July Spotlight on Sarina Jain and Masala Bhangra®
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Sarina Jain. I am an entrepreneur at heart. People refer me as a global game changer on all fronts. I love all kinds of things from working out to reading to relaxing with friends. I love speaking at different organizations where it makes an impact on people. I love people!
What is Masala Bhangra, in a nutshell?
Masala Bhangra® is an Indian-dance based dance program designed for people of all ages and fitness levels who love to stay physically active. Specifically, it introduces high energy Bhangra and Bollywood dance movements in an easy-to-follow format, and is a mechanism by which thousands of people have been empowered to step out of their comfort zone, become physically active and energized! This program brings out your masculine side with Bhangra and your feminine grace with Bollywood. With the dance choreography directly influenced by the music and dance of modern Bhangra and Bollywood styles, Masala Bhangra® is a fresh and exciting addition to the world of yoga, fitness and dance.
Who is Masala Bhangra for?
Anyone and everyone who wants to get up and move, who is shy, and who wants to change their life!
How did you (your team) come up with the idea behind Masala Bhangra?
I was born and raised in the U.S. to two Indian parents that migrated to the U.S. in the 70’s. Both my mom and dad wanted to make sure that we kids would grow up with the best of what the West has to offer without forgetting the East. Dad made sure to send us to India every summer to spend time with our families and our grandparents and learn to appreciate what the Indian culture is all about. My father was our rock. He was this man that was our friend, yet protector. Dad would always tell us to be proud to be who you are and to respect the culture you come from and to stand on our own feet. Dad was a very proud Indian man living in the U.S. One day, my Mom called to say, “He is not breathing anymore.” My father passed away to a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 47. So, to honor him and his existence and everything he told us to be proud of, I created Masala Bhangra®. I wanted to tell him that not only am I proud to be an Indian woman living in the U.S. but now I teach aspects of our culture though fitness.
What unmet need were you trying to solve?
I was and am still trying to solve why South Asians have the lowest rate in physical fitness and why we have 3 out of 10 doctors in the U.S. that are South Asian. Why is that we can be doctors but not take care of our health?
What are some recent successes Masala Bhangra has enjoyed?
I am celebrating 15 years of this company being born which is huge! It is one of the top 4 brands recognized at all fitness conventions. I just had the honor of gracing American Fitnessmagazine as the cover girl – I did not expect this. I am humbled by it!
How did you deal with setbacks, if any, as a start-up?
You just deal. They will always be set backs, but I knew my mission in life. I found my calling 23 years ago when I started fitness and after my father passed, it became obvious that I was put on this earth to do what I do today! Many people laughed at me. Many people said that this program would not go anywhere. Those same people are not laughing anymore and they are proud. I had to fight through the barriers – even alone because I believed in it that much. Conviction!
How has Jainism influenced your business decisions?
When I travel, I tell everyone very proudly that I am a vegetarian and they are respectful of that. I tell them ahead of time so that things are easier when ordering food for me. But one thing I have learned is that I have to also adjust to what vegetarian food is available. Not all places have amazing food like NYC might so my choices are limited. But I will not change as I believe in that very much.
What brand values does Masala Bhangra uphold? How, if at all, do they relate to Jainism?
The brand values that I hold are of the same. Be true to yourself and be true to others. Give back. Always see the best in someone. Let and let live. As an Indian women, the things that we go through every day, is far more challenging that what men may go through. It is our being that allows us to see the bigger picture especially in those times of need. I do pray every day with the Namokar Mantra as it calms me down. When I am not able to sleep, I say the Namokar Mantra and just keep repeating it until I fall asleep.
Is there a philanthropic/socially conscious element to Masala Bhangra currently? If not, are you considering something in the future?
At this time, I am not, but it is something I am working on for the future. The concept would be of what we go through every day. Something meaningful and also helpful to people.
What is your long-term objective for Masala Bhangra?
This program has been established for the past 15 years and we are growing slowly but surely. We love being authentic and real. We love what we stand for. Everything else will come.
What’s coming up in the next few months for Masala Bhangra?
We are celebrating 15 years this entire year. I will be presenting Masala Bhangra around the world in the next few months – especially in Asia. We have a surprise waiting to be launched but we can’t say anything right now…stay tuned!
How can people learn more about Masala Bhangra?
Of course we are all about social media. In fact, we have a huge event coming up in NYC on July 24th which you all are invited to come. The purpose of this event is to bring people together – all kinds of people of diverse culture. With what is happening in today’s world, love is missing. The beauty that everyone brings to this world is missing and through Masala Bhangra, we aim to bridge that gap. That anyone and everyone can do Masala Bhangra and it does not matter where you come from or who you are!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masalabhangraworkout Twitter: @masalabhangra Instagram: @masalabhangra
Personal Pages: https://www.facebook.com/sarinajain | @sarinajain on Instagram and Twitter
What advice do you give to other budding entrepreneurs?
When you see the light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how much may come your way, it will happen because you said so! It will happen because you believed. You got to have conviction and go for it!
Looking back, what has been your biggest inspiration in success?
People of everyday life influence me to do what I do today. My father and mother influence me for different reasons – my father cause he stood his ground and didn’t care what people thought and gave my sister the best. My mother for how she stand today despite all the stereotypes. She is my best friend and a huge role model to me. Huge! I love this phrase: anything is possible 100%, 100% of the time.
Looking forward, what do you hope to incorporate more of in your life, personally and professionally?
I am always looking to improve my life on many fronts. Even the most famous is always wanting to do more. I hope to make a difference to those who are reading. I hope I can motivate you to get up and start to exercise so you can live a longer life. I hope you do what you want to do today with no regrets! You only live once and you just never know what will happen tomorrow.