Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

‘Fitness is 360 degrees — mind, body, and spirit’: Yash Birla

"For everything that I do, spirituality is the foundation. Whether it’s my work, my relationships, my fitness..there’s always a base of spirituality." said the business tycoon and author

"I first got into physical fitness when I had gone to pursue my education at The University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill." said Birla. (Source: PR handout)

While working on his first book — which was meant to be on fitness — Yashovardhan Birla realised he had so much to share, especially in the realm of spirituality, and one book would not suffice. So, the chairman of the Yash Birla Group, decided to “publish a book which could be my life story till a particular age” — which was published as On a Prayer.

Now, after eight years, he is back with his new book ‘Building the Perfect Body: On Body Building, Diet, Fitness & Wellness’ that focuses on fitness, spirituality and lifestyle.

In an exclusive conversation with, Yash talks about his philosophies of life, health, and everything in between. Edited excerpts below:

When did your fitness journey begin?

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When I was 13 or 14, I used to be very intrigued by spirituality and would read a lot of books like the Bhagavad Gita. So, my journey towards internal fitness began at a really early age. When it comes to physical fitness, I got into it when I was pursuing my education at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. There, it was a lot of hard work, I studied a lot. During my little free time, I would go into the forest and listen to Bhagavad Gita chants.

Then, I also decided to explore the gym, because going to a bar every evening like the others was not my preference since I didn’t drink or even touch alcohol. The gym was such a lively atmosphere; I got very inspired being there. So, I started working out, too, and saw a difference in my appearance in just 10 days. Once I start seeing something become better, I don’t like to regress. So I kept on working out, and now I’m here in front of you after so many years still doing the same thing. 

You released your first book, an autobiography, in 2014. What inspired you to write your second on wellness?

Shobhaa De, a close family friend, told me a fitness book from me could really inspire the youth. I told her I would love to do it, but that I wasn’t a writer, and she suggested that we could find someone I could speak with and who would help with penning down the book. So during these sessions, while talking to the writer for the fitness book, I started talking about spirituality and my beliefs, and the writer told me that there was so much more to me than fitness — and that we should publish another book which could be my life story till a particular age. So that’s how my first book On a Prayer came to life, and then we decided to do the fitness book later. After that, time passed, and finally the fitness book has come to life now.

Birla is the author of two books, ‘On a Prayer’ and ‘Building the Perfect Body’. (Source: PR handout)

What did you enjoy the most about the creative process while penning the same? 

I love being photographed, and I love getting into the creative aspects of that. I love telling the photographer how to click me, not just for the looks, but so that the reader gets inspired in the right way to be fit, because I really believe fitness can help everybody. It’s not just about your looks, but everything about you. So to be presented in the right way for the book was important. 

What is your idea of fitness?

For everything that I do, spirituality is the foundation. Whether it’s my work, my relationships, my fitness…there’s always a base of spirituality. I know spirituality doesn’t exactly tell you to go to the gym, but it does tell you to be fit and to keep your body healthy and strong. The most important thing to remember is that fitness is 360 degrees — mind, body and spirit. So, to stay fit physically, the form of exercise I like the most is weight training. But it is also important to take care of your mind and spirit with pranayama, meditation, introspection and spiritual books. 


What is the one takeaway you hope your readers to have from this book? 

Fitness is not only related to your body, and I know you probably think I’m going back to the mind and spirit aspect — but it also has to do with self confidence. A lot of pressure, stress and ailments arise because we lack confidence in ourselves to be able to conduct our day to day life in certain areas. But fitness helps you overcome those limitations, makes you realise what your limitations are and makes you accept and work on them. It also helps with focus — if I’m at office and getting distracted, I know the technique for how to get myself back and be centred, because of my pranayama, weight training and meditation.

Even eating healthy is so important, what you do in the gym isn’t going to manifest till you eat fresh and healthy food that isn’t processed. Junk food is okay sometimes and as long as there’s a balance. I believe all these things help you in every facet of your life. You can think more clearly, speak more confidently. We all go through our anxieties, but being fit all around — mind, body and spirit helps you overcome the anxieties much quicker, because exercising is linked to your hormones.

I’d like to say, please motivate yourself to follow some passion of yours that links body, mind and spirit. I’m not saying go to the gym, you can do your exercises at home, you can do yoga too which is great. But you will realise the benefits of any of these only when it’s gotten into your whole system. The benefits are way beyond what we can even perceive.

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First published on: 26-09-2022 at 03:10:21 pm
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