Dori’s Quest: Nalini Method, a Barre-Class Apart

Nalini Method

Every time I try a new barre class, I ask myself a question: How is this barre class different from all other barre classes? Sometimes the differences are subtle, like a slight variance in pace or intensity. Sometimes the differences are more obvious, like Figure 4’s unique sequencing and combination of cardio and strength exercises.

In the case of the Nalini Method, there are distinct differences that sets Rupa Mehta’s creation apart from the pack – and makes it one of the all-time best workouts in New York City.

The Nalini Method is not new. Rupa created the class in 2003 and taught out of a small shared studio on the Upper West Side. After years of building a loyal following, the Nalini Method moved to Pure Yoga. While the class was primarily the same, the atmosphere changed drastically from bare-bones to glam. And now Nalini Method is at its permanent home at 248 West 60th Street in a space that is open and airy, yet down-to-earth, in the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.

Here’s what makes Nalini Method different:

  • Props: The most notable difference is the use of ankle weights that I wore throughout most of this class. The weights add a challenge to every exercise – from planks to gluteal leg raises – that really makes a difference. Other props found in Nalini include yoga blocks and Smart Bells.
  • Intensity: Judging the upper body section alone, the intensity was unique. The sheer amount of reps and variety in a simple bicep curl was more than I usually experience. The fact that the students all used heavier weights than I typically see in barre classes made it that much more awesome.
  • Variety: In addition to full-form push-ups, we did a set on the knees alternating between straightening our arms half-way and fully. The entire class incorporated interesting variety like this that I do not often see.
  • Type of Exercises: Doing thigh work in a chair position while pressing our back against the wall (in addition to the more typical standing at the barre) adds a new element to the barre formula.
  • Number and Length of Sets: Rather than three long sets of thigh work, we did about five shorter bursts. While the exercises were not any easier, I felt more comfortable pushing myself knowing I would get a short break and a new exercise in the very near future. And the glutes section felt much longer than most.

Rupa trained six other instructors in her method, and what is unique is that each has his or her own role within the company in addition to just teaching. As a result, the staff shares Rupa’s true passion for their work. When I arrived I was greeted by Shannon Algeo, who runs Nalini’s social networking. His enthusiasm for the company was contagious, and he left me wanting to trek all the way back to this Upper West Side spot to take his class – even if I don’t share his passion for the waterski exercise. Ouch. 

In short, The Nalini Method is a full-body barre workout that is in fact different from other barre workouts. The location is a bit far west, but those looking for a unique variation of the barre class that will provide real results should absolutely give Nalini Method a try. You just might get hooked.

Dori Manela is a writer, content manager and social media consultant. Raised in Queens, Dori now lives in Manhattan, taking as many exercise classes in NYC as possible in search of the perfect workout. She started Dori's Shiny Blog in November 2007. As her passion for fitness grew, DSB turned into a health & fitness blog. With the help of her favorite social networking site Twitter, Dori has connected with other bloggers, boutique fitness studios, companies and readers to share her love of working out.

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