In our new “The Stars Behind the Stars” franchise, Billboard Latin and Billboard Español editors share stories that have yet to be told, directly from those who aren’t often in front of the spotlight. Think “todo lo que no se ve detrás de cámaras,” or “everything that happens behind the scenes.” These unsung heroes are essential to an artist’s team and its foundation. Today, we highlight Yudy Arias, famed yoga instructor and celebrity trainor, who’s been pivotal in Maluma’s career.
Fifteen years ago, Yudy Arias faced a life-changing decision after the birth of her first son, Romeo: to overcome her postpartum depression medically or naturally. Immediately, she began to practice yoga and meditation. Shortly after, all her symptoms vanished, and she felt like herself again.
“That’s how I discovered yoga,” she tells Billboard. “I started studying it, I got certified, and everything for me was for my benefit. When I saw that it had a lot of power, it could change people’s lives, and that it’s a natural medicine, that was where I implemented it.”
Arias, who currently boasts more than 600K followers on Instagram, is not only a famed yogi, but is also Maluma’s aunt — and has been pivotal in his career. In fact, for his 16th birthday in 2011, she gifted the Colombian artist born Juan Luis Londoño Arias the opportunity to record his first three songs: “Farandulera,” “Perder el Control” and “Vámonos de Fuga.”
“From that day on, this whole story changed and the phenomenon of Maluma was born — with his commitment, desire to learn, and discipline,” she notes. “Our relationship is still intact. I have always seen him as a son. I have spoiled him a lot and have tried to make many of his dreams come true because I see his complete dedication and discipline.”
Since, Arias has not only formed part of the “Papi Juancho” team, but has also been key in his physical and spiritual health. Below, learn more about this month’s Star Behind the Stars, our first of 2024.
What are you most passionate about what you do?
Help people to self-discover, to be authentic, to be genuine. I love when people discover and accept themselves, when they are not afraid to be themselves. That’s what I love most about my career. When I see people acting freely without fear, who want to improve and seek purpose, that’s where I say, “Ooh, this was worth it.”
What’s the best fitness and health tip that you’ve shared with your nephew and that he’s applied to his day-to-day life?
Something that has strongly united me and Juan Luis is sports and health. He has lived my entire yoga process side by side. He knows a lot and learns a lot. I believe that the most beautiful thing that I have helped him find and cultivate is meditation. He knows that it’s a very powerful tool that he can use at any moment and use it to his advantage, and he’s done so. That has helped him a lot in many moments of stress and anything related to his career. It’s helped him clarify and be a little happier.
What other Latin music stars have you had the pleasure of working with?
I’ve worked in the homes of many celebrities and have done personalized classes with their families, such as Juanes and Luis Fonsi. I’ve had contact with Ricky Martin — we’ve had a couple of conversations. Thalia is very beautiful and supports me. In Mexico, with many celebrities too. J Balvin has practiced yoga with me, and so have athletes and soccer players. I think I have a very long database of beautiful people that have passed through my life.
One of the unforgettable celebrities with whom I exchanged yoga topics was Madonna. My nephew introduced me to her and I had the opportunity to talk with her about pilates, essences, stones. She knows a lot about the subject and it was a nice and unforgettable moment.
What projects do you have for 2024?
I am very excited because the year started the way I wanted, teaching crowds. I want to take my knowledge of yoga and meditation — and everything that has to do with spirituality — to workshops and places where there are more people. Personalized classes were already an important stage in my life but now I want to expand them to the masses. I have workshops happening in Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Miami.
Also, together with a beautiful team, I am creating an influencer agency to activate music and put it on another level. I say that yoga is an art, it has opened doors for me, and it has brought me closer to many people who have to do with art. What yoga, sports, meditation, and music are, everything goes along the same line. I am involved in some way whether organically or spontaneously. It’s called “Wow Project” and you will soon know more about it.
What are the best health and fitness tips you can offer to someone who wants to better themselves this new year?
The tips for health and well-being are very simple but they are difficult. Remember that the simplest is the most complicated. Drink lots of water. Meditate five minutes a day, and change your dark and negative thoughts for beautiful and positive thoughts. With those three things along with discipline and self-knowledge, you can achieve it.
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