Meet Our Friend: Rupa Mehta
Q: What is the Nalini Method Story?
I started the Nalini Method 13 years ago in New York City. The signature class fuses barre work, Pilates, strength and resistance training, aerobics, and yoga. Having already trained for years as a fitness instructor, I saw first-hand the role emotions play in our “heaviness” and how emotional weight could make very physically fit people still feel “fat”. I began reflecting on the weight of words and encouraged myself and others to think about the words we digest just as we think about the food we digest. I incorporated supportive language and promoted an emotional diet. Consuming healthy words in their workouts as well as outside the fitness studio, boosted client confidence that spilled into their lives in all sorts of ways, from relationships to work. Strengthening both body and mind, as our weight is a reflection of both our physical and emotional life has been the cornerstone of the Nalini Method and NaliniKIDS story.
Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?
It’s hard to choose, as both of my parents have had such a profound impact on me and my business. But for the sake of this question, I’ll highlight my mother. Nalini Method is named after my mom, Nalini Mehta, because she is the healthiest and most encouraging person I know. I wanted to build an environment in the studio that generated a feeling of being accepted, encouraged, and challenged– the same feelings that I have around my mom.
Q: We love your new book 7 Workouts for 7 Moods! What is the philosophy behind it?
Thank you! The philosophy behind the book is that our weight is a reflection of both our physical and emotional life. Our moods are a result of our emotional weight and if we can use our mood to inform our workouts, we can benefit from a more efficient and effective routine. Each mood workout is easy to memorize, requires no props, is about 20-25 minutes long and appropriate for for any age, body type, or mood you are in.
The first thing you do when you work out with this book is identify your mood. There are 7 moods- anger, energy, stress, happiness, chill, anxiety and doubt – and the book offers checklists and prompts that help you quickly assess where you are emotionally and what your physical needs are in any mood.
Following this comes the intention; you read a mantra or personal story that motivates your mood and movement. And once your mind is prepped, it’s time to move your body! It’s a combination of yoga, barre and strength-training, and at the end of a workout, you bookend it with a check-in with yourself, assessing whether you’ve honored your intention and owned your mood.
What makes this book different than other fitness books on the shelves is that you have the opportunity to become your own teacher, finding your own solutions to feel physically and emotionally light.
Q: What advice would you give someone on making healthier choices in their day to day lives?
For my personal workout evolution, the thing that needed to click in my head so that I started making healthier choices on a consistent basis was associating working out with being in a better mood. And as a result of seeing the emotional benefits, I’ve just stuck to my routine.
I also find that coming up with a personal visualization can help you commit to healthier choices. Picture something that hooks you — for me, imagining a bad mood and being a downer got me to workout. Whether it’s a dream outfit or a hunchback, find the mental picture (positive or negative) that gets you motivated to work hard!
It always helps to find activities that you actually enjoy. I love to play basketball; it’s my go-to, fun workout that keeps me physically and emotionally balanced.
Q: Does Nalini Method have a mantra?
Built to Last. I truly believe that we are all built to last and must find the tools in our own lives that help us achieve our personal goals. That said, all the mantras you’ll find in 7 Workouts for 7 Moods have also informed the Nalini Method philosophy (and every other part of my life!)
Q: What do you love most about traveling? Of all the countries you’ve travelled to which was your favorite and why?
Traveling is such a gift because it gets you out of your comfort zone. Every time I travel I realize that I’m just a peanut in this big world. Exploring via travel makes you a student of the world and a student of your own life. My favorite place that I’ve ever visited is Morocco. Perhaps it was the time in my life that I went or just the unexpected luxury of being a city girl who found herself in the desert spoke to me in a huge way. I felt both centered in my own body and story and yet also incredibly connected to the vastness and possibilities of the world.
Q: What is your favorite on-the-road fitness routine? Any tips for our guests?
It may sound cheesy, but I mean it when I say that the mood workouts in this book are my favorite on-the-road fitness routines. My schedule can be erratic, so the mood workouts are quick, effective, and can be taken on the go. The Youtube playlist we created for Freehand guests is sort of like the “greatest hits” from the book, where you can sample some of the most popular exercises from the mood workouts!