“I will what I want.”

Once Atilia Haron sets her mind onto some­thing…

Shape (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - By Zara Nasarudin Pho­tog­ra­phy by Yong Keen Keong Art Di­rec­tion by Karen Hoo

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!

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