Lalitha Sindhuri, our first of two winners is from Rajamundry, Andhra Pradesh state, India.

What are 5 Words that describe you?

creative, ambitious, hard-working, enthusiastic, honest

If you could tweet about “why Pilates and you?” what would you say?

In Indian philosophy, life is all about knowing thyself, and Pilates is all about control, balance, and strength. Hence being a dancer, Pilates is my favorite means to become aware of myself, thereby gaining balance, strength, and control both in my body and in my life.

Why did you apply to Core’s Diversity Scholarship and how does your own diversity contribute to your desire to teach Pilates?

I come from a middle class family from a small town called Rajahmundry in South India. I came across Pilates on Youtube when I was a teenager and I was immediately impressed by the dynamic nature of the form. Ever since then, my interest to learn and master Pilates only grew stronger. Although, I occasionally practiced Pilates watching a few Youtube tutorials, having come from a small town, I couldn’t learn Pilates formally. I visited Barnard College in New York for nine months in 2017-18 as a Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Fellow. As part of my Ph.D. study (Cross-cultural training and its impact on Kuchipudi dance), I have audited Pilates at Barnard for two semesters and I was amazed by the kind of strength, awareness and understanding it gives us of our body. It was during that period, I decided that one day, I shall come back to New York to do my Pilates certification for the only reason that it makes me happy and strong.

When I came back to India from New York, I found my close associates suffering from several injuries with the lower back and knees which are basically due to lack of understanding of the body and lack of core strength. I wondered how Pilates could easily solve such problems as it is widely used for rehabilitation. As an Indian classical dancer and a researcher, I worked on how cross-cultural training positively impacts a dancer in their primary form. After five years of research and being engaged in several movement forms, now I want to take up one movement form other than dance and make it my way of life along with practicing my primary which is Kuchipudi. Pilates being my most favourite of all the movement forms I experienced, became my obvious choice.

Hence, two weeks before my thesis submission, when I was thinking what would be my next step after submitting my thesis, first thing that flashed in my mind was Pilates.

Securing Diversity scholarship is a true privilege to me for many reasons.

  1. I commit to make Pilates my way of life along with my dancing profession.
  2. It gives me a huge responsibility of keeping up the core values of the scholarship which I am very happy to take up. I grew up in an environment and culture where people are selfless and hard working which comes with a cost of neglecting their own health. Now, I can contribute back to such loving and kind people who did not know how to take care of themselves.

After your training at Core, what would you like to do with your new Pilates credentials?

As part of my vision as a Pilates instructor, I target two communities in my society to which I would like to contribute.

    1. Middle aged and Senior citizens – India is one of the top countries with diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Indian bodies are more prone to loss of muscle and strength. Hence, I would like to contribute to this community by bringing awareness and teaching Pilates.
    2. Classical Dance Community – Cross-training for classical dancers is slowly gaining its momentum in India busting all the myths. I would like to train my fellow dancers as Pilates helps them to become stronger dancers with less injuries.

How has Core’s scholarship award benefited your life?

In the current pandemic situation which affected all the artists very badly both professionally and financially, this scholarship is a big source of motivation, inspiration for me to keep going in my chosen path. I am very grateful for being able to learn from the best teachers and determined about being committed to Pilates for the rest of my life and take care of my health as well as health of the people around me.

What was on your mind the minute the program began and you logged in for the Virtual Training?

To be honest, I was very enthusiastic till I began the class. But I became very nervous the minute I logged in for the virtual training. All the participants were so well trained and strong. But instructor Carrie and others were so encouraging and positive which calmed me down and I enjoyed every moment after that.

Tell us something about you that we won’t find on your social?

I love social media. I am honest and only post what I mean and I enjoy having a social presence. But, I guess I don’t present the struggling and fighting side of me as much as I present the positive side of me. I am slowly learning to be honest with my struggles too as someone out there might be inspired by my journey or inspire me by saying that I am not alone. But to put it straight, perhaps, one thing that you might not be able to figure out from my social would be that I am a very simple person who becomes happy with the little things and lots of love in life.



Meet our second winner, Chloé Combs.