Payal Gidwani is someone who is known as the Modern Yoga Expert’ and rightly so. She was someone who got the trend of yoga back into India and made everyone feel that it is something which can not only help a human lose weight but also look good and feel young and actually connect your Mind to your body first and then your soul. Let us get to know what exactly Payal means by connecting…Mind, Body, and Soul together.


So Payal tell us how did you know about Yoga in the first place?

I was always inclined towards yoga and my body was pretty stretchable, I could turn and twist anyway I wanted, so much so that I was called as a rubber band in my school and high school. Though that time, Yoga was not something on my mind and I never treated it as a profession.

In fact, I always wanted to be a ballet dancer but fate
had planned something else for me entirely...
I studied Interior designing and was doing very well 
but finally, Yoga chased me. 
It was a total case of an internal calling.


How did you get a chance to pursue your internal calling?

I started reading a lot about it in magazines and looked for Yoga studios. Then one fine day I found an article by Bharat Thakur about yoga. So I decided to go there and I got selected there as a Yoga teacher. That’s how the journey began!


XL to XS has been a revolution and a game changer for Yoga, How did it happen?

It so happened that I was traveling with Saif and Kareena, 
we were actually coming back from  Staad, Switzerland, 
we were sitting on the airport waiting for the flight, 
when Saif suggested that since I have such incredible 
knowledge about Yoga and many don’t know the science 
behind it...I should write a book. I kept thinking about 
it for several months until one day, a close friend 
(who is also an editor) just came over to my office 
and said the same thing. I thought of it as a sign 
from god and that is how XL to XS happened.


Any reason you think…that the modern generation loves the book so much?

So there are a lot of books about yoga in the market. These books are excellent but It is written in such a way that only a Yoga teacher or regular practitioner can understand them and the visuals used in the book do not resonate with the youth. So I felt that the modern generation needed a book which is written by a normal person who practices yoga and my book just happened to fulfill the gap.

So how do people look at yoga now… has the perspective of people towards yoga changed?

Initially, people were very apprehensive about Yoga 
because they thought yoga is something which will 
not lead to weight loss But I saw a change when the 
book came out, people actually read it and started 
taking yoga seriously. They understood the science 
which connects mind, body, and soul.


Tell us something about your childhood!

My childhood was beautiful. I am born and brought up in Bombay, I came from a Business background and my dad had his construction business whereas my mom was a simple housewife. I also happen to have a brother who is now taking the business ahead with my dad. I studied in St. Joseph’s Convent School and I was always inclined towards sports. Then…I chose to study Interior Designing so ended up doing my graduation through correspondence. I worked with a lot of well-known architects before I shifted to Yoga.


Did your parents encourage you to take up yoga too?

Of course, my parents have always been very supportive. They are like if this is what you want to do, then just go ahead and do it. I came from a business family I honestly didn’t think so much about finances… The internal calling was so strong so I decided to take it up.


What do you feel about these new yoga trends like the Power yoga & Hot yoga?

These are just techniques with different name & conditions. Otherwise, they are just the same.


How did you get into the celebrity space?

Kareena Kapoor happened to call me one day and 
told me that she wants to do the yoga class. 
She was shooting for Tashan at that time.
I told her to come over and she was talking to me and
she told me that she wanted to do yoga as people have 
advised her that it helps to lose weight and so she will 
try it for a month. I said ok, so she started, did it 
for a month and after that, she never stopped. 
She did yoga for 10 years with me,

I have never missed a class with her. Though she has not been practicing yoga post her pregnancy she is one of the most disciplined students I have ever had.


Tell us a bit about your pregnancy and postpartum recovery with your son!

My pregnancy was smooth though but after I gave birth to Shayan, I was suffering from a spinal headache. I went through 20-21 hours of labor. My pain thresholds were very high too so even when the doctor confirmed that I am in labor, I didn’t feel it…But I had to undergo an emergency C-Sec due to a complication. Just before the surgery started, I was sinking on the table, so they had to give me two injections in my spine, one was the anesthesia and the other one to revive me back. So that’s what gave me a spinal headache and I was the worst case of PPD.


What is a Spinal Headache?

A spinal headache is something for which there 
is no treatment or medicine available. 
It's like every time I used to lift my head up, my pressure
used to rise to 150 something. I could feed my baby only 
with great difficulty and this lasted for 40 days and the 
first 40 days are anyway tough. To top this, 
one of my stitches opened. I couldn’t even get 
up or get out of my room for 40 days. 
My baby would cry as he could also feel the pain when I 
would nurse him. But yoga helped me get back to normal. 
My mind was flooded with mixed feelings. 
I used to feel like I am the worst mother in the 
world and this slipped me into postpartum depression.


Your special message to mommies…

To all the women who have just conceived or had a baby, first of all, stop worrying about your weight. I have seen so many women doing that. It goes, a proper balanced diet, breastfeeding, discipline etc. will help you lose weight. In fact, breastfeeding helps you lose calories too. So that’s what I want to tell them. Just eat well, eat right. Enjoy for at least 3 months after which you can start with a strict workout and diet. It’s not the end of the world. Think about your child, eat for your child.

We hope you utterly enjoyed reading this interview…

Until then…

Yoga is the best….


SuperMOM Mitali