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Ten Minutes With Helen Ansari

A Fitness Expert



Photo by John Rizzo

Helen Ansari has been in the fitness industry for more than 40 years and recently celebrated 30 years at the Saw Mill Club where devoted fans flock to her yoga and Zumba classes. She taught herself to dance by watching television as a child in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and was a “Prancing J-Sette” at the University of Jackson where she first started teaching aerobic dance. The former Miss Black America and breast cancer survivor is the mother of two daughters and grandmother of four.

How did a cancer diagnosis at 42 affect your approach to teaching fitness?
You can’t give in to the heaviness of depression or feeling sorry for yourself. Positive energy is contagious and that is what drives me. Fitness is more than just jumping around—it makes you feel lifted. When I started working at the Saw Mill Club, I felt I had been given a platform to be used by God to help others find harmony and balance. You need to feel good to truly be well and that is what I focus on every day.

Where does yoga fit in?
It’s my lifeline. Yoga is an adjunct to cardio and weight work, one part of a triangle for a complete holistic workout. Think of a wool sweater that you accidentally threw in the wash. The fibers shrink and lose elasticity, and while the sweater is still strong, it’s not at all what you want. Your body can be toned and strong, but if there is no flexibility, you can’t be free to work through all your joints. You need to keep an even flow of energy to deal with what life hands out. The flow has to be there to be creative and productive in whatever you do—whether it is raising your children or running a corporation.   

You talk a lot in your classes about the three ingredients in wellness.
The first one is patience: love, kindness, and nurturing yourself are equally important. The second is observation: listen not with your ears, look not with your eyes, feel not with your body, but have an internal dialog about how you are feeling. The third ingredient is ability, being able to accept what you are capable of doing in the moment. That’s when you get to a place of surrender. When you get there, take a deep breath. Then another. Meditation becomes your medication.

When did you get interested in Zumba?
I was invited to my first Zumba class at a fitness convention in 2008. Turns out there were 700 other people in the class and that’s when I got the bug. In 2012, Zumba Headquarters in Florida asked me to be one of their Zumba Gold Education Specialists for New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Zumba Gold is a modified version for people who don’t want—or can’t jump around and have an intense workout. It is also good for those who have been deconditioned, due to an injury or illness. I have a group of 20 to 30 seniors who come to my class every week and they have the best time. My two daughters are also licensed Zumba instructors so it is truly a family passion. 

What is your personal workout? 
I combine yoga stretching and Zumba dance with weight training. I’m turning 65 this year and I thank God every day for my health and ability to help others improve theirs.

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April 2018

Join us for a captivating concert of cantatas by Scarlatti, Handel and Vivaldi featuring the “utterly riveting” (The New York Times) and in-demand American countertenor Anthony Roth...

Cost: $20, $35, $50, $65

Where:
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
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Sponsor: Caramoor
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Contact Name: Caroline Andrews
Website »

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Registration Closes: Friday, April 13th Jenna graduated from F.I.T with a degree in Fashion Design. She started her career working for the high-end Accessory Brand, Isabella Fiore and later moved...

Cost: $155.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
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Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

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​NEWDAA, the North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance, hosts its annual Interfaith Service this year in Katonah.  Join community members, local clergy and government representatives...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Katonah United Methodist Church
5 Bedford Road
Katonah, NY
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Sponsor: NEWDAA
Telephone: 203-356-5405
Contact Name: Patti D'Agostino
Website »

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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
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Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

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"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
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Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

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Lecture by Dr. Courtney Doucette, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Connecticut College. This talk explores the material, political, and cultural challenges of collecting Soviet art during...

Cost: $10 non-members; Members and students free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

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Learn about building structures resistant to earthquakes with toothpicks and marshmallows Tuesday, April 24th from 4-5 PM For kids in grade 1-3 Registration is required To register,...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Join us for a FREE lecture! In the U.S., back pain is the second leading symptom driving patients to their doctor’s office. Degenerative conditions of the spine can lead to chronic pain...

Cost: Free

Where:
HSS Stamford Outpatient Center
1 Blachley Road
Stamford, CT  06902
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Sponsor: HSS
Telephone: 203-705-2956
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

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Come see Edith+Eddie, a 2018 Academy Award® nominated best documentary short film, followed by a panel discussion of esteemed experts in the fields of estate...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Ferguson Library
One Public Library Plaza
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: SilverSource, Inc.
Telephone: 203-324-6584
Contact Name: Kathleen Bordelon
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Join Grace Farms Foundation and New Canaan Library for an insightful conversation about global policy and America’s potential for growth and leadership with retired United States Army General...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation & New Canaan Library
Telephone: 203-920-1720
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill  celebrates "Music of Scandinavia" in a concert combining the Festival Chorus and professional Chamber Chorus, led by Artistic Director David H. Connell....

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay Center’s...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
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Website »

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Ages: K-5 Registration Closes: Wednesday, April 25th In this workshop, Lil’ Dreamers will have a ton of fun learning marbling techniques while creating their own unique papers.  Each artist...

Cost: $30.00

Where:
DayDreamer Studio
@ The Yellow Monkey Antiques
792 Route 35
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: DayDreamer Studio
Telephone: 914-977-4243
Contact Name: Nicole Mata
Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Ayurveda is thought to be the world’s oldest healing system and is referred to as “mother of all sciences.” It encompasses life in its totality and epitomizes a true body-mind...

Cost: Free

Where:
Katonah Pharmacy
202 Katonah Ave
Katonah, NY
View map »


Sponsor: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
Telephone: 914-875-9088
Contact Name: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
Website »

More information

Saturday, April 28th at 3:00 Rated PG Open to everyone, no registration required For questions, please call the library at 914-669-5161 or email at keelerlibrary@wlsmail.org To learn...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

By donating your perennials, pots and planters to the library to be resold, you will be minimizing waste and giving your unwanted perennials, pots and planters a second life. When spring arrives...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-274-7206
Contact Name: Cynthia
Website »

More information

WHAT: As part of its 2017-2018 concert series, Friends of Music will host Brooklyn Rider on Saturday, April 28th. The breakout ensemble, whose performances attract legions of fans from classical...

Cost: $35

Where:
Kusel Auditorium at Sleepy Hollow High School
210 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

"3EXHIBTS 6ARTISTS" a series of three shows featuring two artists each, started in March and it will continue until June.  Second  exhibit will open on Friday April 20...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Oak&Oil Gallery
89 Katonah Avenue
Katonah, CT  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Oak&Oil Gallery
Telephone: 914-232-8100
Contact Name: Giovanna
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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