Looking after their wellbeing and taking time for themselves is something women find difficult to balance in their hectic lives.
Whether it’s managing a work/life balance, looking after children, or just having time in the day to relax, many women forget to take care of themselves, something that is key to a happy and healthy life. Enter Nadia Sehwell.
Nadia is the founder and CEO of Abu Dhabi’s first yoga, Pilates, dance and holistic wellness facility; Bodytree Studio which she set up eleven years ago, as a concept that would give women (and men) the chance to focus on themselves and find a balance in their lives.
Nadia strongly believes in mind/body focused movement and she is a Pilates and movement specialist. The mum of three set up Bodytree studio with her own mother and it has quickly evolved to encompass a juice bar, healthy eatery, nutrition programmes, wellness programmes, health education, post-rehabilitation for women, classes for men women and young adults and much more.
Building on her Pilates training, Nadia co-created ‘Bodytree Body’, a unique signature movement method rooted in Pilates, Yoga and functional movement designed by women for women. Nadia believes strongly that holistic healing and paying attention to wellness is the key to a healthy and happy life. We discuss why it’s so important for women, in particular, to focus on themselves from time to time.
How important is wellbeing in women’s lives today?
It should be an integral part of our lives. Everything from being aware of mindfulness to our conscious mind, our body movement, nutrition, hydration and sleep.
Why should we take time for ourselves?
Being physically and mentally strong is important for longevity. If we overwork ourselves and go into overdrive and adrenal fatigue we start breaking down physically and that spills over into many aspects of our lives. Women also tend to be the centre of the family and without a strong core, the family becomes dysfunctional. We are the example setters and our kids learn by example.
Can you tell us about some methods of holistic therapy that you believe truly have results?
I think any holistic therapy you believe in is beneficial. For me, the most effective therapy is Vipassana meditation and it’s important to keep up consistent practice. I also find sound healing and reiki therapy beneficial. I recommend using Infrared saunas when possible as well as lymphatic drainage.
What inspired you to set up Bodytree?
It was inspired by my mother’s journey through sickness to health. Her ability to self-heal and become stronger through yoga, Pilates, meditation, and healing was a real inspiration to begin the Bodytree concept.
Why do you think it is something the UAE needs?
I think the whole world needs healing and needs to be connected to higher consciousness. Overcoming one’s ego via meditation and mindfulness can lead to conflict resolution, more empathy, problem- solving and a more functional society.
When did you first discover your passion for Pilates and yoga?
At the age of 19 while at University, just after my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had been practising yoga, meditation and Pilates and convinced me to try Pilates too. I met my mentor, Daniella Moretti who was a phenomenal person and fell in love with mind/body connectivity and movement. My path to Bodytree was a natural progression from that point on.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey from when you first discovered these techniques to now?
I started with a focus on a more physical practice and have evolved to include a full-circle approach to wellness. I now consistently work on mediating, eating a mostly plant-based diet which is low in grains, I work out six days a week and try to take time out when I feel overwhelmed or overworked.
What is your advice to women who find it difficult to take time for themselves?
If you don’t prioritise it, your health or ill-health will catch up with you. Focus on prevention rather than treatment. Don’t take your body, mind or health for granted. Find a self-care practice that works for you even if it’s something as basic as a going for walk or taking a bath.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing people evolving into better versions of themselves and seeing their satisfaction and connectivity to the community.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
Being a small business is tough on so many levels. We have very little government support and licensing and sponsorship fees are high. Our industry is also highly unregulated with the responsibility bearing solely on the studio and no regulation of freelancers.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I can’t pinpoint one particular achievement but I would say that the evolution of Bodytree to a Wellness space is a big achievement. Understanding what works best for the community and what is worth sharing and then educating other people on that. We’ve failed at some things but succeeded at most. We love the community we have built and are so grateful to our clients and friends for believing in our vision, supporting and trusting us.
What is something you would still like to achieve with Bodytree that you haven’t achieved yet?
That’s in the works and soon to come!
Can you tell us three key reasons why women should visit Bodytree?
To learn more about what a holistic lifestyle entails, to develop a connection to other like-minded women and to explore and adopt a fully inclusive holistic lifestyle and peace of mind.
What about children and young adults – why do you think it’s important for them to take part in some of the activities you offer?
The younger someone can adopt mind and movement techniques to help them deal with the stresses of life, the more integral it becomes in their lives going forward.
Can you share with us any particular stories of people that you feel you have helped?
We have seen clients arrive at Bodytree relying heavily on medication or antidepressants and anxiety medication and they have very quickly realised that the medication was having a “band-aid effect” or they were being over medicated. Through some of our offerings such as healing, yoga, meditation and movement, they were able to take control of their life and stop taking the medication. We have seen people turn their lives around and become more positive.
A personal situation I dealt with was a client who had been in a terrible accident and had no sensation from her waist down despite months and months of endless physiotherapy and rehabilitation. After only a few Pilates sessions she was able to start feeling a connection to her pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. It was a very emotional moment when she felt her first sensation. That was incredibly rewarding to see and experience with her.
From a business point of view, what advice would you give to women wanting to set up their own business and follow their dreams?
Do as much market research as you can, have a solid business plan, understand your ability to take risks, get through the stressful times and build a solid team.
How do you deal with failure?
I learn from it, move on and try something else.
What are the professional and personal mottos that you live by?
Never do anything you wouldn’t want anyone else to do to you. That way you’ll be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience.
Who or what is an inspiration to you?
My parents and my husband. They are relentless in the pursuit of their goals but always have strong ethical boundaries.
What is a book you’ve read recently that inspired you?
“The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafaq