When I was a kid, I wanted to become an actress. I was very conscious about my posture, I'd always try to stand straight, to sit straight. I remember my teachers used to tell me, "Minni, no one sits as straight as you do." That'd make me beam with pride. There was a time my main motivation was to look good and wear good clothes. Only recently I realized, that it seems like I was fated to take up Pilates.
Growing up, we were used to running and jumping and cycling around. My first rides on a cycle were as a passenger. My elder brother Vikash Gupta would take my sister and me along on rides, one of us in front and the other on the back. For us, cycling represented freedom. Freedom to go wherever we wanted. That’s what sports represented to us, freedom.
Today, my brother and I both work in Decathlon. We started at the same store in Decathlon Noida but even then, it was very professional where we interacted just like colleagues and friends at work. As siblings, Rakshabandhan was always special for us as we'd go to the Decathlon store and buy things which otherwise would be too expensive to get even before we joined here.
My brother started working in Decathlon before me. He was doing well, and that made me all the more nervous to join as I did not want to disappoint him. I remember being nervous during my recruitment as I wanted to live up to the high standard he had set. I need not have worried, I got in on my first attempt. Later I found out that our teammates at Decathlon were not even aware that we were siblings! My brother didn’t want anyone to feel differently towards me for being his sister and so he had not told anyone that we were related. After being hired I was asked if I had any siblings, and then people found out that we were related!
Growing up, we had a bit of a sibling rivalry, but things like running and cycling were not about competition for us, it was just a way of life growing up. We had the time of our lives with simple things like running, climbing, and playing different games outdoors.
My introduction to fitness came at an early age, thanks to my father. He's a runner, and he used to take me and my siblings to a playground where we'd race each other. As a trophy, the winner would get a Little Heart biscuit, the runner up would get a Britannia biscuit and third place would get you a Parle G biscuit. I don't know how the hierarchy was decided but we all wanted to come first. That was a good way for us to learn about competitiveness and develop an instinct to work hard and improve.
That instinct helped me devote myself to sports, and I was appointed as the school games prefect. Over the years I tried some different sports, but I did not find them interesting. My brother is very passionate about cycling. I also tried cycling, hula hoops, some other sports, joined some classes, but nothing seemed to feel right. Until I took up Pilates.
I took up Pilates about two years ago. I started practicing it because I wanted to look good and fit. But now, I do it because it feels so good. I strongly believe that Pilates is a gift from yourself to your body, especially in the long run. For me, a day feels incomplete without practicing Pilates. I make sure to either start or end a day with Pilates.
At first, I thought that Pilates exercises look easy, and they are easy to do if you do it right. But at the same time, you can get a really good workout and exert yourself hard if you want. I'm always amazed when my trainer makes me do a workout with Pilates accessories which seem easy at first. But later I saw that it is not as easy as it looks.
One of the things I love about Pilates is that I can practice it anywhere, anytime, and that too with minimal equipment. It is something that makes me happy and feels good mentally, emotionally, and physically. I'm working with Decathlon Salt Lake, where we also have weekly Pilates classes taught by certified practitioner Gaurab Basu of Wellnessmania. Over time, I've seen the benefits of Pilates accumulate for my well-being, and it's very exciting for me to keep learning new things about this discipline.