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Girl you need to know: Kelly Watt, founder of TRUE Food & Yoga

On her yoga and wellness philosophy...

A photo posted by Kelly Watt (@trueyoga33) on

Miss FQ’s Digital Editor, Skye Ross spoke to Kelly Watt, co-founder of TRUE Food and Yoga, Auckland’s new and very popular wellness centre, to find out more about her exciting new venture, her yoga philosophy and her approach to leading a healthy, organic lifestyle.
Miss FQ: How did TRUE food and yoga evolve as a harmonious business? Is this something you’ve always dreamed of achieving?
Kelly: It was definitely a labour of love – it took months of planning and building, years of dreaming and a lifetime of healthy practice.

What do you hope people get out of their TRUE experiences?
Regardless of age, experience, weight, flexibility… yoga is for everyone – that’s our philosophy. Yoga gives people the opportunity to de-stress and care for themselves – something that many of us neglect to do these days. Yoga nourishes your soul, in a similar way that food does. Dining with health and nutrition in mind does not have to be dull, extreme or restricted. Whether they’ve been to a yoga class, dined in at the bistro or both, we want our guests to leave TRUE feeling satisfied, at peace and truly nourished.
We love how you have yoga classes specifically designed for men, and wheelchair users too. How did you come to decide that these should feature at your wellness centre?
It all goes back to our philosophy – yoga for everyone. Broga gives men the opportunity to stretch and move their body, in a supportive environment where they don’t have to feel intimidated or self-conscious. It also gives them a chance to connect with the bros after class – us girls are so good at this social aspect. As far as wheelchair access goes, this was really a no brainer for us.

A wellness-focused lifestyle of organic food and regular yoga classes can quickly add up price wise! What tips do you have for those of us who are on a budget but want to embrace such a routine?
It’s just about prioritising your health and wellbeing. It’s so important to de-stress and take care of yourself and there are always ways to incorporate this into your lifestyle. Even small changes add up – a yoga class a week; a nourishing meal with friends – it just has to be a priority.
Why did you choose the Okahu Bay waterfront building for True Food & Yoga?
The destination ticked all the boxes for us.  We wanted to promote a sense of wellbeing by delivering lifestyle benefits and excellent food in an inspiring setting – you can’t get much more inspiring than the wonderful sea and city views overlooking the stunning Waitemata Harbour. The destination seeks to bring together all the communities Nic and I love in Auckland – from the walkers and cyclists of Tamaki Drive, to yoga, pilates and barre practitioners and lovers of good, nutritious food.

Appreciating the past week, whilst welcoming the new 💛 Sunday yoga session
A photo posted by Ella Moana Stanton (@ellastanton) on

Your husband Nic, of popular Skycity restaurant MASU, crafted the delicious menu, which also has vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free options. We hear it’s diverse and healthy, yet indulgently delicious. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the menu?
In the same way that we believe yoga is for everyone, so too is the food here at TRUE.  Both Nic and I curated the menu which is based around simple Kiwi classics with a nutritious twist. From a crispy soft-shell crab burger or venison meatballs to Matcha pancakes or the ‘full TRUE breakfast’, there’s something for everyone. The same applies to our wine list – we’ve ensured everything is available by the glass and also have craft beer and kombucha on tap. And you don’t even need to set foot in a yoga class to enjoy a delicious meal – our full-service bistro has your hunger pangs sorted from breakfast to dinner.

What is your favourite meal on the TRUE Food menu?
This is a tricky one! I love the mermaid salad when in the mood for something light. The combination of spanner crab, courgette and kelp noodles tossed with the fresh flavours of lemon, chili, mint and coriander ticks my food mood box and calls out to my inner mermaid!

Tell me about your journey to becoming a yogi. What sparked your interest in yoga personally and then later as a career?
I first experienced yoga 20 years ago in a gym in London. At the time I was a Maitre D in London’s Park Lane Nobu –  work there was fun but intense and my body was in need of some unwinding. I still remember to this day how I felt after class – ultimate BLISS.  I was hooked, the flame had been ignited. As B K Iyengar says, “Yoga is a light which once lit, will never dim. The better your practise, the brighter the flame.” I continued to practice once or twice per month but I had years of no practice too. When I fell pregnant with my daughter Kiana (11) I attended weekly pregnancy yoga classes in a local gym and I did the same in my second pregnancy, along with Mums n Bubs yoga and baby massage. It was during this time I became increasingly interested in health and wellness. I studied reflexology in Harley street, a skill I may pick up again in the near future. My yoga flame was reignited bright when I moved to NZ 4 years ago. After moving countries with a young family and saying farewell to family and close friends, I was craving the sanctuary of my yoga mat so I attended a Power Yoga class. It is only now, after my yoga practice and yoga philosophy of self-study Shvadyaya, I have a greater understanding of the psychological aspect of wellbeing and the importance of family & community – it is essential for happiness. I attended several classes per week at Abundance, then began a 200 hour teacher training with Power Living in 2012. I then went on to teach at Abundance Queen St, and managed the studio before starting the TRUE dream. It’s my home away from home – part of the TRUE vision is if you don’t have a community then create one! And so the True story unfolds…

Why do you think it is important for people to prioritise organic food and a healthy lifestyle?
I like to know my food is not sprayed with chemicals, which is why I believe organic is best. Food should be as close to its natural state as possible.  It’s all about keeping it real ­ – a healthy lifestyle for me is playing by the 80/20 rule. If you want to feel good, treat your body well – move it regularly and nourish it with nutritious food. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to live off celery sticks – if you feel like chocolate and a glass of red wine, go ahead and treat yourself – after yoga of course!
I’m obsessed with turmeric lattes, matcha lattes and kombucha at the moment aka the trendy, health drinks right now. What health food do you think will be the next It product?
My prediction is that the next drink trend will be beet kvass / mushroom lattes (chaga mushroom).  Seaweed has had the spotlight – now it’s time to move over and let mushrooms take the stage! I also think tea cocktails, bone broth and virgin marys are on the rise. In fact, tea cocktails are the next drink here at TRUE and we’re currently busy curating them as part of our summer menu – watch this space!

Tea heaven 💫👌🏽
A photo posted by Ruby Howden (@rubyjesshowden) on


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