Learning To Walk In 20s, Yoga Expert Eefa Shrof Narrates The Tale Of Her Rebirth
- IWB Post
- June 21, 2018
With a lot of excitement and my earphones blasting off G-Dragon singing ‘Yeogi Buteora’ in the background, I sat down to write this story. The interview was so engaging that it had to be taken across two days. Well, you know my habit of going off topic, lol.
Anywho, I called up Eefa Shrof, a well-known Yoga instructor and fitness expert in Bollywood, the day before. It started off with a FaceTime conversation but then again…. Do I need to specify what eventually happens? Internet breathed it last and we switched to a call.
Eefa has a very inspiring story that will make your lazy bums stand up and want to work out. Now an established fitness guru, Eefa was once left bedridden after an accident that had damaged both her legs.
Here’s what she told me:
So you said you were basically raised in the gym. Do you have gym parents?
Yes. My older brother. He would push me to go swimming while he was working out. I copied everything he did. My beginning in the gym was very casual and fun. I was 15 years old and had just returned from boarding school. My brother told me, ‘if you don’t lose weight, I won’t introduce you to my friends. Can you imagine what was going through my mind then?
I’d panic if my non-existent older brother said that to me.
Anyway, Eefa got her first job as an aerobics teacher at the age of 16 and after that, she was hired to be a fitness manager at a health club in Pune. She was also doing modeling gigs on the side.
Light is a very big word to describe the feeling. I was tired of being under the knife for too long. Surgery after surgery was being performed on my face. When it came to my legs, I couldn’t take it anymore. The facial surgeries were already very painful to handle; there was no way I was going back there again.
I was bedridden, and only one friend of mine would come and hang out with me. She told me to get into Yoga. It sounded silly at the moment, but I just went for it. At that point, I wanted a quick fix without knives involved. It’s like, in the process of aligning my joints together, I was aligning my life back together. In a few months I was walking without support and in a few more, I was running.
It was also hard for your parents. How was your relationship with them then?
I’ve actually written about this in my book. It was this one time when my mom was giving me a bath. Back then our relationship wasn’t on the best of terms. I was really irritatable that day, and I yelled at her. She was trying to hold back her tears but then she couldn’t control herself and ran out of the bathroom crying. I felt so small then. That day I decided that I would take charge of my life and become more responsible. Now, we are the best of friends.
A book? But I heard that you were planning to start a blog.
I will start that soon. The book comes first or else my publisher will kill me *Laughs *.
What was the biggest victory you achieved in those times?
Learning to walk. Both physically and metaphorically. I learned that you should not be afraid to fall. You need to learn to raise on feet again.
And what was the biggest challenge?
I was addicted to being accepted by others. Getting over that was the hardest. If you don’t get over it quickly, it goes out of hand.
So you went to Mysore in search of a Guru. When you found one, he opened up a new register for you. How did you feel?
I was so proud! The register he opened for me was called, ‘National.’ Usually, there were two other registers, ‘Local’ and ‘International’. It was very funny because I was learning an Indian practice, I am Indian and so is my guru. I had no idea how to react, and I was just so dumbfounded.
I can totally imagine Eefa probably squealing at that moment.
You had faced a lot of racism throughout your life. How did you get over all the racist remarks?
The first year was really bad to get over. People would constantly say nasty things about me. Guruji found my name easy to pronounce, and he remembered it, and so did his grandson. Because of this, people made really bad rumors about me. By the next year, no one dared to say anything to me as I was a senior by then.
It is said that it is never too late to start something new. How does this saying relate to your life?
I completed my education at a very late age, and I think I live by these words.
Eefa joined college at the age of 40 and is yet to give one exam this year to finish her studies at ISSA in America.
What was the best college memory you created in the recent years?
Well, I did a lot of distance learning so I would usually travel to give my exams. I did attend a few classes. We had a professor who was posing like Hercules curling his biceps. He just went like, ‘Don’t become muscle obsessed like this.’ We used to make a lot of fun of muscle obsessed people. It was a lot of fun.
You’ve won many certificates. Which was the first one you hung up on your wall?
I’m actually sitting in front of them as we speak. Anyway, the first one I received was for Yoga. It was after an exam on Yoga Philosophy and Psychology. It was super tough because it had Sanskrit and a lot of questions on Sutras. It has so much of my heart in it.
How did you come up with the idea of ‘The 21’?
Well, it was a plan given by my friend who owns a spa. She wanted me to work on a 21-day fitness and nutrition challenge, and I just went for it. I had no idea it was going to be such a huge success.
Now, moving to your blog. How did you come up with the name ‘Dust to Gold’?
Dust to Gold was actually the name of the first session of ‘The 21.’ When I switched on my laptop, I just wrote down ‘Dust to Gold’ without thinking. The whole idea behind it was the saying that our bodies are made of dust. I wanted to take that concept and change our so-called particles of dust to gold.
What is the blog going to include?
I haven’t exactly planned it out, but it will have a lot of delicious, healthy recipes and interviews with fitness buffs be it trainers or celebrities. I want to make it very interactive for my audience.
You train Hrithik Roshan as well. What’s one asana he does better than you?
Hrithik is amazing at what he does, but I cannot flatter him so much. I can’t say that he does a specific asana better than me because I have been into Yoga for 20 years now and he started about five years ago *laughs *. Although I will say that Hrithik inspired me to get into professional fitness training.
Then, what is your favourite asana?
Shish asana or headstand. It helps find solutions to all your problems of any kind.
One song that helps you calm down?
I listen to a lot of Bach. I like Cello Suit no. 4.
One person that makes you breathe heavily? (wink)
Vin Diesel! He is my man! His role in Fast and Furious reminds me of all my dark moments in life.
Lastly, what’s the funniest excuse your celebrity clients have made for missing sessions?
Well, for my one-on-one sessions and The 21, you cannot apply until you agree to 100 per cent commitment to the program, so no celebrity has made a funny excuse. The rules have changed recently for The 21, but earlier women would call me in the morning saying that they can’t come because their daughters are ill. Never their sons, lol. I could easily tell they were lying. They sounded drunk from the previous night *laughs *.
Me: Actually the last question, I promise. From what I’ve read about you, you’ve worked both in Pune and Mumbai. Is it difficult to balance the family time while shuffling two cities?
I don’t work in Pune anymore. Only Mumbai. I visit my parents in Lonavla every alternate weekend. We have an amazing house there. It is almost like a dream. And I also get to see my dogs.
You have dogs too? We have our dogger-in-chief, Poppy!
Yes! That is so cute! Send me pictures of her!
Here’s Poppy, our not so little dogger-in-chief.
And here are Eefa’s fluffy poufs.
I want to end with a little message for Eefa.
It was absolutely delightful getting to know you. You are an inspiration! I wish you all the love and luck for your future and of course, your books which I look forward to reading.
This article was first published in December 2016.