What does it take to be truly fit? Leah Simmons has re-written the rules of how we see health and fitness forever with KAAIAA; a fitness program to help people unlock the courage and strength inside themselves to go beyond what they think is possible… and ultimately transform their life. A certified Pilates Instructor, PT and Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Leah was hitting her fitness goals in the gym – but yet something in her life was still missing. Physically, the training had made her strong and lean, yet she still felt miserable. She found herself pondering the question, ‘If you look good, aren’t you supposed to feel good?’
An overwhelming feeling that there must be more led Leah to a turning point in her journey. After moving to Bali with her family, she simplified her philosophy and created a transformational workout that trains four pillars of health: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual via a combination of breath work, body work, meditation and integration. From this, KAAIAA was born.
Marie Claire: Tell us more about the four pillars of health and why KAAIAA focuses on those specifically?
Leah Simmons: I wanted to create a fitness program that not only changed your body... but could change your life as well. A true workout of the mind, body and soul. So I did. And you can train your entire life in under an hour. We are made up of four pillars of health - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual - and 'true fitness' comes from addressing the health of ALL of them. Training our 'physical' pillar is something that society seems to spend most of its time on, as it’s the one we can achieve tangible results… i.e. results we can 'see'. But more and more we are seeing the effects of neglecting our other pillars - rising rates of depression, anxiety, relationship breakdowns, suicide. Training our other pillars is so important for your overall health.
MC: How have you had to pivot your business since the latest lockdown?
LS: The lockdown obviously meant that I had to close the door to my studio… but where one door closes, another opens! I was forced to pretty quickly embrace the online space so made a promise to my community that I would do a free zoom class every day during lockdown. I’ve just finished Day 72! I have pulled back slightly now – offering only 3 per week – still free. But what has been amazing to watch is the growing community. What began as 20 people on the zoom class is now up to over 550 every day and it’s still growing. I’ve come to realise that both spaces (physical and digital) are important ways to connect with people.
MC: Both Stella and KAAIAA have a common goal which is to empower women through education and support, how important is this overarching goal both to you personally and to the KAAIAA network?
LS: KAAIAA is all about empowering women to turn inwards to find the strength, the confidence and the courage they need to weather any storm. This inner self-belief starts to manifest in them wanting to improve their own circumstances – through education, through addressing things in their lives that potentially hold them back, to step out from behind their own shadows. And the beautiful thing is, it’s happening. These women are saving themselves and to witness that is incredible.
MC: Now the world is hopefully coming out of pandemic life and looking towards a brighter future, what are your plans for 2022?
LS: "It’s all about growing the business and the community. KAAIAA’s vision is to 'Transform the world.. one workout at a time,' and that is our focus. We will be developing the online platform, building a virtual studio, running online retreats and workshops and just expanding the vision!"
MC: Why do you believe businesses like Stella are so important?
LS: To be able to provide an experience where women feel seen and heard is so important in the current climate. Women want a safe space to be able to ask questions, receive information and reach out for support should they need it. They also want to feel that they are not being taken advantage of because of their gender, so providing a level playing field is a great place to start! Businesses like Stella are empowering women to make decisions based on what is right for them
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