Masked dancing is practised in various forms in certain Asian countries notably India, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Korea, Thailand Malaysia and Sri Lanka as well as among different tribes in Africa. In India, Bhutan, and Tibet masked dancing known as Cham, takes the form of a Buddhist monastery festival where the ritual dance is accompanied by chanting, sounds of cymbals, longhorns and drums with the dancers wearing wooden and brightly coloured larger than life papier mache, intricately painted.
In Sri Lanka, masked dancing which has a tradition all its own is considered a sort of ceremonial dance. Commonly known as ‘Devil dancing’ due to the masks worn being related to malignant beings such as the Gara Yaka, Reeri Yaka, Mahasona and Suniyan Yaka it is believed to have prevailed in the country even before the introduction of Buddhism and is still largely resorted to especially in the Southern and Uva Provinces. The chief characteristic of mask dancing is that all forms are directed to a super human being.
‘’According to folk belief, demons exhort offerings from human beings by sending on them sicknesses ranging from deafness to cholera and other calamities including fear of death.’’
These misfortunes it is believed can be eliminated by proper offerings accompanied by suitable ceremonies. There are 18 physical and psychological ailments known as sanni in Sinhala tradition, attributed to demons. Masked dance healing liturgies referred to as sanni yakuma are adopted to liberate people from these sicknesses caused by unscrupulous hideous demons.
Commonly known as a Thovile, the mask dance itself is the representation of the super natural being by a dancer or a troupe of dancers and the descending of the invoked-being into the dancer, and sometimes even into some of the onlookers. Several forms of mask dances (thovils) exist, each for a specific purpose. A thovil ceremony performed in times of sickness has always been interesting and although elaborate, is merely an exorcism to expel the demon (yaka) by which the sick person is believed to be possessed.
A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of God. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and squares.
A Hindu temple is popularly known as Mandiram, Devaalayam or Devastanam, meaning the shrine, abode or place of God.
For the people on earth the Hindu Temple serves as a sacred place (devasthanam) or a place of pilgrimage (thirthasthalam) and heaven on earth. Functionally it brings gods and humans together and gives them an opportunity to help each other.
Humans make offerings to the Gods and nourish them with food and devotional offerings of prayers, songs, etc., while the gods reciprocate by protecting them from diseases, misfortunes and calamities, removing their difficulties, cleansing their sins or helping them achieve the four aims of human life namely Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
Hinduism has a long tradition and is the oldest religion in Sri Lanka. More than 2000 years of civilization has been proved so far from Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. Hinduism is dominant in the North and Eastern Provinces, where there are predominantly Tamil people. Hinduism is also practiced in the central regions (where there are a significant numbers of Indian Tamil descent) as well as in many other parts as well.
When saying TRX what we’re really talking about is a training method called ‘suspension training’. This has started in 1997 when an old Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick developed a method that allowed for exercising during deployment.
TRX training is about using body weight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX suspension trainer, a performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete the exercises.
What you should know about the workout itself is that TRX is also a form of functional training. And why we like functional training is because the benefits go well beyond your fitness studio. With functional training you don’t just burn fat and build muscles, you also increase your core strength, power and mobility which are needed for virtually every movement of life.
If it’s all about the numbers and/or aim to lose weight, then we have got some good news. A single session of 60-min TRX training at high intensity burns approximately 400 calories. Which is indeed more than what you can expect to burn with all the fancy boutique cycling classes.
And, there’s more to it, we have just the person you can turn to who is also a professional TRX trainer in Sri Lanka.
Q & A
BiZnomics: How did you come up with the idea to start up the breakthrough Studio?
Answer: I have always been a fitness enthusiast. Fitness has been a passion, a hobby, and something I incorporated in my daily routine. I started my fitness journey as a personal trainer a year and a half before I started the Breakthrough Studio. Personal training became tough, I had to commute from Battaramulla where I was residing at the time, to meet about 6 clients a day whom I trained in Colombo. I didn’t see a future in it for me to grow in that area. I wanted to build a brand in fitness using TRX and create a business out of it. Having a little studio meant that I could do just that. And at the same time I could serve more people.
BiZnomics: What qualifications made you the best person for this?
Answer: The biggest qualification I say I have is the love and passion for fitness and TRX. Passion is the biggest qualification you need for anything in life. Other than that I am certified in TRX suspension training, TRX Rip training, and Pre and post-natal training. I also hold a BSc in Food Science and Technology from the University of Victoria, Australia.
BiZnomics: Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being?
Answer:I never had time to follow a morning routine, with work. I used to get only 6 hours of sleep on most days, and I love my sleep so, I never had a morning routine as such. My daily routine includes a one hour workout in between work, and on most days quiet time in prayer, and reading the Bible. Also listening to teachings of Prophet Kirby.
BiZnomics: What is the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur?
Answer: At the beginning of my career as a coach and an entrepreneur, I used to take 7 classes a day, and that I did for about a year and a half. It was a lot of work although at that time it didn’t feel like that. I couldn’t take time off, I couldn’t cancel classes, I knew that my clients were coming with enthusiasm and they had goals and were eager to achieve them. Therefore there was no time in between. I couldn’t find trainers who were passionate about what they did and who would be a part of the studio, until a few months ago. Now it’s a team of three who trains from 6am to 8pm at the studio. Finding individuals who love their job, the people with a passion to serve as you would to your clients who were also committed to what they do, was a challenge and I think it’s a challenge in any business.
BiZnomics: What did you do before starting up the studio?
Answer: I worked as a Senior Secretary to the CEO at Dialog Telecom. Thereafter for my dad, in our family owned business after which I turned into fitness and worked as a personal trainer.
BiZnomics: What is the most difficult thing about what you do?
Answer: Honestly NOTHING!!! This has been the easiest thing I have done ever, and I have the most amount of fun while at work too!!! I love meeting people from all walks of life, I love being able to have a positive impact on their life. Most of my clients have never worked out before, so it’s interesting for me to watch them enjoying a healthier lifestyle. It’s crazy but no, it’s not difficult at all, and I think that’s because I love what I do, and I have a knowing kind of an assurance that GOD has my back. There is ZERO anxiety and stress, when you realize who you are in God. It has never been difficult, even when I was doing 7 classes a day 5 days a week, it wasn’t impossible, I didn’t hate it, I loved it.
BiZnomics: What type of a person do you think should be an entrepreneur?
Answer: Anyone can if they have the right heart, attitude, passion, determination and the will to do it. BUT one must want it.
BiZnomics: What mantra do you live by?
Answer: I have a few;
See the Goodness of God in Every Situation whether it’s Good or Bad!
No matter how bleak the situation is God’s got my back;
There is blessing in the delay;
Always keep your conscience clean;
I am loved no matter what;
It is what – it is just – do it and get on with it!
It’s a mantra I use when I have to get stuff done and I am whining to myself at times, says Ashanthi laughingly.
Answer: I love being a couch potato and watching Netflix with Haren in my free time.
BiZnomics: What do you do to be motivated?
Answer: Spending time in prayer keeps me motivated. Praying in tongues keeps me energized and motivated. It floods me with ideas and creativity. Motivation to me is supernatural. It’s like a gift that fell on me suddenly and it doesn’t cease. I haven’t done anything to keep developing it as such and that’s why it is not normal. There is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm when I think about the studio. It has always been there since I started the studio two years ago.
BiZnomics: Do you think women feel intimidated in business?
Answer: There is no reason why they should, if it is so. It has nothing to do with another person or the business. They have allowed themselves to become victimized by someone else’s action or by somebody. They need to deal with it if they feel that way.
BiZnomics: What have you learned about mentoring others?
Answer: Still learning! Allow them to make mistakes and let them learn at their own pace, but push them to be good learners than fast learners.
Don’t mentor someone unless they want to be mentored, you need a willing heart;
Listen to their point of view;
Admit your mistakes;
Accept that everyone is different;
Don’t judge anyone;
Allow them to grow, and trust their growth;
Teach them responsibility at work.
BiZnomics: Is this your childhood dream?
Answer: YES, it indeed has been a childhood dream to own a business that I built myself, to start small and make it grow, to be a successful entrepreneur, to do something that would have a positive impact on society. To be where I am, I feel blessed.
BiZnomics: Where do you find courage, confidence and motivation?
Answer: In having a relationship with GOD and learning about him through his word, knowing how much I am loved, and knowing my identity in HIM. The secret of ‘success’ in every area of your life is in the ‘WORD’. That’s why I love the teachings of Wow Life Church. That’s what I am and what I want to become!