minutes each and tadaaaa you feel like a new person. Hell ya I love to dance anywhere and anytime. When in doubt - dance.
HG: What’s a big life goal you’re still working towards?
TM: Time management haha.
HG: Your go-to workout playlist?
TM: Hip hop gets my soul.
HG: Favourite cheat dish?
TM: Cheese garlic anything
HG: What would we find on your breakfast tray?
TM: Load of fruits, coconut water, eggs, nuts, poha, koki, lime and honey water.
Beginner’s 101: Tanvi’s 5 essential fitness exercises
1. Cat and cow pose
4. Backbends + forward bends
5. Breathing exercises
Photographs by Akshay Tambe