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The Next Fitness Guru

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Actress Pia Lindstrom, Amy Butte, CEO of NYSE and model Megan McKenzie are some of her clients and Rupa Mehta, founder of the Nalini Method, is certainly making people run through hoops with her own combination of yoga, pilates, aerobics, ballet and resistance training.

Mehta, whose parents are from Ahmedabad and who grew up in Virginia, majored in finance and accounting and was headed for a career in investment banking.   Then she used her MBA for this unusual career.

She trained at the Lotte Berk Studio, besides getting yoga certification from Yoga Works and Yoga Alliance and barefoot training with Stacie Lee Kraus. This east-west mélange seems to go down well with her clients - she has over 600 of them, and is being featured in Vogue and Oprah magazines in the coming months.

The fitness routine that she has created, Nalini Method, is named after her mother to honor her parents, who have always been accepting and have supported her every step of the way, even when she gave up solid career choices to go out on a limb with her fitness studio startup.

"They're a huge part of the business, like any Indian family," she says. "In the beginning they sewed the mats with me and even packed off all my cousins to come for the classes!  They're just so proud of me. My dad cried and introduces himself to the class - it's a real family atmosphere, like in the TV series "Cheers" where everyone knows everyone else."

While many fitness studios are not too friendly and people with out-of-shape bodies can feel intimidated, Mehta says the Nalini Method is about acceptance "My mother is so accepting of everyone that I wanted to create the same atmosphere of love and acceptance for everyone. It' s a small town feeling in a big city. People love it!"

Mehta's studio near Central Park West in Manhattan is abuzz with activity and she practices what she preaches - it's the active lifestyle for her and no crash diets. She says, "I love teaching even more than I love fitness. I just love sharing it with people in the class."

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Odds & Ends | Magazine | July 2006

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