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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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June 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
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Website »

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As part of The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program Digging Deeper series, “Skillful or Showy – Placing Ornament in the Garden.” Join gardener and antiques dealer, Barbara...

Cost: $30 Garden Conservancy members; $35 nonmembers

Where:
Garden of Barbara Israel
296 Mount Holly Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program staff
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Alan Sklar, a well known voice actor, will be reading short stories by Neil Gaiman. Alan Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for over twenty-five years, voicing radio/TV commercials and VNRs,...

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
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Alan Sklar has been a freelance voice actor for over 25 years, voicing radio/TV commercials and VNRs, narrating everything from audio books and documentaries to thousands of corporate and medical...

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 »

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The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

The 2018 Mountain Jam Festival will feature the best in indie, alt-country, alt-rock, folk, funk, and local talent to Hunter Mountain, June 15-17. The fest will also feature yoga, local...

Cost: $110-$255

Where:
Hunter Mountain
64 Klein Avenue
Hunter, NY  12442
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

For it’s final 2017-18 Main Stage production, The Schoolhouse Theatre presents a new play from the multi-award winning playwright Deborah Savadge. The Dog in the Dressing...

Cost: $38

Where:
Schoolhouse Theatre
3 Owens Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

For it’s final 2017-18 Main Stage production, The Schoolhouse Theatre presents a new play from the multi-award winning playwright Deborah Savadge. The Dog in the Dressing...

Cost: $38

Where:
Schoolhouse Theatre
3 Owens Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

A quartet of Brooklyn percussionists with a passion for new music, artistic collaborations, community service and engagement, and artistic education, Sō Percussion makes their Caramoor debut this...

Cost: $12.50-$46

Where:
Venetian Theater
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

For it’s final 2017-18 Main Stage production, The Schoolhouse Theatre presents a new play from the multi-award winning playwright Deborah Savadge. The Dog in the Dressing...

Cost: $38

Where:
Schoolhouse Theatre
3 Owens Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

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:
Somers Library
82 Primrose St
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


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

More information

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate the start of summer vacation at the Homestead’s Family Outdoor Movie Night featuring The Princess Bride. Enjoy dinner from popular food trucks.  Kids activities...

Cost: $10 per car

Where:
John Jay Homestead
400 Jay Street
Route 22
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

The big glitzy musical Sister Act fared better than the original movie. It received four Olivier Award nominations for its original stage production at London’s West End Theatre. It...

Cost: $59-$89

Where:
Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

For it’s final 2017-18 Main Stage production, The Schoolhouse Theatre presents a new play from the multi-award winning playwright Deborah Savadge. The Dog in the Dressing...

Cost: $38

Where:
Schoolhouse Theatre
3 Owens Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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