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Thank you for picking up my book. I really hope it inspires you. It has
served many roles for me, but most importantly, it is a letter to honor
my parents. They deserve huge recognition for providing me with a
safe, secure upbringing, unconditional love, freedom, support, and
self-confidence. The reality my parents embody is undeniably delight-
ful and impactful. Their usage of words has guided my life and shaped
RU PA M E H TA my identity. Thanks Mom and Dad.

I also want to acknowledge and thank the many people who believe
in me and helped make this dream of mine a reality: David Barrett,
Darshan Mehta, Lynda Maddox, Amanda Madden, Rose Caiola,
Mackenzie Jessen, Clare Wallin, Roxy Naba, Hala Youssef, Dana
Aboul-Hosn, Courtney Goldsmith, Len Mazur, Rob Rokhsar, Rick
Diaz, Beth Fried, Sherry Masjedi, Adolfo Perez, Tommy Hakimi,
Copyright © 2010 Rupa Mehta Lindsey Edelman, Brooke Labriola, Jen Stocker, Jodie Stocker, Rob
Van Keuren, Kenneth Fisher, Andria Johnson, Patti Bohall, Kenji
All rights reserved.
Bohall, Walid Sharara, Akash Bajaj, Liz Eustace, Lauren Perry,
Printed in the United States of America. Patti Harris, Andi Bernstein, Tom Bernstein, Melanie Whelan, Joy
Grayson, and every one of my clients.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without written permission in advance.
All inquiries should be addressed to Rupa Mehta at
rupa@yonect.com or rupa@nalinimethod.com.

Head Editor: Amanda Madden

Copy Editor: Mackenzie Jessen

ISBN: 1451579691
ISBN-13: 9781451579697
Library of Congress Control Number: 2010904612

Words Matter

The Weight of Words · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 3

YONECT: Connect to your one · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 7


Dad · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 15
“The solution is born before the problem.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 25
“No one can take away your happiness.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 33
“Don’t magnify successes or failures.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 45


Mom · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 55
“Shut up. Sit. Smile.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 65
“Love yourself dearly. Be yourself completely.
Treat yourself occasionally.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 73
“Let go. Love. Live.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 81


“Say thank you.” · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 89

A Letter to You · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 99

Do you think I’ve gained weight from the last time you saw me? I am two pounds
heavier, did you notice? How do I lose weight? When will I lose weight? I need to
lose twenty pounds, what should I do? Am I a lost cause? What do you do to stay fit?

Those are the kinds of questions I am asked by thousands

of clients who are fit, strong, flexible, and lean. Six days a
week I teach three to four group fitness classes to an affluent
clientele on the Upper West Side of New York City. I have
been teaching fitness, both privately and in group settings,
for ten years and have had my own studio for seven years.

Of course they ask me these questions; I am their fitness

instructor. To some I’m their escape, their therapy, their
routine, and to others, their reliable best friend, their con-
fidence, and their hope. Because I have come to have a dif-
ferent definition of what “overweight” means, I believe many
of my clients—exercise enthusiasts, successful businessmen
and women, fit and sexy parents, nutritionists, dietitians
and other popular fitness instructors—are so much more
“overweight” than they could even imagine.
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Physically fit and yet overweight? Yes. I think our society’s After all, there is no perfect body, no perfect mind, and no
idea of weight is unbalanced. With an obsessive focus on perfect person. There is only the perfect you. Maybe you
only physical weight and disregard for a person’s entire like to be pleasantly plump or maybe you like to be skinny—
well-being, even the most popular fitness books, products, none of it matters if your spirit is weighed down. Rather
and services do a disservice to a captive audience looking than chase after the subjective notions of body and mind
not only to be healthier physically but also to feel great and prescribed to us, why not trim down our ideals and discover
be confident. our fat-free, light, beautiful, individual spirits?

Having been asked these questions for years, I feel compelled A healthy person isn’t weighed down by emotions. Instead,
to approach them in this book from a unique perspective. The their true spirit shines so bright, clear, and vibrantly that
weight loss that I know would benefit my clients and others the world can’t help but experience it.
looking to feel more confident, requires something besides
simply exercise and diet—it requires a process I call YONECT. And, how we understand, articulate, and share our spirits
with the world occurs through words. Let’s say I wake up in
Before we get to the concept of YONECT, let’s look at the defi- the morning and tell myself, “I have to have a good day and
nition of weight. be positive,” or “I will only be happy when I lose weight,”
or “I’m so beautiful, nothing can bring me down,” or “I
will never lose weight.” Before I even eat my breakfast, I’ve
Weight: 1) a body’s relative mass or the quan- already started packing on the weight of words. Over the years, we
tity of matter contained by it. have all accumulated this emotional weight, the weight of words,
2) the heaviness of a person or thing. and just like we should be aware of what we eat, we should
also be aware of the exact words we digest into our spirits.

This definition intrigues me—pounds are not even men- Going on the latest diet will not necessarily help us lose
tioned! In fact, weight is not about the scale; that’s our soci- physical weight, but a desire to take ownership of our lifestyle
ety’s interpretation. The bottom line is, you can be very fit and will. Similarly, going to therapy, or dedicating our lives to
still be heavy. Emotional weight can be just as alarming and yoga and meditation will not help us lose emotional weight,
detrimental as unhealthy physical weight. And, I see so many but a desire to take ownership of the words we use, have been
slim clients daily that look so heavy. Yes, they are in shape but exposed to, listen to, admire, and live by will.
their aura and demeanor makes it seem like they have packed
on an additional hundred pounds! This is an observation that Nalini is a word I live by. I named my business The Nalini
needs to surface, be recognized, and dealt with. Method after my mom, Nalini Pinak Mehta.
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My dad sneezes in a way that makes me cringe—I mean, why

Nalini means lotus. The lotus flower starts small, growing won’t he cover his mouth? My dad’s obsession with following
from the bottom of a pond, bounded by mud and muck. As it GPS makes me want to get lost and have no signal for hours
slowly rises towards the water’s surface, continually moving just to prove a point. His overt confidence embarrasses me at
towards the light, it remains extraordinarily unsoiled despite times. His enthusiasm and fearlessness inspire me. I wonder
the surrounding impurities. Once it comes to the surface of how my mom makes it through the day when my dad won’t shut
the water, the lotus bud begins to blossom and turns into a up about his excitement about a new project. God, I am so
beautiful flower. Within Hinduism and Buddhism the lotus much like him! But, it does seem like my mom has a lot to say,
flower is a symbol for awakening to the spiritual reality of too, why else would she call me so much? Why doesn’t she come
life. to visit me more often, don’t all Indian moms usually jump at
the chance to do that? I hope to be even half the mom she is
For me, the spiritual reality of life involves awakening our to me. I miss living near them. Why does more than two weeks
spirits to the words we use and live by. Figuring out these with them make me so sleepy? I get tears in my eyes when I see
words, realizing the impact they have on our lives, and em- my mom walk more slowly because of joint pain. Is she disap-
bracing our ability to control our interpretations of them can pointed that I’m not married yet? I feel lucky that they always
drive us towards our spiritual light and lightness. A healthy accept my choices. I want them to be a huge part of my future
spirit naturally gives way to looking better, feeling better, children’s lives. Do they sit up at night and wonder about my
and living better lives. future? Do they know that I don’t mean to be defensive, but
that I just can’t help it sometimes? Do they know I talk about
them all the time? Do they know how much I love them?
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Dad. Mom. Just the mere words conjure up so many emo- with one breath I could conquer the world and in that same
tions for me. I mean, there they were in the beginning, the breath accept my own death. I don’t believe my successes have
very beginning—from my cell development up till now. With been earth-shattering, that I’ve accomplished everything I’d
or without my knowledge or invitation, physically or emo- like to, or that I’ve enjoyed my friends and family to the full-
tionally there or not, they’ve always been on my life journey. est; I do have concrete goals, love to experience new things,
and desire to spend more time with so many people. But,
It could be that you agreed with your parents’ words and although I enjoy life, I know that if I died today, it would
actions from the day you were born. Mmmm—probably not. be with the knowledge that I have lived a good life, fulfilled
Almost always, to learn from our parents takes experience, my life’s mission, and my spirit has shined. I believe this
time, distance, and even rebellion. As a first-generation state of mind is the result of my upbringing—a gift from
Indian American, growing up with my parents’ views wasn’t my parents.
always easy nor did the value in their lessons come naturally.
For me, the value has grown out of my deep reflection upon Whether you define yourself as fat or skinny, daughter or
their words, ideas, and actions. It’s not about agreeing or mother, young or old, adopted or biological, we all have the
disagreeing with my parents and their lessons; the immense role of child. And, I offer this book to everyone, all children,
value lies in the mere contemplation. who could be more aware of the many worthwhile lessons
they received in order to live a more resolved life. It is for
My primary goal in writing this book is to share with you children who admire their parents and their upbringing but
my life lessons and inspire you to articulate and interpret haven’t taken the time to fully understand why; children who
the life lessons taught to you by your parents or guardians. have become too stubborn, self-absorbed, lazy, or entitled
Understanding my life lessons by reflecting on the words I to fully appreciate their parents; children who seek “recov-
grew up with and, as a result, appreciating my foundation, ery” from their childhood to feel that they can fully develop
has allowed me to realize my own potential. Ultimately, ac- an identity, and current or future parents, once children,
cepting my parents’ impact on my journey gives me the ability thinking about how they will raise their own.
to consciously and confidently create my own life lessons.
Throughout our lives, the people who raised us expose us to
I didn’t have the desire to write this book at the age of 16, words that inevitably influence us. While reading this book,
20, or 25. Now, at 30, I feel that I have hit a milestone in I hope you will think of their words, the words you currently
maturity that has brought with it a refreshing and powerful use, and the words that bear the most weight in your life. Our
perspective. When I look back, I feel an overwhelming sense spirits will begin to experience lightness when we take the
of appreciation for living such a lucky, loved life. I feel that time to realize how words work for us and against us. And,

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we will revel in ultimate health and true freedom when we such as illness, a holiday, or a major life change. Bottom line:
embrace our ability to decide. Parents do not get the thanks they deserve.

Whether our parents provided a shack or a mansion for us As a result of my own reflection, I feel inspired to give thanks
to grow up in, offered us harsh or kind words, they are our to all parents who intentionally (and unintentionally) share
foundation. Personally, I was fortunate enough to experience life lessons with their children. As a thankful and loved
a modest upbringing in Fairfax, Virginia, a college education, person and hopefully a future parent myself, I hope that
and a supported career path of teaching fitness to an affluent sharing the lessons of my life will motivate you to ask yourself
clientele. Throughout, many fortunate and privileged children, two imperative questions: “What words influence you?” and
like myself, have surrounded me. And so many of us seem to “What do you thank your parents for?”
take for granted our blessed circumstances. In fact, if I think
upon my own life and my parents’ journey to America, I see our My home is built on the meshing of two worlds, Indian and
problems as a liberty and luxury. We’re lucky to have the car we American. Given that English is my parents’ second language,
own while we sit in traffic; the job that makes us late to our yoga they have a different perspective on the meaning of words. As a
class; the mom to call us early in the morning; and the saying result, they make a concerted effort to understand the English
from our dad that we say to ourselves when we’re feeling down. words they use in order to be accurate in their speech. As you
Realizing the numerous unrecognized gifts that we have can read this book, you will see that their perspective on words
help us see our struggles in a different light. Instead of being has transformed into a unique view of the world. I once asked
frustrated with traffic, our job, or our parents, we will be thank- my parents to sum up life in one word. My dad quickly said,
ful for our car, our income, our family, and our foundation. “happiness”, and my mom immediately after said, “balance”.
As you explore my parents’ life lessons, I think you will see how
I feel like our culture could use a reality check. We need less appropriate to their lives each of their words are. Everything
“my parents didn’t do this” and more “thankfully, my parents my dad says and does embodies happiness and my mom’s words
did do this.” Currently, accusations are much more prevalent. and actions embody balance. In my life, one thing has become
We tend to associate our parents only with our “bad” char- very clear to me—the way you live and want to live your life will
acteristics, our struggles and fears, and there is hardly any inevitably be reflected in everything you say and do, so you have
acknowledgment given to our parents regarding our “good” to embrace and choose your words wisely. My parents’ person-
characteristics—our successes and accomplishments. Even alities, upbringing, experiences, and goals led them each to
the seemingly simple idea that they provided experiences their word. Knowing and embracing the one word that reflects
that serve as a foundation gets forgotten. Acknowledgement their spirits and drives their lives allows them to not be weighed
seems to come only when prompted by some external force down. And when I reflect on my life lessons, experiences, and

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YONECT connect to your one

hopes for the future, and trim down the words that surround
me into one, the word I choose to sum up my life is—connect.

So, how do you find your one word? You YONECT.

YONECT means you, it means one, and it means connect. It

is the path YOU take to CONNECT to your ONE—the one
word to sum up your life. It is the process of acknowledging
the weight of words, self-reflection, and acceptance of the lessons
you have learned in your life.

To YONECT is to transform your spirit into one word. It

may sound scary to sum it up in only one word, but losing
the weight of having to define your life through all the vari-
ous, subjective standards the world offers could be the most
liberating path you could ever take.

As you read the following pages, keep this word, YONECT,

in the back of your mind. Consider this new process. Reflect
on your life and think about the words that surround you,
the control you have in interpreting them, and what it means
to tap into or discover one word to guide your path.