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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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September 2017

The Somers Women's Club, a not-for-profit community service organization, will hold its major fundraiser on Sunday, September 24, 2017 at Reis Park on Route 139 in Somers. There will be a...

Cost: free

Where:
Reis Park
182 Primrose St
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Somers Womens Club
Telephone: 914-302-7231
Contact Name: Beth Ryzyk
Website »

More information

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Join Music from Copland House for their opening concert of the 2017-18 season! Passages explores the sounds of migration, featuring the World Premiere of Fragrances by the Sea by...

Cost: $25, $20 (Friends), $10 (Students)

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mt. Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Sheffield Island with its historic 148-year-old lighthouse, beaches and wildlife refuge offers abundant summer fun for visitors.  From May through September, visitors can board the...

Cost: $25

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water St.
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for a peaceful morning of relaxation and yoga for three Sundays in late September/early October. Taking their inspiration from Mark di Suvero’s kinetic Yoga (1991) on the...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Sheffield Island with its historic 148-year-old lighthouse, beaches and wildlife refuge offers abundant summer fun for visitors.  From May through September, visitors can board the...

Cost: $25

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water St.
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Our founder, Cole Palen, grew up next to a great 1930’s Hudson Valley airport dreaming that he would own and fly the machines he saw overhead and spent the rest of his life bringing the...

Cost: $8.00 - $10.00

Where:
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
9 Norton Rd
Red Hook, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Our founder, Cole Palen, grew up next to a great 1930’s Hudson Valley airport dreaming that he would own and fly the machines he saw overhead and spent the rest of his life bringing the...

Cost: $8.00 - $10.00

Where:
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
9 Norton Rd
Red Hook, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Our founder, Cole Palen, grew up next to a great 1930’s Hudson Valley airport dreaming that he would own and fly the machines he saw overhead and spent the rest of his life bringing the...

Cost: $8.00 - $10.00

Where:
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
9 Norton Rd
Red Hook, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Thursday, Sept. 28. The New York Unit of the Herb Society of America presents the 69th Annual Herb Fair, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at John Jay Homestead, 400 Route 22, Katonah. Admission is free;...

Cost: Free admission; fee for lunch

Where:
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
400 Route 22
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: N.Y. Unit of Herb Society of America
Telephone: (914) 232-5651
Contact Name: Toby Baker
Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

WHAT: Hospice of Westchester (HOW) will host its annual “In Celebration” Gala Cocktail Reception on Thursday, September 28. The special guest speaker for the evening will be Emmy...

Cost: $300

Where:
Westchester Country Club
99 Biltmore Avenue
Rye, NY, NY  10580
View map »


Telephone: 914-682-1484
Contact Name: Holly Benedict
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Our founder, Cole Palen, grew up next to a great 1930’s Hudson Valley airport dreaming that he would own and fly the machines he saw overhead and spent the rest of his life bringing the...

Cost: $8.00 - $10.00

Where:
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
9 Norton Rd
Red Hook, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Every summer, the Seaport Ferry in South Norwalk carries hundreds of hungry passengers to the historic 1868 Sheffield Island Lighthouse for the Norwalk Seaport Association's famous Thursday...

Cost: $65 or $79 per person

Where:
Sheffield Island & Lighthouse
4 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The King of Navarre and his lords have sworn off the pleasures of life to pursue their studies, but can their oaths hold up when a princess and her ladies come to town? Men and women test their own...

Cost: $15.75-$57.75

Where:
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
1601 Rt. 9D
Garrison, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Our founder, Cole Palen, grew up next to a great 1930’s Hudson Valley airport dreaming that he would own and fly the machines he saw overhead and spent the rest of his life bringing the...

Cost: $8.00 - $10.00

Where:
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
9 Norton Rd
Red Hook, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Apple Picking Has Begun! Picking Hours: Our orchard is open daily from 9am - 4:30pm. Festival Weekends 10am - 5pm: 9/9-10 9/16-17 9/21-24 9/30-10/1 Pizza Party at...

Where:
Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Cruise through history and the majestic beauty of the Hudson River We specialize in Weddings and Private Charters Elegance for all affairs 2 Hour narrated sightseeing cruises Customized cruises...

Cost: Adults $22 Seniors Ages 65 and up $20 Children Ages 4 to 11 $18

Where:
Hudson River Adventures, Inc
90 Front St
Newburgh, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Experience the joy of setting sail and shutting off the engine as we sail through Long Island Sound. Sit back and relax or take a turn at the helm, the choice is yours. Sails depart from...

Cost: $20-$40

Where:
SoundWaters
1281 Cove Rd
Stamford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The Faire is a rollicking romp through Elizabethan England complete with 16th Century games, rides, arts, crafts, food, music and dance – set within the majestic groves of Tuxedo Park, New...

Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for military and age 62+, $12 for age 5-12, free for age 4-

Where:
600 Rt. 17A
Tuxedo Park, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturdays from 9am to 1pm! For a real feel of the country drive up Rt. 22 to the John Jay Homestead where you go to market with grass under your feet, surrounded by historic buildings and...

Cost: Food prices

Where:
John Jay Homestead
400 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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