Salina Taqi started her yoga journey in 2008 and there has been no looking back every since. She is the co-founder of Studio X, Karachi’s premier yoga and hot yoga studio. Over the years Salina has taken yoga in Pakistan to the next level. From organising yoga retreats in the country’s breath-taking northern areas to hosting wellness weekends at Yoga X, Salina’s done it all. Her yoga classes are always packed and that is because Salina always gives it her all. Regardless of the number of people in her class, each and every person leaves the yoga studio having felt some sort of connection with her and a sense that somehow Salina just “gets” them.
Salina strongly believes that one must be conscious of not only what is put in the mind and in the body but also what is put on the body. This led to the creation of Salina Cosmetics in 2011, a brand that has had a fan following since its very inception, and one that continues to produce new products that are simply put – “good for you”.
Here Salina Taqi talks to OK! Pakistan about yoga, Salina Cosmetics, healing, and so much more…
How did you start your yoga journey?
Salina Taqi: My yoga journey began in Singapore in 2008. I was out of a job, extremely highly strung and my anxiety was spiraling out of control when my mom recommended I go to ‘try out a yoga class’. I remember it was right after my first yoga class at Pure Singapore that I was hooked. That one class made me feel like “ I will be ok”. For the first time I felt a connection with mind, body and soul.
When did you decide to dedicate yourself to yoga personally and professionally?
ST: When I began my journey, it was all personal. It was for self-growth. Right when I was moving to Pakistan from Singapore I decided I wanted to learn more and got my father to gift me a Yoga Teacher Training. Upon my arrival in Karachi, my best friend got me to start teaching her, and the next thing I know I had a full yoga class.
Can you walk us through your day?
ST: My day begins at 6:30 am with my son Aydin. I get him ready for school and his father drops him off. At 7:30 am I start my personal yoga self practice and let my body lead the way. 9:00 am I check my emails and attend to anything related to Salina Cosmetics and then set out to StudioX to teach my yoga class (which I usually prep for a day before). After class I rush to pick my son from school and we eat a meal together (that’s my first meal as I intermittent fast). After tending to him, I go back to any work-related commitments and liaise with the Salina Cosmetics office to make sure all orders are sent out. Once that is done, I start working on my yoga routines and playlists, etc. It’s literally a day filled with passion and love.
“Yoga has taught me to pause. It has taught me to slow down and appreciate every moment… It’s been life changing.“
Why do you think some may feel intimidated by yoga? How can they overcome this?
ST: Try out different classes and don’t give up. I love that our studio offers so many kinds of yoga classes. Listen to your body as it communicates with you.
Describe the type of yoga classes your studio offers.
ST: Yoga X is Karachi’s premier yoga and hot yoga studio, providing the best yoga classes for all levels of experience. At Yoga X, we believe in the magical and healing powers of yoga to help you lead a happier, healthier and more balanced life. We believe that yoga is for everybody at any age. We are extremely excited to be Pakistan’s first professional hot yoga studio and boast highly qualified and certified yoga instructors. We teach a variety of yoga classes from yoga basics, YinYang yoga, power yoga, hot yoga, restorative yoga, chair yoga and kids yoga. There is literally something for everyone.
What do you find rewarding about being a yoga instructor?
ST: Knowing that I can make a change in someone’s life.
What’s your definition of healing? What facilitates the process?
ST: The process of doing inner work. The realisation you are not your triggers, mistakes, past or future. Recognising you are light and love. Patience and non-judgment with the self really helps.
What connection do you see between meditation and yoga?
ST: Meditation is one of the limbs of yoga – it is yoga.
What impact has yoga had on your life? Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?
ST: It’s been a journey of complete self-discovery and self-love. I used to be very reactive and highly strung. Yoga has taught me to pause. It has taught me to slow down and appreciate every moment. It has helped with my anxiety. It’s been life changing.
You recently went up north on an excursion titled “Journey to the Self ’’. How was that experience?
ST: The Journey to the Self yoga retreat was all about yoga, meditation, heritage sights and lots of healing. The mountains are magical.
Who is your inspiration? Who is your mentor?
ST: On my journey, I have met so many fantastic gurus, teachers and guides. My inspiration is my mother; she is the one who started me off on this beautiful journey. Then Michelle Ricaille, my restorative teacher at Pure Yoga Singapore. Every day I get inspired by my partner. Jeannette Faruque; her dedication and passion is contagious. And my dear friend Sereena Chaudhry who has been a guide sent from above.
What is the goal of yoga as you see it? Beyond the walls we often construct, how are we all truly connected in this practice?
ST: The goal is to recognise we are all one. It’s a journey of the self to the self. It’s beyond physical strength, abs and weight loss. It’s a means towards potential enlightenment – the goal for all human beings.
You started Salina Cosmetics. How did you move in that direction – from yoga (co-founder of Yoga X) to cosmetics?
ST: Salina Cosmetics was founded in 2011. It’s been a little over eight years. Salina Cosmetics is a pure passion project. I’ve always loved skincare, and I’m currently studying towards becoming an organic cosmetics formulator. I really believe you must be conscious as to what you put in your body, in your mind and on your body. It’s all about awareness.
What is your favourite product and why?
ST: I am currently obsessed with WOWGLOW – it’s our new organic highlighter. It’s smooth, creamy and makes the skin look wow. It’s currently my instant pick me up.
What’s next on the table for you?
ST: For the Studio we have recently launched Wellness Weekend, it’s a weekend dedicated to self-love and healing. We are also in the process of launching The Ultimate YogaX Body, which is a two-week program with a combination of detox, hot yoga, power yoga and yinyang yoga – it’s super yummy. At Salina Cosmetics I’m working on an organic facial scrub that will help reduce acne by reducing white heads and black heads.
Yoga to you is…?
ST: A way of living.
Ideal destination ?
Describe yourself in 3 words?
ST: Determined, friendly, positive.
ST: Farhan Akhtar.
Three must-haves in your bag?
ST: Power of Now, phone, Aydin’s school id.
ST: Lululemon and Zara.
ST: Gardenia by Chanel.
What’s your motto?
ST: Everything has been sent as a gift from above.
INTERVIEW: Mehr Kassim