Meet Sarah Lindsay | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Sala founder and Yoga teacher, Sarah Lindsay talks self care, motivation and motherhood, from the depths of lockdown.

Sep 15, 2021

Meet Sarah Lindsay | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ
Meet Sarah Lindsay | Sala Studio, Auckland, NZ

Sala founder and Yoga teacher, Sarah Lindsay talks self care, motivation and motherhood, from the depths of lockdown.

What is SALA, how was it born, and what did it set out to achieve? SALA at its core is a multidisciplinary movement studio, and although held by movement it isn’t tethered to any particular modality. I feel as though SALA has become a home for like minded individuals; the curious, creative and restless alike. I often refer to it as a living organism as it evolves with its community.  

How would you describe your classes? A deep dive into the mind-body connection. 

What’s your go to movement? Yoga, although I love all sorts of movement! 

Why and how did movement become such a big part of your life? I didn’t grow up as an active child. I was the kid skipping school, joy riding and reading beat poetry. It is still at times bizarre to me that I have managed to turn my life around in such a profoundly positive way. At university, I was struggling with depression and a doctor recommended I try exercising. I quite quickly grew dependent on fitness and one day the owner pulled me aside and recommended I try and temper my competitive movement streak with some yoga. I genuinely remember my first class. It was hell. I was the most inflexible, impatient person in the room. However, through perseverance (pure stubbornness) I began not only to improve but to enjoy the practice. Ten years later, I can’t imagine my life without it.

From the ashes of hustle culture, self-care is on the rise. Why is self-care so important? And how does movement facilitate this? I think a lot of us have experienced anxiety, burnout, and depression - I know I have. Self care not only gives us the opportunity to take control of our own experiences but helps equip us with a toolkit to pull from when the road gets rocky. It’s knowing it’s not about just fixing the immediate but about setting up strong foundations for the long journey home. Movement is essential because it’s through movement we strengthen the vehicle which is us. The container of our thoughts, feelings and experiences. I know when my body is feeling strong and healthy, my mind is close by. When my body feels depleted, unhealthy, and foreign, my mental health begins to decline. It’s understanding and respecting the mind-body connection. They are two sides of the same coin.  

What is movement a conduit for? Creativity. 

How do you attain happiness in your life - whether through activity, achievements or mindset? 

I believe if you seek wonderment, wonderment will seek you back. I try to look for small moments of joy in the mundane everydayness of life. The one green leaf left on a wintered bare tree, a balloon tied to a street light, a child zooming past on a bell-embellished scooter. These are the small moments that remind me that life is beautiful. 

Wellbeing is…?  An entire life. It is what you consume in terms of food, media, gossip, rest as well as movement. 

With a year interrupted by lockdowns, what does moving at home look like for you? Very different! Having a ten month old baby during this lockdown means my whole day is structured around her routine. She’s not a great day sleeper which means I can only manage the 20/30 minute SALA Online classes while she naps. I am really enjoying Barre because they’re short but physically challenging! 

Talk us through your at home fitness / flowing set up? It’s literally my Lululemon mat in the narrow space between the bed and the wardrobe. Although it’s not luxurious, it’s a sanctuary I value. That’s the magic of movement, once you get going, that space becomes a magic carpet which transports you far away! 

How do you motivate yourself to get moving when you’re low energy? I try and decipher WHY I’m low energy. If I’ve had a busy day with O, a bad night's sleep or it’s near my menstrual cycle then I decide whether actually rest is best. If it’s as simple as motivation I commit to a short class - just 20 minutes - often once I finish I have more energy than I started with.

What are your go to health and fitness tips? Fitness is not thinness. They are two entirely different things. Listen to your body, get to know it intimately and tell it you love it every day. 

Are you an early riser or a night owl?  Early riser. My favourite parties used to be the after parties which started at 4am!

What’s your advice to someone brand new to fitness/ yoga who wants to get started? Just start. There are no short cuts or cheats, just repetition and incremental improvement. 

What’s the one object from your home you would save from a fire? Other than my loved ones, my records. When I moved to Auckland from London I culled my collection down to a handful of very important records. One I helped write the cover insert for, one I bought at my favourite flea market in Ibiza, the first record I bought for my husband, and one with a song on which my ex-boyfriend wrote about our relationship. These records tell the story of my life.

Are you sentimental? Talk us through a few of your favourite things that you own. I am extremely sentimental. I have small clusters of objects and memories in each room. I think of these as small alters; offerings to the past, present and future. A few of my favourite sentimental objects are a bear carved from sequoia from a hiking trip to the redwoods CA with my grandfather, my Osho entry card from my time in the Pune mediation centre in 2014, a copy of Patti Smiths Just Kids with a handwritten cover insert someone special bought for my first trip to India, and a George Jenson vase my friend Millie bought us as a wedding gift. 

Is there anything you don’t own, that you’d like to do one day? There is infinite art I would like to own, including a piece by Jonny Niesche.

If you could do anything else for a living, what would it be? I have always wanted to be a therapist. That dream lives on, and I plan to return to university to complete my post-grad within the next couple of years. 

What’s the secret to a happy life? Stay in your own lane. Do not let the actions, opinions, (or successes) of others derail your own journey. 

What’s your go-to savasana song? Patti Smith’s cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit

What’s your favourite colour? What effect does it have on you? My favourite colours are yellow and green. As yellow and green are at the top of the visible spectrum bell curve, they are the easiest for our eyes to see and process, which means they can have a relaxing effect on us. I definitely feel relaxed when I see them, and I incorporate green and yellow into my home wherever possible. My guest room is forest green and it’s my favourite room in my house.

What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Take care of your gut health, it’s the portal to happiness! 

How did pregnancy change your approach to movement? It has absolutely changed how I view bodies, from how they move, to how I teach them. It’s definitely infused it all with more love, and more compassion. I am so in awe of what these bodies are capable of and after experiencing its ability to change so much first hand, I am a lot gentler about how I approach it. It has also enriched my understanding of community. They say it takes a village, and for me, that has definitely been true. I am grateful to have my community, it has been integral to both my and baby O’s mental well being. I am so, so incredibly proud of the environment baby O will be bought up in, surrounded by loving, like minded people, determined to improve their own lives and the lives of the people around them through movement.