Name and company: Annie Yoga
Facebook: Annie Yoga London
Location : London/Austin Texas
ND : Tell me a little about the background of your business, its brand ethos and culture...?
Annie Yoga is an authentic portrayal of everything I love about yoga and want to share. The joy of moving and developing a practice that supports and heightens your day to day life. Whether that’s opening doors into the unknown or creating firmer foundations.
ND : What inspired you to become a Yoga Teacher?
I trained as a dancer and do still dance professionally 10 years on. Yoga felt intuitively like it integrated so well with everything I already understood about the body. I initially just trained to study further and learn more- which I think is really common, but then I discovered that teaching was such an incredible pleasure.
I love that yoga is so multi faceted, the sequencing and posture work is a creative exploration waiting to be understood and interpreted by you as an individual. The full subject of yoga including the vast range of styles and philosophy are so expansive. You never get bored exploring it.
ND : What do you think is the toughest decision you have had to make with regards to your work?
Whether to start travelling more.
I’ve recently settled in Austin Texas for a few months which means I am away from the London Yoga community, in which I sit so incredibly comfortably. I knew it would be a challenge to step away and explore off into different studios, teachers and methods of teaching but there’s no doubt that I'm growing as a person because of it. I think life experience probably helps when you teach in an arena in which compassion and relating to different view points goes a long way.
ND : What is the best piece of advice you have been given with regards to running your business?
To have self worth. Being self employed it can be excruciating to feel like you are selling yourself. It took years for me to overcome this. For some reason I was always slightly talking myself down- out of embarrassment I think. As the years went by and I was no longer a newly qualified teacher- in fact i had years of experience yet i was still doing it.
At a certain point, someone said to me "imagine you are hiring someone to do your marketing and do it just as they would for you". It’s a small thing but it makes a difference, I think. Also, when I look at other teachers talking about what they teach and want to share, I don't see ego, I just see enthusiasm. So now I trust that so long as my intention is good I can commit to sharing with confidence.
ND : What are the most valuable lesson you have learned along the way?
That it’s easy to get caught in teaching what you think the room of people in front of you want. It’s madness to think that you could ever guess and secondly you get a bit stuck and uninspired when you’re not teaching from your heart.
My boyfriend said to me once, just keep doing what you want to do, I found that so useful in clarifying what to teach. In other words, integrity first. Don't get side tracked by the path that others have chosen to follow.
I suppose the saying ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ is important and I have to say, I’ve found it to be true. The people who enjoy what you have to offer stick around, the others that need something else keep searching and hopefully find something that works better for them. It’s win win. It’s obvious but you cannot please everyone no matter how much you may want to. Which, for a long time, I really did want to.
ND : What do you think is your biggest achievement so far?
I’ve been so happy that my retreats have flourished and become so well attended. Teaching in an environment that so supports a state of nourishment is just bliss. Witnessing people flourish away from their day to day stresses and expand in their yoga practice is an honour.
ND : What are the next steps for the growth of your company?
I am excited about finally finding the time to share free online sequences through my website. It’s something I've been asked about over and over. Of course, working mainly in a vibrant city, like London, people travel and move away all the time. It feels so great to still be able to connect with them and share.
ND : What is your favourite part of running your business?
Human connection! Absolutely 100% the people you meet, the responses and conversations you have about Yoga and Life. It’s amazing how universal Yoga is and how it resonates with all kinds of personalities. I love that you can teach a room full of people with such diverse experiences of life but this same common ground. It’s also humbling and delightful how yoga can help people on many different levels. Its always a special moment when someone gives you a card or takes the time to share their experience. We really never know what others are going through but we feel through yoga that we’re all in it together.
ND : What do the first two hours of your day look like, do you have any rituals to keep your work - life balance healthy?
I have to admit…. waking up is not so easy for me! Usually it's a 7.30am start, I get up and gets howered. I am trying to stick to a 10 minute meditation, so that it’s achievable, I think this is better than missing days because I ‘don't have time’. Sometimes I’ll sit for longer, however I don't put any pressure on myself.
I would usually have a smoothie for breakfast- the current favourite is frozen berries and kale with fresh banana, macca, hemp protein and water. It’s quite sweet but utterly delicious! In London I’d more commonly have a banana, spinach smoothie with ice and hemp protein. At the moment I'm cycling to morning class at Sukha Yoga, but in London I cycle to the tube and head off to teach.
ND : Do you get to travel much with your job and where is your most favourite place to be in the world?
I get to travel more and more. I’m teaching in Austin for a studio called ‘Sanctuary Yoga’, which I particularly love because they have a partner charity called ‘The Amala Foundation’. It is a privilege to have a skill that I can take with me and share wherever I go. Instantly feeling like I have something to offer a community, rather than taking or feeling like I’m on the edge. I’ve also hosted retreats at some beautiful venues in Ibiza, France, Turkey and this year Andalusia in Southern Spain.
There’s something about travel and Yoga that seem to work so well. I don't know if its that it’s become and almost global phenomenon with someone wanting to practise in every corner of the world, or maybe it’s just that it helps to shift perspective which is a massive theme of Yoga. All I know is as long as people want to flow i’ll joyfully keep spreading the love!