Celebrate the Devi in you
Pernia QureshiClassical dancer, performer & entrepreneur
8 min read
Navaratri is a time to celebrate our outer and inner beauty. It that time of the year when we thank the Divine Devi for all the blessings she has bestowed on us. Read on to know how this Powerful Entrepreneur and classical dancer Pernia Qureshi celebrates the Devi within in her!
What does Stree Shakti mean to you?
Stree shakti to me means the power of being a woman. The gender is so powerful in its physicality and in terms of everything a women goes through. A woman is not only physically strong (especially when it comes to childbirth) but emotionally and mentally tough too.
For me, strong women are realistic and grounded. They know they are capable but are also confident to ask for help when it’s needed. A strong woman is ready to fight for what she believes in and does not fear judgment. Her love is boundless and she’s ever grateful to those who support her. A woman’s strength can also be seen in her compassion, integrity, humility and quiet confidence. Most importantly, she is not selfish and true to herself.
How would you describe UR relationship with the 9 Devis?
These 9 devis are the beautiful avatars of the goddess and I think every woman has these different avatars within her. Every woman is bestowed with courage, passion, beauty, determination and so on. Just as the devi has avatars – all women have them too. They are manifested in the different aspects of a women’s life and in different ways. The goddess represents every woman, because women too possess the same virtues of love, beauty, motherhood, sexuality and fertility. Women have unlimited potential and can move mountains if they decide to do so. They also have the power to inspire other women to do exactly the same.
What Devi Shakti avatar do you most relate to & why?
A woman may have to grapple with many internal and external demons in her life. This curbs her freedom. There are many women who constantly battle the demons of low self-esteem, fear and lack of self-confidence. I feel women should decide to be like goddess Durga. If she does, there will be nothing to stop her from living life on her own terms and she will be able to take on the world. Women should aim to slay each one of her demons so that she can settle and resolve any issues and be at peace with herself. I feel there is nothing more lovely and amazing that the beauty and courage of a woman.
What role do performing arts play in one’s mental well-being journey?
As I’m a dancer, performing arts is the most important part of my life; it not only gives me joy but perseverance too because I have to work very hard to be able to perform. I think dancing is really good for mental health as well. This is because when you work hard towards something and strive to achieve a goal – it makes you happier! There is also a release of endorphins which is cathartic. Dancing mentally and physically stimulates me and helps me emote effectively. For me, it’s a holistic beautiful experience!
What is UR fitness regimen or go-to exercise to stay mentally & physically fit?
I would say dancing. Fitness and dancing are closely linked. I do Kuchipudi and also free style dancing for fun, to stay fit. Yoga too helps me stay mentally and physically healthy. Dancing helps me tone my body. It is also very therapeutic.
The different body movements and postures practiced during dance help to strengthen my legs and thighs and keep my body supple. The foot work helps to relieve stress, pressure and anxiety. My spine too benefits from dancing due to the different postures that help to keep my back erect. Additionally, dancing helps me maintain a svelte body.
How has dance helped your body – why do you consider it your superpower?
Dancing has enhanced my muscles over the years that are now almost permanent because I’ve dancing since I was a child. Dance helps to make my core strong. Indian classical dance really strengthens the lower half of the body – so it benefits my hips, legs and thighs. It also makes me a lot stronger! Dancing keeps me in high spirits and helps me have a positive outlook.
What gives you the most strength?
My parents’ support and their belief in me is my source of strength. Also, what gives me strength is my education. That is why education is so important – it gives you a lot of courage and it gives you a lot of freedom to do what you want! I feel blessed to be healthy and blessed to live the life I am living. I can do what I want and I know everybody doesn’t have this. It just gives me a lot of strength to do something with my life because I’ve been given this opportunity to do so.
What is your relationship with food and what is your diet like?
Unfortunately, my relationship with food is not the healthiest. I am very fond of junk food which I know is terrible. But slowly over the years, I’m trying to change these bad habits and get healthier – not just to get fit and to look a certain way, but because I think healthy food makes you feel really good as well. I want to experience that on a daily basis.
What has dancing taught you in life and how did it help you heal?
Dance has taught me that perseverance is key! It helps me stay motivated and committed to my goal. I believe you can achieve anything with hard work. Sometimes I try a routine that my gurus are teaching me and in the beginning it seems impossible. But two weeks later or one month later, I do it so well! So dance teaches me that anything is possible with hard work. It also teaches me discipline. With discipline there is more focus which helps me to do what I need to do to achieve my goals.
How do you celebrate the devi within you?
I celebrate the devi within me by taking care of myself. I ensure I get enough sleep. I eat well and do a lot of things that are ‘me time’ activities like going for a massage or getting my nails done. I actually take out a lot of time for myself. Putting yourself first is not selfish. It helps me to stay energized and helps build my confidence. It puts me in a better frame of mind which in turn helps me to take better care of the people around me.
What’s your message to the world to stay optimistic during Covid-19?
I’ve had my highs and lows during this pandemic but I think it’s not a time to panic. Find a balance. Ensure you are very careful but at the same time not panicking. Find the strength to lead your life and move on and ahead, because we don’t know for how long this disease is going to be around. So you can’t stop your life. But at the same time don’t be too flippant about it either and don’t forget to be mindful of all the necessary precautions so that you are safe.
Focus on solutions and live in the present moment. Don’t overthink things and challenge any negative thought that you may have. We are all in this together so it’s best to consider this as a learning experience and try to train our brain to be positive by cultivating gratitude.
What is your powerful message to all the wonderful women who are inspired by you?
Just know that everyone is human. Do your best and don’t worry about the result. Though I have many imperfections I still go ahead and do what I want to do. So don’t let any kind of doubts stop you – go ahead and do whatever you love! Take control over your life and don’t harbour any negative feelings. Be courageous and know that you have the power within you to do what it takes.
What do you consider your blessings?
My blessings are definitely my family and the amazing childhood I’ve had. I think when you have a beautiful family and a good childhood that foundation really takes you far in life. You can really build on it so well and I’m ever so grateful for that.
Five women U admire
1. Oprah Winfrey for being such a great role model for women.
2. Michele Obama for her strength, grace and really inspiring me.
3. My gurus Radha Reddy & Kaushalya Reddy for their beautiful journey and the name they have given Kuchipudi.
4. My mother – She is grace personified. I cannot be more grateful to anyone in this world for the childhood she’s given me.
5. My grandmother for teaching me and helping me experience unconditional love.