An interview with... Nahid De Belgeonne, Founder of Good Vibes
We know you’re a total fashionista – you started your career in fashion; what made you make suuuuuch a career change?!
I did indeed start in fashion, but then went into technology and then publishing. My constant in life has been exercise; it has kept me on an even keel. I started running when I left home, I started kickboxing when I left my first husband, and I started yoga when I wanted to leave a well-paid job. The job was really stressful and after 7 years I wanted to live in a different way and so decided to make this my career. I set up Good Vibes in 2006, we were one of the first boutique fitness studios and have shaped London’s fitness landscape ever since. I also worked in health food shops since I was 19 and was a vegan for 10 years when it was really hard to be a vegan (!) I have led– what was then called – an alternative lifestyle for most of my adult life. I am a great believer in moving every day, eating unprocessed, organic and seasonal food (I haven’t eaten meat for 35-years) and using natural therapies if I am unwell.
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Sweetheart, there is noooothing average about your fabulous self, but what is your average day like?
My day starts between 6.30 and 7am with a 20-minute meditation followed by 20-minutes of mobilization, and then a walk with my dog. When I get to work, if I am not teaching, I will go to a couple of classes. Then I have team meetings to set up the week and catch up with everyone. I use my afternoons for one-to-ones or to plan projects and then will go to the other studio to chat to clients and the team. If I teach in the evenings I will probably go out with friends who come to a class. I try to be in bed between 9.30-10pm during the week. I allow a good 2-hours a day that are a little more fluid where I can walk the dog, go see friends who work in the area or go to a gallery.
We like to think you’re totally Zen, but everyone has their moments! Other than yoga, what do you do you relieve stress?
I meditate, I lie over my Swiss ball, and I hang upside down on an inversion sling at home, or go for big hikes in the woods with my husband and the dog. Fresh air and being surrounded by trees is my thing. At the studios I have one-to-one boxing sessions as well go to kettlebells, TRX, circuit and reformers classes at the studios.
May we pick your lovely brain? We’re after your wisdom! What’s the most important thing you have learned from having your own business?
Surround yourself with kind and smart people with a good work ethic. I call the Good Vibes team the friends I pay for. The community around Good Vibes is so positive from the team to the clients – they make everything worthwhile. I have made strong friendships with clients over the 11-years that we have been going.
What does the term Go Natural mean to you?
‘GoNatural’ to me means eating foods and using products that have minimal negative impact on me and the planet.
We adore being different! What do you think differentiates Good Vibes to other yoga studios?
We offer mindful yoga in a fitness setting. That was always very important to me as I found yoga studios a bit too earnest and unfriendly and exclusive. I wanted to bring well-taught yoga to those who don’t think yoga is for them. This ancient technology is so powerful – who doesn’t need more rest and calm?! I wanted to show fitness-lovers the importance of quiet and considered movement and how to find peace. I’m a teacher of 10-years and an ongoing student. I audition and sign-off on all of our teachers – we have high teaching standards. I set up the Good Vibes Yoga Teacher Training School as I felt that other 12-month courses just were not rigorous enough. We also offer a variety of classes that work together to give you a multi-plane approach for a smart body and mind.
Are you an advocate of natural products or making natural swaps in your life, and if so, why?
Yes I am, I make my own deodorant, buy my products from health food shops and choose as natural makeup as possible.
Has practicing yoga taught you any techniques that you use in your day-to-day life? Do you OM in line at the Post Office? Downward dog on the tube?
Yes now instead of reaching for a glass of wine or feeling down when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I now get into a restorative pose and breathe. Self-care is a revolutionary act as it allows us to be self-sufficient as opposed to being a passive consumer. When we feel sorted we are in a more generous place to help others.