Director of the Guerlain Spa in Toronto talks about the challenges and opportunities inherent in providing an exceptional spa experience
Sadie Nardini is a yoga instructor by day and a rock star by night. As a teenager, Nardini was leaning toward the rock star life until she suffered a serious accident at a pool, dislocating her spine in three places. During this time, partially paralyzed and in excruciating pain, Nardini discovered yoga as a way of healing. She eventually developed a technique called Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, which she now travels the world teaching. She also tours and sings with her rock band. “I’m all about rocking who you are from the inside out,” Nardini says.
How did dealing with health issues at such a young age inform your views on what it means to be well?
I never was a strong, vibrant, healthy, capable person from the beginning; I had to fight for that. I was forced to do anything and everything I could to feel better in any way. With no money and no resources, and I’m a teenager and my mom was working full-time, she didn’t have time to take care of me as much as I needed. I had to really turn inward. What I learned about health during that time is that it’s really an inside job. For better or worse, nobody’s going to do it all for you; you’ve got to… make it a priority to do radical self-care.
How did you come up with Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga?
When I was first learning yoga from a book by myself, I was on the ground, unable to really move, so I had to move with an efficiency of effort, from the inside out and the ground up. I learned that the body can move better if you’re not forcing it or going too linear. As I got stronger I went into more structured, classical yoga classes and they trained it out of me. I was taught to be very linear and get from place to place like an outstretched robot. We have this urban legend in the yoga community that you’re supposed to move like that, based on our founding fathers of yoga movement who did not know anatomy and biomechanics. So now we have to evolve. After [reinjuring myself]… I said, ‘OK, something structurally seems to be off.’ [Now] I go around teaching people transitional movements. That’s my style.
What is one thing you wish you had known before you started your wellness business?
I wish I’d known how to set better boundaries around my own self worth. I entered into some partnerships early on that took advantage of me and I’m very generous, I work really hard, so I didn’t always ask for enough in return. The art of balancing relationships and self value has always been my greatest challenge. I’ve learned the art of boundaries and self-worth, and… part of that has been stubbornly making time for me and my work, and my health, every single day.
How do you treat yourself?
I have a Pinot Grigio meditation I like to do when I have an afternoon off. I’ll go have a glass of wine and a Seltzer – separately, of course – and I’ll go and enjoy a moment of pure creativity where I’m envisioning what I need to do next, what projects I want to get to, how I can care for myself more. It’s just a time for me and I really crave it.
What is your favourite spa treatment?
I love going to the Korean spas. They have something called the gold massage where they basically do everything you can think of to you in an hour-and-a-half. It’s hot oil, it’s [dry brush], deep massage, cupping, ice water, salt rubs, sugar rubs… everything. Honestly, I’m a multi-tasker and so I like to kind of load it up.