Francesca Lily Yoga
Name and company: Francesca Clark.
Company Name: Francesca Lily Yoga
Where do you live?: Upminster, Havering.
Tell me a little bit about your business and what was the impetus to startup?
My business, Francesca Lily Yoga, involves teaching yoga for all, wherever and whenever I can. In group classes, private classes, corporate classes, as cross training for sports teams, and so on; in Upminster, London and beyond. I am also currently planning a Yoga and Surf or Simply Yoga retreat in Lanzarote at The Oasis Surf House; which is extremely exciting. More information to be provided soon on my website and Facebook page.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement so far is teaching people who really need yoga’s beautiful healing powers; including a lady who had an acoustic neuroma brain tumour. This was impeding her balance. I have been teaching her privately, and recently there was an article written about her in the Guardian. She thanked me for not running a mile when she asked for my help. This really confused me, when I got my teaching qualification I knew I wanted to use it for these reasons. I would only run a mile – but in her direction! And I feel so lucky to be able to do so. I have received other messages about how my teaching yoga, or simply encouraging it, has influenced positive energy into people’s lives. Including a pregnancy, and recovery from a car accident. I am so grateful that I am able to offer this practice to as many people as possible! I am usually modest, but this does make me proud.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
I have been lucky in the last few months without having too much complication to face. However, it was particularly difficult to commit to cancelling my weekly classes one week – I had strained my back muscles moving furniture where I teach. It was a bit of a wake-up call to reduce my work load, be a bit more sensible and ask for help! I even considered using my mum as my ‘demo’ – and mum said to me ‘Lets just think about this – what CAN you do?’ My reply – ‘Well I can’t actually move out of the chair right now..’ led to having to cancel. I look forward to the classes so much, it was a shame to have to cancel, but here is where I must take the advice I have been given and be sensible too!
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
To take my own advice! To “listen to your body”. My Yoga Teacher, Marianne Wells, at Marianne Wells yoga School, emailed me in response to my update about my classes and busy life in general, and I quote; “Baths. You heard me, a nice soak with bath salts and candles. Place your head under the water the water and breath. It will do wonders for you soul.” I do this at least once a week. I also submerge myself under the swimming pool water, breathe and look up at the lights sparkling through the water. You can just listen to the stillness of the moving water, which is peaceful and my imagination gets lost in the memories I have of diving with turtles. Because I lead a really busy life, due to my job and running my own company on top of this, I always tell people to have their own time. Whether that be to meditate, to do things they enjoy or to simply rest, but I need to consciously listen to my own advice that I know enhances my health and happiness!
Many people only contemplate setting up their own business, what advice would you give to spark the catalyst?
Just do it. If you have an idea, a passion, something that you would love to do, this will help you to make it work no matter what. All too often we say 'ah id love to do something like that,' well believe it or not, the time is now. My business doesn’t ever feel at all like a chore, because I am doing something I love. The moment is now! Don't let anyone get in your way, you produce you own ideas so just keep your head down and make something beautiful happen.
What do you do to stay active and how has it changed your life?
To stay active, I live! I run (currently training for the London Marathon) I practice yoga every day, I swim, I walk my dog, I enjoy gym classes spin, body attack. When I am by the coast, I surf and sea swim. I love being outdoors. I was brought up doing sport and being active, and so it is just part of my life now, I can’t imagine not loving the exercise and practice I do.
Do you have any favourite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy everyday?
Chia Seeds - I eat them every day on my cereal for breakfast – they are known to be an amazing antioxidant and are brilliant to boost your immune system, work your digestive system, provide energy and keep you full!
I am reading ‘Happiness is a state of mind’ by Gyalwang Drukpa. It tells us that happiness is found within, it doesn’t come from others, or material things, which is the main mistake people make. The main and basic principle is that happiness is not something we can search for, or work towards achieving through actions or purchasing items- happiness is something that we already have in out hands to 'be' right now. It is within our very own minds that we create the world in which we want to live. The mind is a powerful thing & it will take practice to train it to accept obstacles, and overcome, to allow the inner radiant being to shine through.
Do you consider yourself a ‘healthy eater’ and are there habits you wish you could kick?
Definitely. I am entirely aware of what foods I eat and why; and I am also aware that sometimes what you body needs- your body therefore wants. I wouldn't classify this as a bad habit- it allows me to fulfill that "listen to yourself" ethos. And most importantly, everything in moderation. Cutting out something entirely will only encounter your body to grasp hold of it when you do start to eat it again/on the occasion. I have to eat sensibly and think about the nutritional aspects of the food I eat for the benefit of my training and busy regime. I aim to eat 3 meals a day, with light snacks only if necessary- giving my digestive system a break In between meals is the best way for me to help it work more efficiently when I am eating. Chocolate. On the occasion, I can't get enough of.
What is your typical…
- Breakfast: Bran flakes mixed with granola, blueberries and raspberries, omega seed mix and chia seeds with soya/coconut milk/skimmed milk.
- Lunch: Spinach salad with falafels, or tomato soup with spinach and a brown roll
- Dinner: Vegetable stir fry with rice noodles, or vegetable pasta.
Lastly, how lucky are you, and why?
I am so so lucky, mainly due to the incredibly supportive family, and friends who put up with me with my crazy spontaneity to travel and understand that I like to give things a go in life. My parents set me up with opportunities from the get go, and I believe they have allowed and enabled me to experience so many different things, from getting up with me at 5am to take me swim training when I was growing up, to paying for a trip to Africa with my school in 2008, to supporting my rent whilst I was at university, and just being happy for me in every decision I have made with regards to travelling around the world, and spending my money on courses such as my yoga training. When I got back from an all inspiring journey in Bali, they said ‘So what was your favourite part?!’ and I answer; ‘the fact that I realised I want to become a yoga teach’ and within a week I had booked my course in Costa Rica. Don't look back.