Nikki Ralston of the Ralston Method
Nikki’s passion and drive is instantly infectious. Having devised her own yoga practice which blends together the best elements of hatha, vinyasa, precision alignment and mindfulness teachings, Nikki creates a transformative experience, empowering her students to become their own guru. But we learn that this level of discipline, respect for the body and nurturing of the soul has been born out of a necessity to do so for her own wellbeing first.
How would you describe what you do?
I help people to transform their lives into what they want and how they want to feel through yoga and mindfulness, and hands-on through massage. I love what I do because I get to watch people make a shift within themselves. As human beings we’re hard wired for connection. Especially in the world that we live in today, we’re so distracted and fragmented. People’s time on the mat is about reconnecting with themselves, and then leaving that space and going out into the world with that connection in place.
So your specialities really go beyond yoga, then?
Yeah, yoga for me is just one small part of it. Putting your body under stressful and physical demands to observe how you react, and then shifting that to a place of physical awareness with breath.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the North Shore. My Dad was an international running coach, so I grew up very sporty and really inspired by what he was doing. He was coaching people for running, but what he was really doing is coaching them in life skills and success on and off the track. When I was sixteen I moved to Hong Kong with Dad who was working for Nike. There I realized how expansive things could be. Going to place like that at the age of sixteen, I was like “wow” I can be and do anything I want in the world. That was a really pivotal time for me. We travelled a lot and eventually came back to New Zealand in my early 20’s.
What else do you think has influenced you and what you're doing today?
People going after what they want in life inspires me. That can be in anything. Dancers and actors, any creative types who are just allowing that creativity to flow through them and to be expressed into the world often inspire me. I’m also really inspired by 70 and 80-year-old people who are still practicing yoga. I’m more inspired by that than any kind of difficult pose executed by a younger person. That to me is my inspiration to keep going.
How did you come across Storm & India?
My ex-boyfriend bought me a leather cap that you guys had attached a little sample to. That was the rooibos tea, and I thought, I like what these girls are doing! After that, via social media, we kept in touch. I feel like we’ve been in contact since the very beginning!
What is your first memory associated with tea?
It was always ‘time out’. Because we were a very active family, that’s the time when I remember Mum and Dad re-grouping and connecting. For a long time, I wasn’t a tea drinker; I was far too much of an impatient person. I’d drink it too quickly and burn my mouth. Or get distracted by doing something and come back and it be stone cold. That’s really reflective of the mind space of that time in my life. I was ‘too busy to drink tea’. Now I am a tea drinker. Which reflects the fact that I can sit down and wait for that right temperature, and really enjoy the moment!
Do you have any daily rituals?
Definitely. My meditation practice has become more and more important to me the busier I feel. My yoga practice is ritualistic. I’m really big on getting people to establish micro-rituals into their lives.
What teas do you enjoy?
I love Coconut Chai. I was drinking it iced over summer, delicious! In the evenings I’ve been drinking a green tea, which is also a muscle relaxant. I have these little Japanese bowls in which I whisk my matcha to make little matcha lattes. I’ve also been adding matcha to my green smoothies.
What's your favourite travelling moment?
I’ve got two. Can I have two? One was Hawaii when I was 19-years-old. Seeing the abundance of beautiful sea life, having whales swimming under the boat. The other, is in New York about two and a half years ago, it was just after I had lost my Dad. There was this moment in Bryant Park when my life just shifted. All of a sudden I could see forward into the future, that’s when I came home and started the studio and everything came into alignment.
What's coming up for you that you're excited about?
I have just returned from teaching Wanderlust Sunshine Coast and Lululemon ambassador retreats in NZ and Byron Bay, so right now I’m looking forward to grounding and hanging out with my daughter. I have a bunch of cool local events on through until Christmas and I’m excited to create some awesome new content for my business.
what is your connection to Lululemon?
I have been an ambassador for Lululemon for three years. It’s a really powerful relationship; they really see and understand what fitness experts, personal trainers, and yoga instructors out there in the community do. We’re out there empowering and educating all these people, and they see that there’s a gap to be filled in terms of who is then feeding us. They really give us the tools so we can go back out there and continue to give back to the community. They enable us to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.