The Nalini Method

7 Workouts for 7 Moods


By Rupa Mehta

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Rupa Mehta, called a “pint-sized guru” by Vogue and the “Rachael Ray of Fitness” by the New York Post, has helped thousands of people on their journey to physical and emotional wellness from her New York fitness studio. Now, with The Nalini Method, Rupa brings her revolutionary techniques for shedding emotional weight and achieving balance of body and mind to the wider world with a gorgeous and fun full-color book.

The Nalini Method is an innovative mood-based fitness plan that fuses yoga, Pilates, strengthening exercises, and barre work to help participants lose emotional weight and find emotional fitness—transforming both mind and body in the process. Rupa’s dynamic techniques synthesize Western and Eastern approaches to create an accessible program that’s as challenging as it is fun.

The workouts of The Nalini Method help participants find balance within seven different moods:

  • Anger
  • Energy
  • Stress
  • Chill
  • Happiness
  • Doubt
  • Anxiety

In addition, Rupa includes recipes for six unique and delicious “mood foods” to help maintain energy and balance along the way.

With tips and resources to help any woman achieve her fitness goals every day, The Nalini Method blazes a new and exciting trail to physical and emotional well-being.


  PART I  




You can be fit and unhealthy. You can be thin and large. You can be heavy and light. You can be physically in shape and emotionally out of shape. You can be mentally strong and physically weak.

You’ve seen it and likely experienced it: slim, toned, and fit men and women, young and old, from all different backgrounds, working in a wide range of careers, looking at their flat bellies, firm thighs, and killer bodies with no sparkle in their eyes. They may have the toned legs you’ve dreamed about but lack a kick in their step. Whatever is pressing on them emotionally seems to pack an additional hundred pounds onto their shoulders. Even if they have little body fat anywhere to be seen, the weight of their emotions makes them feel fat.

And you’ve probably also seen unfit or overweight men and women, young and old, from all different backgrounds, looking at their big booties and curvier bodies with glowing confidence in their eyes. They may not fit into the top model mold, but they don’t care—they have an undeniable and contagious swagger. Although their attitude is like a balloon lifting them up from feeling weighed down, their extra fifty pounds of body fat still makes them physiologically overweight.

I am so heavy. I feel fat. I am fat. I weigh so much. I need to lose weight.

In the world of fitness, I hear these loaded words so often and from people of all shapes and sizes that I was inspired to look up the dictionary definition of the word “weight.”

What I found intrigued me. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, weight is “the heaviness of a person or thing.” Pounds and physical mass are not even mentioned. This, I realized, is society’s interpretation of weight. That’s when it clicked: no matter how much a person works out, if they are emotionally overweight, they will feel and demonstrate the exact same symptoms of being and feeling physically heavy.

Both our bodies and our minds have weight to them. What makes our bodies healthy is nutritious food and exercise. What make our minds healthy is nutritious words and actions.

Despite being physically in shape, I’ve been emotionally out of shape at various points in my life, and I’m sure you have, too. These are the times when you feel the weight of the world. You have trouble taking charge of your life. You may feel so stressed-out that you can only see problems, and because solutions aren’t on the horizon, these problems seem to grow larger and larger. There might be movement in your body but no movement in your thoughts.

If I asked you, “When you think of the word ‘fat,’ what comes to mind?” many of you would answer, “Lazy, slow, large, lacking in energy and motion, stuck.” When you are emotionally out of shape and overweight you feel the same effects of being physically overweight. You feel stuck. Stuck in a mood that is increasing in size, making you feel fat. Making you act fat.

What makes us feel fat, stuck, and lacking in confidence is not just our bodies; it’s the situations and relationships in our lives. It’s the weight of the situations and relationships we may not know how to navigate or change. It’s easier to choose the quick fixes, like drinking, smoking, emotional eating, or avoidance, to help us manage these situations. Yet these untenable solutions just continue to increase our physical and emotional weight. If we could all step on a scale that measures emotional weight, I think many of us would be shocked. We have no idea how much our unaddressed emotions can add to any discouraging heaviness and weight in our lives.

We can lose this emotional weight—and that’s where this book can transform your life. Your mind requires different exercises than your body, and your body will perform exercises better with a stronger mind. The Nalini Method workouts work the mind and body in unison, enabling you to efficiently lose both emotional and physical weight. By making optimal use of your time and giving way to quicker and better results, you will create a balanced, lighter, and healthier life.

The ultimate mind/body connection is about getting to that deeply satisfying place where your emotional weight and physical weight are in perfect balance. When you feel good about your mind and body, you feel good about your life. You feel whole. You’re more confident and able to follow your heart, leading you to a better life, full of passion and full of possibilities.

If, however, your mind is in a great place but your body isn’t, or vice versa, your confidence level plummets and your ability to see hopeful possibilities diminishes. When that happens, you will find that a Nalini Method mood workout will click you out of that mindset. These mood-driven workouts force you to accept who you are and the validity of all your feelings, to acknowledge your emotional weight, and to own it. When you own your emotional weight, you can stop and reverse that downhill avalanche or enhance a great zone and empower your complete self.

I wish that the term “weight” would inextricably intertwine both “emotional weight” and “physical weight.” You can’t lose physical weight efficiently if you don’t exercise, and you can’t exercise efficiently if you don’t lose the heaviness of your unaddressed emotional weight. Emotional weight is the thundercloud that can keep you from getting into the zone.

As human beings, we all have tools to help us navigate our lives. We have our emotional mind, our physical body, and our spiritual heart that keep us going. When these tools are disconnected, we can’t function at our optimum strength and potential. Until we recognize and articulate what our emotional weight is, and how leaving it unaddressed makes our mind/body connection out of whack, we will never achieve our ideal physical weight and become truly in shape.

Measuring Emotional Weight

There is no scale to measure emotional weight, so we need to develop a method of making it as tangible as physical weight. If we can start to see it, we can start to manage it. The symptoms of being emotionally overweight are anger, anxiety, depression, doubt, inability to visualize and plan for future goals, lack of effective communication skills, lack of physical movement, lack of self-control, and stress. The Mind/Body Equivalents chart below provides a way to make emotional weight a palpable reality so we can begin to evaluate and manage it as we do physical weight.


       Words: Digested into your soul

       Playlists: What gets added to your thoughts

       Actions: Keep your mind fit

       Aura: How you are perceived by the world

       Charting: Measures your emotional weight


       Foods: Digested into your body

       Pounds: What gets added to your body

       Exercise: Keeps your body fit

       Appearance: How you look to the world

       Scale: Measures your physical weight


How we understand, articulate, and share ourselves with the world occurs through words. If you were asked to describe how you feel in ten words, the words you’d pick would reflect your emotional weight. And, of course, we all have different interpretations of words; the word “happy” may bear different weight for me than it does for you. The word “fearful” may feel different to me than to you. The weight of words is unique to each of us, depending on our individual life experiences.

Over the years, we’ve all accumulated the weight of words. Just as we should be aware of what we eat for our bodies, we should also be aware of the exact words we digest into our minds. One word has the power to weigh us down much more than a single scoop of ice cream, or to lift us up like fresh-squeezed orange juice. There are healthy and unhealthy words, just as there are healthy and unhealthy foods that make you gain or lose physical pounds.

Our minds and bodies go through daily fluctuations of weight, energy, and hormones. Some of these are controlled by you, what you eat, or what’s going on in your life, and some are triggered by your natural hormonal fluctuations or are out of your control. How you piece together words that are in your control and out of your control (other people’s words that you listen to) become the thoughts and sayings you live with and by. Who do you think shares the most words with you? Trick question . . . It’s you! You hang out with yourself all day long, and it is the words, thoughts, and sayings you listen to that affect your mood the most.


I like to think of our minds as powerful mp3 players/iPods. Our mind is a stereo system in surround sound, providing us with little but loud voices all day long. We have different “songs” that we listen to internally: songs that lift us up or bring us down, songs that make us angry or that trigger blissful memories. Our playlist is the compilation of songs we choose to listen to; it’s the most important music we play in our lives. More simply, this playlist acts as our conscience, the compilation of words or thoughts in our head, which tell us who we will be in that moment, throughout the day, or for the rest of our lives. The playlist you choose can be the very voices in your head that keep your life in harmony or get you completely out of tune.

For example, I have a doubtful song in my mind called “Who the hell am I to try to change things?” I also have a hopeful song in my mind, which is one of my favorite quotes: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference in the world, you haven’t been in bed with a mosquito.” It’s my choice to pick the song that gets the most play.

The concept of an internal playlist and the value of a strong conscience came from my father, who has had quite an inspiring life. He was born in India, on a boxcar of a noisy freight train, the second-to-last of nine siblings. His unusual birthplace came about because my grandfather was desperately poor and worked on the tracks, so the entire family lived on a train transporting materials between the jungles and villages of India. When he was a child, my father had to worry about poisonous snakes crawling across him at night, having enough food to share with all his brothers and sisters, and trying to get clean clothes to wear. He did not grow up with access to dreams that could easily become a reality. He attended fourteen different schools, and had to start working at a very young age. Any money he made went to support his family.

Based on his experiences, it would have been easy for him to identify himself as a poor, uneducated boy or a lost cause. But from an early age, my dad identified himself as rich in experiences, educated in common sense, entitled to formal schooling, and adaptable. He somehow managed to put himself through school in India, get a green card, and come to America with only $8 in his pocket. That was forty years ago. To give you a sense of the culture shock he initially faced, the first time he went to a restroom in America, he went there to rest. He fell asleep on a chair because, after all, it was called a restroom.

Thanks to his healthy emotional weight and strong self-identity, he was able to adapt to his new experiences in a new country. He made the decision not to just learn but to master the English language. He made the decision to work hard and become one of the first Indian American lawyers practicing in Washington, D.C., at that time. He made the decision to settle down in one home, in one neighborhood, for over thirty years, so his children would never experience being uprooted multiple times as he was, living in the boxcars of India.

My dad’s mental playlist is one of the best I’ve ever heard. His most played song is “No one can take away your happiness,” and is the inspiration for Chapter 8. It helps him bounce back, whether from the people who mocked him for sleeping in the restroom or for his Indian accent, his song helps him keep his emotional weight balanced and harmonious.

You certainly can’t change your past, but you can always change your mental playlist and, by doing so, your future. On any given day, before you even eat breakfast, you’ve probably started packing on emotional weight. Let’s say you wake up in the morning and tell yourself, “I have to have a good day and be positive,” or “I will only be happy when I lose weight,” or “I’m so beautiful, nothing can bring me down.” With these thoughts, you’ve already started constructing your playlist for the day. Part of the Nalini Method is to unveil this metaphorical iPod and drive your inner DJ to pump the jams and create playlists that work for you. Choose your playlists wisely, with variety to keep you in sync and balanced. You can always benefit from downloading a new playlist, literally and figuratively, one that reflects your current situation and aspirations.

Just as unhealthy physical pounds will make your body heavier, unhealthy mental playlists will make your mind heavier. Just as you cut down on junk food and sugar when you want to lose physical weight, you can cut down on the words and playlists that don’t work for you too. Replace them instead with words and thoughts that make you feel mentally nourished. In Part II, I introduce mood workout mantras that will be healthy songs to add to your playlist.



Bottom line: For many of us, it can often feel impossible to escape what’s going on in our heads. When that happens, you need a process that brings movement to your stagnant thoughts, which can then translate to natural and transformative body movement. These mood mantras help you do just that, by allowing your mind to listen and move freely to fresh new “music.”


Words and playlists eventually lead to mental action—your mind’s exercise. It takes actions of both mind and body to lose true weight. For many of us, going for a thirty-minute run outside is much easier than devoting thirty minutes to a mental or emotional workout. For example, making a phone call to own up to the words we said to a loved one in a fight is often much harder than going on that run. But it’s the phone call workout that will ultimately help us lose that emotional weight.

With the Nalini Method, if you’re angry and choose to complete the Anger workout, you might be telling yourself afterward, “I either need to let go or have an honest conversation about this.” You might even be compelled to turn this mental movement into the very actions that affect your emotional weight.

If you begin to be aware of and visualize emotional weight in a practical way, it will affect your daily behavior and eventually transform your life. Just as making tiny changes in your diet and exercise helps chip away at physical weight, the same thing occurs with emotional weight. Eliminating just one negative word or destructive playlist from your soul diet could be all it takes to ignite emotional weight loss. When you understand your current emotional diet, the words and playlists you’ve accumulated over the years, you can successfully change and create emotional actions that lead you to a healthier life.

When you’re having one of those impossible days at work, you will now be able to tell yourself, “Well, I hate push-ups, but I can do ten now in perfect form. I didn’t think I could ever get strong arms, and now look at me. I did it. I didn’t think I could ever observe and quantify my mood, and now I love to. I do a self-check every day. I did it. I can accomplish a seemingly unattainable goal. And I can make it through the next ten minutes or ten hours. This too shall pass. I can cope; I’m built to last.”

We all want to be able to enter that confident place of feeling light and losing weight. But the path there takes much more than an incredible physical workout; it takes incredible emotional actions as well. It requires actions of strength and conviction to challenge the exclusive ideas of pounds, food, exercise, and perfection that intermingle so seamlessly in the health world. You have to embrace who you are first, emotionally and physically, to successfully go somewhere new. The act of owning up to your mood will transform your actions, weight, and aura much more than you can imagine.


The weight of your words, playlists, and actions manifests in your physical appearance through your demeanor, energy, and vibrancy. In other words, your aura is the physical part of your emotional weight. It’s why I can tell who in my classes has emotional weight that is making them appear heavy. That’s why my friends can tell if I feel heavy even if I’ve been working out hard. Your seemingly elusive aura is that visible!

I can have really bad moods and days when I want to lock myself in my bedroom and cry for hours. But even if I wake up like that, my clients will always be met with a genuine smile and a palpably pleasing aura because I know how to find the balance and resilience to keep my emotional weight in check. I have learned how to put my mood on hold or into perspective. When I own my feelings and mood, I am in charge of them. I’ve also learned that my sad mood can in fact still drive an effective, personalized workout. After all, there is nothing worse than feeling down in the dumps in your mind and letting your body go as a result because you can’t muster up enough energy to work out—all while knowing you’re giving off an aura that you wouldn’t even want to hang out with! That’s why it’s so important to understand all the elements of emotional weight, including how you are perceived (by others as well as by yourself), so you can make a better plan for when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed!


Charting is the first step to achieving and maintaining ideal emotional weight. Let’s face it: it is very hard, if not impossible, to fully quantify our emotional weight. You could, for example, have a “light” happiness (1 on the scale) if it’s attached to celebration and triumph as well as a “heavy” (10 on the scale) happiness if it’s attached to guilt or loss. You can even have a “light” anger if it’s attached to humor or perseverance. Charting honestly is key and it takes a bit of practice. Better accuracy and charting lead to stronger self-awareness.

By charting we can start to quantify the factors that create our emotional weight, and we will be able to evaluate and eventually balance the words, songs, playlists, and resulting aura that affect it. Just as jumping on a scale can start the calculated, accountable path to physical weight loss, charting can ignite an empowering and responsible journey to emotional weight loss. Recording the weight of your mood over time will help you regulate your emotional weight and typical fluctuations.

When first incorporating this new measurement into your life, you may find it helpful to chart every day for a month. Simply match your emotional weight to a number on a scale between 1 (light) and 10 (heavy). Over time you will gain insight into your natural rhythm and how your feelings and mood fluctuate.


In general, I am not a fan of stepping on a scale every day. Nor am I a fan of charting every day, because I know how much a person’s weight can fluctuate. But different life events warrant different approaches. Sometimes, you will feel the need to use the emotional scale every day for a week or even a month, and other times you may not need it at all.

When you’re in a bad mood, you may feel as if it lasts for ages and will never go away. If you chart your moods, however, you’ll get a clearer idea of what moods affect you the most, and how often. You’ll see how things might average out more than you thought they did, and that your emotional weight is actually very stable and balanced. Or, you might see patterns that allow you to identify certain mood triggers—the grumpy receptionist at your office on Fridays, the traffic on the way to the grocery store, funny emails from your grandmother, and countless others—that you can work to either mitigate or multiply.

An easy way to chart reliably is by implementing a morning or evening check-in. Look at yourself in a mirror and ask, “What is my emotional weight?” Stating such a straightforward question is a wonderful way to own your feelings.



Managing Your Emotional Weight

Have you ever been sold the promise that if you work out and have a killer body, then you’ll be happy and have a great life? I’m sure you have. I know this can work for some people, but for others, it just doesn’t.

Similarly, have you ever had someone tell you what to feel? A person in your life may say something like, “That shouldn’t bother you, just let it go,” or “You should be happy.” Doesn’t that make you feel heavy? Of course it does! It doesn’t feel natural to give up ownership of your weight or moods.

The more you own your moods, the more you’ll see your own emotional weight clearly and succinctly. You’re entitled to your own feelings and moods, even the dark ones! If you fully own your mood, whether you’re furious or ecstatic, it will be totally genuine. You’re being who you are instead of who you’re told to be. And as your day goes by, you’ll see and eventually accept how your unique emotional weight actually fluctuates due to various circumstances.

Your goal is not to eliminate your mood or how you feel. A healthy emotional weight is about awareness of your feelings. With this awareness comes the realization that your feelings can be addressed. That openness to new thoughts already lightens the load. It’s why you state your mood at the beginning and end of each workout in Part II. You may start out stressed but turn out to be a bit less stressed after doing the Stress workout. And by chosing to do the workout you have owned this stress. You took what could have become a stuck mind filled with rigid thoughts and chose to move it instead. You have the power now, not the stress. Owning and working out your mood are what give you a healthy emotional weight.

These baby steps—acknowledging your mood and charting—give you the tools you need to fine-tune your mental playlist. In my classes, no one likes push-ups. (Well . . . maybe a handful of students do!) But we all know, the more you do them, the better you get at them. You build up your strength slowly, and before you know it your body can change and you can achieve something you never thought you could do. (Even if you still hate doing them!) Think of owning your mood as performing a mental push-up and you will get stronger with time and appreciate transformative benefits.

When you think of emotional weight in this hands-on way, you’ll realize that very little mind work can go a very long way. By using the emotional scale, you can consciously introduce thoughts that encourage you to balance both your emotional and physical weight—ultimately shifting the scale in a lighter direction.

Losing fifty pounds is incredibly difficult and takes months, even years, of concerted effort. But it is possible, if you are committed. After you accomplish the big goal, it becomes about mindful maintenance. Sometimes it takes hard work to not have to work. Although the physical work may be over, you still have to deal with who you are, what your words and actions are, and how you feel


On Sale
Dec 15, 2015
Page Count
272 pages
Seal Press

Rupa Mehta

About the Author

Rupa Mehta is a teacher, trainer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and author who has helped thousands of people on their journey to physical and emotional wellness. In 2009, in partnership with then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC Service, Mehta founded her non-profit organization NaliniKIDS®, a groundbreaking program designed to improve the emotional and physical health of at-risk middle-school students in New York City. NaliniKIDS introduces the first-ever combination of emotional literacy skills development and physical fitness training, teaching tweens and teens how to achieve both emotional and physical strength.

Widely respected as an expert in the fitness industry and called a “pint-sized guru” by Vogue and the “Rachael Ray of fitness” by the New York Post, Rupa is now bringing Nalini Method training and philosophy into homes across the nation through her podcasts, video series, and books.

Learn more about this author