We all have health issues, and more so, when you reach a stage where you hesitate to disclose your age to either friends or colleagues.

Health experts across the globe keep insisting on eating the right kind of food, body posture and sleeping pattern.

Anjana Parikh speaks to Nisha Srivastava, a certified Pilates instructor, about how important it is to take control of our body and the food we eat.

Then, what is Pilates? The most common question that comes first in one’s mind is does it work on the lines of yoga. According to research, Pilates seems to be very popular among both Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities like Julia Roberts, Deepika Padukone and Farida Pinto to name a few.

“Pilates help lengthening and engages the core and makes the person aware of his/ her body,” said Nisha.

It was decades ago when Joseph Hubertus Pilates, a German, who interned in World War-I and worked in prisoners’ camps devised a series of exercises to maintain strength, stamina and muscle tone of the soldiers.

Before World War-I he was touring England as a circus performer and professional boxer, and even teaching self-defence to the Scotland Yard police force. But when war broke out, he found himself interned in England as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man.

The health conditions in the internment camps were not great, but Pilates insisted that everyone in his cell block participate in daily exercise routines to help maintain both their physical and mental well-being. However, some of the injured German soldiers were too weak to get out of bed. Not content to leave his comrades lying idle, Pilates took springs from the beds and attached them to the headboards and footboards of the iron bed frames, turning them into equipment that provided a type of resistance exercise for his bedridden “patients.”

These mechanized beds were the forerunners of the spring-based exercise machines, such as the Cadillac and the Universal Reformer, for which the Pilates method is known today.

Asked if there’s any difference between yoga and Pilates? “Yoga is an ancient practice whereas Pilates is quite new. But the postures we teach in Pilates look similar to yoga. However, the former emphasises on holding the posture, breath and mindfulness, whereas, pilates is more about exercises and movements,” explained Nisha who’s a professional experts to rugby and football players, and singers like Sting.

Further, she said that there’s “no right or wrong” between yoga and Pilates as one can benefit from both. “By doing yoga, your body becomes flexible and Pilates will give you the strength and stamina to do yoga,” she added.

Nisha bends her own artistic vision and life experiences into each lesson. Originally from North West of England, she was first introduced to health and wellness by her mother, who follows “The Good Life” (aka Felicity Kendall). She gets her determination, ambition and lust for adventure through her father who hails from Lucknow.

She has been in the dance, health and fitness industry for 16 years and uses this background to develop her own style of Athletic Pilates. Her unique style creates a vigorous and dynamic Vinyasa flow of Pilates, which is based on Stott Pilates and is inspired by her dance and yoga experience.

Pilates is also helpful in losing weight.

“Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight loss program. Weight loss occurs when the number of calories consumed is less than the number of calories expended. The most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength training component, such as Stott Pilates exercise, and following a balanced diet. Combining Pilates with aerobic exercise also offers additional benefits: greater mind-body connection, improved posture, flexibility and functionality,” said the Pilates expert who works as an instructor at the Yoga Lounge in Manchester.

However, Nisha also stresses on six vital elements for healthy living. They are: meditation, breathing technique, sleep pattern, hydration, nutrition and movements or exercise.

She stresses on the need to go back to the tradition method of meditation in order to de-stress oneself.  “Practice deep breathing, and sleep between 10 to 10:30pm as physical repair takes place between 10 to midnight followed by mental repair which is between midnight till 6pm. People with a good sleep pattern are less likely to put on weight around the belly region.

“Drink at least 2 litres of water everyday, cut-out on tea, coffee or juice”, Nisha said adding, “Avoid using refined oil for cooking instead use ghee which is a pure butter, and stay away from sugar.”

She said that out of 80,000 thoughts that play in our minds everyday, 80% are negative which affects our body. “Our body is an emotional, mental and a spiritual being; thoughts become our words, words become actions which finally become our deeds,” said Nisha.

Hence, get started for 10 minutes work-out everyday, drink lots of water and breathe deeply for health is wealth.



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