“Believe In More” – it’s the ethos behind the latest Nike Women campaign, which sees a new team of women taking centre stage to drive the message home, accompanied by the impressive Nike Chrome Blush Collection – an innovative range featuring feminine and forward-thinking functionality, not to mention, some serious style notes. This message is all about the challenge, the motivation, and the drive to achieve your personal goals, no matter what they may be. It’s also about stamping your own sense of individuality on your fitness approach; it’s about owning it, and making making great things happen. We caught up with Nike Women ambassador, Karen Mattar to talk about her role in this campaign and her journey from the world of business to the world of yoga, and this is what she had to say.
1. What does yoga mean to you?
It is a place I always belong to. It is a time of stillness when I need calm; it is a place of energy when I need uplifting and a place of fun when I feel like having fun with inversions and other postures and flows. Yoga is the best counselor I have ever been to. Yoga makes my body look the same way as it makes my brain feel.
It has also been a way to cope with stress and a way to open my heart to grace, love and compassion, and an opportunity to connect with the inner silence and peace inside. Yoga challenges me physically, mentally and emotionally. Yoga is an opportunity to stretch and bend in different ways, to sweat, release toxins, and be present. Yoga has been a path to connect to what is really important for me and what makes me happy and content. And finally, yoga allows me to unlock energy in my body and let it flow the way it is supposed to.
2. How and why did you get involved in the practice?
In 2014 I moved to Dubai to grow my career in the corporate life; I worked as a Brand Analyst for 2 years. Since I moved to Dubai, I really felt the need to be active so I started many sports activities such as HIIT training, climbing and yoga. I even bought a bicycle that I used to ride to go food shopping or to go to the metro everyday to work! After attending a few sessions of yoga, I started to get the hang of it and in 2015 I realised that I was completely drawn to it. My practice became more frequent and I fell in love with it; it became my best counselor and my best friend. It offered me everything I needed on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. In 2016, I decided to go for a one-month teacher training course in India to deepen my practice and my understanding of yoga.
At the end of 2016, I decided to leave the corporate world to follow my passion: yoga. Since then, I have continued learning and have taken my training further, to include Booty Barre, restorative yoga and meditation. I’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other and trust the path, and I am grateful for where it has taken me so far.
3. Why should we all incorporate yoga into our lives?
Each person can incorporate yoga into her/his lifestyle for different reasons; it could be a place where you find clarity, tranquility and balance. It could be a place where you focus on the physical aspect of it, or it could be a place where you reconnect to yourself and restore your energy. If you sit for long hours at your office or feel stressed about the daily responsibilities and troubles, yoga can benefit you physically and emotionally and can be an escape from a hectic lifestyle. It can also make you a happier person overall.
Scientifically speaking, yoga has a lot of benefits. To name few:
• Improves strength and flexibility. A lack of flexibility can lead to injuries and lower back pain, etc.
• Perfects your posture. (Especially for people sitting all day behind a desk).
• Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown. Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion.
• Helps you focus and link your breath to your movements.
• Protects your spine and betters your bone health.
• Improves your balance.
• Relaxes your system.
• Increases your blood flow.
4. How do busy women complement their daily routines with yoga?
It is not easy to find time in an already busy schedule to put in an hour of yoga every day, but think of yoga not as another chore or responsibility, but rather as an escape from the hectic life, and you will find yourself eagerly awaiting the time of day when you can take out your mat and enjoy some time devoted only to you. Yoga doesn’t require a set period of time at all – ten minutes in the morning after your shower and another ten before bed is plenty to get you started, and you can put it in place of some other routine, like the morning scroll through the newsfeed, and have a much healthier morning.
5. What is your style of yoga, and what can we expect from a class with you?
My preferred style of teaching yoga for the moment is Vinyasa Yoga (linking your breath to your movements) based on strength, flexibility and balance. I like to challenge my students physically and mentally and inspire them to exceed their potential. However if it is a beginner class, I would go easy. I can be nice. I also give private classes; in that case it really depends what my client is looking for.
6. How does it feel to be part of the Nike Women’s Campaign?
Ah! It feels great! The main reason is because the message of the Nike Women’s campaign is aligned with my way of thinking: Believe In More. This is how I see things and this is how I live my everyday life. Stay true to yourself and believe in more. I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this campaign and to be able to inspire women to believe in themselves, to be a better version of themselves – better than they were yesterday and to exceed their potential in body, mind, soul and style!
7. What do you hope that this campaign will achieve?
I hope through this campaign women will be more aware of how important it is to know their potential and be the best that they can be. Whether it is in their fitness or yoga journey, their lifestyle, career, or their way of thinking – growth and change are inevitable. Stay true to who you are, uplift each other and believe in more. I also hope on a personal level that I keep on inspiring women to “believe in more”.
You can follow Karen on her inspiring yoga journey @KarenMattar, and get updates on the ebook that she is planning to release, which will focus on Beginner’s Yoga and practice that can be done from home. Watch this space. Now that you’ve got all your yoga tips, you’ll be needing that yoga look.
Sign up to the Sun & Sand Sports newsletter to hear more inspirational stories from sports figures around the region, and find the sport to suit you. Believe In More and challenge yourself to achieve something great – whether it’s a new fitness challenge, lifestyle change, or personal adventure – the door is open for you to make things happen.