GoRecess Playground Pro: Rupa Mehta, Nalini Method; NYC
Studio: Owner of Nalini Method, NYC
Background: Rupa’s entrepreneurial vision, Nalini Method, was born at New York University’s Stern School of Business. After receiving her MBA, Rupa further cultivated her teaching style and passion through intense fitness training, most notably at the Lotte Berk Studio, Yoga Works, Yin Yoga, and Baron Baptiste.
Called a “pint-sized guru” by VOGUE Magazine and the “Rachel Ray of Fitness” by the New York Post, Rupa has and continues to foster a solid knowledge of specific teaching and exercise techniques that reap the best results. Her signature Nalini Method class combines her enthusiasm and experience within a challenging and results-driven atmosphere. Known for her attention to detail, Rupa is extremely focused on each client’s form, providing instruction and hands-on guidance throughout the hour. Like a personal trainer, her continuous feedback and attentiveness enables each client to achieve his/her individual goals. Rupa’s unique personal teaching style, energizing atmosphere, and small-class size ensure an informative and truly rewarding experience for her clients.
ABOUT NALINI METHOD
What inspired you to open Nalini Method and how do you feel it is unique from other workouts and studios? When I was 21, I started teaching at Lotte Berk, the original barre method, and that’s where I fell in love with teaching. I always wanted to open a studio where people of all body types felt challenged and comfortable taking class. I wanted clients to feel strong, confident and capable. It’s about being fit, not the size you fit into!
Ultimately, I want Nalini Method to be a routine and an environment where clients can get the rapid and targeted results of a personal trainer yet enjoy the energy of a supportive group atmosphere. Nalini Method was born out my love of teaching and people and hopefully that is reflected in all aspects of your experience, from the huge inviting and lit studio to the personalized results to the customer service.
For someone who has never tried Nalini Method, why do you recommend it and why do you think it’s a great workout? We strive to create a complete fitness experience and destination. You enjoy the rapid results of a private trainer within an energized, group atmosphere and welcoming studio. We incorporate the following to always keep you motivated, engaged, and challenged:
- Personalized system: we have a built-in structure that ensures that all instructors will know your name and care for your injuries/concerns.
- Various props: from smart bells to ankle weights, we are always pushing for that extra challenge.
- Constant feedback: Want to focus in on your arms in class? Want to be better in abs? Want to play a song of your choice? Our instructors are trained to deliver results based on your goals.
Our signature class, Nalini Method is an effective and challenging fusion of Pilates, yoga, strength and resistance training, aerobics, and barre work. It's intense, targeted strength training followed by deep, lengthening stretches. The non-impact workout is safe for all body types and various injuries. The workout is designed for people who want to tighten and tone their muscles and increase their flexibility. The method is adaptable for everyone - we modify exercises to ensure a safe and effective workout.
Your favorite Nalini exercise and why? I love lower ab jumps at the ballet barre. I dread them and love them equally!
How would you describe your personal teaching style? My goal is to provide targeted, individual attention within an energized group atmosphere. I try to create a comfortable and safe setting in each class and with every exercise. Making it a point to know each student’s name and if they have any injuries helps me to engage with them easily throughout class. I also believe constructive feedback, a timely flow, energizing music, and variety keeps students focused and challenged.
Most memorable teaching moment? One of my most memorable teaching moments was teaching a diabetic and overweight 8th grader through the NaliniKIDS program. He did not want to partake in class and his teachers had given up on him participating in anything related to fitness. To appeal to him and gain his trust, I spent close to an hour with him where I told him he could ask me any question about anything in exchange for one stretch after I answer—he agreed. We built an unforgettable relationship and at the end of the program, coming in with 200 sit ups, he won a sit up contest against a fellow classmate.
If you could give GoRecess users one piece of fitness advice what would it be? Stick to small, specific and attainable goals. Whether it’s just showing up to class, or 10 push-ups or the longest plank you have ever held, give yourself a goal and an ability to have a victory.
GETTING TO KNOW RUPA
Your proudest fitness accomplishment? This is hard for me to answer, as I feel that I have had many, from my yoga/barre/Pilates training to creating Nalini Method. But, one of my personal and most memorable fitness accomplishments was actually the first time I completed the 6-mile run around the Central Park loop. I was never an enthusiastic runner and had just moved to NYC from Virginia. Having never run far, let alone in areas of NYC foreign to me, it was so gratifying to run around a park I had seen in the movies and had only dreamed of doing.
Your personal inspiration? My mom is my greatest personal inspiration. She inspired my mission:
“I named Nalini Method after my mom, Nalini Mehta because I wanted to create an environment that emanated the feeling I had around my mom― a feeling of being accepted, encouraged, nurtured, and challenged. Through idealistic eyes, I thought that if others could experience even a little of what I was blessed with growing up that the world would be a better place.
My vision for Nalini Method is to create a community for people to connect to their lives. I believe that if we can connect to our greatest bodies, minds and hearts, then we can all collectively transform the world.”
Did you know you were going to start your own business when you went back for your MBA? How has that experience helped you grow a successful business? Originally, while in business school, I had planned to start an ice cream business, based on my mom's homemade Indian ice creams, so a fitness business was definitely not in my plan! I started my business while I was in business school and as a result didn’t have too much time to overthink my next steps. So in looking back, business school was a great confidence boost but not a game changer. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and although I had no money to start a business, I believe that I had been taught the mindset necessary from the school of immigrants!
Favorite workout brand? I like mixing and matching, from tight lululemon pants to tank tops from TopShop. My wardrobe is a bit random.
Go-to workout songs? J. LO gets me pumped!
What do you eat/not eat? I’m not a big diet fan. I like moderation and balance, I find it works best at keeping me emotionally and physically healthy. What can I say, I like kale and I like Shake Shack!
Your guilty pleasure? I have a sweet tooth and could have a dessert, especially a sweet crepe, anytime.
Favorite things to do in New York City? I love hitting the streets with my big headphones and some good tunes and walking for hours, I also love skateboarding in Central Park.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your book, Connect to Your One. After years of training New Yorkers, many with an obsession about their physical weight, I felt compelled to address the discrepancy between physical and emotional weight that I witness in the studio daily. I would ask myself, “How can so many people be physically light and fit, but emotionally heavy and weighed down?” In Connect to Your One, I introduce the simple concept of ‘losing the weight of words’ and connecting to the ONE WORD that inspires and drives your life.
I believe it’s a universal concept—the idea of emotional weight and the weight of words. Our culture often obsesses over physical weight loss, but does not always recognize the power of emotional weight. We think about the food we digest into our bodies, but do we think about the words we digest into our spirits? Could one word have the power to weigh as much as a single scoop of ice cream? Connect to Your One is about acknowledging the 'weight of words' and the impact words have on shaping our identity. What would our lives be like if we simplified our lives into our ONE WORD? Because our society places a huge emphasis on physical weight and fitness, I hope to challenge readers to reflect not only on their physical weight, but on their emotional weight as well.
Why have you chosen “CONNECT” as your ONE WORD? Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to connect. Whether it was joining numerous arts classes and participating in sports with other kids, sharing my toys, constantly inviting people to my house, or talking non-stop to anyone that would listen, I have always thrived on connecting to people, even imaginary people! As a child, I pretended to have more siblings just to play a more connected form of make believe. But beyond people, I continue to ask myself questions about my connection to the world. Why am I the way I am? Why did I choose to live in New York? How do other people grow up? Why did I become a teacher? What are the life experiences of others? Why did I write this book? And it is this drive to connect with people and to my life experiences that makes the word—connect—resonate within me.
When I am unmotivated to teach class, I think of my one word; when I’m uninspired by my life, I think of my one word; when I’m reluctant to reach out to someone, I think of my one word; when I’m planning my future, I think of my one word—my one word motivates, inspires, drives, and guides me. Following my one word is an emotional “diet” plan that keeps me healthy. Being led by my one word makes me feel hopeful and free and allows me to drop the weight of life. My one word is a compass that allows my spirit to manifest into anything I want it to. After all, it’s my one word that led me to connect to you, is the reason I am a teacher and is the purpose of this book.
Tell us about your work with Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Service though the NaliniKids NOW program. I have a deep desire to share the vision and mission of Nalini Method with kids. Thanks to our partnership with NYC Service, a division of the Mayor’s Office, NaliniKIDS is dedicated to implementing our core objectives: Physical Fitness, Emotional Literacy, and Community Engagement in several NYC public schools during the school day. During the highly structured, twelve-week program, middle school students are motivated and inspired, become more accountable, strengthen and stretch their bodies and minds, and discover their power and potential. We teach fitness classes and ONE WORD Workshops in the schools during school hours as a part of their curriculum. My dream is to continue to grow the Nalini Method platform while launching an innovative tween/teen wellness school program nationally.
Are you ready CONNECT? Try a class at Nalini Method today to get an intense, targeted workout in an energizing atmosphere today!