Local wellness: A New Space in the Evolution of SALA

Since opening its doors in 2018, Brown Street health and wellness destination SALA has changed the landscape of fitness in Auckland.

Inherently bound to Founder, Sarah Lindsay’s vision for a creative community, rather than a traditional gym, the multidisciplinary movement studio is mindfully designed, offering a variety of intimate classes that nurture a mind-body connection.

Now, SALA has extended its community by opening a new studio, which is an absolute joy to behold. Set as an ode to Sarah’s appreciation for her surroundings in Aotearoa and altered perspective as a new mum, the space echoes a symphony of inclusivity and growth.

“Energetically, our first studio’s minimalist aesthetic was to represent new beginnings and fresh starts; a clear canvas to express your movement modalities onto, supported by our multidisciplinary offering,” says Sara. “The new space encompasses the intimacy, friendship and inspirations I have experienced since living in Auckland. The desire to separate the space by movement (the original studio becoming entirely focused on yoga and our new studio Pilates, barre and fitness) also represented my growing desire to take ownership of my experiences and choices not led by habitual routine - but based on environmental changes, monthly rhythms and personal experiences.” This way, she believes we can lean into particular movements and atmospheres which most support us in a cohesive and nurturing way. “It’s just another way we can authentically support movement as a lifestyle, not just goal-orientated, box-ticking activity. Ultimately, working out shouldn’t feel like a chore.”

SALA 2.0 is most definitely not your bog standard workout space. Designed by leading interior designer Mijntje Lepoutre, the architecturally designed room takes inspiration from the main space’s recognisable Eclipse motif, but this time the sun lights a darkened room. Blackened mirrors reflect a duotone image of yourself and others, offering a calming, non-confrontational feeling to encourage far more freedom of movement.

Mijntje says she explored the idea of community within a fitness context for the creative brief. “What does it mean to be moving alongside 20 other bodies? How can a ‘gym,’ which is so often an intimidating space, be inclusive, supportive, and welcoming? How can it leave a lasting impression, a shared experience that strengthens the notion of the collective? For SALA, it was critical to encourage confidence and freedom of expression.”

Dimly lit by the sunlight, the room encourages you to lose your sense of self and become a part of the collective whole. The motif of the SALA circle carries through into the space, but this time it is the sun that lights the darkened room. “The inverse of SALA, Yin and Yang if you will,” says Mijntje.

The new space is where you’ll find all-new Barre classes taught by trained dancers, and the studio now also hosts more of their popular yoga and HIIT Pilates, increasing the timetable from 30 to 70 classes per week.

Adding to SALA’s ode to Auckland is their scholarship programme to encourage more diversity within the yoga teaching community. “With our teaching practice, we want to encourage a more honest reflection of New Zealanders,” says Sarah. “We get so many applications every day, but none from people of colour, so to encourage more diversity we started offering scholarships to Māori or Pasifika yoga practitioners. Not only is yoga a valuable tool for empowerment and connectivity, but a beautiful way to find a common language through our physical experiences.

“Our first Sala graduate is Sam Veitch, who now teaches classes, incorporating Te Reo along with speaking to the importance of bringing culture to the forefront of your teaching to share intimate and authentic connections.”

SALA 2.0 is open now and can be found in the same iconic building in the heart of Ponsonby, Level 1/56 Brown Street, Auckland. Classes can be booked online at www.sala.studio