We recently popped into the sun-drenched Kita Yoga and caught up with former banker-turned yogi Nikita Ramchandani as she taught us how to strike a few yoga poses
We recently sat down with yoga aficionado Nikita Ramchandani to discuss how she found herself in the world of wellness after a career in the finance industry. She also discusses her favourite athleisure labels, her own fitness and diet regime, and has some advice for those who are contemplating hitting the mat for the first time.
As anyone from a buzzing metropolis like Hong Kong will understand, we take the old adage ‘Work hard, play hard’ a bit too seriously. One minute it’s boozy brunches, the next splurging on make-up indulgences, all the while trying to find the sweet spot in between.
Life has become a big ‘to-do’ list. Eat more greens – check; Meditation – check; Yoga – check. We blindly follow what what’ve been told is good for us, but pay little attention to how we go about it. The takeaway from the time we spent surrounded by the yogis at Kita Yoga and with wellness warrior Nikita is that it takes as much focus to be centred as it does to be reactive.
Hey, Nikita! How did you get into yoga when your background was actually in finance?
Five years ago, when I worked in finance, I started practicing yoga to move my body. As I deepened my practice, it changed me – how I felt and how I perceived situations. For me, yoga has been and continues to be a transformative experience and a form of creative expression. I am drawn to it and continuously want to explore. Teaching allows me to continue and expand that learning. Getting to know each of my students and being a part of deepening their practice has been such an incredible journey.
Tell us about the most intriguing aspects of the classes at Kita Yoga?
It’s structured to create a fun, challenging, holistic and healing experience, blending lineages of yoga and incorporating meditation and breath work so students leave revived and glowing.
We want clients to cosy up on the couch after class to take the idea of yoga past the time spent on the mat, to live life consciously, effortlessly and gracefully. We cap classes to 12 people to give students individualised attention allowing them to truly deepen their practice.
Co-taught classes allow for plenty of assistance, so students truly feel taken care of! And Sundays at Kita are the best – everyone stays after class for turmeric tonic and treats that I have made for the day.
What are your clients looking for when they come to Kita Yoga?
Community, a sense of connectivity, good energy and high quality teaching. At Kita, we want to challenge students in their practice, to have them grow and evolve, yet leave them with a sense of energised calmness. Our biggest focus is to create that vibe where people never want to leave, where they take yoga beyond the class and become more conscious of themselves and everything around them.
What’s been your greatest achievement since setting up Kita Yoga?
I feel like there is no such thing as the greatest achievement, as cliché as it sounds, everyday is a learning process and there is always potential for growth. I think the best part of building Kita is when people resonate with our philosophy and say they feel good in the space – that’s what makes it all so worth it!
Tell us a little about your own fitness regime and diet?
I would say I keep it simple by eating intuitively and eating clean and natural foods that nourish and fuel the body. Aside from my yoga practice, I keep myself active everyday with some form of exercise that I love, either circuit training, reformer Pilates – I’m obsessed with Steffi’s class at H-Kore, boxing or running.
How do you normally unwind?
Recently I’ve been escaping to Mana Café on Pound Lane to read – Alan Watts is a dream – or write; it’s like a little hideaway in Hong Kong. Massages are happiness. Traveling is another way – love to get away to a new place or go back to New York and see all my beautiful friends and load up on all my favourite workout and food spots.
What’s the coolest athleisure attire you own and which stores do you normally frequent for your activewear?
So hard! I love my Lululemon leggings but Solow, Michi and Koral are my other faves! In Hong Kong, you can find me at Caelum Greene – they have the cutest things in there with all the brands you could ever want. In New York, I love Bandier – they have everything!
What’s your advice for yoga beginners or others who are afraid to take that first step?
I have so many friends that say they want to try yoga but what follows is: “…but I am so inflexible” and “I am so bad at yoga!” I find that many new yogis have a preconceived notion of a perfect yoga practice. I would say come to class with an open mind, to have fun, learn something new and allow your practice to serve your own body! Move like yourself, allow yourself to get lost in the sensation – ultimately we do yoga to feel good, to find a personal escape and organise our body so it functions effectively.
Although most of us begin yoga through the physical practice, through time you may notice the shifts the physical practice has on your thoughts and emotions allowing you to figure out the bigger picture and cultivate your life. Believe it to see it!
What’s the next step for you and Kita Yoga?
I want to keep things intriguing. I’d love to open pop-up locations all over the world. Each location would have its own twist, but be an extension of our brand and focus on collaborations and wellness as a lifestyle.
These days, everyone’s catching in on the trend of yoga retreats across Asia. How do you go about picking your yoga retreat?
Anywhere with a beach, sun, surf, good people, clean food, and lots of yoga!
Kita Yoga, Flat 1A, 1 U Lam Terrace, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, p. 5323 1978, 上環裕林臺1號