Pilates Festival India 4.0 by Yasmin Karachiwala: A masterclass in health, fitness and rejuvenation
Held at the luxurious property, The Westin, Goa, the fourth edition of Pilates Festival India by Yasmin Karachiwala was a lesson on core and spine strength
German Pilates trainer, Joseph Pilates, a pioneer in the field once said, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible”, and Yasmin Karachiwala’s fourth edition of Pilates Festival of India (PFI), powered by QNT, was the ultimate lesson on this.
Hosted a month back at the luxurious property The Westin, Goa, the fourth edition of the festival combined fitness with recreation. Yasmin, with her four-day-long fest, managed to create a safe space for all body types and welcomed all movements, flexible or not, while cementing the benefits of group learning.
The celebrity instructor trained 100-plus participants in this fitness fiesta spanning four days, alongside master trainers Lisa Hubbard, Nancy Castiglioni, Shaazia Qureishi Kanchwala, Agi Equitness, Ava Rodriguez, and Angelie Melzer.
Starting on February 2, the festival commenced with an introductory lunch at The Westin’s The Market restaurant. Prior to the lunch, participants were escorted to their respective rooms and handed over hampers filled with protein bars to champion the four-day-long fest.
We were divided into different groups based on our training abilities and assigned different coloured bands which guided us to the activity rooms for the remaining three days.
After gorging on meals specifically curated for the participants keeping in mind their nutritional needs, we moved to the orientation hosted by Yasmin, where she introduced participants to other Pilates instructors and unveiled contests that we could participate in to win exciting prizes.
After a small break, participants moved to The Westin’s rooftop restaurant, Thyme & Ash, for a one-on-one training session with Yasmin and other master instructors.
In the workout session named Round Robin, each Pilates instructor coached the participants for about 10 minutes and gave a teaser-sort on what to expect from their respective classes the following day.
Post the training session, participants were given time to freshen up and acquaint themselves with one another. The night ended with a special performance by Whirling instructor and bodywork specialist, Zia Nath, who took the participants on a journey where dance meets spirituality.
The first class on Day 2 started sharp at 8 am, and participants, despite experiencing a night filled with fun and friendships, rose to the occasion in their best athletic outfits.
The class, described as Joint Mobility For Buttery Joints by Ava Rodriguez, taught the participants about the importance of posture and movement. A lesson on how healthy joints contribute to even the most basic movements, this class featured exercises like hip openers, spine windmills, and more.
After much struggle to get their movements right, participants (including the author), moved to the MOTR class by Shaazia Qureishi Kanchwala. A fun and new training session for all, MOTR exercise equipment, which looks like a sleek cylinder, combines the benefits of foam rolling exercises with resistance training.
The exercises, such as squats and bicep curls, performed while balancing on MOTR, helped participants focus on specific muscles while also strengthening their core. One simple takeaway from PFI, on Day 2, was that core strength can only be achieved with mindfulness. When muscles work in harmony with the mind, the result is a strong core.
After the MOTR class, participants moved to the breakfast buffet where they were advised to load up on protein and also carbs. This seemed like a sane suggestion as Class 3 of Day 2 was Cardiolates with Yasmin herself.
While MOTR was an exciting new experience for the participants, Cardiolates took them trampolining with Bollywood music playing on blast in the backdrop. This workout routine takes the benefit of cardio and blends them with Pilates, hence the name. After the 40-minute-long session performed on trampolines, participants found themselves sweaty but fueled with endorphins and pumped up for the next class Magic On The Mat with Nancy Castiglioni.
The 40-minute-long workout with Nancy required the use of rubber-based Magic Circle or Fitness Circle, an equipment best suited for full-body Pilates workouts and body alignment exercises.
Nancy helped the participants with the equipment and shared how the circle adds a little resistance to our basic workout routines thus making it perfect to improve flexibility and strength.
After the Magic On The Mat class, participants moved to lunch at The Market and indulged in recreational activities like swimming prior to the Round Robin session with all seven instructors.
The last class of Day 2, 20-20-20, was set in the foreground of a mesmerising sunset. The master instructors, alongside Yasmin, indulged in some cool-down exercises to conclude the training session on a rather positive and calming note as against the intense exercises prior to lunch.
The participants wrapped Day 2 with dinner and an entertaining performance by singer Aaliyah Qureishi whose mantra for the night was sing along, dance along.
The next morning, participants woke up to an elaborate breakfast buffet followed by a Wrapped To Perfection class by instructor Angelie Melzer who asked us to correct our slouchy postures more than once. This was followed by Hip Rescue On Foam Roller session by instructor Agi Falenta.
With exercises that instantly detangled our hip muscles and assisted in balancing, we moved to the second-last segment of the day, Pilates Flow by Lisa Hubbard.
Lisa, with her session, summarised everything that we had learned in the last three days. Her set of exercises, which seamlessly followed one another using a resistance band, were all about strengthening and lengthening our muscles.
The last session of the day, 20-20-20, with all the instructors, was an interactive segment. It had little to do with learning new exercises and mostly about the participants’ review of PFI. Sitting in a big circle with the sun setting beautifully in the background, we all recalled the last three days, the exercises we tried to ace, and the bonds we created, some even for a lifetime.
Shortly after this overwhelming session, Yasmin and her team hosted an awards night where they gave out prizes to the most compelling Pilates debutant (male and female), the best-dressed participant (male and female), and a special mention to a group of five who performed different Pilates poses at a beach nearby as a fun tribute to PFI.
The night ended with Yasmin handing out participatory certificates to all alongside her new book The Perfect 10: 10-Minute Workouts You Can Do Anywhere, an adjustable hand grip by Lifelong and a small journal.
As the night concluded, so did our trip to PFI at The Westin, Goa and we checked out early morning with the motivation to get some movement in everyday lives regardless of our busy schedule.
Final takeaway: PFI, credits to Yasmin and her army of instructors who promote spine and core strength, is a place to be if you are looking to work on yourself, inside and out.