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!

Harriet Emily, Kundalini Yoga Teacher

12 June 2018

For anyone who hasn't heard of what Kundalini Yoga is all about let me enlighten you.. Kundalini is an uplifting blend of spiritual and physical practices, which incorporates movement, dynamic breathing techniques, meditation, and the chanting of mantras. The goal is to build physical vitality and increase consciousness. This brings me onto my latest mindful story..

Please meet the beautiful Harriet Emily, a London based Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Sound Healing Therapist and Plant Based Cook who I stumbled across recently. Like many of the wonderful people I have met through this blog, Harriet found the practise when she was at a cross roads and through the practice of Kundalini this has taken her on a life journey like no other. When she's not immersing her students in a beautiful sound bath, she is sharing her yummy vegan recipes and tips. Her instagram account is definitely one to follow in you want inspo on some delicious vegan snacks! 

We caught up for a wonder around the streets of Chelsea to talk about how she came to Kundalini and her love of cooking, Harriet had the most incredible aura and someone who you could talk to for hours! 

How did you get into yoga and do you remember your first yoga practice?

I discovered Kundalini Yoga by crossing the street on my first trip in Los Angeles four years ago. It was so crazy and unexpected that I ended up spontaneously walking into the Golden Bridge Kundalini Yoga centre in Santa Monica - I had no previous yoga experience before, but was just drawn to go into the studio. I had no idea just how life changing that day would be!

What is kundalini yoga to those who are not familiar with it and why is did this style appeal to you so much?

I found the depth of spiritual connection to the 5,000 year lineage of Kundalini Yoga more powerful than anything I'd ever tried before. The combination of breath work, mantra and posture in this practice is incredibly empowering and transformational on all levels. This is a practice that nourishes my body and soul, and it's something I need in my life on a daily basis. The best way for someone to understand the practice is to experience it, so I would really recommend trying out a class!

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? 

I normally practice breath of fire when I'm feeling mentally stuck. Breath of fire helps to stimulate the blood flow throughout the body, so can help to reawaken the mind and remove any feelings of 'fogginess' or confusion.

What rituals have you brought into your every day which have had a positive impact on your life? 

Every day I get up and practice my daily sadhana for 1.5-2 hours. I practice the same routine daily for usually 90-120 days before switching it up. This is a strict discipline that I brought into my life to really implement a practice of dedication. I pick different yoga sequences and meditations that focus on an area of my life that I want to enhance, and I make sure I work on it for at least the 90-120 day time period. Doing this is something that completely changed my life, and it has taught me so much about myself and the influence we have on our lives.

What's you're favourite vegan snack recipe? 

I'm addicted to raw chocolate!

What five items can you not live without?

my iphone, gong, crystal singing bowls, yoga mat and palo santo!


You'll find Harriet this year at Wilderness teaching, so pop over and say hi! Check out all her news and recipes:

Mariel Witmond, Yoga Teacher

28 May 2018

The practice of yoga never ceases to amaze me of how powerful it is when it comes to changing lives, giving hope, and bringing people together. My latest story is with a yogi who when turning to yoga brought her closer to her mother, as well as repairing her mind and body.
I am excited to introduce you the truly lovely Mariel Witmond, a London based yoga teacher whose warmth and kindness circulates around the room when she teaches at the stunning outdoor studio in Earls Court, Method Movement. This was one of those classes you realise how lucky you are to have found the practice and you'll be hard pushed to leave without having a big smile on your face! 

What brought you to the world of yoga and do you remember the very first time you practiced?

I did yoga for the very first time at the age of 17 in New York. I went with one of my best friends and we giggled our way through it finding so much of it absurd. I was young and insecure and it took me outside of my comfort zone. It came back into my life through my mom who started practicing yoga while my family lived in Malaysia (by then I had moved to LA). She went on to become a yoga teacher and it was something we shared together (it would actually become one of the primary things that repaired my relationship with my mom). Yoga always existed in the periphery throughout my 20’s - I would go to classes here and there. I was hyper mobile with a very flexible back, which I soon injured by pushing it too far and not being aware enough of, or loving enough, my body. In many ways I think my back injury transformed my relationship with yoga - injuries can teach you so much about yourself.

Did you ever work in another field and since starting to teach how has your outlook on life changed?

I worked for 11 years in the entertainment industry, first as an agent representing models at Ford NY & LA and then moved into casting where I set up a company called Casting Network internationally (it’s what brought me to London). I fell in to both jobs if I am honest. In between the two I had considered becoming a yoga teacher and taking a year off to figure myself out, but I had just bought a house and financial pressures stopped me from doing so. My journey with yoga has been a long and gradual one, but without doubt it has changed my life for the better. Without me even truly realising, it brought me back to myself. It taught me how to love myself and my body, how to listen to myself and my needs, how to find moments of peace amidst the chaos. It showed me how capable I am, it has given me awareness, and the journey continues every day.

What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?

The first book that ever changed things for me was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It opened my eyes to the power we have over our lives, though much of it wouldn’t truly sink in for years to come. It’s a book everyone should read at least once. Other books I would recommend are “Loveability” by Robert Holden, “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz and literally anything written by Brene Brown (I adore her!)

What's your morning routine, if you have one?

My morning routine mainly consists of feeding my dog Freddy and making my morning matcha latter. I never go without doing those two things. Depending on the day I either prepare to teach or I go take a class with my husband before he heads off to work.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? 

I find the first thing I need to do is find silence and just check in with myself. A walk often helps. I think the most powerful questions I ask myself are “is this true?” if I am experiencing limiting beliefs and “will this matter tomorrow?” if I am overly stressing over something that shouldn’t be taking up so much of my time and energy.

Five items you can't live without?

I 100% cannot live without my matcha latte. My husband says it’s my crack. I religiously make it every morning and am meticulous about the ingredients!
Sweet potato fries. I mean, seriously. I could just live off of them...
Music. There is something so incredibly therapeutic to me about music, I can lose myself in it (and find myself).
My bed. Sleep is so important so having a comfortable place to sleep is really important.
My dog Freddy. He’s been by my side almost from the very moment I moved to London. He keeps me sane (even when driving me insane) and it’s amazing to experience the unconditional love dogs give to us.

For all classes click here and follow her journey @marielwitmond

2018 Retreat Review: Jaime Tully

14 May 2018

With the summer fast approaching if you haven't already booked a retreat for 2018 and need a little guidence, look no further than here.. This week I will be looking to some of my favourite yogi’s and the wonderful retreats they have planned for this year. 

Starting with my fav lady Jaime Tully...

After going on my first retreat last year it has opened up a whole new realm of type of holiday I need to plan in each year. A retreat is not all about yoga or fitness, it’s about meeting people you’d never normally meet, eating foods which will inspire you and most importantly getting to know more about your body and mind. If it’s the thought of not drinking a glass of wine overlooking a sunset that turns you off or the ban on meat, I can assure you there are plenty of retreats that cater for that or alternatively if you’re looking for the healthy option we can definitely russle up a few of these too!

Starting with the stunning little yogini who first got me hooked on yoga and retreats, these pictures were taken in the hills of Italy on her first retreat last year that I attended, it was such a wonderful holiday which I have come away with the most wonderful memories..

Jaime Tully's retreats now get sold out very quickly but there are a few spots left on her Somerset retreat, in England, which is 21 – 24 Sept 2018.

Here are the exciting details ...

Nestled within a secluded smallholding near the Devon and Somerset border sits Boheme, a 16th century former cider press turned boho farmhouse and the stunning home for the weekend. Wrapped up in 100 acres of pastoral paradise, it blends original character features with exceptional interior design in the most fashionable modern-rustic manner. This nine bedroom farmhouse has been renovated to an exceptional standard, and includes eco-friendly enhancements and local materials to retain its rough luxe style. Think morning swims in the 15-metre indoor heated pool, yoga and fitness classes led outside on the manicured lawn, topped off with healthy feasts and barn dances in the olive tree courtyard.

Images © Unique Home Stays

Jaime has teamed up with Coach Clem [Coach Clem, The Transformation Lab] and Molly, Head of Nutrition & Recipe Development for Core Collective, to spoil you with 3 days of yoga, fitness, real nutrition and complete relaxation set in a stunning eco-friendly, bohemian farmhouse.

Prepare for some serious insta-food porn!!

Forget noise pollution, busy walkways and crowded tube stations. Escape the city for the weekend to reset in the countryside with us while there is still a little bit of summer weather to be had.

Prices start from £650

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