Minnie Samengo-Turner, Yoga Teacher at Core Collective

19 September 2018

Some of my regular readers will recognise Core Collective, a boutique London studio in which I have featured a couple of times in the past, reason being they somehow find the best London teachers!! 

This one no less is a little beauty, Minnie Samengo-Turner, Sports-mad former sprinter and tennis player, is passionate about her yoga having been introduced to it through her mother. She is now a fully fledged teacher, living the yogi dream so to speak, here is her story...

How did you come into yoga and what was the thought that went through your head after your first yoga class? 

My mum introduced me to yoga. I’ve always been very sporty and played tennis, hockey and athletics to a high level. She thought I needed something calming. She also knew I would love the savasana at the end! 

After my first class I was thinking gosh I’m so bad at that! I never knew you could sweat that much just moving on a mat! My hips were so tight, pigeon pose was my nemesis, I could barley touch the floor with my hands! I usually hate doing things that I’m bad at but i stuck with it because I felt so good after. I felt I was an inch taller and as if I was floating down the street walking back home! Also I would always sleep so well after.

Any tips for improving ones practice or starting a home practice? 

Persistance is key! I’ve learnt to be patient with my body and has taken me 2 years to build up my flexibility. But if I can do it - then anyone can! 

There are so many amazing teachers online. Use YouTube and Find a teacher you like. Don’t feel like you have to do an hours session every time. Even if you just have a 20-30 mins it’s still just as beneficial to get the body moving. I love doing it in the morning but do what works for you :)

Coffee or green tea, protein shake or green juice?! 

Green tea and green juice. I’m lucky I’ve never got hooked on coffee and don’t need it to wake me up in the mornings. 

Favourite yoga studios in London? 

Obviously I love Core Collective but I’ve got a few favourites for different reasons. Union station yoga is fab, I love the community feel it has. Battersea yoga is a little haven in the middle of London. KXU - I love Danielle’s and Kathryn’s classes there. Blok is my new favourite too in Shoreditch. We are so lucky we have so many amazing studios all over London.

What's are your favourite books which have inspired you?! 

Power of Now, Happiness - a guide to life’s most important skill (currently reading this and loving it!) and The Kite Runner

What's your morning routine? 

My coach has given me some drills to work on my flexibility and handstand etc so I like to do those for about 15 mins, then I meditate for 10 mins and then I journal. Write down my goals, what I’m grateful for and anything else that might be stuck in my head. I’ve only just started doing meditating and journalling and I’m finding it’s helps. I feel as if I approach my day with more ease and calm. I definitely notice the days when I don’t do it! If I’m not teaching in the morning then I go to a yoga class. I like to have hot water and lemon and usually don’t eat breakfast until about 10am. I’ve been reading up about fasting and trying to fast for 14 hours to give my digestive system a break. I actually never really feel that hungry when I wake up so I find it quite easy! 

Five items items you can't live without?

yoga mat, my lululemon leggings, mayonnaise, sleep and my family

Melody Hekmat, Yoga Teacher

21 August 2018

I discovered this gorgeous little lady recently with her yoga eye candy filled instagram feed! Melody is an experienced Jivamukti yoga teacher with 800 hours qualification, for anyone who hasn't practiced this form of yoga before, it's a must, a combination hatha, vinyasa and mediation. 
As well as Jivamukti, Melody also practises Kundalini, Ashtanga and Iyengar - you'll find this little beauty at KXU, Triyoga and Bodyism.

We caught up on the back streets of Chelsea for a very fun shoot in the sun!

What do you think the world needs more of right now?

-OF course LOVE... always. As cliche as it is. And generosity.
It’s not that there is lack of food in the world, we waist so much everyday, without even realising it. It’s becomes there is a lack of love, it’s because of greed.

An act of kindness and generosity goes a long way...

Favourite studios to practice at in London?

Sangye yoga school, anytime of the day you go to practice you granted a good class.
Also triyoga and Kxu for variety of styles and the quality of teaching.

Where do love to hangout / eat in London?

Most of the time I hang out where I work and it’s usually in Notting hill.
I love Bodyism cafe in Notting hill, their Asai bowls are the best in London.

What books have changed your perception in one way or another?

Alchemist by Paulo coelho, I read it probably 20 years a go before I moved to London.
The whole journey teaches you to listen and to follow your heart and dreams;
we should always seize the opportunities life offers in the pursuit of whatever makes us happy.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Kat Rayburn, Founder of Kindred Yoga

23 July 2018

My last post of this gorgeous lady was a year ago when I interviewed her. She was back then teaching, putting on fabulous yoga retreats and talking about opening her dream studio.. one year later .... She's done just that! 

Along with her soon to be husband, Julian, the duo jumped straight in and opened their dream studio in Deptford, Kindred Yoga. Anyone who follows the yoga scene in London would have noticed 'that' wall pop up all over instagram! The studio with it's beautiful pinks, coppers, greens with industrial stone thrown in is a delight. There is no excuse these days for a skanky yoga studio, and this is the opposite, Kindred is the creme of all high designed spaces, you'll love it and so will your insta feed!!!

I adore Katarina, her classes are honestly incredible (hard but fab) and her attitude is so warm and infectious that you want to be around her all the time. I was itching to get her on the blog for a follow up mini interview to find out more about the studio. 

 Katarina and Julian

When was the moment you and Julian decided to start a studio of your own and is there a story behind the name? 

We decided just over two years ago. 

I had been running my own classes in our local community church hall for a while and Julian was always there with me, helping me set up and meeting everyone that came. These classes fast became the most rewarding classes to teach. I really got to know everyone that came and in some cases formed life long friendships. I witnessed people go from never having done yoga before to doing their yoga teacher training, it was incredibly inspiring for me.

We started to think about ways in which we could evolve and be able to offer more yoga to a growing community of yogis. Coupled with the fact that Julian was uninspired with his office job, joining forces and opening a yoga studio seemed like the dream situation.

We spent a while trying to come up with a name, brainstorming lots of possible ideas, then Jules came up with Kindred. We wanted our name to really represent community, family and a welcome environment for people to come together, we feel this name portrays that perfectly, Kindred, we are all kindred spirits.

What are your morning rituals (if any) or daily?

Coffee, Yoga, Bircher

What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? Or you just love! 

It's a little cliche I know, but reading Shantaram represents a very poignant time in my life when Jules and I went travelling around India. This was when my love affair with India began (i've been back 3 times since) and when my love for yoga really started to blossom, I could see a future in yoga beyond my acting career.

What others say about Kat:
“Kat is a fabulous teacher; even though my practise was still beginner I always felt included and she really helped me gain confidence.”— SARAH, LONDON

A studio visit to one of her classes in a must, also it helps that the studio is divine!

For her first interview: here.

David Pearce, City Worker to Yoga Teacher

28 June 2018

David is one those yoga teachers you instantly warm to, his gorgeous smile and warm character shines through in every class. David, is a wonderful example of how you don't have to give up your day job to be a teacher until your 100% ready! One side of David is in a clean crisp suit and the other side is in lycra, you can't get more 'real' yogi than that! I caught up with his for a very fun shoot down the backstreets of my favourite new area, Peckham Rye before his class at Yogarise.

Here's his story....

Most importantly how did you come to yoga and why did you decide to forge a career out of the practice?

I came to yoga from a purely physical perspective, looking for a new way to sweat. I was doing a lot of running, cycling, martial arts, football, and strength training, so was constantly carrying a few injuries/issues, and heard yoga was a good way to help those. I found Hot Bikram Yoga, and that ticked the boxes I was looking to tick. I attended classes once a week on and off for a while, and whilst I enjoyed it for what it was I always felt like there was something missing. It wasn't until a couple of lulu-lemons came to the studio one evening that I finally found that missing piece.
After five minutes with them I realised the thing I'd not been getting was connection. I'd been willing people to chat after/before classes, but everyone was very much wanting to stay in their own space. But for me that sense of community and connection with others is such a huge part of life, so to have that missing from yoga felt wrong. Now I realise how important it is to my yoga - what's the point of being your best self if you don't share that with anyone!? The lemons told me about the free event lulu (yoga at the Royal Opera House!) was putting on to celebrate the opening of their first European store (in Covent Garden) - so I decided to go! The practice was fantastic, with a relay of a few different teachers, and the savasana was truly incredible - partly thanks to live music from the London Philharmonia.

I say now that this was my first 'real' yoga class, as it was completely different to anything I'd experienced previously. The community of people were so friendly and wanting to interact with you - once I'd left I knew I wanted to be in this environment more! I started going to the lululemon community classes and quickly found teachers with whom I connected, then soon after began expanding my practice by going to their classes at various new (to me) studios.

The more I began to immerse myself in this yoga world, and in my practice, the more I loved it, and I started to discover the depths of yoga beyond the physical. New friends and teachers began asking if I was a teacher, and then suggesting perhaps it's something I look into. After a year of practicing I decided to explore this idea - not with the intention of teaching, but to further my practice, my understanding, and my engrossment in this community. I did my 200h YTT with The Yoga People in London, alongside working my full-time job in the city, graduating in December 2015.

Before graduating, a friend opening a new studio asked if I'd like to teach there once I'd graduated. I thought about it and decided it would be a great way to practice this new skill I was learning, and a lovely way to give back the knowledge I was acquiring in a way that might help people get something from yoga in a way that I had. In February 2016 I started teaching one evening a week after work, and picking up the odd cover classes here and there.

Over the last two years my passion for teaching has grown, so much so that I cut back to working three days a week in the office to be able to teach more, and am hoping to transition to teaching full-time soon. I want to be able to completely give myself to this amazing practice, and share it with whomever is kind enough to let me.

Where do you sweat, eat and breathe in London? 

My favourite space to sweat (on the mat) is Yogarise in Peckham - such a beautiful space with fantastic vibes! Other than that, I'd say I probably self-practice most at the moment, either at home but preferably on grass in a park in the sunshine :-).
I'm not eating out much at the moment, but I am partial to a pizza, and Picky Wops in Peckham Levels does the most unbelievably delicious vegan pizza! I'm not even vegan, it's just that good!
I relax at home, either chilling on the sofa watching something entertaining, or playing my drum.

What are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life? Or you just love ?! 

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer was recommended to me by two of my teachers before a teacher training. It came into my life when I really needed it, and aided me through a challenging period when I decided to take myself away and do some self-development work without all the distractions of London. 

Describe your typical morning? 

Wake up (preferably with the sun - I'll leave the curtains open if I'm not too tired and need the sleep); a page of journaling; meditate (if time permits); burpees; naulis; breakfast; the day.

In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

That would first and foremost have to be my yoga practice, as I've only been seriously practicing for about 4-5 years now - very much still the beginning of my life-long yoga journey.
Taking time to meditate has been really helpful. Turns out I've been doing it for years when practicing my martial arts forms in the mornings, but now I've starting practicing seated meditation on a regular basis for 10-20 minutes (depending how much time I have).
Journaling has been a really useful addition to my life. Every morning it's the first thing I do before I get out of bed - I write a page of setting intentions, things I'm grateful for (possibly from the previous day), and getting anything out of my head. As well as a daily journal I also have a separate one I use to just conscious-stream - once a week (ideally, or when necessary) I take a pen to paper and let my mind pour out on paper for as long as needed. I've found it a good way to get out of my head and find a bit of clarity.

If you could be an animal for a week what would you be?!

Gosh, I'm not sure I can pick just one! I've been told by multiple people that they think I was a cat in a previous life, but I think I'd either love to fly like a bird, or swim like a fish. Failing that, a sloth - they know how to be chill :-)

Follow David here to here news of his classes and journey

Goldie, Yogangster

23 June 2018

I recently had the pleasure of meeting someone who not only is probably one of the most legendary DJs, he also is a very talented artist and has also started a yoga brand, after falling in love with the practice of Bikram Yoga. Yes, of course i'm talking about Goldie and his brand Yogangster

When speaking to him outside his pop up store in hipster Shoreditch, I was honoured to hear his story first hand. He started off making a great point that I will always remember; that we are all trying to find ourselves in what is a hustling bustling Western society, with social media etc, you could say "you're only as famous as your battery life" (I told him he should patent that!) 

Goldie told me how he found himself struggling with addiction and generally facing himself, which all changed when he entered into the studio, this resinated with me as this is what the blog is all about! After 10 years of practice, Goldie is your real ambassador for what yoga is all about. Going into a studio and into that yoga community and leaving your 'other' self at the door, Goldie found that yoga changed the way he applied himself to everyday life, how he breathes through works challenges and how he has achieved so much more since starting to practice. 

After this chat with him, I came away inspired and even more determined to up my game with my own personal practice. Here's a couple of extra questions I asked...

Do you remember the very first time you practiced yoga and how did it make you feel? 

First time I practised I thought my heart going to explode followed closely by my head and thirdly by my arse, I'm glad none exploded but I do have a very open heart and I'm loving my yoga practise - currently in my 10th year!

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? 

I always value every failure, it's all about making mistakes to push you on to achieve greater things. 

Goldie and his business partner Kelly...

If you could have a billboard anywhere with anything on it getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? 

There's an amazing postcard on my window that says 'I've learnt so much from the mistakes I've made in my life, I'm thinking of making a few more!'. But i think if i could have a billboard and position it in the middle of Time Square in New York, it would say, 'what we do today creates tomorrow' 

You'll be able to find Yogangster right here...

Catch him at Wanderlust this year in Battersea Park!

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