Namrata Purohit, in one of her Instagram posts, wrote: “Push your boundaries, let go of your inhibitions. Reach new heights, there are no limitations.” This sing-song, rhythmic caption seems to be the mantra with which she lives her life.
A serious accident introduced her to the world of Pilates when Purohit was a teenager, and she has not looked back since. In fact, she said that Pilates was the “closest thing to magic that [she] experienced”.
In a recent interaction with indianexpress.com, the 28-year-old — who has trained actors like Sara Ali Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and others, talked about the basic principles of Pilates and myths associated with it, the roadblocks she faced in the initial days of her career, how one can ensure overall fitness, and which celebrity she has most fun doing Pilates with, among others.
You have been doing Pilates for many years now, tell us about your journey. How did you start and what got you interested?
I started Pilates when I was 15. I had a bad fall from a horse and it destroyed my knee. I had to immediately undergo a surgery. Post the surgery, I did a lot of things to get fit and feel pain-free, but nothing seemed to make me feel 100 per cent.
Around that time, my father Samir Purohit was hosting a Pilates course in Mumbai and I begged to be on it. Four days into the course, for the first time in a year, I was absolutely pain-free! I even went back to playing squash and played nationals that year. Pilates was the closest thing to magic that I experienced and I felt if it could help me, it could help a lot of people.
What were the challenges and roadblocks you faced in the initial days?
The initial challenge as a studio was to make people aware of the form of exercise. There were a lot of misconceptions associated with Pilates; people thought it was just for stretching or that it is only for women, and things like that. We had to gradually break these myths and convince people to give it a shot. The good thing is, once they tried it, there was no going back!
Besides Pilates, which other form of exercise do you love and would recommend to others?
I love electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) training. I think it is an incredibly smart way to train and get the best out of your body in a limited amount of time, and without causing any impact on the joints. It works the entire body in one go, and if done correctly, it can be extremely beneficial for people at all fitness levels, including those who may need rehab, sports personalities and more.
It is a 20-minute workout done once or twice a week, depending on the needs and requirements of each individual.
What are the basic principles of Pilates and what should a beginner know?
There are five basic principles we follow while performing the exercises, which include the breathing principle and core engagement, as well as complete control and alignment of the body.
As a beginner or someone [who is] new to Pilates, I would recommend starting slow, understanding the movements and the machine and being patient. Pilates, as a form of exercise, focuses a lot on posture, alignment and form. It also works every part of the body and each and every muscle — some of which you may never have felt before. It takes a little time to understand the principles and start performing the exercises correctly. In fact, the more you understand, the better is your own connection with the body, and the more you feel each exercise.
Over the years, have you had to bust many myths with regard to Pilates?
There are many myths that we have had to bust along the way. One myth is that Pilates is only for women; actually, it was started by a man for men at war. Another myth is that Pilates is only for flexibility or is slow. While, yes, Pilates does make you focus on the form, it works on every aspect of fitness: strength, endurance, balance etc.
You have trained many celebrities — who is the most driven and disciplined?
I honestly feel all the celebrities whom I have trained have been extremely disciplined and hardworking, making my job a lot earlier! Each and every one of them is super-focused, knows they have a goal to achieve and gives it their best shot.
Who enjoys doing Pilates the most and makes the session interesting and fun?
This is a really tough question, but I think Sara [Ali Khan], Janhvi [Kapoor], Kangana [Ranaut], Dhvani [Bhanushali], Aditi [Rao Hydari] and Ileana [D’Cruz] at the moment are enjoying Pilates a lot. They are the true ‘Pilates girls’!
A lot of people want to lose belly fat; what would you advise them to do?
I would first tell them to not look at the scale too much or obsess over it. Look at the overall fitness, include a mix of strength-based exercises like Pilates, cardio; eat well (not less) and sleep well.
Besides exercising, what are some other key health factors to consider?
Key health factors other than exercising are [having a] good nutritional plan, good quality sleep and rest. It is important to balance all these aspects to be healthy and to achieve your goals.