“Fitness is my passion. It must have rubbed off on me from my elder brother. Even my husband, Sharat, is into sports,” starts Anjali Sareen, the only Stott Pilates Instructor Trainer in India. Anjali is also the co-founder of The Zone, Mind, Body Studio, which she runs with her husband in Kormangala.
She not only trains lay people but also conducts intensive training and education programmes for potential Pilates instructors.
“We lived abroad for quite some time. I was not working and that gave me a chance to follow up on my area of interest. I started looking critically at various gyms and health clubs there and realised that most gyms were intimidating. You walk in and you find sculpted bodies working out and that itself can turn off some one who is obese and be a negative influence on them,” says Anjali who looks really trim and fit.
“Another thing that I did not like was the ‘non refundable' registrations. I did not approve of it. So when we returned to India, I decided to have my own place and run it the way I wanted to,” she explains. Her studio is designed in such a way that the work out area is not visible to the visitor but has a helpful front desk and an office where they can speak to the instructors.
Anjali trained in Pilates for 15 years and has been an instructor trainer for the last six years.
It has been a long journey. “I started off as a group instructor, did kick boxing, cardio boxing, yoga, Tai chi, karate and kalari, but did not teach them formally.”
Talking about the history of Stott Pilate, Anjali says: “It was started by Joseph Pilate, who created this style 100 years ago. He died in 1967. His students did not copyright the technique but started training people.
“The best thing about this style is that it allows you to refine the information of the past and incorporate it to the modern day research. The style is not stuck in a time zone. It is designed in such a way that it can be used as rehabilitation therapy, for athletes, geriatrics or anyone else.
“The exercises are designed for each individual's need and strength. Stott Pilates is good for the elderly as they tend to lose focus with age and these exercises require them to concentrate. That's one of the reasons for Pilates' popularity.”
“The other advantage is that Pilates is dynamic, which has a flow of movements that teaches the body to work as a whole. It helps in body balance and control. The speed of the exercise can be modified as per the need.”
About the challenges of being a Pilates instructor trainer, Anjali says: “I love teaching. Whether it a fussy client or an easy going one, I have the patience to deal with them and enjoy working with them as each one's need is different and hence the exercise has to be designed for them to suit their body.”
An aspiring Pilates instructor, she says, needs to have a background in fitness and body movement in any form – dance or exercise and also have some knowledge of anatomy.
“After training, the person has to undergo a theory and practical examination and also design an on-the-spot programme for a subject and run him through it. And Anjali evaluates the performance and gets you the certificate from the head office in Toronto.
Anjali can be contacted at The Zone, Mind and Body Studio, 621, NMH Complex, 1st Floor, 80 ft Road, 4th Block, Koramangala or call her on 41310507.
This column features those who choose to veer off the beaten track.