We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikita Chugani and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikita, so given that most of us are stuck at home due to the crisis, we’ve been asking folks about what they’ve enjoyed doing during quarantine. We’d love to hear what your favorite thing to do has been.
These have been strange, unprecedented times for all of us. I never imagined I would see the day that we would all be in quarantine and have to social distance and wear masks and gloves to go out. It almost feels surreal. During this time, I have been teaching online Pilates group classes and private sessions via Zoom. When I decided on March 19th that I had to close my Studio temporarily in order to help flatten the curve and contain this terrible virus I was scared of the financial impact this would have on my business. But I quickly realized that I had to dive in and familiarize myself with new forms of technology in order to keep giving my clients their Pilates workouts. From one day to the next my life changed drastically. I have always loved teaching mat pilates classes so that was not a problem. One of the biggest challenges I encountered was not being able to provide tactile cueing. In my profession, verbal and tactile cueing go hand in hand to provide the best Pilates session. Not being able to use tactile cueing, I had to amp up my verbal cueing. Thankfully, many clients took to the new online format and continue to attend the classes and private sessions regularly. When I am not teaching classes, I have been spending time exercising and cleaning my home and Studio. One of the things I have really enjoyed is bringing my cardio HIIT workouts to my clients. This was something I always did for myself, usually outdoors, and now I have clients joining me in my online HIIT workouts from my home so that has been really fun and it has certainly kept me on my toes planning new and exciting workouts every week. I have also enjoyed catching up with friends and family from all over the world through Zoom chats and Zoom parties. I even celebrated my birthday recently with a Zoom party that my kids organized for me with my family and best friends. There are so many friends I have been meaning to call and chat with but somehow time always flew by and that didn’t happen. This pandemic has strangely brought us closer to the people we love because we are connecting more often and spending time with those we haven’t had time to meet through platforms such as Zoom and Houseparty.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been a Pilates instructor for 20 years. In all that time, my passion for this profession has never wavered, in fact it has grown stronger every day. I often say “I love what I do” which is very different to “I do what I love” and I believe that is the secret to success. I have had ups and downs in my life as I am sure everyone has. When I first certified as a Pilates instructor I was living in Curacao, a small island in the Dutch Caribbean. We owned a gym/spa and I taught Pilates there for 7 years and had a regular, dedicated clientele. When I decided to leave the island and move to Miami in 2010, I had to start all over again and build up a clientele here. At one point, I was teaching classes in 8 different locations, running from one to the next all day long. Last year, I decided to stop working at all other locations and open my own Studio, Pilates With Nikita. Thankfully, many of the clients I had taught over the years followed me to my Studio. I am dedicated to my profession and I am dedicated to my clients. That makes all the difference. My main objective is for each client to leave my Studio feeling good, feeling that they had a workout that challenged them to just the right degree and feeling that they worked all the muscles in their body.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Miami is a wonderful city with so much to offer. When friends from out of town visit I make it a point to take them to Wynwood. I love the vibe there and besides seeing some fabulous art, there are many wonderful places to eat and drink. Some of my go-to places in Wynwood are Sugarcane, Lagniappe and Morgan’s (great for Sunday Brunch). South Beach is a must-see for visitors: one of my favorite places for a drink is Juvia – the rooftop restaurant there is spectacular. For a great night out with music and dancing, Kiki’s on the river is the place I go! Always fun, great vibe and good food. Finally, no visit to Miami would be complete without a day at the beach! My favorite beach is actually not in Miami but in the Keys, Marker 88 in Islamorada.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My first shoutout goes to Joseph Pilates, the man who founded this incredible system of exercises called ‘Pilates’ which has become my passion. I am indebted to my teachers and mentors at Polestar Pilates. I am very proud of the teacher training I received from them because it gave me a head start from where I built and continue to build my teaching skills. I must thank my wonderful clients who have been consistent in their Pilates training and who challenge me to be better every day. And finally, a special shoutout to my daughter, Sabrina, who has helped me immensely, from the business/financial side of things when I opened my Studio to teaching me about social media and technology such as Zoom. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her help and support.
Linkedin: Nikita Chugani
Facebook: Pilates With Nikita
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