As an accomplished yogini, Elodie Garamond has her feet very much rooted on in the ground but allows her mind to explore experiential and creative paths. Curious by nature and with a knack for serendipity, she has traveled and lived in New York, Australia and India. In spite of a management degree that lead her to positions with great responsibility in industries from horse racing to retail, she realised slowly that her life was somewhere else.
Her quest to find a new purpose led to the 2014 opening of the 1st Tigre Yoga studio. Le Tigre Chaillot as it is known is located in western Paris, just steps away from the Eiffel Tower, housed in a cozy ground floor space where comfort and wellbeing, technique and spirituality merge harmoniously. To follow: Le Tigre Rive Gauche south of Saint Germain and in close proximity to the Luxembourg gardens; Le Tigre Neuilly in the bourgeois western suburb; Le Tigre Deauville in Normandy; and the latest outpost, Le Tigre Marais in the heart of the trendy district of the same name.
Inside/Out: How was Le Tigre born?
Elodie Garamond: I have been passionate about yoga since Australia - but also fond of naturopathy, acupuncture, shiatsu and nutrition - and was frustrated not to find the place nor the timeframe to practice as a young active mom. I began to imagine a cozy club where each and everyone could find their "own yoga" and share another sort of "art of living," namely one that is both urban and healthy. A "bobo-cocooning" place, designed as a home for friends, where comfort and wellbeing, technique and spirituality would merge harmoniously.
I/O: After so many openings in such a short time, you said you didn't want to open any more studios in Paris for a while. What made you change your mind for Le Tigre Marais?
EG: It is true that it wasn’t on my road map! It was love at first sight in regard to the location and it felt obvious to settle into this lively neighborhood in which the holistic offer of Le Tigre did not exist. So we followed our instinct. My associates are my brother and stepfather and we only work with projects with which we are totally enamoured.
I/O: What is the philosophy behind this place?
EG: To feel at home! There are small corners, spaces and seats to rest alone or with friends; spots to unwind, read, take some time to enjoy yourself. It’s anti-hectic and so good.
I/O: Tell us more.
EG: We have two large rooms, one only for yoga and meditation, under a high glass ceiling, and the other dedicated to other more athletic disciplines such as Pilates, barre and TRX. Each space has its own mood and decoration. Energies and good vibes flow; there is sun and warm colors everywhere. We have also set up a space dedicated to meditation, with cushions and free access to come read and meditate.
I/O: How did you build the team?
EG: For the most part, it’s the same team as in the others Tigre studios. I love to be surrounded by the Tigre family - we are going 5 years of adventures together. Then there are new teachers that instantly click, new disciplines that interest me and that I want to share with our clients, new experiences...
I/O: How would you define the relationship between sports and wellbeing for the Parisian woman?
EG: It has various forms. More and more Parisiennes turn to wellbeing it its greater sense to simply press the pause button. A need to release a form of anxiety-loaded energy, to unwind, to reconnect with oneself, to connect with one’s own feelings… The multidisciplinary offer at Le Tigre is an answer to these expectations and looks to satisfy every need, to do good for all.
I/O: Have you noticed the market changing in France lately in regard to sports and wellbeing?
EG: Yes of course. I am not the 1st to see the immense draw to the wellness market.
I/O: Do you think this is meant to last?
EG: Yes. I think that the underlying wave of wellbeing is here to stay because people are starting to understand that we only have one physical body and that it is a unique, fragile resource that should be taken care of with respect and goodwill. Aging better is a real subject that touches all of us, more or less consciously.
I/O: How are clients at the Tigre Marais different from those at other locations?
EG: They are perhaps more advanced in their relation to overall "better living." Healthy eating is also more prominet with this clientele. But we just opened, so maybe ask me again in a few months?
I/O: New practices that you would dream to try or import in France?
EG: I already propose so many that I love, but I’m always curious and keep an eye out!
I/O: Have you noted any change in sportswear these past few years?
EG: I have noticed that we live in our leggings.
I/O: Is there a "Marais look" or a transition outfit between street and studio?
EG: None. Come as you are!
I/O: Through your offer and engagement, you are working to liberate and strengthen women in a certain way. Have you felt a greater general benevolence between women these past years?
EG: It is hard to generalize, but I see yoginis seem to feel better about themselves generally speaking, not as competitive, less judgmental. When we learn to respect and love ourselves, we are more likely to respect others.
I/O: As a woman, what were the challenges you had to face?
EG: I had to be strong to get a job in an industry that was always expecting men. I had to face the humiliation and solitude of being shelved. I might have been judged and commented upon more frequently than if I were a man… Along the years, I lived the challenges of any entrepreneur woman claiming her legitimacy. It might sound very common, but it affected me and it took time to heal the wound
I/O Do you practice one or more activities on your side?
EG: I do vinyasa yoga several times a week and yin or kundalini whenever I can. But I also enjoy hiking, skiing, mountaineering, horseback riding…. And I’m not against a boxing class!
I/O: Anything in particular that you recommend?
EG: It's hard to answer that while wearing the Le Tigre cap. Every discipline has the potential to bring balance, breath, re-centering, energy…
I/O: You take care of so many women, who takes care of you?
EG: My children! They love to give me massages and meditate with me. They are two angels.
I/O: How do you take care of yourself?
EG: I regularly get massages - especially shiatsu - as soon as I feel my energy reserves are low or when my body is holding too much pressure. I also like to treat myself to a facial massage, the famous Japanese kobido. (Editor's note: a natural lifting massage, ask for one by Valérie Gautier at Le Tigre).
I/O: What does your community look like?
EG: It is eclectic, funny, well behaved, attached to le Tigre, tribal even. We have managed to create a true Le Tigre spirit that everyone of us carries with pride, it is rather magical.
I/O: Who are your models?
EG: Patrick Frapeau, the teacher I admire most in the world. Mark Keister, an extraordinary ayurvedic doctor who taught me a lot. Elena Brower, an American yoga teacher, speaker and author who I admire for her humility, sweetness and wonderful education techniques. And frankly, all of the teachers at Le Tigre are a model to me for their humanity and teachings.
I/O: How do you find your balance between work and personal fulfillment?
EG: Other than the yoga retreats I organize regularly or hiking in the mountains - my true oxygen fix - all of my free time is dedicated to my children and my extended family. They are my balance. If they are well, I am well.
I/O: What role does travel play in your life?
EG: Travel was a part of my daily life at a time where I was running away. I do not travel much since opening the studios but whenever possible, I try to escape to nature.
I/O: What role does music play in your life?
EG: An enormous one. I sing all the time! Alternating between mantras or French hits, depending on my mood.
I/O: What are the challenges you are currently facing?
EG: A fifth Tigre is a human challenge. Maintaining the Tigre spirit for the team and our clients as we grow is a real challenge.
I/O: A mantra?
EG: The Gayatri mantra: "Om Bhur bhuvah svahah, Tat savitur varenyam, Bhargo Devasya dheemahi, Dheeyo yonah prachodayaat." (Editor's note: O Divine Mother Gayatri, creator of the three dimensions and beholder of the absolute. We contemplate upon your eternal divine light, that it may illuminate our intellects and grant us the inner knowledge of truth.)
I/O: Your rituals?
EG: The Ayurvedic wakeup: up before sunrise as often as possible. Wash teeth, tongue and eyes then face 5 times with cold water. Meditate for a few minutes then drink a cup of hot water.
I/O: What makes you happy?
EG: Laughing and walking in nature.
I/O: A wish for the upcoming year?
EG: Climb to the top of Mont Blanc (I only managed to get to the Aiguilles Marbrées last year).
I/O: Where can our community find you?
EG: At any Le Tigre. I try to be everywhere!