Mumbai: With nothing but a mat and a laptop, Dolly Singh defies the notion that only those with svelte figures can rule the world of online fitness videos. Singh, who has never been apologetic about “occupying a little more space in the world”, started posting her yoga videos on her Instagram account ‘yogaforallmumbai’ two years ago.
The 34-year-old Mumbai-based media professional soon shot to fame. Now, she has a 1,000-plus followers on Instagram with over 200 yoga videos to her credit. “Why should I feel bad about occupying a little more space in the world? If I couldn’t do things because of my weight or body, then I would have not been like this.
“My body doesn’t stop me from going rock-climbing, travelling and doing what I really love — yoga,” Singh told PTI. Singh discovered yoga accidentally. Four years ago, while nursing an injured foot, her doctor advised her to shed some weight. Singh, who is 4 feet 11 inches, hired a trainer and went on “all possible diets” which brought her weight down to 66 kg from 90 kg, but eventually started feeling mechanical about the whole process.
She also tried Zumba and running before stumbling on yoga. “Because I was always active, I was fit. Three days into the yoga class, everybody around me started noticing that I could do most of the stuff. But I didn’t know the strength of my body back then,” Singh says.
She then wanted to go for private training, but fees were exorbitant, and finding the right trainer was difficult. “Because my body is big, I can’t trust everybody. Half of the people are looking at me and thinking, ‘can this girl even do it?’” Singh said. She then started watching yoga videos online. “It was almost like having your own teacher.”
It has been nearly two years since Singh started doing yoga regularly. On weekdays she does “routine sequences” and during weekends, she heads to parks in Bandra. “When I started doing yoga, it totally surprised me that I could do these postures… It was scary, too, initially. I was doing postures which I didn’t think I could.” Singh is aware that there are trolls who do body-shame women, and says there “may have been” judgemental stares when she started doing yoga in public.
“The reason for taking this to park was not that I wanted people to see a big body person doing this… There is never an agenda, to do yoga so that five people would talk to me,” Singh says. “I am doing this because it made me a different person. I have changed, I am more confident about my body today and have no pressure of ‘log kya kahenge’ (what people will say).”
All fitness teachers need not possess a “magazine cover” body, she feels. “If there are different kinds of bodies, why should teachers all look the same? Someone who doesn’t have a belly can’t teach a person with one how to do a headstand.
“As women, we wear certain things and wonder, does it look good on me? We try a new lipstick and say, does this look good on me? The word ‘good’ then spreads — If I talk like this, is it good? If I have an opinion, does it look good? We need to get over this ‘looking good’ validation,” she says.