Cosmo caught up with Bollywood's favourite Pilates girl, Namrata Purohit, for a quick chat on fitness, Pilates, mental health, Pilates, her go-to exercises, and some more Pilates. "Pilates is intended to do more than merely strengthen your muscles and enhance balance. If you're looking for a way to improve your lifestyle, reduce stress and anxiety, perform better at work, with improved concentration and a relaxed mind, Pilates is for you," says the fitness maven.
While one's initial motivation for engaging in any form of exercise is the physical benefits it offers, over time—especially in the last couple of years—this perspective has changed. Pilates is one such predominant medium of fitness that promotes holistic wellbeing. From its soaring popularity to a few simple exercises for the lazy, non-gym goer, Namrata speaks all things, wait you guessed it, PILATES.
Cosmo: What is Pilates, and how has it gained popularity in recent times?
Namrata Purohit: Pilates is a mind-and-body form of exercise that works on all aspects of fitness. It is performed using specific equipment and can also be done with a mat and a few props. Pilates works on your entire body and is an extremely safe form of exercise that doesn't cause any impact on the joints. It focuses on building strength, flexibility, mobility, stability, concentration, and coordination. Over the years, this mode of exercise has garnered attention owing to its umpteen benefits that work on the mind and body connection. It's a holistic form of exercise that is customised to each person’s needs, goals and, body type.
Cosmo: Can you spell out the physical and mental health benefits that Pilates has to offer?
NP: Pilates, amongst other things, works on the mind-body connection, core and overall strength, flexibility, endurance, stability, balance, coordination, concentration, and breath control. It also relaxes the mind and builds lean body mass.
Cosmo: Why do celebrities practice Pilates as part of their holistic wellness regime?
NP: Since pilates is extremely safe, the chance of injury is minimal. Besides, it can help prevent injuries as well. One need not exercise for hours, a 45 to 50-minute workout is sufficient and will give you great results. Plus, it is relaxing and challenging at the same time! There's no way one can get bored during Pilates, as there are multiple exercises and every routine is different—it's a continuous learning process.
Cosmo: What are the favourite Pilates moves of celebrities such as Kareena Kapoor Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, etc?
NP: I think they all love working out on the Pilates equipment. No two routines are the same, and each one of them is constantly challenging themselves, learning new exercises, and working towards mastering them.
Cosmo: Can practising Pilates give way to a calmer, happier you?
NP: Each routine comes with a set of moves that require you to breathe correctly. The magic of just breathing the right way is what Pilates has gifted us. The music to which the routines are choreographed help boost endorphins and ensure that stress levels go down. For many, engaging in Pilates is their way of meditating—an hour or more of not allowing your brain to think about anything else, but to concentrate on the movement. This consequently leaves you calmer, more focused, and in sync with your heart. During the pandemic, the need to look after your mental health has gone up by leaps and bounds. And, research suggests that Pilates is great for our overall health, helping you disconnect and reconnect with yourself.
Cosmo: Can you suggest a few simple exercises one can practice at home?
NP: Hip lifts, ab preps, obliques, breaststroke prep, and side leg raises are a few great exercises to practice at home.
1. Hip Lifts
2. Ab Preps (with feet on the ground)
3. Ab Preps (in table top position)
4. Breaststroke Prep
5. Obliques (with leg extension)
6. Obliques (in table top position)