Over the next hour, Madhur, a 40-plus Delhi-based stockbroker, performs tortuous torso exercises. She squeezes a Magic Ring between her knees and does leg raises with an elastic band tied on her feet, before finally arching her back over a Swiss Ball, as the studio lights dance on her new lean and sinewy stomach. Straightening up to show off her wonderbody, Madhur says: "Years of gymming did nothing for my post-caesarean paunch. Now that's a thing of the past."
Dumping dumbbells, trashing treadmills and abandoning aerobics, the urban elite are swinging open gym doors and demanding Pilates—a yoga and callisthenics combo taken up by divas like Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta Jones. An import from Beverly Hills exercise boutiques, Pil-ah-teez with a slight nasal intonation, is now the uber-drill of our wonderbody wannabes. Says Mickey Mehta, Mumbai-based holistic health guru and creator of many Ms Indias: "We introduced this at our Gym 360 last year just to please all these socialites who come prancing in and begging for 'Pilates, Pilates, Pilates'."