Meet Olivia Thomas | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Get to know SALA alum Olivia Thomas, from her favourite SALA classes both online and in the studio to why it’s so important to rest our bodies and mind.

Mar 8, 2022

Meet Olivia Thomas | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ
Meet Olivia Thomas | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Get to know SALA alum Olivia Thomas, from her favourite SALA classes both online and in the studio to why it’s so important to rest our bodies and mind.

Hey, who are you? What do you do and where do you live?

My name is Olivia, I am 27, I am a Property Manager and I live in Grey Lynn.

How did you hear about SALA? How long have you been coming, and what’s your favourite thing about the SALA community? 

I originally heard about Sala from my first ever yoga teacher, Eridani when it first opened. I've been coming since January 2019. My favourite thing about Sala is the tight knit community and all that Sala offers outside of being a fitness studio, amazing workshops and also the opportunity to immerse yourself in your own personal development with offerings like workshops and retreats. Last year I completed the Sala Yoga Teacher Training which was a truly profound experience.

What is special about group fitness? Do you come with friends? 

I love coming to a class as it is far more motivating than working out alone. I always leave Sala with more energy than what I came in with. I have a group chat with a couple of friends called "Children of Sala" (ha) where we will arrange to do our favourite classes together, however, regardless of that I know there is always going to be a familiar face to work out with/do yoga alongside. 

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

I was involved in all types of dancing and gymnastics from my very early days and carried that on by participating in sports throughout my school years - I tried many different sports but I played Netball and Basketball competitively all the way through. My family, in particular my mum, was always active as well and I grew up with movement being embedded in my every day.

What’s your favourite SALA class? 

Thursday morning Yogasana! There is something really nice about knowing exactly what you are in for, and being able to see the improvements in my practice from week to week. It's where I feel comfortable and supported to try new poses and push myself that little bit further.

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

HIIT Pilates with Abby! Her energy is unmatched.

What is movement a conduit for?  

Connection - to people but also mind and body

What other practices do you live by that support your mindset and mood?

A good night's sleep would be top of my list; as preparing/cooking nourishing meals; morning ritual of lemon water and then a coffee.

Why is rest important? Describe your dream rest day…

Rest is important for me to pause and reflect and to take note of what is or may not be serving me. Sometimes if I go too long without a decent rest things can shift out of alignment and I am in danger of losing perspective. My dream rest day would be to lie in and read with a coffee, cook a nice brunch or go out to a cafe. The afternoon would consist of some self care like a sauna at Hana, getting my nails done or a massage.

Wellbeing is…?

For me, well-being is balance and being tuned in to myself enough to be able to recognise early when the scale might be tipping one way or another. 

With a year interrupted by lockdowns, what does moving at home look like for you? 

It's non-negotiable for me to move first thing before I sit down to work for the day (this lockdown has been light movement like yoga or a walk). This is more for the mental health benefits than physical ones. I really struggle to focus if I don't do something for myself before starting the workday. Then I will usually break the day up or end the day with either a walk or a HIIT/pilates workout outside. Another non-negotiable is to get fresh air at some point during the day.

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

I live in a one-bedroom apartment so options are limited! But for yoga I set my mat up in the living room area - we have polished concrete floors so it kinda feels like I am at Sala. If doing a HIIT workout, I set my mat up in the courtyard.

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

I know how much better I am going to feel afterwards so that is usually enough to get me started. For me, I just start by going for a 10 min walk or looking for the shortest workout/yoga on Sala online, and then I will often end up doing more. Or I will listen to my body and take a rest and replace movement with some mindfulness.

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

Not really!! I am very grateful for Sala online. If anything my workouts has been shorter more often, as I do struggle without the energy that a class atmosphere brings. 

What’s your favourite SALA Online class? 

This is tricky. My favourite yoga classes at the moment are Crescent Moon and Magnetise to Extend, but I do love Lisa's Cardio classes, you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Any movement essentials you can’t live without?

Align high-rise tights from Lululemon. 

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

The majority of classes at Sala are beginner friendly, and the instructors are great at offering alternative options if you are just starting out. My advice would be to work out with a friend, do what you can and if you're coming to Sala then talk to the teachers - they will look after you and guide you through. 


What’s your favourite post-movement snack/meal?

A slice of fresh sourdough with mushrooms and/or avocado or peanut butter and banana, or a smoothie!

How can we find a healthy balance between nourishing both our physical bodies and our minds when working out? 

Before I started practising yoga (a little over 3 years ago) I was very much of the mindset that if you're not working up a sweat and completely spent at the end of a workout then what's the point? I would never even take 5 minutes to stretch afterwards. Both my physical body and my mind are better off for having struck a healthy balance between the two. Something I am working on at the moment is not always turning to movement as my outlet, and trying to implement some other tools such as meditation and journaling. 

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

Aquarius. I am on the cusp of Capricorn though and I always thought I could relate a bit more to those traits but I think as I get older I am noticing more Aquarius traits coming through. 

What’s your go to skin care routine?

My routine varies a lot, but something I've discovered recently is facial cupping which I believe is great for circulation and increasing collagen, breakouts and scarring among other things. So I use that every couple of days and it's like a massage for your face. 

What’s the secret to a happy life? 

I think part of the secret is becoming your own best friend. I used to fall victim to placing a lot of expectations on people close to me which more often than not would result in disappointment. You can't rely on others for your own happiness.