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Bollywood Dance

Creativity was not what I thought would be the greatest demand of my 31-day exercise challenge. I actually thought it would be about time: How would I find the time every day to exercise?

But, really, there’s always time if you’re willing to work around the details of the rest of your life, and there was the rub.

As I wrote earlier, I had planned to start off 2016 meeting a challenge to do some sort of meaningful exercise every day for the 31 days of January.

A quick overview of that story: On January 2, I got sick. The End.

Fast-forward through a couple tissue boxes, about 20 lemons, several ounces of bulk tea, a number of different cough remedies, and a seven-day detox—just because—I was fully cleansed, somewhat lightened, and mostly cough-free. It was time to get back on the challenge train.

And it was, indeed, a challenge. I had already been exercising three or four days a week, but adding those extra days was a killer. I was taking a couple yoga classes a week at different locations, and walking when possible, but winter in New Hampshire—even our strange, mostly dry winter this year—is hard to face sometimes. A walk in driving sleet, for example, is daunting. And getting to the gym during the workday wasn’t always practical.

So I added a nighttime class—something so outside my experience up to that point that I knew it would keep me interested if I could handle it: Bollywood dance. Wednesday nights saw me bhangra-ing and shoulder-shimmying to energetic Indian music with Aisha, a patient and fun teacher. The remaining few days’ exercise came as I filled in around my classes, walks, firewood-stacking sessions, and wood pellet–moving days with self-taught yoga sessions at home and at least one living-room “dance party.” (Yes, it was a party of one.)

It wasn’t easy, and I admit that some days my exertion didn’t meet my minimum standards, but I moved. Every day. And having to come up with opportunities to exercise each day forced me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Finding the Bollywood class alone was worth the 31-day commitment.

In fact, I’m still taking the class. And my “flicks”? They’re getting pretty good.


Donna Moxley

Donna Moxley is the former managing editor at