Actor and TV host Malaika Arora is a picture of beauty, fitness and self-love. Now, with her new yoga studio, she's nudging us in the same direction. We chatted with Malaika to talk more about her personal fitness and health mantras.
ELLE: What made you want to start a yoga studio?
Malaika Arora:I was introduced to yoga years ago when I suffered an injury, and since then my love affair with it has only become stronger. So when the opportunity to be a part of Diva Yoga came my way, I jumped at it. It’s in sync with my beliefs about fitness, my love for yoga, and more importantly, I’ve always wanted to create a yoga studio that was dedicated to women.
ELLE: Take us through your fitness routine.
MA: I make it a point to practice yoga every day; if not at the studio then a quick 20-minute routine at home. Just practising a few basic asanas every morning can really make a difference to the rest of my day. Besides that, I do some Pilates and weight training through the week to build strength, to train the mind and lengthen the body. I really wish I could be more outdoorsy, but I don’t enjoy running because I find it very hard on my knees. I do try to fit in a swim when I’m travelling.
ELLE: What would be your advice for someone who has just begun working out?
MA: The fact that you’ve begun is the best thing. You have got to push your mind, stay dedicated and look at your routine as a slow transformation, to stay on track. Don’t treat your workout like a quick-fix, it’s something that should be a part of your lifestyle if you want to reap its benefits. Creating your own fitness routine should be like getting into a long-term relationship.
ELLE: How do you maintain your glowing skin?
MA: I’m obsessed with skincare. I follow the basics, like drinking a lot of water and religiously following a cleansing-toning-moisturising routine every day. I recommend sunscreen, even if you’re at home. My favourite rituals are my home remedies, like my face packs that keep my skin hydrated and fresh.
ELLE: Tell us some of your go-to DIY recipes.
MA: An easy one I enjoy using includes papaya, potato and tomato. I blend them together, add a little cold water to the mix and freeze it in an ice tray. You can rub a cube on your face and let the juices stay on for some time. It’s cooling, closes pores and has all the goodness of the fruits and veggies. Using it as an ice cube is so much more refreshing than making it into a gooey mask. For a hair pack, I whisk a banana and an egg with a little coconut oil. I wash it off after 30 minutes and it does wonders for the hair. These things are easy to make and all the things you need are right there in your kitchen.
ELLE: What’s the best beauty advice you ever received?
MA: Several years ago, (make-up artist) Cory Wallia had told me to apply castor oil to my lashes and brows before going to bed. I’ve tried so many different tips over the years, but his advice has stuck with me. I do this a few times a week to strengthen the hair follicles. Another one that I’ve often heard is to get your hair trimmed regularly. I’m extremely lazy when it comes to getting a haircut, but when I do get them regularly, the difference shows.
ELLE: The party season is upon us—do you have a go-to make-up look?
MA: I’m a sucker for all things shimmer and shine, especially during this time of the year. Dewy skin looks great, and I also love using highlighter on my brow bone—it really lights up the face. I recently used the Glamglow Glow palette and it’s beautiful. Besides that, there are so many glitter pots in stores that look great as eyeshadow.
ELLE: How does one build body confidence?
MA: (As a model) I remember being told that I wasn’t the ideal body type. There were comments like, ‘you’re not too tall’, ‘you’re too curvy’, or ‘you have a large backside’. But I never let what anyone said dull my shine, and tried to work what I had to my advantage. I still stick with that and tell the girls I meet to love their bodies and embrace themselves.
ELLE: How do you unwind after a long day?
MA: I enjoy massages, especially a foot and head massage. Sleep does wonders for me and I’m blessed to be able to nap anywhere and at any time. Strangely, cleaning my personal space also helps me de-stress.
Photograph: Farrokh Chothia