Sarah Lindsay is the powerhouse behind the cult-like fitness & mindfulness space, SALA, in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby. You might recognise it from the many Instagram posts of its instantly recognisable wall ‘eclipse’, big windows, and incongruously calm space amid one of the city’s busiest areas.
It’s a metaphor for the lives of, not only SALA's members, but of women and men around the country who are trying to find balance in their busy, sometimes hectic, lives.
No one knows this better than she. A first-time mum of a young baby and starting a new business in a new home country would be high-stress for anyone. So, having both at the same time took a toll on her mental and physical health in a way she wasn’t prepared for.
Gut issues, burnout, stress, and increasing bouts of anxiety became everyday occurrences for Sarah and when prompted by a friend, Monica Cronin, she decided to investigate what she could do to get her health and herself back on track.
We sat down with Sarah to talk about the space she’s created - both physical and mental - and how she works with her clients and herself to put health first even when it feels like it should be the lowest priority.
We love visiting SALA, can you tell us a bit about your space and the philosophy behind it?
SALA is a multidisciplinary space which honours the mind-body connection. Everything you consume plays a part in a healthy life: fitness, media, food, sun, sleep, stress. When we see all these as resources, we can better move in alignment with our innate body intelligence. We can respond rather than react.
What are some of the health challenges you see your clients facing at the studio?
I think one of the immediate crises we face within our generation is burnout, or sitting on the edge of burnout, which isn’t sustainable.
I see so many health issues related to stress in the studio. Growing food intolerances, gut and digestion issues, skin breakouts, weight fluctuations. I think I’m really aware of these issues in others now, after my own health journey. Now that it’s at the forefront of my experience, I’m shocked at how many of us are sitting in the same space.
Stress is a huge one. There are so many contributing factors to stress, and many I’ve experienced first-hand. I think we have, like never before, the capacity to ‘follow our dreams’, live off our ‘side hustle’ or change careers. And although this is a luxury previous generations haven't had the same access to, it also brings a shadow side. We experience instability, uncertainty and unclear boundaries. I think this has been amplified with COVID too. It’s shown us our capacity to recognise the quality and opportunity right here on our doorstep, but with that has come a wave of work, deadlines and consumption.
This combined with the lack of travel, or rest and digest, means the last 18 months for so many of us has meant we’re working in overdrive. I am seeing a lot of burnout, particularly in women, in the studio.
And can you share a little of your health journey and challenges with us?
I was introduced to BePure, little over two years ago by a friend, Monica Cronin, who swore by it for her adult acne.
For about 10 months I was experiencing chronic abdominal pain - sharp cramps or a dull ache. I developed food intolerances to dairy and gluten, anything acidic from coffee to tomatoes made me physically throw up.
I began to experience mood swings and incredibly debilitating bouts of anxiety. I visited a doctor weekly and was prescribed ibuprofen, followed by antibiotics twice (which ironically worsened my symptoms). I was at the peak of building my business, running training and having to travel to teach yoga, but I was also chronically uncomfortable in my body.
I started gaining weight, and looked bloated and unhealthy. Monica recommended I try BePure. When I met with the team they asked me questions on everything from the date of my last period to my diet. I was recommended the Gut Nourishing Pack (BePure One, BePure Two, BePure Three, Digest Assist and Zinc Restore) and to eat three stable meals daily (I hadn’t had breakfast for as long as I could remember- I’m usually running out the door with a coffee in hand).
Within a month my symptoms had improved and within three months had disappeared entirely. I was so shocked that these vitamins had worked.
I felt angry to begin with that I had been failed by other experts and lived in pain for so long. They had never really considered me as a whole; my life, diet and needs, whereas BePure really looked at everything and offered sustainable options. It felt incredibly empowering.
I still take BePure’s Gut Health Pack, I require so much of my body on a daily basis and it’s good to know I am stocking up on the good stuff. I have so many conversations with people (mostly women) who are experiencing the same symptoms and I just feel as a society, we know so little about gut health, nutrient depletion and restoration.
We know health is a constant journey, what's helped you along your way?
Not only did the Gut Nourishing Pack support my gastritis (I'd say it literally healed it!), but BePure also educated me so I could feel empowered to make more considered decisions.
I know to take Super Boost C in winter, magnesium if I have a particularly tough night with baby O and need to support better sleep, or Mum's One during pregnancy. It truly gives me the opportunity to see the relationship between input and output.
If you could share 3 things with anyone facing similar health challenges, what would they be?
- Talk to friends! You’d be surprised how many of us are living quietly with the same symptoms! Sharing knowledge is key to our collective health.
- Invest in yourself. Taking care of yourself is cheaper long-term than burning out and having to take a break from work, or more invasive responses.
- Find solutions that are sustainable to you. I know so many people who undergo these incredible health journeys but they can’t maintain them long term, which just makes you feel as though you’ve failed. Find small incremental changes you can manage long term. For me it’s taking these vitamins twice a day, and now it’s just a part of my routine. I can’t imagine not taking them.
What can I do next?
If you have an experience similar to Sarah’s and think that talking to someone at BePure would be beneficial to you, please call 0800 52 54 52 for a consultation free of charge or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ‘Learn’ section of our website is also full of useful information and resources that might resonate with you. We also have a range of questionnaires on everything from the best diet for you to assessing the health of your gut which can give a generalised look at your health and supplements that might be the best fit for you.