A cup of hot coffee, a warm blanket and a sedentary day lazing in front of the fireplace may sound like the ideal way to spend winter but there are a few who believe in working things off, come what may. One such example is Pakistan’s leading and certified Zumba instructor, Dosti Zahra Jafri.
While for many the concept of Zumba – a dance-based intensive cardio workout – is still relatively new, Jafri’s expertise (not to mention her international certifications) have given her a clientele who swear by her work, which of course has always stayed a cut above others.
“I was studying in the US on an exchange semester when I fell in love with Zumba. When it was time for me to return, I knew I had to bring it back with me. I decided to get licensed and started my classes in Karachi in 2012. At that time, there were only 2-3 other Zumba instructors all over the country so I was definitely one of the first few to bring it here,” Jafri shared.
However, with the concept being new to the Pakistani market, only a few understood the essence of Zumba at first. Nonetheless, her client list grew tenfold in the coming years as awareness of her aesthetic grew.
“Over the years, I built a loyal following where clients would stay with me for years. Needless to say, I saw them go through major life changes, including graduations, first jobs, weddings, and babies! However, at first, there were many people who didn’t understand Zumba at all. Most people thought I was teaching a dance class; however, Zumba is a dance-based intense cardio workout, which burns between 400-800 calories in one class.” she exclaimed.
With Zumba becoming a huge trend for those into alternative workouts in the last few years, Jafri’s interest into newer modes of workout regimens grew as well as she ended up doing further training such as Bootcamp, Step, Barre, Bodyweight and HIIT certifications in Thailand and the UAE over the next few years. Now, the fitness expert is all set to introduce prenatal and postnatal yoga to her mix, which for many Karachiites is a new concept once again.
“Prenatal (pregnancy) yoga is a great strength and stamina-building practice during the second and third trimester. So I decided to get my Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Certification so I could work with all my new and expectant moms. A lot of women tend to leave their exercise completely while they’re pregnant due to lack of awareness and options. My classes are perfectly safe for women who are beginners or even avid exercisers,” Jafri shared.
Explaining the actual benefits of delving into such workouts during pregnancy she added, “There are many benefits to working out during your pregnancy. Upright positions practiced during this class can help reduce discomfort and help your contractions be more effective. Prenatal yoga also increases blood supply, benefiting the baby. It can also help with common pregnancy ailments such as nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness, and general lethargy. My class also focuses on breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation. We also work on the pelvic floor and positions for the optimal foetal positioning of the baby.”
Despite reservations by many families over working out during pregnancy, Jafri feels that such alternatives will bring more awareness into the society and lead towards progress in understanding pregnancies and what one can and cannot do.
“I definitely see progress. There has been a general increase in knowledge with regards to fitness. More and more people are realizing the importance of movement and exercise in their lives along with eating well. This will definitely convert to more women looking for safe workout options during their pregnancy as well,” she shared.
Jafri trains at Studio X at Bukhari Commercial on Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 AM-11:45 AM.