Alison Beckner’s mantra is simple – excess in moderation, moderation in excess. Using her experience of an undetected parasite that caused extreme discomfort and digestive issues for about 2 years, Alison rebuilt her health and subsequently shifted the focus of her career path. In 2013 she founded Scout, a Paris-based consulting agency specialised in Lifestyle Engineering. Described by her clients as a ‘conscious entrepreneur’, Alison is a matchmaker – connecting people, clients, brands and practitioners to create experiences that promote awareness of individual health, community and empowerment.
If you were to look at her schedule you’d notice that she’s busy being balanced. When she’s not curating the latest wellness retreat, fashion, food, health or travel event, you’ll find her at a yoga class, going for an early walk around the Bois de Vincennes with her dog, Ela, or putting together a mood board for a new project. Oh, and she meditates. Twice a day.
How did health and nutrition start to play a more important role in your life?
It’s a long story – I was going through a period of major changes in my life and traveling quite a bit. I was in Barcelona for a music festival when I got a really stiff neck. I couldn’t move my head and over the course of a couple of days, the stiffness started going down my back, totally limiting my mobility. The stiffness continued for some time – weeks, I think, and then the digestive issues began. Cramping, bloating, sharp pain and loss of appetite. At the time, I didn’t connect these two things, so I just plowed on.
With the flare-ups I was experiencing, I started getting really anxious about eating
How did this experience influence your decision to start Scout?
Through this process I learned so much about eating differently, food combinations and making lifestyle choices that could be controlled in a positive way. So, overall this experience was a blessing in disguise.
I quickly realised that apart from what you put into your body, it’s what you do with your body that also has an impact. I started making changes on a culinary level and then shifted into movement – I started doing yoga to help with the cramping and digestive issues. Running helped me with stress and made me feel strong and powerful. Dancing was also a great tool – and a social one.
I quickly realised that apart from what you put into your body, it’s what you do with your body that also has an impact.
It became clear to me that if I were to live authentically and enthusiastically, I was going to have to pursue this as my profession. In retrospect, I truly see it as my calling.
How did you make the shift to turn this into a business?
Scout started because I wanted to focus on clients and projects that I loved – working collaboratively, orchestrating projects, executing ideas. I knew it was possible because I have been doing this for most of my life, and I wanted to focus on this full time. For me, it was a way of getting closer to being happy and fulfilled, personally and professionally on an everyday basis.
What is your primary ambition with Scout?
Connecting and creating – not only people but connecting the idea and the place. It’s also about bringing pleasure, fun and entertainment to the maximum number of individuals within professional environments through retreats or programmes and events that help with stress management, meditation, weight management or a combination of all those things. I really believe in making the world smaller with these activities.
How do you decide who is on your books?
It’s my dream team! It could be a small group trainer, a cardio dance instructor, a yoga teacher, a meditator – they are all natural connectors and evangelists in their own way – each with their own unique profiles, originality and most importantly, they are authentic and sincere. There’s not a single person who I’m working with in the talent department that I don’t completely believe in and who I wouldn’t want to spend a significant amount of time with.
Do you find the talent you are looking for is changing based on how you are personally evolving?
Yes and no. On a personal level, sometimes I have to tell myself to slow down, give a little yin to my yang.
How do you support your body?
For me nutrition is movement, even if it’s just sun salutations or going for a long walk or rolling on the floor with my dog. The worst thing I could do is stagnate. It doesn’t matter what I eat or don’t eat – if I don’t move, I don’t digest food properly and my sleep quality is compromised.
It doesn’t matter what I eat or don’t eat – if I don’t move, I don’t digest food properly and my sleep quality is compromised.
Do you have any recommendations for people interested in learning about TM or Vedic Meditation?
Most cities have Vedic teachers who regularly host introductory sessions. They are always free and open to everyone, last less than an hour and are a great way to decide if the technique is for you.
How would you describe your personal approach towards nutrition?
When I think of my ideal diet, I think of the alkaline diet, but what actually happens in my real life is moderating excess by supplementing with balancing foods. In my toolkit I have activated charcoal, coconut water, bananas, apples (cooked in winter) as well as baking soda or apple cider vinegar, seaweeds and aloe vera. We can’t feel guilty all the time, but you want to make sure that when you do indulge that you appreciate it and that you can re-calibrate accordingly.
What are the most important things when you are working intensively?
Meditating, sleeping and taking mini breaks. I try not to just push through something. One trick that I learned since running my agency is – if you think that something is going to take you four hours, give yourself six.
One trick that I learned since running my agency is – if you think that something is going to take you four hours, give yourself six.
And finally, call a friend! Talk to people and get out of your head. I went through a year and a half in my old company of not sharing anything with people about what I was going through. Recognising your weaknesses or where you’re struggling is the first step and then ask a friend for help! There is always someone there who can empathize or make you laugh. Hopefully both!
Moving – it’s not just what you put into your body but also what you do with your body that’s important.