24 September 2015
If you haven’t already caught the #BikramBug then brace yourself ladies (and gents), as we speak to Olga Allon, the genius behind Hot Bikram Yoga, a favourite amongst London’s keenest yogis. Standing as a real inspiration in the fitness and wellbeing world (well actually, just in general!), we find out how Olga manages to juggle a family with a yoga studio, as well as discovering just how and why she loves to stay healthy with such a demanding lifestyle.
OLGA’S DAY ON A PLATE
I am a creature of habit. When I get into a routine that I am happy with, I tend to stick with it for months on end until I feel the need to shake things up. At the moment, I am really sensing the benefits of a clean diet with little or no sugar or processed food. I am not adventurous in the kitchen and have little time to prepare food so things are simple for me on a day to day basis.
2 x soft boiled eggs or scrambled eggs with almond milk and spinach through it. Quick and easy and sets me up for the day. If I have time, I will add green steamed veg.
I have a mid morning snack of a green nutri bullet juice: spinach, kale, cucumber, celery and a good quality protein powder. This is also good to take on the run, or if I am dashing to get to a yoga class I have one prepared for just after.
I always keep a stock of almonds and walnuts for a pick me up in the afternoon too but try to be wary of not over indulging.
Normally lean protein – chicken, steak, salmon, tuna, tofu, with plenty of steamed green veg. I love broccoli and asparagus and eat plenty at most meals! I have even found myself steaming green veg for breakfast from time to time.
I often steam a bit extra to keep in the fridge for snacking on during the day. I do eat carbs but I am careful about which carbs I eat. I avoid white rice, breads, pasta but enjoy quinoa, buckwheat and absolutely love sweet potatoes and tend to stick to carbs during the day. I have only recently started eating red meat again and feeling good for it. I always choose lean cuts of meat and try to balance a variety of protein sources throughout the week.
Protein and veg again – often at dinner I will have less carbs and more fibre and protein.
I am careful about what I eat but I do enjoy eating and enjoy mealtimes. It is important that I set an example to my children. I encourage healthy eating and offer healthy treats for them but I believe in everything in moderation and there is no ‘forbidden’ food in our home!
YOU HAVE BUILT UP A LARGE YOGA BRAND IN LONDON (SERIOUS YOGI HEAVEN, RIGHT?), BUT HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTO FITNESS OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT HAS DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS?
I have always been into sport since I was a kid, but that interest developed over the years to a particular love of yoga, and in particular Bikram Yoga. I originally trained and worked as an architect but at that time, made the decision to make my love of yoga and love of design come together. I still enjoy many different sports and we have a really sporty family so often spend weekends kicking a ball with my kids in the park or going on cycling trips. I believe that a regular yoga practice is a perfect compliment to other sports and fitness activities. So whilst my yoga practice is hugely important to me, I feel it allows me to maintain a healthy body to enjoy a range of activities.
WITH SOME OF THE YOGA CLASSES TAILORED TO THOSE OF HIGHER OR LOWER FITNESS LEVELS, WE LOVE THAT HBY IS ACCESSIBLE TO ALL. WHAT ELSE MAKES THE HOT BIKRAM YOGA EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
The overriding difference is that all the classes on our schedule are suitable for total beginners. That means that the timetable is simple and accessible but that doesn’t mean the classes are easy! On top of that, I pride myself in having a friendly, happy and supportive team of teachers and staff that really do make everyone feel welcome and looked after. Every class is challenging but the yoga postures are simple and for that reason, we get people of all ages, shapes and sizes coming together to make changes to their body and mind.
WE LOVE THAT YOU WERE ABLE TO COMBINE YOUR TWO PASSIONS, YOGA AND ARCHITECTURE WHEN CREATING YOUR BRAND, BUT THIS MUST HAVE MADE DEVELOPING A BUSINESS EVEN MORE CHALLENGING! WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP WORKING HARD?
Design is very important to me and we are currently undergoing a re-brand (shhhh, you heard it here first!) so I have been loving being involved in the design process again (all will be revealed early next year!). I like to push myself to always see how far I can go. I love creating and seeing things come from nothing, and I guess always looking for that next challenge. And I love to see the face on my husbands face when I tell him that I have a new project to work on (one of fear ☺)!
ASIDE FROM YOGA, WHAT ELSE DO YOU ENJOY DOING TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?
Mindfulness Meditation. I love it and have seen huge benefits from practicing mindfulness regularly. This is an area that I am going to be introducing more and more into my yoga studio as I feel that it makes meditation accessible just like my yoga classes do – http://hotbikramyoga.co.uk/?page_ID=7&author_ID=21
SOMETHING THAT IS OF COURSE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF REMAINING HEALTHY IS EATING WELL AND SUSTAINING A BALANCED DIET. WHEN IT COMES TO COOKING, WHAT ARE YOUR STAPLE INGREDIENTS?
Eggs! Breakfast, lunch, dinner – eggs are my absolute staple food. Also coconut oil of course – I use it for frying, baking, moisturizing my skin…just about everything!
AND ANY GUILTY PLEASURES?
Oh yes…a hot chocolate at the end of a long day.
YOU’VE GOT THREE BEAUTIFUL YOUNG GIRLS – DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR PARENTS WANTING TO KEEP THEIR FUSSY CHILDREN HEALTHY?
Everything in moderation and make sure you pick your fights! I try to encourage healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle without forcing it. Also, I make sure that doing sport and physical activities is fun and something we enjoy together as a family.
AND HAS BECOMING A MUM MADE YOU MORE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR WELLBEING AND WHAT YOU’RE PUTTING IN YOUR BODY?
Absolutely. I want to live a long healthy life so I can enjoy my beautiful girls and share fun times with them and enjoy their interests. My middle daughter plays for Arsenal Ladies (u9’s) and I need to make sure I can stay fit and healthy to be able to keep kicking a ball around with her, not that I can get anywhere near her anymore! It is important that I set an example to my daughters and help them to love healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.
YOU’VE GOT US PRETTY INSPIRED ALREADY, BUT WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN AND HOW DOES IT HELP YOU IN YOUR DAY TO DAY?
‘Life is full of waves, you just have to learn to surf’. I love this quote and helps me to see the bigger picture. Life is full of challenges- on a day to day basis or as you move through different stages of your life. But this quote, reminds me to not try stop these challenges, but accept them and learn from them. And who knows what the next wave brings..but there will always be positive and challenging times ahead.
WITH ALL YOUR ENDEAVORS, AS WELL AS HAVING A FAMILY TO FEND FOR, LIFE FOR YOU MUST BE SUPER HECTIC! WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO RELAX AND UNWIND AFTER A LONG DAY?
Well, we have just decided to get a puppy! So I guess I will be spending a lot more time going for walks in the park. I am quite excited about late night walks around the block with our new dog. A chance to clear my head and reflect on the day.
SO LET’S SAY YOU’RE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND AND CAN ONLY TAKE THREE THINGS WITH YOU – WHAT DO YOU TAKE? (DON’T WORRY, YOU CAN STILL PRACTICE YOGA ON THE BEACH!)
My Mindfulness CD to listen to daily meditations. (I’m not going to include a player to listen to it as one of my 3!) My memory foam pillow – always gives me a good nights sleep! A ball – I reckon I would have a lot of time to practice my keepie uppies!
AND FINALLY, WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT FOR HOT BIKRAM YOGA?
I have already let you in to a secret that a re-brand is on its way. Bikram Method Yoga will remain at the core of what we do but we will also be introducing some new styles of classes for you to try and some have already started appearing on our schedule. So, come along for a visit soon!
To find out more about everything Hot Bikram Yoga, check the website here: http://hotbikramyoga.co.uk