Helen Morris, The Wellness Marketing Guru

30 October 2018

I met Helen a while back and was instantly inspired by her attitude to life and work, and also impressed at her marketing agency targeting the wellness solely, which stands alone with their mission. In the past few years Helen has started her own company, Samsara Communication, hosts panel talks with key figures within the industry and this is all before she has even hit her mid thirties! 
I caught up with her for tea and to hear all about how it started.. she's super inspiring and definitely a wellness pioneer to follow!

Firstly, do you remember when you first came up with the idea behind starting a communications agency for the wellness industry?

I was at my corporate marketing job and was becoming increasingly immersed into yoga and meditation, spending most of my spare time at wellness events and reading any, spiritual. personal development and entrepreneurship I could get my hands on. I started thinking about how I could work flexibly, doing work I was passionate about and using my skills to make a positive impact.
One day I was speaking to someone on the phone and she asked me what my dream job was. The words 'I want to run a marketing agency for small wellness brands' came out of my mouth for the first time - so I did it!


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

I guess I thought I’d failed when I was going through major depression three years ago. I thought ‘Right, that’s it for me’ - I had to stop working, leave London and stay with my parents and to be honest thought my life was over at the age of 29. Now retrospectively, I can see that the universe had something else planned for me. It was my Saturn's Return, redirecting me onto my current path, albeit it in a fairly painful and dramatic way.

Not long after, once I had recovered and with a new lease of life, quit my corporate job, quit drinking, put all my energy into getting healthy and started freelancing for a mixture of wellness and corporate clients, qualified as a yoga teacher and eventually set up Samsara Communications in February 2017, which grew 400% organically in its first year. This year I've expanded the business to incorporate 'How To Build Your Wellness Business' panels which have all totally sold out, launched mentoring and career coaching and I’m also writing a book. Everything I do through work is about helping to empower and inspire anyone with a wellness business, whatever stage they are at. I think 'failure' is essential for evolving into the truest versions of ourselves.


What's are your favourite books which have inspired you or have simply left you with a smile on your face?!

Daring and Disruptive by Lisa Messenger
The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
The $100 Dollar Start Up and The Art of Non Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle - easier to read than The Power of Now!
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
NW and White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso


Latest wellness panel event hosted by Helen


Helen's wellness panel helping people along the path to their dream job!!


Morning routine?

After I get I use my Ayurvedic tongue scraper (I know that sounds disgusting but it's really good for you!), meditate for 20 minutes, maybe do some yoga or Kundalini breathing exercises or go for a run. Make a matcha latte with oat milk, cacao and maca (which is like rocket fuel without the coffee comedown). Then get to work!


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

"MEDITATE" - it would elevate the entire consciousness of the planet. Learning Vedic meditation four years ago with Will Williams (who was also my first client and still is today) changed my life and has made me happier, healthier, more productive, self-compassionate, creative and resilient. I want everyone to experience that.

Will Williams and Akala at World Meditation Day
Photo credit: Richard Heald Photography


Five items items you can't live without

My friends, my passport, my black tourmaline necklace and moonstone ring that my parents gave me (crystals for protection and feminine power), cacao - I drink it every day and have had some amazing experiences with it at ceremonies.





Maria Amiouni, Yoga and Reiki Practitioner

21 October 2018

Maria Amiouni is a London based yogi, who like many of us was enchanted by the world of yoga soon after she finished her first class, 4 years on she quits her job and dives into yoga full time. I interviewed her recently on how she started and how the practice has changed her outlook on life. She shares with us a note to her yoga self which is beautifully heartfelt and the words are some which we can all relate to.




How did you find yoga and what was the first word you thought when you first practiced?

I found yoga a few weeks before graduating university back in 2014. At the time I had heard of yoga through my mom and some friends but I didn’t know what it was really about. It was only when my trainer at the gym became a yoga teacher that I decided to go to her class. I remember leaving the class feeling like I was floating on a cloud and I couldn’t stop smiling all day. It was literally love at first try and it’s been in my life ever since. 


What three books have influenced your life or are just your favourites!

This is a tough question. I love reading books since I was a kid. If I had to pick 3 books that influenced my life and that I would recommend anyone to read: 

- The power of Now - Eckhart Tolle 

- The mind-gut connection - Emeran Mayer 

- Becoming Supernatural - Dr Joe Dispenza 

If I can also add a couple of others that changed my life: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the Magic by Rhonda Byrne.



What are the yoga studios in London you love? 

I mostly do self practices at home these days but when I do go to classes I go to Triyoga, Sangye, and Equinox since I’m a member there. Some of my favorite teachers actually teach there and they’re my favorite classes. 




What advice would you give to your younger self?


This is what I would say to my younger self: 

Dear Maria, 

Although you can’t see it just yet, I promise things will get better and you will get stronger. I wish I could tell you to not care about what other people say about you, that the words that are thrown your way don’t always define you. That the pain you hold in your heart will heal. That the story you tell yourself about yourself and your life can be changed. 

However to be honest, you will figure this all out for yourself when the time is right. You will learn how to let go more easily. You will learn to peel off the layers that you think make you, you. You’ll stop letting other peoples opinions bother you as much. You’ll recover from the heartbreaks and losses you endured. There is much growth waiting for you and it’s all thanks to what you are going through right now. 

If I could tell you one thing today is that don’t think you need to change anything about yourself. I’m proud of you and I love you, exactly the way you are. 

Maria


Favourite yoga pose and why? 


My favorite yoga pose changes depending on my mood, or what I’m currently working on. These days, I’m very into inversions and especially forearm stand. But inversions ranges from downward facing dog, and forward folds to headstands and handstands. I love inversions because on a physical level, my heart is now above my head and it reminds me to get out of my head and into my heart space. For me it’s a way to think less and feel more. Inversions remind me to keep following my heart instead of the mind. It also changes my perspective and literally flips my mood and my world upside down. If I’m feeling down or low, an inversion can literally flip everything around and make me feel brand new again. 





Follow the lovely Maria on instagram ... true yoga candy! 

Jen, Yoga Teacher aka Blessed Yoga

10 October 2018

I couldn't believe it when I first met this lovely lady and she told me how she came into yoga... most people practice for a while and the embark on yoga training, oh no not Jen, whose first yoga class was on her teacher training!! Which just shows when you open your mind to new challenges and really go for it wonderful things come about! 

Jen, the beautiful yoga also known on instagram as Blessed Yoga caught up for the shoot and interview on a day which felt like the real start to the winter here in London, and in true Brit style we persisted come rain (and there was A LOT) or shine (which there was none!!!)...

Here is how one very talented yoga came in the world we all love. 


What was the first thing you thought when you practiced yoga?

The first time I practiced yoga was actually on my yoga teacher training, which I know is a bit insane. I think the first thing I thought was “oh goodness, I hope I’m doing this right” and then I was like “who cares, I’m loving it.” I honestly fell in love with the physical practice of yoga from the moment I started.


Favourite yoga pose and why?

My favourite pose is pigeon because magical things happen there. For me it feels like a safe space to open up through a very vulnerable part of the body (the hips) and just let all those crazy emotions go.


Craziest place you’ve practiced?

On a walk around the coastal cliffs in Cornwall, I wanted to get a cool picture on one of the cliff edges. I was too scared to go right up to the edge, but still it felt pretty crazy. But the place that felt the craziest for my actual practice was on a beach in Dubai really early in the morning when it was so foggy that I couldn’t see past the end of my mat. It honestly felt like I was in part of fairytale, it was beyond magical.


Instagram is thought of as a valuable tool to promote yourself as a teacher, do you agree and if so what tips can you share to build a community?

I totally agree that it can be an extremely helpful tool for promotion, but there is definitely a fine line. I’ve heard stories of yoga teachers promoting their Instagram in savasana at the end of class, which is just totally not what its about for me.

For me Instagram has been an amazing opportunity to connect with people from all over the world, who are like minded, supportive and just amazing. My tips would be to follow people that are at a similar stage of their journey to you. These are the kind of people you will be able to relate to. I think often people fill their feed with “insta yogis” that they think may inspire them but actually end up making them feel unworthy or bad about their own practice. If you open your Instagram and feel worse after, then you’ve got some unfollowing to do.

I would also encourage people to get involved in one of the many yoga challenges out there on Instagram at the moment because I found that it really helps to find people that share similar experiences to you and is a great way to get connected.


Where do you sweat, breathe, refuel?

I don’t actually workout. At the moment, walking and yoga is my only form of “exercise” because it suits me best. I mainly have a home practice, but if I do go out to a studio I go to Alchemy Yoga in Essex because they have an amazing rocket yoga class that I honestly just love. There are so many amazing places to eat in London, but I often find myself in Natural Kitchen on the Marylebone high street for a quick bite or a smoothie before I go to teach clients.


Tips for anyone starting yoga or trying to improve their practice?

I would say to start off, find a really nice local studio that do a beginner’s class and go to that instead of going to a really huge fancy class where you may get swallowed up or feel intimidated. I personally feel most comfortable in those kind of small personal classes. I would also say if you don’t have time to get out to a studio, find a teacher on YouTube that you like and try getting into it that way.

For both beginners and for those trying to improve their practice, I would always stress that consistency and patience are key. Even if you practice once a week for an hour, or more often for just five minutes, it will make a huge difference. There’s no hope in going on a crazy hype of yoga for a week and then forgetting about it for the next two months. Build it into your routine to get consistent. Also being patient with yourself is so important because one practice you may feel totally in touch with your body or nail something you’ve been working towards and then the next time you practice its gone again. This happens to me ALL THE TIME and I’m telling you now it’s a test! It’s a test for you to check in with your ego and not let it get the better of you. So yes, consistency and patience for me have been a winning combo.


Five items you can’t live without?

This one really got me thinking because I’ve been working hard on practicing the art of non-attachment, especially to material things, so my brain now automatically goes “don’t be silly Jen, you can live without everything.” But if I had to answer I would say…

iPhone: Shameful, but true. When I don’t have it on me I feel a bit lost. Quite literally, because I have no sense of direction and use maps to navigate everywhere

Earphones: I have always been obsessed with music, I spend most of everyday listening to it

Shiva Linga crystal: I have this big round lump of it and it helps me massively to stay grounded

Nail polish: I’m embarrassed at myself to even say this because it is really superficial, but I’m bare foot most of the time because of teaching and it’s nice to have my toenails painted

Dressing gown: There is truly nothing better than putting on your dressing gown, especially in the winter in London

Follow Jen on her wonderful journey here.
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