Meet Abby Simons | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Whether it’s her playlists, her infectious laugh or her hair burning bright in the sun, everything about Abby is red hot.

Oct 5, 2021

Meet Abby Simons | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ
Meet Abby Simons | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

It’s no coincidence that her hair burns bright like the sun because she brings fire into any class. Whether it’s her playlists or her infectious laugh, everything about Abby is red hot.

Why and how did movement become such a big part of your life? 

From a young age, movement was something I resonated with. The buzz of doing flips on the trampoline, swimming for hours in Lake Taupo where I grew up or the vibe of team sports were all natural pulls in my life. That instinctual calling for movement ran deep, but I didn’t make the connection with how important it was for mental and physical well-being till age 21. After some years of battling waves of depression and not feeling myself due to unhealthy teenage life choices and not moving regularly. I decided something needed to change. A number of small changes over time resulted in a total lifestyle change. This included daily movement, weekly warm yoga classes and mindful changes to my diet. From there, life unravelled a path like no other. I felt like I’d unlocked a new lease on life. Inspired to share this energy and help others like myself, I took the plunge into becoming an instructor full time and have never looked back.

How would you describe your classes? 

HIIT Pilates = The closest thing to a rave while working out!

My classes are a journey of connection; with movement, music, breath and self. A challenge for the physical and mental body, using HIIT style training and Pilates principles. Mindful movement is the foundation of HIIT Pilates and caters to almost any ‘body’ whilst still working up a sweat. Inspired by music, I sequence classes to the rhythm of whatever music calls me for the week. Usually, a good mix of house and drum n bass sets the tone. Each song I structure to elevate the exercises of the class and I only pick songs that ignite something within me. Some of the Sala regulars call me the DJ - Love you guys xx

What drew you to teach at SALA?

I think it was the gravitational pull of the eclipse moon! But on a more serious note, I loved the overall ethos that Sarah & Josh resonate through SALA. As a new trainer when I started at Sala, I was welcomed in such a supportive way by both students and teachers. It felt organic. A space I could be myself, share my passion and grow not only as an instructor but as a person as well.

Your favourite thing about the SALA community? 

The people! I couldn’t imagine life without each and every soul that walks through those doors. Just epic! Love you all Sala fam x!

What’s your go to movement to elevate your mood?

Pilates, yoga, swimming, walks or dancing around the house all work wonders for the mood.

What are you pre class rituals?

Before class, I’m always connected to music in some form. Tweaking playlists and playing my song of the week loud to get me in the zone. I always try and take moments for reflection and gratitude each day, so I can share from a centred place and be authentic in each class.  

From the ashes of hustle culture, self-care is on the rise. Why is self-care so important? And how does movement facilitate this?  

Self care is soo much more than a face mask and a cup of tea every Sunday. Self care is a constant check in with yourself. An understanding of your unique make up and what keeps you sustained. Constantly observing and listening to what you need day to day. Emotionally, physically and socially. Some days it’s yoga or laughing with friends, some days it’s chocolate and that cup of tea. The fast paced world gives us a sense of accomplishment when busy and it’s easy to get fixated in the state of hustle. But sometimes this can lead to a disconnection between what we need to sustain and what truly honours us. Some of the most powerful moments come from taking a step back to understand what you and your body really need. Living in a state of hustle 24/7 is a gateway for mental and physical burnout. I feel like our society is more aware than ever of the importance of self care. I hope this awareness improves our day to day living as a community. Encouraging each other to check inward daily, therefore becoming more balanced as a collective. 

What is movement a conduit for?  

Movement sets the tone for how you handle the challenges of day to day life. It actually affects so much, including our mindset. Our bodies are designed to move every day! When we honour that process, you’ll notice improvements in almost every aspect of your life. Therefore movement is a conduit for the tone of your life.

Talk us through your at home fitness / flowing set up? 

If at home, on an adventure or in lockdown a mat and UE boom is all I really need. Bonus if I’ve got some light weights and a resistance band too. I try to be intuitive with my movements. Some days I love to crank some earthy tunes, burn some form of incense and explore my body with Yoga. On other days, It’s drum and bass, props and HIIT Pilates. I always have a yoga mat in the boot of my car so I’m ready to go at all times haha. If you wanna flow, let’s go!

How do you motivate yourself to get moving when you’re low energy? 

Music always helps my mood. So I pick myself up with some uplifting tracks.

Does the movement you practice at home differ from the types you do in studio?

I love to get outdoors when I’m not in the Studio. Swim, hike, walk my dog, go for a bike ride or attempt to surf. Though when I’m on holiday, I usually incorporate self-practice too. If you’re a hiker. A huge tip is to incorporate daily yoga at the beginning and end of your days. Everything gets so tight on multi-day hikes. Stretching, even for 15mins is a game changer. Let me know how you get on.

When you’re not teaching where can we find you? 

Usually on some type of adventure or catching up with friends and family. Camping, hiking, or being by the ocean is my happy place.  

Are you an early riser or a night owl? 

I love to wake up with the birds, sunrise is my favourite time of the day. See you guys 6am Wednesday’s!

What’s your advice to someone brand new to fitness/ yoga who wants to get started? 

To start. 

One step at a time. Fitness is not an end game, it’s a journey. Even if it’s just once a week to begin. Gradually it will start to feel instinctive and come naturally. Don’t force anything, find something you like and hold yourself accountable. No matter what sort of mood you’re in, you never feel worse after a class or getting outside and moving. If you make the effort, you’ll notice the rewards physically and mentally almost instantly. Just start!

What’s the one object from your home you would save from a fire?

Can’t choose one. I would do my best to save my art, crystals and Mum's old records.

If you could do anything else for a living, what would it be? 

Maybe an artist, painter or creative of sorts.

I love getting creative when I can.

What’s your favourite post movement snack/ meal? 

If you haven’t tried fresh strawberries with a dollop of almond butter. YOU NEED TO!

What’s your star sign? Are you typical of your sign? 

I’m a Taurus but on the cusp of an Aries. I’m very much an earth sign but feel like I tap into the fire from the Aries sign at times, like when I’m teaching HIIT Pilates. 

What’s your favourite yoga pose/ exercise? 

Probably down dog and burpees. 

If you could give your 20 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Learn to be your own biggest supporter rather than judge. Loosen up the expectations you hold for yourself and trust the process of life. Have fun, take risks and make the most of your youth.