“I will what I want.”
Once Atilia Haron sets her mind onto something…
Okay, Atilia Haron didn’t exactly utter these words, but it seems like the Under Armour campaign was made for the petite songstress-cum yoga instructor, who now joins the likes of Nana al-Haleq, Linora Low and Hansen Lee as the brand’s athletes. “I’ve been performing since I was a kid, but my mum [the legendary Salamiah Hassan] never allowed me to do it professionally. So I went into advertising, and worked as a producer for 10 years before I finally resigned and became a full-time singer.” Atilia 1, Salamiah 0. The more Atilia opened up to us, the more it became apparent that the 41 year old is a go-getter – and a sunny one at that! The founder of YogaOneThatIWant (YOTIW) Studios was quick to point out that hard work, determination and the fact that she’s your typical Virgo woman (read: a perfectionist!) got her here. Doing what she loves the most, and surrounded by a fiercely loyal squad of family and friends, it’s one helluva sweet spot to chill in.
TEN YEARS AGO, I RAN OUT OF BREATH
DURING A PERFORMANCE. I was walking from one end of the stage to the other when I began panting, and had trouble holding my notes. At the time, I was a smoker and often worked late nights. I decided to take up a physical activity to boost my health.
SO I TRIED YOGA FOR THE FIRST TIME,
BUT I HATED IT. Why yoga? I thought it would be Zen-like. But it was tough; I wasn’t very flexible and couldn’t even touch my toes! It didn’t help that I kept comparing myself to others in the class too. By the end of it, I was super-sweaty and disoriented.
I WOKE UP ACHING ALL-OVER. I even had trouble sitting and taking the stairs! Then came the ‘aha’ moment: “If one class can do this to my body, then what if I do it once or twice a week?” I went to my second class about two days after, and I’ve never stopped practicing since then.
I’VE STOPPED JUDGING PEOPLE. And started being kinder. Yoga taught me to recognise my physical and mental strengths, to not be attached to so many things, to let go, and to love myself. Sounds corny, but I’m smiling a lot more now. And I’ve become a morning person!
I UPPED MY GAME BY BECOMING A YOGA TEACHER. About a year ago, I received my certification from Vikasa Yoga Retreat, Koh Samui, where I trained for 200 hours under Konstantin Miachin. I did it during bulan puasa, because it was the only time I was free. Although I had to be away from my family during Ramadan and endure a vegetarian diet (I’m a big meat-eater), it was an awesome experience – one I wouldn’t trade for the world. There, I managed to do a lot of the inversions I didn’t think I could do, and came back healthier, fitter and stronger.
I’M LOOKING TO EXPAND YOTIW AND LIL HIPPIE SHOP. We’ve been running for two years now, and at the moment we’ve got seven studios. We’re looking to launch our eighth in Kuching on my birthday: September 15. We’re also open to working with studios or gyms that would like us to conduct classes there.
MY SINGING CAREER HAS TAKEN A BACKSEAT, AND I KNOW IT. I’ve been working on my third album for a long time, but now that I have my squad aka business partners with me, I can finally finish it, and get started on a music video soon. It’s only because they are around that I can concentrate on my singing once again. The new album’s gonna be so good! I LOVE MY UNDER ARMOUR FAMILY. The free stuff’s great but I value the relationships I have with the other athletes more. We have a Whatsapp group, and we can’t seem to stop messaging each other!
I HAVE MY TOO-LAZY-TO-MOVE DAYS. On such days, I do splits while watching the telly or stand in tree pose while washing the dishes. I try to sneak in a few poses here and there…
I’M A LOOSE CANON. So, I admire my husband’s quietness and ability to think things through. Of course, my mum influences me a lot too. She’s disciplined, grounded, and respects time and people.
I DON’T DO DIETS. In fact, I eat eight times a day, and love my nasi kandar, curries, fried chicken and poppadom! What works for me: I eat smaller portions, I never stuff myself, and I always sweat it all out! Speaking of food, I would never eat sushi!
I’M NOT A PRETENDER. Well, I try not to be a clown in class, but I am what I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t feel the need to be perfect, because no one is. And everyone knows that!
I FEEL GOOD IN MY YOGA PANTS AND JEANS. People like to tell me: “You’re so skinny; let me feed you some bread.” These comments used to hurt me, but I no longer care. I think you should be more concerned about your health, not how great you look on Instagram.
I’M AT MY BEST WHEN I’M SURROUNDED BY LOVE. I love being on stage too. If I have my loved ones around me, kids, a small house on the beach, and 100 yoga studios around the world, I will consider myself successful!
I DON’T FEEL OR ACT MY AGE. I did a test recently, and found out that my body age is 22. Mentally, I’m probably 16. Or 12. But I can be 40 when I want to!