Last week, I checked into Pure Yoga's Upper West Side studio to experience one of Rupa Mehta’s legendary Nalini Method workouts. Rupa is the petite firecracker and founder of the Nalini Method, which blends Bar, yoga, Pilates, and resistance training. It’s known as one of the toughest, most efficient workouts in town among Manhattan’s hard-core fitness aficionados.
Although the Nalini Method is a killer workout, Rupa's amazing energy (she's only had coffee once in her life, a Frappuccino) and nurturing enthusiasm helped our class breathe our way through the non-stop high-reps, resistance training and stretching poses. The Nalini Method is known for its small classes (the limit is 17) and laser-like personal attention. Each student has a name card at their barre position, and Rupa had learned everyone’s name before the warm-up began. And while Pure is a plush, uptown sanctuary, Rupa’s vibe is more Brooklyn-casual as she taught our hour-long class in gold high-tops and super comfy capris.
Rupa’s regulars are accustomed to a challenge and not one person flinched when we kicked off the mat arm exercises, wearing ankle weights, and did twenty push-ups. Given Rupa’s yoga pedigree, which includes teacher training with Baron Baptiste, she’s also serious about alignment. Rupa spent ten minutes after class helping the only male in class with his form. It's small studio attention, in a super studio space.
Rupa has a loyal following of Nalini aficionados (mostly women plus a few brave men, too) who got hooked on Nalini at her former UWS studio or at Sag Harbor’s Yoga Shanti (home to Rodney and Colleen Saidman Yee). As of September, Rupa joined the Pure family, so you are going to need a Pure Nalini membership to experience Rupa's thigh-trembling, ab-exhausting, arm-toning, butt-lifting workout. With Rupa's nurturing, bubbly personality and track record of top-notch results, Pure must be thrilled to have snatched up the Nalini method (and its effervescent founder) into its arsenal.
We caught up with the sculpting sage about the "Nalini" significance, the mind/body connection, and her pilot fitness program in Brooklyn schools.
MBG: You're a successful entrepreneur and a graduate of New York University's Stern School of Business. When and how did you realize your passion was fitness and the creation of the Nalini Method?
RM: My parents were a great inspiration for me in becoming an entrepreneur. I always knew I wanted to have my own business and I knew I wanted to name that business after my mom, Nalini Pinak Mehta. I wanted to create an environment that emanates the feeling I have around my mom, a feeling of being accepted, taken care of, nurtured and challenged. And, I feel with Nalini, I can accomplish that.
As for fitness, one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given was the ability to teach. It has changed my life personally and professionally. In any realm, I am ultimately a teacher and my mission is to inspire transformation and the fitness community has been the ideal place to do that.
Your fitness background includes yoga, Pilates and Lotte Berk classes. How did your yoga practice influence the creation of the Nalini Method?
I love the mind/body connection piece of yoga. Yoga is about presence, alignment, posture, awareness of others and sense of self. And, these are all aspects of Nalini Method. Nalini Method’s focus on personal attention as well as using poses and exercises that strengthen, stretch and lengthen the body make the class a great fit and compliment for other Pure Yoga offerings.