Nikki Ralston is an Auckland yogi who founded the Ralston Method in order to provide people with a unified approach to well-being. We are fortunate to have secured her for the HPN conference to take us through an early bird yoga class! There is no way to explain the way that you feel after one of her classes, only that you always leave inspired with a smile from ear to ear!
Nikki is filled with endless wisdom, so read on to she what she has to say!
1. How did you get into yoga?
I started yoga at about 20 to stretch out my tight, tired runners body, the first class I went to I loved the anatomical depth, the physical challenge and how I felt taller and more connected to my self when I finished. As a massage therapist already I knew that one day I wanted to teach yoga, from that day I also understood that I need to commit to the practice and mature a whole lot before I undertook that.... it took almost 10 years!
2. Why do you think everyone should practice yoga and mindfulness?
Our lives have become so fast paced and we are constantly 'plugged in' and as a result a whole lot more disconnected from ourselves and our innate healing abilities. Practicing yoga not only benefits you physically by opening and strengthening the body but it allows us to view ourselves and the world around us with more compassion and more kindness. When we turn up for ourselves on the mat we start to work through our fears, limitations and start to observe our mind chatter and emotions not as 'us' but a shifting transient state. What we practice on the mat slowly starts to filter into our lives and we realise our practice of yoga is in everything we do.
3. What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I get to help people connect, it brings me absolute joy to watch students grow in confidence, strength and awareness. All the parts in my life so far have lead me to this and I am so grateful that I get to share my passion and light up others.
4. How would you describe your philosophy about being fit and healthy?
Growing up with my Dad as a top level running and triathlon coach it was installed in me early that being fit was vital. I love to be active, I love to be outdoors and I like to play and have fun so I try to combine those as much as possible. I eat clean whole foods most of the time and I listen to my body.
5. What’s your typical meal for…
First thing upon waking: ACV lemon and turmeric
Morning: Green protein smoothie or sometimes bacon and eggs.
Lunch: Protein and salad (bird on a wire is always good)
Dinner: Soup, or salad and Protein
Snacks or sweets: Bliss balls, smoothies, nuts. I have a weakness for dark chocolate :)
6. Do you have any piece of advice for our readers who are struggling with their training routine and body image?
Make your workouts something that you look forward to rather than another thing 'to do' start to observe your negative thoughts and consciously choose to start to reframe those thoughts, instead of "I hate my wobbly belly" change your inner dialog to something like "I appreciate my body for all the wonderful things it can do" I know it sounds simple but it's amazing what you start to realise when you begin catching these negative patterns and choose to change.
7. What advice do you have for someone who is wanting to get into yoga?
Try a few different styles and teachers, I truly believe there is a yoga style to suit everyone these days. There is also a lot available on line (check out www.heydot.co.nz launching soon) Keep turning up, you may at first feel clumsy and inflexible but that won't change unless you keep at it. One of my favourite quotes is "saying you're too inflexible to do yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath"