Yes, you can. Payal Gidwani Tiwari, Bollywood’s most celebrated yoga and fitness expert, tells you how to get From XL to XS. With simple and easy to follow principles and exercise routines, learn how to lose (or gain)
weight, stay fit, and transform your body structure. And that’s not all! Learn how to look ten years younger and about other invisible factors like stress, sleep, etc. that affect the way you look. So now you don’t need to envy
your favorite stars. You too can look like them. With photographs, celeb work outs, and useful tips by stars, From XL to XS is the best gift you can give yourself.
If I were to ask you, which were the happiest days of your life, most of you would reply, your school days. Have you ever wondered why? Why do we always cherish our childhood? Is it because back then, we had no real
responsibilities or that life wasn’t so competitive? No, not exactly. Even in school we had things to worry about, like getting good grades in exams, taking part in sports, and preparing for extracurricular activities. Didn’t we
have to face peer pressure, comparison with siblings, bullying by seniors, and problems at home among other things? So what was the difference? The answer is simple. It’s because of the time that we spent playing and
As we grow, we take on more and more work and responsibilities but start ignoring our bodies. We have a million things to worry about; be it related to our career, love life, family, society, money, status, etc. Along the way
we often forget to take out time to play or physically exert ourselves in any way. And I believe this is the cause of most of our health- related problems today.
When I was in school, I was nicknamed ‘rubber band’ as I could twist and turn my body in any possible way. This of course came in very handy later when I took up yoga. But coming back to school, academics was never
my forte. What I loved, however, was sports, especially athletics—long jump, high jump, short put, or javelin. Never a bookworm, I thrived on outdoor activities. I still remember getting into my shorts and running up and
down the slope around my parents’ Bandstand residence in Bandra, Mumbai, during my summer break. I used to consistently get an A+ in sports and so when I was made the physical-education prefect of my school, no
one was surprised.
When I graduated from school, physical training was not yet a very popular or sought after career choice. Fitness experts were unheard of, and were at best few and far between. So I studied interior design, which was
considered a safer profession. I did quite a few projects, but deep down I was not totally happy. I felt like I was missing something, and that’s when I thought I should get back to doing what I enjoyed the most and turn my
gift into my profession. But I was not sure how to go about it; which road to take to make the best use of my gift. Eventually, in 2003, I opted for yoga as it is a holistic way to good health. I told myself that I would try it out
for six months and see whether it worked for me or not. As fate would have it, I was hooked. That’s howl started my journey as a physical trainer. It has been seven years since and I’ve never looked back.
Fitness to me is a combination of many things—a good body, flexibility, endurance, strength, good skin and hair, restful sleep—and you can achieve all this with the help of yoga. Many people ask me how yoga differs from
other forms of exercise, and why they should follow this ancient form of exercise when there are so many new and exciting options around.
First, yoga works on your internal organs. The exercises massage the internal organs. For instance, when you do Paschimottanasana and bend forward, your hamstring is stretched, your hip area opens up completely, and
your internal organs like the spleen, stomach, and intestines are kneaded, due to which there is an extra flow of blood to the nerves and muscles. This helps in their better functioning, and makes you healthy inside out.
Second, yoga teaches you the right way to breathe and to control your breathing. It connects with basic and fundamental aspects of daily life. Did you know that just by breathing properly you could control ageing? Third,
yoga propels you on the path of self-realization. With regular practice, you can understand yourself better, and learn to control your anger as well as various negativities and urges. Fourth, there is a popular myth that ‘yoga
doesn’t make you lose weight’. This is absolutely incorrect. I can safely vouch for yoga as a means of losing weight, as this is what I have been doing over the years, helping people lose weight and making them look more
beautiful. If done in the right way, yoga can definitely help you lose weight and that too naturally, without popping pills and taking fat burners. And all this without any side effects. When you hold an asana for more than a
minute, it melts the fat cells and helps you to reduce weight. For instance, Utkatasana or the ‘chair pose’ melts fat from the thigh area, the butt, and the calves. You can lose kilos or inches with diets as well, but you can never
look toned. You have to exercise to prevent your body from looking flabby and shriveled.
Fifth, yoga consists of certain inverted postures or asana in which you have to bend down and the blood flows to the head and other areas. Such inverted postures are unique only to yoga and do not form a part of any other
form of exercise. When the blood flow is directed towards these organs, it lends an extra glow to the face and the skin. Such exercises can even cure ailments like migraine, sinusitis, asthma, acne, etc., and turn grey hair
black again. I will talk about it in more detail in the chapter related to ageing.
Lastly, and most importantly, yoga can change the shape of your body. Often I come across people who are slim, yet not satisfied with their bodies. They have different problem areas that they constantly worry about, like
for example, their hands might be too thin, they might have a hint of a double chin or they feel that their waist is a little broader than what they prefer. However, through regular practice of yoga you can get the body you
dream of and look at yourself in the mirror with confidence and pride. By working on your specific problem areas, you can change the structure of your body. And by following your workout regularly, you can become a
perfect ten with a perfectly proportionate body.
So with yoga, I make beautiful people look more beautiful. And this brings me to my connection with Bollywood. It all happened to me by chance when one day I got a call from Bebo. Yes, she was my first celebrity client.
Celebrities come with higher expectations, and have set goals with deadlines in mind, but in my experience, they are also the most dedicated and hardworking people that I have ever worked with. It is challenging in a way as
well, because you have to make sure that you deliver within the time frame. And this forces you to be extremely disciplined, think out of the box, focus better, and adjust the regime to the individual in order to meet the
desired goal. Working with them has helped me make my workouts better and more effective. Their focus and commitment towards their bodies is outstanding.
Where did I get the inspiration for the book? Last year I accompanied Bebo and Saif to New York for the shooting of Kurbaan. We had a great time in New York and even managed to add to their exercise routine by doing
two yoga classes in Central Park. It felt so refreshing to be practicing yoga in the ideal natural surroundings. As we sat in the Mumbai airport international lounge, Saif looked up to me and said, ‘Payal, you must share what
you do with everybody.’ It was unlike Saif and I was too surprised to say anything at that time, but it did get me thinking. And when I was approached by Random House to write a book, I decided to take on the
opportunity to reach out to many more people all across the country who want to look good but don’t know how to do it.
Losing weight and looking beautiful is all in your hands. And believe me it is not so difficult. It is more like a habit that you have to adopt in your normal lifestyle. And you don’t need much, just about an hour a day, to stay
healthy, young, and beautiful. Surely, you can take one hour out for yourself. We all can.
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