Alexandre Garese what hobbies do successful businessmen have?

The majority of Russians believe that successful entrepreneurs spend their free time in a boring and one-dimensional way: cruising yachts in Monaco over the summer and skiing in Courchevel in the winter. Let me tell you, that is not the case! In fact, business elites enjoy the most interesting and sometimes even unusual hobbies, argues Alexandre Garese, an investor, restaurant owner and lawyer.

Mr.Garese, you founded Wolkonsky Bakery chain and Kelia Business Club, you also have a legal practice and you invest in Russia. Do you ever have free time to relax or to enjoy a hobby?

Alexandre Garese: I’m a very busy man, it is a fact! Moreover, I conduct business internationally, which is even more time-consuming. However, every reasonable human being understands that if one wants to do a good job, one needs to have good quality rest time to time. It is important for me to be able to switch between tasks in order to avoid emotionally burning out. My hobbies are a constant source of relaxation and positive emotions, as well as a kind of mind-escape. Yoga practice is not just about stretching and accomplishing some “poses”. I used to enjoy rock-climbing and alpinism too, it was a great source of adrenaline for me as it required full and utmost concentration. Unfortunately, my wife asked me to quit extreme-sports after our fourth child was born. You won’t believe it, but I also take time to enjoy horse polo! Firstly, let me say that horseback riding in itself is one hell of a sport for your body! Certain back and leg muscles are exercised which you didn’t even know existed, even if you train at the gym 5 times a week (which I also find time for early in the mornings before heading to the office). As for a soul hobby, I collect art.

Can you expand a bit about your hobbies? You mentioned yoga, which is unusual for a European. Why have you chosen this practice?

Alexandre Garese: I started practicing iyengar yoga in 2002, and love to practice it ever since. I was highly inspired by the very talented violinist and conductor, Yehudi Menuhin. Yehudi introduced me to iyengar yoga, as he himself was suffering severe muscular trouble, yoga provided immense relief and ameliorates your quality of life. Yoga does not only help your physique, yoga significantly fulfills and improves your psychic and emotional challenges. Iyengar yoga helps you learn how to consciously breathe and concentrate, as its static postures are combined with accurate and precise movements, following each other in an unceasing sequence. Yoga helps me focus on my thoughts, which improves my concentration and helps me be more aware in life.

Do you go in for group yoga or individual yoga?

Alexandre Garese: I revel in practicing yoga together with my wife. We give it our best to practice every morning, nonetheless, life in Moscow sometimes runs ahead of us, but it is vital to keep on trying. Actually, to make yoga lessons even more convenient for us and our friends and clients, we are launching a yoga studio right by Kelia Business Club! Welcome!

It is probably difficult to name something more different from yoga than horse polo. How did you begin going in for this kind of sport?

Alexandre Garese: I started practicing around 6 years ago. It is not a very common kind of hobby among the French, but not as rare as it is here, in Russia. Horse polo presents a great opportunity to meet other interesting business men, as well as share pleasant informal chats with people who are as busy as I am. Without mentioning health benefits and the thrill of the game; after all, polo is a team game with all its attributes like victories and losses, ratings and drills. During a game of horse polo, your mind is required to give its full 105% concentration due to the fact that you’re constantly surrounded by 4 other polo players, while you’re sitting on a big animal, which you have to control! Horses are incredible mammals. Their energy is healing and very nurturing. Horses feel your mood, they adapt. These incredible animals are able to heal your physical pain and withdraw your emotional worries – it’s really magic!

I know that you are fond of collecting paintings and pieces of art. According to recent news, Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci was bought at an auction at a record-high 450.3 mln dollars. What do you think about such sums of money being spend on pieces of art?

Alexandre Garese: I can understand people who are ready to pay such an amount of money for an acknowledged masterpiece, moreover, nobody would ever dare to challenge the well-known citation about the eternity of art. You can certainly say that it’s an investment in eternity. To possess one of those is not only a pleasure for a man of virtue and a collector, but also a great honor. Besides, Leonardo da Vinci is a real colossus in the history of world art, thus, as a consequence, it is every collector’s dream and ambition to have some exposure to his art.

Simultaneously, I’m learning about different types of fine art. Due to my work here in Russia, I discovered Kukryniksy’s art, which is a tandem of three Soviet graphic artists. Today my art collection contains about a thousand works by this famous group. I would love to exhibit this collection to Russian and French audiences, after I have completed restoring it.

Finally, I’d like to say that practicing sport and mental relaxation are a must for any human being living in the modern world. It is important to also bare in mind, that not all sports help you mentally relax. There are certain types of sport, (ie: running, swimming…) which can keep your mind running on your issues while you are performing, that is why I love extreme sports, because you don’t have a choice! If you aren’t 100% engaged and concentrated on what is happening right this instance you have a risk to die! And that is when my mind is completely empty from my daily issues. Yoga is a practice of mind, body, and spirit which moves you into a deep relationship with yourself. This allows you to hear your intuition, to open up to what is here for you and to focus.
I would like to wish everybody who hasn’t yet found a hobby to find one as soon as possible!

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