THE INSPIRATION CORNER WITH NADIA RIHANI
Let me introduce you to the beautiful, vivacious, bold, strong and terribly inspiring Nadia Rihani.
Nadia and I first met, giggling our way through a spanish class at University. This is over 10 year ago now. We had a strong bond that has ensured that no matter where we both ended up in the world, or how far apart we were, that we would and did remain connected in someway. We have ended up on similar paths and I must highlight here that Nadia has been a huge personal inspiration for me – as a friend and fellow yoga teacher. She’s pushed me, challenged me and encouraged me.
Nadia knows herself very well. She isn’t afraid to express what she wants and yet she doesn’t expect anyone to go and get it for her, except herself of course. As a yogi she has one of the most beautiful, graceful and strong practices I have ever witnessed. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending one of her classes you’d know she beautifully marries her love of the practice, her desire to see you grow and evolve with discipline and grace. She is bold. She is strong. She is light and free. This woman cannot be contained – there is too much life and love in her.
I proudly introduce Nadia and invite you to pour over her words, insights and inspiration. And maybe for the Sydney-siders out there come visit Yoga Village, her studio in Potts Point!
Tell us a little about who you are, what you do, how you got here.
I am me! A freedom loving, travel obsessed, Ashtanga practicing yoga teacher and owner of Yoga Village in Sydney.
What INSPIRES you?
On a personal level nothing inspires me more than the idea of freedom in my life and in my body. The idea that the rules only apply if you let them drives me to continue carving my own path. The more freedom I can create in my body, the more freedom there seems to be in my mind, and the more freedom I have in my mind, the more freedom I can have in my life. The less fear I have to go out and do all the things I dream of.
Freedom also drives me professionally and I see so many students experience a freedom in their body and see it tip over in to other areas of their lives.
I am inspired by the growth of my students both on and off the mat and I love seeing how the two are interconnected.
Where do you SOURCE your inspiration?
Everywhere! In my yoga shala the students and community are a constant source of inspiration. Getting on the mat each morning; whether I feel like it or not, continues to feed me in more ways than I can describe.
- I feel inspired by nature, by the ocean and the feeling of the breeze massaging my skin!
- I am inspired by my friends and family and the curiosity and love of my nephews.
- Inspiration is absolutely everywhere if you open up to it!
How do you USE that inspiration? How does it integrate into your life?
Being inspired by freedom is all about being free from fear; taking risks, pushing boundaries and moving towards the life and universe that you want. Letting go of fear and moving towards freedom if behind everything that I do; there isn’t a particular method of how to ‘use’ inspiration, you just need to let it move you forward rather than let it make you feel more removed from what you want.
When it comes to health and wellness what’s important to you?
Health and Wellness is a very personal thing. For me, it is all about finding a balance in your life. I don’t believe in being too restrictive in what I can and can’t do. Eating healthy and fresh food in every meal, making (but allowing myself a treat when I really want one), taking the time out each day to step outside and feel the sun on my skin, a daily yoga practice are just as important as little things like smiling at strangers and being open minding about the people around you.
What’s your routine?
Each morning I wake up and do a 15 minute routine of yogic cleansing techniques, I then shower, meditate and do pranayama. My yoga practice then takes 2 hours after which I rest a little, make a nourishing breakfast and do a little work from home. I might then go for a walk or a swim, meet a friend and then teach a class in the evening.
My day starts pretty much the same way each morning but I try to keep life interesting by doing different things with the rest of my day. It is important to me not to work all day and to have a real balance between life and work.
How do you find balance + happiness?
I don’t believe in ‘finding happiness’. I don’t think I have ever had to find it. I am happy by nature so that even when I am sad, I am happy to be sad, that way I am ok with it when things in my life are difficult. There is no key to happiness, you can’t just ‘find’ it. Life naturally has ups and downs and coming to accept that is all about being happy with the journey life is taking you on.
Balance is a choice. You can choose to make decisions that will all you a balanced life. You might not be rich or have a big house but to have balance you must choose the things that are most important to you and go after those instead.
How do you practice self-love?
Hmmm. Interesting question. I don’t believe one can ‘practice’ love. Love is a feeling or an action, you either ‘do’ or ‘don’t’ love. So I guess the best way to love yourself is to do what you love and love what you do. Try to inject a bit of love in to everything you do, even the tedious stuff.
What’s your favourite healthy recipe?
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I often make the Nutty granola from ‘I Quit Sugar’ and have it with berries and full cream yoghurt. Otherwise (or sometimes as well as the granola) I make a healthy fry up. I chop up some green veggies (usually leeks, kale, zucchini, asparagus or anything else in the fridge and braise them in garlic, fresh chilli and some spice (I prefer garam masala or Ras El Hanout). Top with fresh herbs and a poached egg.
I am not into anything challenging, for me using fresh ingredients and simple cooking techniques is the most achievable way to stay healthy.
What are you non-negotiables when it comes to your lifestyle?
My daily yoga practice is non-negotiable, it is now as important as brushing my teeth and having a shower. Aside from that I keep myself flexible for whatever life brings my way…
How do you deal with those moments/days when you are lacking in motivation?
I just don’t indulge in them. Motivation or not, I just get up, and sometimes on the days when I feel most lazy I have the best practices which makes at all worthwhile.
Someone once told me a great phrase that I remember if I ever don’t feel like doing something ‘You might regret not going to yoga but you will never regret going’, and it is very much true, no matter what I always feel better when I leave than when I arrived.
What’s one thing you wish you could pass onto friends and family about health and wellness?
Think about health as a lifestyle, not as a short term chore that you have to do to achieve something. The more you integrate health in to your overall lifestyle the less work you have to do because it becomes such a pleasure to be healthy.
Love + light to you,