Jake Wood. Founder and Designer, So We Flow

21 August 2017

These days it's hard to miss the amount of women's boutique fitness and yoga brands popping up all over the place, which of course is fabulous for me, but for all the male yogis out there isn't great. There are a few male only brands starting out but the market is still relatively untapped, and that is where my latest talent comes in. Jake Wood has just launched So We Flow, a men's only yoga wear brand, specialising in easy to wear gorgeous fabrics and silhouettes perfect for yoga and lounging!

I caught up with Jake to find out more about the brand and what's in store!

How did you first come across yoga and get into it?

Whilst living in Taghazout, Morocco, I met a lovely duo - one part yoga teacher, the other accomplished chef. They required some branding (my official trade if I had to name one) to turn this combo of proficiencies into a business. We traded a brand identity for 6 months of daily yoga. The setting: a rooftop at sunset - following a day of surfing and preluding a freshly caught fish BBQ - it was the perfect introduction.

How did you get the idea to start up your own yoga clothing brand?

There were a number of reasons. Firstly, nothing was quite working for me or those around me. I was wearing women's sweatpants; others were wearing old gym rags, bohemian mashups, or technical sportswear. There appeared to be nothing suitable for the everyday man. I wanted to create something that was principally designed for movement, distinctively stylish, yet understated enough to embrace any man’s individual style. Not all men feel comfortable in sportswear. Even less would wear it outside of class. I based so we flow… on British workwear. The way a work shirt is constructed to allow movement in a factory resembles the way a compression vest is optimised for peak performance in the gym. This culminated in something that works equally well on the street as it does on the mat.

Secondly, yoga has had a profound effect on my life and the lives of those around me. At the root of everything is my genuine ambition for more men to do yoga. I’m under no illusion that so we flow… is a business, but if so we flow… can make yoga more accessible, more enjoyable, more authentic for men - it is a success in my eyes.

Describe a day in the life of Jake?!

The build up to launch hasn’t exactly been a great representation of how I generally spend my days - it’s been hard work! So I’ll give you the picturesque version…

I’ve freelanced all my life so I frequently spend time in different places. However, a few elements of my day are steady. Unsurprisingly, I generally have yoga for breakfast. This could be anything from 30 minutes relaxation to a 90 minute sequence, depending on how I’m feeling. I work best in the morning so this is the time where I enjoy knuckling down with a coffee and getting things done. Post lunch it’s time for activities. Depending on where I am in the world, this could be a yoga class, swim, a stroll, climbing, exploration or if I’m in an urban location, something akin to gymnastics. There may be more work slotted in here if needs must… I love to cook (and eat), so I’ll usually put something proper together for dinner. I’m also partial to a tipple - whether a fine red wine or a pint in a Yorkshire pub. In and amongst all of that I read savagely and spend a rather large proportion of time wandering around…

What's your favourite yoga position and where do you practice?

At the moment Baddha Konasana is the place to be. I’ve recently been taught it as a Yin posture where you basically just flop over and let go. It can take you to crazy places. I recently moved back to Yorkshire in order to start so we flow…. As classes are much more affordable here it’s been a great opportunity to explore all kinds of practice. I’m currently taught by Dave Kane (facebook.com/davekaneyoga/) in Ashtanga style, Claire Wilkinson in Iyengar, Catherine Hope (facebook.com/YogaEarthCatherineEastwood/) in Hatha and also do some classes at a beautiful studio come bar called Om is Where the Heart is (omiswheretheheartis.co.uk). I often feel like I’m spreading myself thin and I think I would perhaps benefit from a focus on one style for a length of time.

What advice would you give to anyone starting their own brand?

Entrepreneurship is paraded as an idyllic situation. There is a literature culture which says ‘follow these simple steps to success’. But there are too many variables. Perhaps the only constant is working like a bitch. It is certainly far removed from yoga. You end up taking the role of accountant, labourer, designer, web developer, lawyer, retailer, delivery driver to name a few… There’s the negatives. What outshines all of this is being able to make something you love ‘work’, the journey and the extraordinary experiences you have, and ultimately being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Everyday’s a holiday.

Five items you can't live without?

My kindle is genuinely the only thing. I’m stretching the definition of ‘items’ but apples, the sea, hot beverages, my guitar and wine.

Ida May, Movement Director, Dancer, and Yogi

14 August 2017

I first came across Ida May about 2 years ago in a boxing class she was teaching in East London, her energy bounced off every punch bag and wall in the place, a year later on I went to one of her yoga classes at Ethos in Shoreditch, another fabulous class!! Then she came into my life again more recently when I interviewed Lindsay from My Yoga Agency and we spoke about Ida's shoot with Sundays London, after this I thought I have to get this lady on the blog!!

Ida started out as a dancer and actress, then found her way into yoga, becoming a natural at it with her existing range of movement. She has since worked for the likes of Hunger Magazine, Adidas, Charlie Cohan, Vauxhall and teaches at boutique studios such as Ethos and Blok.

I caught up with her on the back streets of a favourite area of mine; Shoreditch for what would be one of my favourite shoots, damn this girl can move!!

How did you get into yoga and what inspired you to become a teacher?

Did my first yoga class in Finland more than 10 years ago. It complemented my dance training so well that kept going finding new strengths and lengths in me. Moved to London, didn't stop and took my training further and trained to be a teacher! I kept exploring teaching and have taken influences from my dance back ground as well as from all my other fitness training I've done, always fusing and exploring new places and spaces in my flow.

Recently you've worked with the likes of Sunday's London and My Yoga Agency for yoga modelling, do you think more and more brands will be looking to yoga to showcase their products in this way?

I've worked as a dancer and model for the past ten years and can definitely say fitness and yoga is more and more popular in the commercial field and more and more brands both in fashion and commercial are fusing in elements from health and wellness industry. The world is about feeling and looking good at the moment, inside and out. And that's what yoga represents too..

Am I right in thinking you also run retreats? What do you love about this form of holiday and where's your next?

Yes, I've been running retreats around the world. Next one in Sweden. A little unique long weekend get away into the wild nature. Before I'll be in Sweden teaching and am taking some time off and going on a retreat myself in Portugal. Surf, Yoga, good food, sun, fun and my best friend; perfect combo! I like retreats that are more like little escapes, retreats that have a little more to offer than just yoga practise on the beach... I want to explore the culture, find some secret gems the world offers... I really am not a fan of a typical one week all inclusive touristic holiday resorts, I prefer finding something more authentic than just a pool by the sea... nothing wrong with that though, but you know what I mean. Obunjan is a great new retreat kinda place that combines music and health and wellness and also you can choose and book the dates that suit you.. easier that way when you not too stuck with dates.

Where do you sweat, eat and chill in London?

East London. I live in east and like to stay local when it comes to sweating eating and chilling. Shoreditch House, Cream Shoreditch, Legs, L'atelier & All Press. I reckon I have long black and eggs & solders w/ avocado from All Press 5 times a week sometimes hahah. Where I get my coffee and food are the places and routines that stay the same in my life. Everything else seem to change daily. My other work: acting, dancing, movement direction always takes me a little further that just streets of East London.. even abroad - which I absolutely love.

Describe your typical day?

Early sessions at the gym or doing a class of some sort. Personal training clients & classes in the morning and afternoon and then off to castings. Evenings I've spent doing courses in acting, studying advanced film camera and theatre, or having a drink and chilling partying with friends in various different events, opening and launches around London or just going to cinema. When on a shoot, I'll be on a shoot all day.. or all week! I've just got back from 2 week commercial shoot from Turkey. Then my day consisted of gym, breakfast, rehearsals / shoot.. Last two days I've spent in Rankin Studios working on movement direction for Hunger Magazine with an awesome team of creatives. Today's been more standard: gym, client, casting and now catch up with a friend going to see the unsigned talent in Soho. Wednesday I'll be shooting something rather very exciting for Adidas... Thursday am off to Portugal! So guess every day is different :)) !! Just how I love it.

What five items can you not live without?

My Black Tokyo bike. Long Blacks (Coffee & HER coldbrew). Contact lenses. iPhone. BOSE noise cancelling headphones.

Angus Ford-Roberston. Founder, Battersea Yoga

8 August 2017

Close to the beautiful green expanse of Battersea Park is a little studio tucked away down a lane. With glowing lights shining from within, and at first impressions looks like a hut, is one of London's hidden treasures of a yoga studio. That studio was founded by the legendary Angus Ford-Robertson and my latest 'story' !

Angus founded the studio 18 years ago and has grown it from a small studio with a handful of clients per week to over 3000 per month. I caught up with Angus to find out more about his wonderful journey into yoga..

Most important question...How did you first get into yoga?!!

My journey into Yoga was rather dramatic! For much of my young adult life I was stressed, anxious and frequently depressed. I had a glamourous magazine career that was supposed to be a dream job - and for a while it was. But by the end of my twenties I was desperate to find a life that had more meaning for me. One day, I quit my career, ended my relationship and, on a heart impulse, decided to attend a Yoga Teacher Training course at a Sivananda ashram in Canada. It was insane, exciting and super challenging. I had the time of my life - and my world was changed forever.

I gather you were a student of the legendary Eckhart Tolle, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to bring mindfulness into their lives? 

Yes, I did attend retreats with Eckhart Tolle and he has had a huge impact on my teaching. But I spent much more time with one Eckhart’s teachers - a Buddhist monk called Ajahn Sumedho at Amaravati Monastery in the UK. Ajahn Sumedho is a living legend in the global mindfulness field and I would recommend his teachings to any serious spiritual seeker.

In my opinion making a living out of your hobby or love is very challenging, how did Battersea yoga come together and what has been the greatest and most challenging aspect about it? 

Life is challenging, whatever you do - so you might as well follow your heart and do what you love, right?

Battersea Yoga has been a labour of love from day one - the last 18 years of teaching have been hard work - but super rewarding. It has grown from a handful of students per week to just over 3000 student visits per month. I have taught all over the world, met incredible people and learnt so much about love, life, family and business. Running a busy Yoga studio is not for everyone, and I do grumble about the hours sometimes! But I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Where do you sweat and eat in London? 

I mostly sweat at Battersea Yoga (obviously) - but I also love swimming, cycling and walking locally as much as possible. Battersea Park is my second home.

As for food - that’s a tricky one...

Favourite London restaurant is Andrew Edmunds in Soho. Favourite restaurant 'out of town' is the Sir Charles Napier in Chinnor, Oxfordshire (its incredible)

Mostly my four kids just take me to Byron Burger!

How has the yoga scene developed in London since you started? 

The Yoga scene in London has changed in two ways - there are far more studios and the ‘specialisation' is increasing (hot yoga, boxing yoga, dog yoga…!). 

While there is a lot of ‘gym yoga’ I still know that what yoga students ultimately seek is authentic quality yoga - that offers much more than just a physical workout. And Battersea Yoga was built on that premise; community, friendship and spiritual wellbeing.

Five items you can't live without?

Easy: iPhone 6, Ducati 1200 Multistrada, dark green juices from Wholefoods, my four beans (kids) and an endless supply of hugs.

Copyright © Stories
Design by Fearne