The Downtime Agenda

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  • Words — Julie Haslam
  • Images — Marnie Hawson

A physiotherapist, clinical Pilates and yoga instructor, Sammy Wilson combines her experience as a competitive athlete, rehabilitation coach and student of holistic Eastern therapies to bring wellbeing to herself and others.

Sammy Wilson, healthy body. Healthy mind.

How do you relax?
Yoga, or simply spending time outside by the ocean or in the park – without my phone!

How important is downtime to you and what happens when you don’t get enough of it?
I’m naturally a thinker, and often become lost in thought and ideas. Taking time to switch off is vital so that I don’t become overwhelmed, as for me this is debilitating, my relationships suffer, my work, my health – it affects everything!

Tell us about Universal Practice and how it can help people with their wellbeing.
Universal Practice is a ‘Clinical Wellness Studio’ – blending medical science and eastern philosophy – offering physiotherapy, Pilates, yoga and meditation all under one roof.

The medical industry has always been excellent at approaching individuals from a physical and anatomical perspective.  Whilst we are huge advocators for science and modern medicine, we also believe in creating an environment where the individual can truly relax and take time-out from their day.

Our beautiful warehouse interiors are calm and tranquil, mimicking the internal mindset we wish to harness – one of relaxation, peace and happiness.

Offering the eastern philosophies of yoga and meditation in our space enables us to emphasise the importance of mental wellbeing, stress reduction and the health of the individual as a whole.

What’s the most stressful aspect of running your own business and what strategies do you have in place to effectively manage that stress?
The perceived pressure to be always on! And balancing the day-to-day management with the big picture strategy and vision.

For stress I love running as it gets you in the outdoors, makes you take big deep breaths of air and there’s something about the trance-like pounding and rhythm of your stride that acts like a neutraliser – it’s like a drug, almost meditative.

I find I need to clear my head to create head-space that assists cognitive digestion, therefore allowing solutions to form intuitively and simply. It also helps you sleep at night.

Running and yoga are my release.

Do you have any daily rituals or downtime routines?
Getting off the grid and experiencing the realness of nature helps me feel grounded and calm. Nothing beats diving into the ocean, or when I can’t do that simply taking my hands to the earth at the park. Being with nature and its elements just makes me feel at ease and more connected.

What are you reading right now?
I’m always reading, small bits at a time! At the moment a Hindu Text that I borrowed from an Indian friend called “A Manual of Self Unfoldment”. I love reading about science – physics, biology, chemistry, astrology, I find so much meaning and inspiration in connection and understanding.

What’s on your downtime playlist?
Leonard Cohen, The National, Dawn Golden

What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Argo – but it makes me nervous.

Where is your ultimate travel destination for downtime?
I love visiting other countries as the difference in culture, climate and scenery forces a shake up of the mind, which is so utterly refreshing.

But for some R&R I love Sorrento on the peninsula, rain, hail or shine I always feel at peace there.

Who is your downtime partner in crime and why?
My husband – because I love his company.