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Mind over matter

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It’s an unusual fitness centre. There’s not a cross trainer or a treadmill in sight. Just a bare wooden floor and an empty space where a small group can do anything from pranayama to Pilates and Bollywood dancing. But then celebrity trainer Vrinda J. Mehta has always taken a slightly different approach to fitness from most of her counterparts.

Tell Mehta that you want to lose 15kg and she’ll probably tell you it’s all about mind over matter. And she’ll advise you tone up not just your physical but also your mental and emotional wellness quotient.

Mehta’s a firm believer in the holistic approach to fitness. Of course, the power of positive thinking and of visualising your (fitness) goals, which is the essence of Mehta’s mantra, are not particularly new. But Mehta, a certified diet and fitness consultant who’s been training Bollywood stars from Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan and Sridevi to Farah Khan, Kajol and Karan Johar for years now, has evolved a new regimen that she calls the Vibrations Process. And she’s just launched it at her new gym, Vibrations: Wellness Zone, which opened in Mumbai’s swank Pali Hill last month.

“It’s all in the mind,” says Mehta, who also wants to bring the fun back into fitness. So while she may put stars like the Big B — she’s been training him for 11 years now — through the “usual cardio, weights and yoga” routine, at Vibrations, she’s created a gym with a difference with no fitness equipment at all. Rather, she offers fitness programmes that are not based on machines ranging from dance work-outs to Pilates to yoga.

Most importantly, there’s her Vibrations Process. Essentially, this is a three-day workshop that trains you “to increase the power of your mind to create the reality that you want”, says Mehta.

What does that mean? Well, according to Mehta, “Whatever you think will manifest itself in reality.” So you need to train your mind to think positively and to visualise the outcome or changes that you want in your life. “My reality is coming out of my thoughts. If I think I’m weak and won’t succeed, I won’t be successful,” says Mehta.

So whether you want to lose weight or have a successful career, you need to visualise this outcome, asserts Mehta — and her Vibrations Process teaches techniques that’ll help you do just that. “Whenever someone tells me I want to lose 15kg, I always ask them, ‘Do you know what you’ll look like once you’ve lost that weight?’. You have to have a clear image in your mind. Once it’s a done deal in the head, whether it’s your body or relationship or career, things start manifesting themselves. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work for it but once the image is clear, things automatically work towards it,” she says.

And how did the Vibrations Process happen for Mehta? Well, she traces the seeds all the way back to when she was a grossly overweight teenager weighing in at 93kg. “One fine day I decided I was going to lose weight. I lost 40kg in six months. Of course, I dieted and exercised but it worked because I just flipped a switch in my mind,” she says.

The flipside of it was that she over-exercised and developed osteoporosis at age 21. That’s when she decided to take up proper training and become a certified diet and fitness consultant. For several years after that, Mehta practised and taught the right diet, right exercise mantra.

But her ideas underwent a sea change when her father and then her nephew both developed cancer seven years ago. “My father followed every rule in the fitness rule book. So when he got cancer, it got me thinking that there must be something else at play. I felt that it’s all in the mind and started reading up on everything from the mind to quantum physics to philosophy,” she says.

Over a period of time, then, Mehta evolved her holistic mind-body fitness regime, combining techniques drawn from various schools with pranayama and also her guru’s Siddhanath Surya Yog to evolve the Vibrations Process. In fact, Mehta’s been teaching the process for four years as a personal trainer. But now, she’s taking it to a larger audience through the gym.

What does the Vibrations Process workshop, which costs Rs 6,000 for three sessions, entail? Mehta is vague about the details but basically, she begins by explaining the workings of the human mind.

Then, she puts the participants through a round of physical exercises to de-stress them. They also do yoga and pranayama and mental exercises before embarking on the Vibrations Process.

“It’s like sitting in meditation and while doing pranayama, you visualise whatever you want as something that’s already done. So if you’re aiming to be 56kg, you visualise yourself wearing that pair of jeans that you want to fit into,” says Preeti Varma, who learnt the process four months ago.

The idea is to practice it for 15 minutes every morning. “I want people to be independent and practice it on their own after the workshop,” says Mehta. Adds Varma: “It’s a very simple thing but you have to have faith in it for it to work. In any case, what will you lose if you try it?”.

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