With hatha yoga instructor Katrina Huroni / @huroni_fit

MUA : Anastasiya Bandarenka @Nastjabond1
Photo : Iya Shengelia @iya_shengelia_photographer
Stylist: Evgeniy Sonev @evgeniysonev

This issue we get candid with the beautiful and multi-talented Russian-born fitness model Katrina Huroni who shares her fitness journey with us. Katrina is currently a certified yoga instructor, health coach and fitness addict who loves spending her time training, swimming, playing tennis and dancing. She believes that true happiness and balance comes from both a strong body and a strong mind. Here, Katrina shares her story on how she got started on her spiritual mission, what motivates her to achieve her goals and how she’ll continue building herself and her fitness career well into the future! 

It’s a pleasure to have you Katrina. Could you tell us what inspired you to start your journey into fitness and what are some of your most memorable moments? My fitness life started when I was working for the government 10 years ago. I decided that while working I’d pursue my modelling dreams to get on to Miss Russia. At that time I weighed an extra 24kg so I started weights, cardio and swimming and lost it in 7 months and made my body perfect. It was my first fitness achievement. To speak in general my fitness journey after that was about maintaining my weight before and after a vacay or special event.

Three years ago, already being hatha yoga teacher, I decided to bring fitness into my lifestyle. I turned to a strict vegan and stopped drinking alcohol without exception on any occasion, and my new life journey began. I trained in gym 6 times a week and I became super skinny with some muscles but no proper shape or developed glutes (girls will understand)).

It took me almost 2 last years to really understand how my body works so I transformed it completely. I started to work more with weights, switched back to pescatarian, as I had an eating disorder due to many mind limitations about food, which caused breakdowns. I’m still working on it with my therapist and my plan to finish being in remission for 1 year then I want to go back to being vegan as it’s the best feelings ever: feeling lighter with lots of stamina and strength for training, getting proper sleep which promotes great health and positive vibes. So now as a result of working on myself, I’m a fitness model. My body is super shaped, I have good muscles and I feel amazing. I train every day, even during vacations, so I’m always fit, I don’t need to lose or get ready for any occasion coming suddenly. I feel a lot of energy and seeing my big changes in the mirror motivates me every day to improve my body to what I desire.

Your views on fitness are unique because you believe that a strong body also needs a strong mind. Could you tell us more about what got you started in yoga and meditation? Of course, not only physical but mental health is very important. It happened 6 years ago, I realised that I want to evolve, I had an inner voice calling me to start my journey discovering myself. I understood that just to live your life without it is degradation. My studies in spirituality started evolving with reading books, going to retreats, working with a psychologist to heal the things which don’t serve me anymore like trauma from my childhood. Later I wanted to start over with a new profession to serve people through knowledge and practice which can make their lives better and at the same time it’s beneficial and turns a profit. Isn’t that a dream? I made a decision to go to a certified Hatha yoga teacher training course by Sivananda in Vietnam. Afterwards, I went back to Dubai, opened my yoga company and was giving group and private classes. Meditation was a part of yoga TTC and at that time it was very difficult to sit here off my mind even for 2-3 min. But with time, study and constancy I improved a lot. I tried a hundred types of meditation and definitely I can tell my favourites are classic and guided meditations including my own created meditations which I share on my Instagram.

Why do you think it is important for a person to take care of both their physical body and mental health? I believe, mental and physical health are very connected. Without mental health you can’t maintain physical. If you’re mentally tired and feel depressed or your mood is down it will affect your physical being as you won’t have the energy to be active during the day. Also, it can cause chronic diseases, it’s scientifically proven. I always try as much as I can to follow some rules like sleep early, get rest and recover, spend quality time with myself and family, meditate, eat healthy, do yoga, and drink a lot of water to keep my mental and physical health in balance. Just simply maintain your life’s balance in all aspects.

As a certified hatha yoga instructor we wanted to know how long you’ve been teaching yoga and how do you incorporate it into a healthy lifestyle? I’ve been a certified Hatha yoga teacher since 2016. Last year I started a Kundalini yoga teacher course and in a couple of months I will finish some formalities and get my certificate. I find Kundalini yoga is a fast track. It’s deeper, however, it’s modern yoga which anyone can incorporate into their life without many limitations and traditions as other styles of yoga. My plan is to bring Kundalini with Hatha together to get all the best benefits from both. I incorporate yoga as major part of my lifestyle as I believe people need to live their lives in balance with both mental and physical health. For example, when we sleep we rest our body but our mind doesn’t sleep, so meditation is like sleep for the mind. Also, yoga from the physical side is a healing technique that gives many benefits as you stretch your muscles instead of contracting it due to working with weights; to promote healthy spine alignment, so many asanas (postures) work with muscles we don’t use a lot with twists, stretches, and holds. Yoga is so amazing for body strength, flexibility and peace of mind.

Who do you look up to in the fitness and health industry and why? I’m inspired by many people who’ve achieved abundance and prosperity in most of their life spheres. In the health industry I got inspired with books by Michael Gregor “How Not To Die”, Colin Campbell “China Study”, and Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” which made me turn vegan for 2 years and I’m looking forward to getting back. In fitness and health I look up to myself. My body had a huge transformation, my physical and mental health transformed with nutrition studies and my own experience, through yoga and spiritual growth. I always wanted to be a better version of myself every day and it inspires me.

Currently, you live in Dubai, besides the weather what would you say is the biggest difference between where you live now and your home country of Russia? I love Dubai, I moved here 8 years ago and never gave up. I’m happy as I have reached that level I couldn’t get in Russia. Since I was a teenager I knew I was gonna live abroad. The difference is huge between my country and the UAE. First and most important is safety, it’s 0% criminality, I can leave even my car and house unlocked. Second, here it’s an endless summer which is paradise for me. Third, it’s a multicultural country where I have friends from all over the globe. And last, there’s great hospitality here with great opportunities to become a resident and open your own business.

Could you tell us what your weekly workout routine is like? Now my fitness schedule is full of colours. I do different activities daily like weights 4 times a week, plus conditioning training, tennis, stretching, wake surfing, swimming and aqua gym and yoga. I love to split my routine into interesting activities, not only gym and weights.

You have such a trim and fit body, how do you manage to stay in such great shape? I switched my mind to bring fitness into my lifestyle. It’s my permanent state of mind to be always fit, active and healthy. 

When you’re not working out or with clients what are some of your favourite pastimes and hobbies? I love extreme stuff… Bungy jumping, ziplines, and skydiving… anything that can raise my blood pressure. I like water sports, especially wake surfing. I love to spend quality time with myself, family and friends, I love dancing, reading books, and learning new things. I learnt Arabic, belly dancing, and tennis. I adore cooking and travelling so much.

There are many people facing challenges in their lives and we wanted to know what motivated you to overcome your difficult time dealing with an eating disorder? Eating disorders are unfortunately a massive issue among women, especially beautiful woman. I have no shame to share that I had bulimia for many years. It took me a lot of time to get over it. My advice is to consult a therapist for help, unfortunately, it’s very difficult to get over it by yourself. It took me years to try, when I started a special program I understood why I have it, how it works, how to deal with it and how to get over it. And don’t be ashamed, you are not alone. Like a physical illness, there are psychological illnesses and how you need a cure for one, you’ll need a cure for the other. And of course, it’s the self-discipline that works great together with a special therapist.

How can people keep themselves motivated to stick to their fitness routine especially during lockdown? Your best motivation is yourself! When you see your own results it motivates you to go for more. If you just plan to start, it’s a challenge for the first time, you need to push yourself and get through the pain, apathy, and low interest. After 1 to 3 months you’ll get used to it, just as any new habit it takes some time. Also, beautiful gym outfits will make you feel sexy, when your body looks good it’s very important and motivating. During lockdown (if it happens again) take any online course with a trainer you like and eat healthy.

What is your advice to people hoping to include healthy living and spirituality in their lives? Put in your mind that the most important thing in your life is yourself! We are living in a material world, we need spirituality, self-growth, healthy eating, and exercise. All should be in balance. Start with discovering and learning things by watching documentaries, reading books, practising yoga you like and making like-minded friends. Try to eat healthier by adding more fruits and vegetables, grilled or steamed food. Do guided meditations, choose the voice of a speaker you like and that makes you feel comfortable. Keep your life in balance, it’s ok sometimes to eat desserts or go to a crazy party. Being spiritual doesn’t mean to be quite, not going to parties or going only to India or Bali for meditation. It’s your inner state. We all have subpersonalities. I personally have more than five and the best way is to allow yourself to float between your subpersonalities. 

We all know how important nutrition is in a fitness routine. Could you tell us more about your diet and what supplements you take to stay in top form? I used to be vegan for 2 years and till now I believe it’s the best way to nourish your body and give it everything that it needs. But because of an eating disorder I had to step back to pescatarian for a year. I plan to go vegan again when I finish my healing program in February/March. My diet is easy, I love simple foods and I eat intuitively as my body knows what it needs. I eat a lot of fruits, berries, greens and veggies. For protein, I choose grilled or steamed seafood, soya products, and a variety of grains. I love pasta (I choose healthy options from chickpeas and lentils). I eat 2 to 3 times a day. Mornings, I always make green juice before breakfast then mostly its fruits and berries. Lunch and dinner can be salad and some protein with pasta. Every 2 weeks I’m doing 36 hours dry fasting (with no water and no food) and regularly I do detox days to keep my body clean. As a human being sometimes it happens that I overeat or eat desserts, so the next day I do intermittent fasting. 

There are certain foods I don’t consume at all, like:

  • coffee and any caffeine drinks
  • alcohol
  • junk and fast food
  • meat, chicken, cow’s milk
  • anything with preservatives, artificial additives
  • medicines 

We heard you have a theory on subpersonalities and happiness. Could you explain that a little more? I believe that every person has a few different subpersonalities. For example, I can be baby Katrina, I can be Katrina the heavy metal girl, Katrina the lady, Katrina the yogi, and I can be the Katrina that’s sexy and strong. I can be serious and responsible and I can be childish and laugh at stupid things or have crazy fun with friends. I’m me, and I’m any other version of myself. The point is to accept yourself and let it be. Don’t be afraid to look different, don’t be afraid to be a serious businesswoman and sometimes go crazy at parties or laugh like a child. That’s what makes us happy “to be ourselves”, to be different every day or a few times a day, that’s the interesting thing about people. 

Could you tell us more about your online Kundalini classes, where our readers can get more information and how they can sign up when classes are available? I’m going to start Kundalini classes in Dubai on the beach first, however, online classes will be available for people from any country as well. Also, I’m working on a very interesting project as an online program. Stay tuned! You can get all the information on my Instagram page @huroni_fit.

Do you have any last words for all the hopeful fitness models out there? Believe in yourself, make the best version of yourself and only compare yourself with who you were yesterday. Believe that anything is possible. You can achieve the body you desire, you can change your mindsets Just make a wish, combine your passion with discipline, go forward and don’t look back. Every mistake is a great lesson to become the best version of yourself.

You’re very active on Instagram. Where can our readers follow you for your latest news and insights? I only use Instagram as the platform to share my life, work, modelling, fitness, and yoga.