Mila Morelli, Inspirational Yogi

29 June 2017

One of the reasons I changed the journey of this blog from street style (yes the name is the give away!) to 'life stories', was to hear the tales of the inspirational people I meet along my journey. Sharing these with you all I hope will warm your hearts and inspire you to grasp life with both hands, like they have done with me!

Why am I saying all this....? Because this is more than prominent in my latest interview with a yogi whose journey has been a challenging one and all because of yoga! Mila is based in Morocco and has one of the most inspiring instagram feeds, seriously 'one to follow' and this is also how I discovered her. Scrolling through her pictures I came across of one of her recovery pictures and my heart just melted for the strength this girl had to do everything in her power to get back on that yoga mat after a yoga accident. 

Here's her story....

When and how did you get into yoga?

I discovered yoga, or yoga discovered me, on my first trip to India 4years ago where I attended my first ever yoga class. We were travelling on a regular basis at the time though so I didn't really have a chance to develop any particular style as some days we found ourselves trekking trough a forest in the mountains and others camping on a deserted beach, so there wasn't exactly easy access to any yoga classes instead I found myself focussing on turning inwards through seated meditations, and with that I was also blessed with a few opportunities to share some unforgettable moments of connection with some special individuals I met along the way. Adventure became my teacher and nature my classroom during that time, and I found myself meditating more and more as the trip unfolded. It's funny I have found yoga or you could say yoga has found me, at different times, for different reasons and in different ways ever since... My practice is constantly evolving, shifting, changing. And I'm sure it will always continue to do so.

What has been the most significant moment during your journey?

So far the most significant moment on my journey has been since discovering yoga again after a life threatening accident last May. I began to experience yoga under a different light during my recovery, and it has transformed my relationship with yoga ever since. It all began in Nepal, where I fainted whilst doing a pranayama exercise and I fell two storeys from a balcony, finding myself in a wheelchair with a punctured lung, broken sacrum bone and fractured spine. Despite the physical challenges that followed the operation I was given the opportunity to overcome one of the biggest challenges of all, and that was learning to believe in myself again. This new found faith transmitted into my life in all kinds of ways, inspiring not only myself but those close to me. The love and support we receive, the love we show others and the love we show ourselves are essential ingredients to this recipe we call life. "I will get back on my yoga mat!" became my daily mantra and for months watching people do yoga was a source of inspiration for me to get better and reconnect with my body again, which is something I feel I took for granted when I was in full health. But after life sits you down, and makes you work to get back on your feet, you begin to see life in a different way. I began to see my life as a gift, a second chance as cliche as that may sound, it was an extremely humbling experience as well as a very empowering one, and for that I will always be grateful. I understand now that each of us have so much more potential than we recognise, not just physically or mentally but also spiritually, and so whilst we are on this planet, I believe we should try and help one another realise this. We each have our own personal dharma (path) and so long as we try to live with integrity and in harmony with the planet and those that inhabit it, we will leave the only mark you really need leave on this earth, and that's your mark of love. And this is my yoga now, beginning with myself, to show love, spread love and receive love in all the many forms in which it comes.

Morocco is one of my favourite places, but I've never thought of doing yoga there, what is the yoga scene like there?

I'm still discovering yoga here in Morocco, but I do have some friends who are teaching here, and there are always retreats happening in different places around the country. We are based just outside of Marrakech, and I've come to discover there are very few schools that run regular yoga classes here, and no one at all who offers Ashtanga in the area. So you could say it's popular for retreats but there's not much of a variety when it comes to daily practice for people.

What do you love about having people into your home to teach them yoga?

We have just recently opened our home for people holidaying or looking for retreats, it's our little oasis for mind body and soul, where people can connect, explore, and indulge in yoga, culture and nature. Also because of a lack of ashtanga classes here in Marrakech I'm happy to announce will be hosting an ashtanga retreat this Autumn. As well as opening soon for drop in classes, for both locals/tourists that can come and practice whether living in the city or simply passing through. Anyway our website with details and all the events/retreats coming up will be available soon :)

Describe your day?

Thats a hard question to answer as every day is different here. The last few weeks has been a bit crazyyy as we have been renovating the villa, so everyday after my yoga practice and breakfast Ive been working with my brother to prepare our home so we can start welcoming guests.  Now the place is coming together my focus in the next few days will be preparing the content for our website and getting more photos... Whether it's gardening or working on our website, everyday will always involve one hour and a half of ashtanga in the morning, and a little boogie at some point throughout the day I've actually been experimenting lately with barre ballet, as my former ballerina has felt like coming out to play... (Again an example of how for me yoga comes in many forms) Just remember the element of PLAY! It's surprising when you do begin to play just how many chances you actually have in the day to do so... Well, that sums up our mission here really, to create a space for adults to come, play and relax in this little piece of paradise we are lucky enough to call home. 

Favourite yoga pose?!

At the moment my favourite yoga pose is handstand. I've been dedicating many moments of the day to inverting my world, and its been helping me recharge and keep things in perspective in moments of doubt and worry. Such a powerful asana, in more ways than one.

Five items you can't live without?

Well I guess right now my guilty pleasures are my yoga mat, blender, diary, phone and the slack line we just put up the garden

Her retreat in Morocco is a must visit, find it here.. 
and for daily inspiration follow her here.

Laura Fullerton, Founder, Fitty London

19 June 2017

I'm very excited to introduce this lovely lady to you all, this interview has been long awaited after I stumbled across this very cool brand just after they launched in January last year. The only way to describe this is it's like Christmas every single month!!! The boxes are filled with the best bits from new fitness brands, food and wellbeing. Laura thought up this wonderful idea when she was trying find a fitness food style hamper and realised there was nothing on the market, so started to create one herself. I simply adore this idea, it's the ultimate pressie either for a friend or yours truly!!

I caught up with Laura to find out how she started and where she sweats and eats in London.

Why did you decide to start Fitty London and how did you come up with the idea?

Well, I absolutely love fitness and nutrition – when I go into WholeFoods and health stores, I feel like a kid in a sweetshop. I have a friend that feels the same, and one day I was trying to find a fitness food hamper to send to her, and I realised it didn’t exist. So I thought ‘why don’t I create it?’. I developed the idea, and it turned into a monthly subscription box that brings together a selection of the latest nutritious foods, drinks and workout products – like a monthly box of motivation. And that’s how Fitty was born.

What's been the best moment since starting the company and what collaborations do you have coming up?

There have been so many amazing little moments it's hard to pinpoint one. Seeing Fitty boxes on the shelves in UN1T's gyms in London Bridge and Fulham was incredible, I guess that was the first time I actually took a step back and felt really proud. Even just hearing great feedback from a customer feels like an amazing moment and makes my week.

We've got some really cool collaborations coming up, including a CrossFit gym and a spin studio which is super exciting. We've also recently become official partners of Reebok Spartan Race which is great, and we're about to create some awesome content around that.

Where do you sweat, eat and shop in London?

When it comes to sweating, my bread and butter is Fitness First, where I do a split weightlifting routine. Once a month I do a Lift The Movement workshop, which is an incredible calisthenics style class, and l'm just getting into gymnastics. I also dabble in classes at the boutiques across town, like UN1T, Barry's etc, which are great ways to catch up with friends and sneak in a bit of cardio.

I'm a massive foodie, and right now my two favourite places are 26 Grains (how they can make grains taste so incredible is outright sorcery), Lima (Peruvian food is my achilles' heel), and Nando's (this will always be my staple – you can't go wrong with chicken, sweet potato and greens!). For shopping it's easy: Lululemon. RIP bank account.

How do you recover after a workout?

Straight away I have a Neat Nutrition protein shake (FYI I'm a chocolate flavour kinda girl), and then when I get home I re-feed with a big nutritious meal. It's so important to eat enough for your body to recover. If I've had a heavy session I'll take magnesium before I go to bed too, it's great for recovery – as is sleep!

Five items you can't live without?

1. Lululemon leggings...and sports bras...and tops.
2. My diary. I have no idea who I am or where I should be without it.
3. Mio Liquid Yoga Space Spray. It's the most incredible smelling blend of essential oils that instantly relaxes me (read: keeps me sane). I only discovered it recently, and I don't know what I did without it. In fact, I loved it so much we featured it in a Fitty box!
4. My Vitamix. I use it at least once a day to make my bulletproof coffee.
5. I know friends aren't items, but for the purpose of this, they are. I love them. I love them so hard.

For you Fitty London box....

Izzy Fairbairn, Conscious Dance Facilitator, Battersea Yoga

10 June 2017

Go back 10 years I was one of those kids dancing away to house music until the wee hours of the morning, not a care in the world apart from letting the beat run throw my body! This was also the case for my latest stalk, Izzy, a Conscious dance facilitator at Battersea Yoga.
Izzy Fairbairn has worked in Music and radio for many years producing for BBC Radio 1 and 1XTRA. After discovering many spiritual practices and how conscious dance can truly alter and change people's lives she now runs conscious dance events at Battersea Yoga and elsewhere. She continues to work in TV and radio as well as teaching the next generation, music and production skills in Global Medias new academy.

We caught up while walking through Battersea Park one Saturday morning, on how she got into it and about bringing this wonderful mindfulness dance practice to the wider world.

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