Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Phillips are world-famous wellness practitioners, lifestyle authors and Belmond Good Living Experience Makers. They believe that taking time for yourself is crucial to a life well lived. Get to know Belmond’s Soul Sisters.
Sisters Nadia and Katia grew up in Hong Kong. Their mother is a South African ballet dancer and Pilates teacher while their father worked in fashion retail. From their teens, each took their own path.
Nadia travelled the world modelling and eventually got into yoga. She began her career teaching yoga on tour with bands, and built a career to become one of the most sought after teachers. Her clients including Kate Moss, Reese Witherspoon, Sienna Miller, Rachel Weisz and Sam Taylor-Johnson. She is a regular in magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. She also has her own range of beautifully-scented, chemical-free candles and perfume.
Katia first studied photography in Boston, before training as a massage therapist. Here she channelled her passion for wellness and nutritious food into her training as a chef. Hailed as a ‘health-food pioneer’, Katia first opened a raw food café over ten years ago. She now runs an innovative café in Camden, London.
In recent years, the sisters have joined forces; bringing together their combined 40 years’ experience in wellness together. Katia began handling the catering on Nadia’s yoga retreats. Most recently the pair co-wrote two highly regarded books, ‘Self Care in the Real World’ and ‘Rituals for Everyday’.
As Belmond Good Living Experience Makers, the sisters will share their philosophy of taking time to care for your body and mind. They have created a Morning Ritual for all Belmond guests, designed to instil a sense of calm for the day ahead.
The Soul Sisters
What does Good Living mean to you?
Katia: Good living means to me having space in my day. If I’m rushing around I don’t feel grounded or settled, so I always need to create some kind of space where I can do something for myself; walking, swimming, eating well, sitting down and eating.
Nadia: Good Living to me is finding a little bit more balance in life, so you have time to do things that are also fun and creative. Not just the day-to-day things that we have to get through with work and family life.
What is it that connects you to what you do?
Nadia: We’ve been working in wellness for over 40 years between us, and it’s such an honour to be able to help people to help themselves. We get so much feedback from people who have tried to do these small techniques that we’re teaching, and what a big improvement it’s had on their lives.
Where do you think people are most at risk of missing out on Good Living?
Katia: I think that we get stuck in the ‘rat race’, and that with social media and the technology that we have, we lose our time. What we hear from people all the time is that they are time-poor, but we are wasting time on so many things. I think that that’s the weakness.
Nadia: I think people fill themselves up with so many things they ‘have to do’, not just the things that they enjoy doing. Everybody waits until they’re retired to do things they enjoy. But it’s important to find time to do the things that bring life to your day.
What does being a Good Living Experience Maker mean to you?
Nadia: Working with Belmond enables us to take our work and travel with it, which is really exciting to be able to do a lot of our self-care work in beautiful destinations, surrounded by nature. It also allows us to be around other people that are doing the thing that really makes them tick, and to be able to share that with other people.
Katia: Being part of this project allows us to take the things that we do to really beautiful places, opening it up to people so they can take care of themselves while they’re visiting breathtaking destinations.
What does travelling enable you to do that you don’t find time for in everyday life?
Katia: Travelling enables me to find my sense of adventure again. I don’t explore my city as much as I should, but when I go to a new country I love to explore their food, culture and nature. It fills my soul.
Nadia: Travelling to other places allows me to get out of my daily routine. With that, it’s just fun to be able to wander around places without having being constrained by appointments. Lunches and dinners can go on for a lot longer and there’s more spontaneity in your day. It refreshes your whole system when you indulge in another culture.
What is your one tip to help people find a sense of peace at home?
Nadia: The one tip would be to keep your home tidy and in order. When my home is tidy my mind is calm, but when there’s chaos in my home I feel like my mind is a little more distracted.
Katia: My one tip would be to make your bed in the morning. Making your bed in the morning is a small win, but it’s correlated with creating really good habits throughout your day and your life.
Can you tell us more about the rituals your are creating for Belmond guests?
Nadia: We created a very simple morning ritual to start your day with a sense of gratitude and joy. It starts with a breathing technique to help ground you, to bring you into the present moment, creating an instant feeling of calm.
Katia: It’s a ritual that you can take with you and carry it on, which was really important for us.
What tips do you have for someone to find peace while travelling?
Katia: I think it is important to be super organised – creating lists and planning ahead is going to make a smoother journey. I think it’s also important to drink lots and lots of water before a flight.
Nadia: One of my top tips is for when you arrive, to go for a walk or to find some green space to stand in. Or if you’re near the ocean to jump in and rinse off the whole travel vibe. Also, we always travel with essential oils like lavender, which relieves tension and anxiety. A couple of drops rubbed into the soles of the feet. Peppermint is also great for when you arrive, to wake you up and make you feel vibrant again.
What has been your most memorable travel experience?
Katia: My most memorable travel experiences are always holidays that I’ve taken that have included trekking or lots of outdoor activities, pushing me physically while being in nature. Being outside always gives me a sense of peace, especially as I live in a busy city.
Nadia: My most memorable travelling experiences are to places where you’re with people that you love, and then it doesn’t really matter where you are. If I had to narrow down to one place, it would have to be Tibet. It was a very long time ago, but I still have the memory of the smell and the culture of the place. The other most memorable place is Tokyo, Japan. I could keep going back there over and over again.
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