Our Story

Our Story

The story of FrangiPani Fitness begins in South Africa, and follows the journey of Avina Gupta, the founder and owner of FrangiPani Fitness. In her own words, she tells the story below:

For the past 6 years, I have had the thrill and pleasure of teaching dance and fitness classes at Columbia University in New York City. In preparation for my trip to South Africa in January 2008, I had created a basic workout routine that would help me maintain my strength and energy during my month long trip. I encouraged a friend of mine to join me in my morning workouts in the stunning gardens of Johannesburg. The routines I created consisted of basic isometric exercises and incorporated a stretch band, designed to strengthen and tone the muscles of the body. After a week of training, my friend commented that she felt markedly stronger and more energetic and that the simple set up and use of minimal equipment really appealed to her. She curiously asked me, “What do you think about offering this as a service to busy professionals in New York City, Avina?!”

I had recently been thinking about how I could share my interests in health and wellness with others; my friend’s off the cuff remark had ignited a spark of inquiry in my mind!

A few weeks later, while traveling to the stunning coastal town of Durban, South Africa, I came across a white flower with brilliant splashes of golden yellow that simply took my breath away. From this moment onwards I saw this flower everywhere I traveled in South Africa, yet I had absolutely no idea what it was called!

Weeks later, while walking along Long Street in Cape Town, I found this same flower, scattered about the sidewalk. I quickly scooped one up and carried it in to the shop with me. As I entered a clothing store, the girl at the counter excitedly exclaimed, “You’re holding a Frangipani in your hand; it’s my favorite flower!” In gratitude for helping me discover the name of the Frangipani, I left the blossom with this lovely girl.

Upon returning to New York, to continue my doctoral studies at Columbia, I realized that in order to help people with their health and wellness in a holistic manner, I needed to supplement my fitness training with something truly foundational. The answer to this desire came in the form of a pilates mat certification at a top pilates studio in New York City.

Since returning from South Africa, my interests in fitness, nutrition and well-being have also been shaped by my doctoral studies in Organizational Psychology, and specifically by the guidance of holistic and whole person psychology, mind-body awareness and conscious and purposeful action and living.