I’ve often been asked how I came up with the idea for 321 Empower. It began with a desire to give back for a lifetime of blessings but I didn’t know how or to whom. The Universe has a funny way of sending you the answer if you are open to listening, so before I knew I heard the next steps.
For me, that meant embracing the land of my family roots, India. For most of my life I had no desire to do so, raised in the West and with parents that wanted our family to fit into Western culture there was very little I knew about this mysterious place.
Turning 50 changed things and I began to become curious, I equate this as opening a window to my soul and suddenly India came calling. First, an investor came forward to represent my brand in India, next Vogue India voted me the 2014 fitness expert of the year, and then a book commission by Harper Collins India, “Feel Fit look Fantastic in 321” was born!
It was during the book tour, which was scheduled in the high-end gym chain Fitness First that the idea for 321 Empower began to unfold. Women clientele approached me as I was signing the book, after teaching a class and confided with me, they wished there were female trainers to train with. In most gyms there were mostly male trainers and this often made the female clientele uncomfortable.
What began as an interesting thought developed further as I was introduced to Priti a woman whose charity Prerana rescued girls from sex trafficking in Mumbai’s notorious red light district, placing them in a safe house on the outskirts of the city.
Visiting these girls aged 8-18, hearing them giggle as I demonstrated push-ups and squats, I realized these girls could be young girls anywhere in the world. It was circumstances beyond their control that had them trapped in a vicious cycle of slavery until someone a stranger cared enough, took dangerous steps to rescue them, then housed them, fed them, educated them and offered them a way out.
After I left their safe house, I considered my own mother and fathers journey from India to the West. Parallels began to surface, my mother had lost both her parents at age 13, and if her siblings had not decided to do everything they could to keep the family together she may have ended up in an orphanage and suffered a similar fate. If that had happened I thought, could I have ended up on the streets? Instead, as circumstances in my parents life had it, a stranger offered a helping hand a way out, and they were offered jobs in the West where I was born in Germany.
It was as if my life had come full circle, here I was with an opportunity to pay it forward. I founded 321 Empower to give these girls a chance through fitness to connect with their own bodies in a positive way while giving them a career to make money and live a life independent of their circumstances. We all have had a chance to change someone life to make a difference in this world, this is my little way.