Neither of us was the sporty girl growing up. We both attended all-girls boarding schools where sport activities were compulsory. Almost all options were competitive sports – lacrosse, netball and athletics. We approached these lessons with dread and with the knowledge that we would be chosen last, have the slowest 100m time, or fall flat on our faces after a hurdle. The whole experience put us off exercise altogether. Six years after graduation, we decided to give it another go.
Two different body types meant two different needs. I was underweight and particularly weak, having just left a high stress job and Shaleena was overweight and uncomfortable in her own body. I started with a beginner Ashtanga yoga course at Triyoga (www.triyoga.co.uk). For me, yoga was the first time that I’d actually felt strong. My scrawny arms gradually managed to handle chatarunga – and since then I’ve been hooked. Shaleena became a gym regular and started with both Zumba and yoga classes. Now she’s there five times a week, full of confidence and proudly shaking her perky bum.
For sportswear, shopping together was a bit of an issue. We had such different requirements and struggled to find clothes that were fun, supportive and well priced. Cogs started turning and we started thinking about creating our own line. Coincidentally, we were also both spending a lot of time in India. Shaleena was working with a photographer and I was helping my sister plan her wedding in Goa. We would frequently discuss the dire state of women in the country and the constant danger that even we felt walking around Mumbai. Reading the Times of India was just depressing; the rape stories never seemed to subside.
When we got back to London, I was reading ‘Start Something that Matters’ by the man who started TOMS shoes. When I put it down I made a promise to myself that I was going to do just that. Bella Kinesis combines both our love and belief in personal fitness and our need to address the issues faced by women worldwide. We believe in ‘strength for strength’. Let’s all have a stronger, happier and healthier new year.
Shaleena & Roshni
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