What do you look for in a yoga teacher? Me, I like a good body. On a not-so-subconscious level I resent being taught the link between mind body and spirit by someone whose Buddha belly spills out of his or her yoga pants. It’s just one of the reasons I’m a big time disciple of Nadia Narain from Triyoga, who, no exaggeration, has the prettiest body in London, which is not the point, I realise, of this ancient spiritual practice, but when you have been in plank position for a while and are losing the will to live, for me, it kind of counts.
It’s not just the way she looks, or even the way she teaches (Dynamic flow, Hatha-infused); there’s a really calm, positive yet unassuming energy that haloes her both in and out of class. But then the Cult of Nadia is already very oversubscribed. Rachel Weisz, Sam Taylor Wood, Kate Moss, Jools Oliver, Luella Bartley, just ask them - the girl’s not so much a teacher as a way of life.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Narain came to yoga in her late teens while travelling (on the weekend money she’d saved up) in LA. It all happened when a friend took her to a class given by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (the famous Kundalini guru whom Demi Moore and Russell Brand talk of in such hushed tones) on her living room floor.
“Nothing was really moving me the way it was moving my peers,” explains Narain, a brunette version of Bo Derek, if you can imagine it, “but then that thing happened where I thought, ‘hmmm’; here was something that made me feel safe and strong and which I could see myself doing at the age of 60.”
After a stint in an ashram in India, Gurmukh took her up as a pupil and then sent her to see a tricky rock star who wanted yoga every day on tour. None of the rock star’s entourage could believe the effect Narain’s classes had on her and it became a kind of joke how they’d beg her to do some yoga before having to deal with her. 16 years ago, at the age of 23, Nadia moved back from LA to London and, lucky us, has been teaching here ever since.
Lucky for us too, she has brought out a range of aromatherapy candles called PEACE,LOVE,HOPE,JOY + LIGHT. “Nadia’s candles are so beautiful. Like her they bring a sense of peace, love and joy into the house.” Well put, Kate Moss! They ARE like having a bit of Nadia at home.
If you want to know who the tricky rockstar was, though, forget it. As well as being maddeningly pretty, she’s maddeningly discreet.
Candles available at nadianarain.com and at Fenwick of Bond Street