The world's youngest Stott Pilates coach was once told to stay off sports; Namrata Purohit's fascinating story
Did you know that the youngest certified Stott Pilates instructor in the world is from India? This 21-year-old is also a national level squash player, a footballer, a certified scuba diver and an entrepreneur.
You would be even more surprised to find that she survived a riding accident that nearly ended her career in sports. Namrata was 15 when she fell off a horse and sustained a severe knee injury. She was told by doctors to bid adieu to what she loved the most – sports.Namrata did not give up. When all her efforts to get back into full form by different types of exercise did not work she decided to join a Pilates course that her father was hosting in Mumbai. A few days into it, she felt stronger and her knee pain vanished. “I could play squash again and even stood fourth in the nationals that year. This made me a complete believer in the magic of Pilates. That was when I decided that this form of exercise needed to be introduced to many more people in our country,” she says.
To this day when doctors examine her knee they tell her that she can’t do sports but Namrata is doing everything she loves. It is all thanks to Pilates, she feels.Her list of accomplishments is long and varied. Other than sports she has found time for many other things. She loves dancing and has learned various dance forms. As of now she is learning jive, salsa, waltz, contemporary and jazz. She has also learned Indian classical singing. She is a certified scuba diver and recently went skydiving too. Now she plans to do the skydiving course so that she can jump out of a plane on her own and not in tandem with an instructor.
Namrata is a hard worker. When other people her age enjoy college and plan fun activities with friends, Namrata takes classes six to seven hours a day and works towards the growth of her business for the rest of the day. She just finished her graduation in Economics but even when she was attending college, she would do classes in the morning and then rush to work in the afternoon. She always managed to find time for everything she needed to do.
Namrata works with a long list of sports personalities, including cricketers, football players, international squash players and swimmers. She trains many Bollywoodcelebrities. Her studio was the official fitness partner to the Miss India Pageant from 2011 onwards and she was the official Pilates coach to the Mumbai City FC team, which happens to be her favourite football team.As crucial as Pilates has been in her life, making a career out of not just training clients but also running a studio needs dedication and commitment. According to her, half the battle is won is you have passion for what you do. This Chelsea football club fan believes that discipline, more than anything else, is the key to success. “You cannot wait till tomorrow to do something. You have to manage your time well, make sure that you have everything in place and complete work without any delay.”
Working in a niche market has its own challenges. For Namrata, the biggest challenge in this industry is making people aware about forms of exercise that can be done outside the gym. A lot of misconceptions exist, she says, adding, “Fitness is far more than just how you look. It includes strength, flexibility, stamina, endurance, high energy levels and much more.”
In the past year, Namrata has seen the industry undergo a sea change. Many more people have taken to Pilates now. Till recently people thought it was a mat-based exercise and was meant only for women. Those perceptions have changed and more and more men have taken to it. Namrata claims that Pilates is the safest form of exercise and it’s also great for rehabilitation, especially for people with injuries, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. She herself is a living example.
Inspired by her dad, this young woman plans to open more Pilates centers in Mumbai and then slowly expand to all the major cities in India. She wants to study further and expand her knowledge in the world of fitness as well as economics. She has also written a book on fitness and is looking forward to its release.
Just train smart. KISSS: Keep it Safe, Simple and Smart, is her parting advice to all those willing to listen.