I've been practicing yoga for a few years now and recommend it to my clients, friends and family although quite often I'm met with skepticism and a pessimistic attitude towards this 10,000 year old practice.
Since January I've been going to yoga on a Sunday evening taught by the lovely Léa Barbier. Her Level 1 class at 5.30pm at The Power Yoga Company is the perfect way to end the week and her soothing voice helps you get through those trikonasanas just a little bit easier!
And so I thought where I've previously failed, Léa might be able to give you all a better understanding of why you should all get your 'OM' on ;)
So Léa, tell us a bit about yourself...
I'm from Paris - born and raised. I've been in London for almost three years. It's flown by!
How did you get into yoga/how long have you been teaching?
I discovered yoga in Paris but really got into it when I moved to London. There are so many different studios and styles here. We're spoilt for choice! With practice, yoga becomes a safe place where you can completely switch off. It's addictive. When The Power Yoga Company, my local studio at the time, advertised their teacher training, I thought "well, why not?". I taught my first class in 2014 and quit my full time job shortly after.
What are the benefits of practicing yoga?
There are so many! Yoga is a great way to escape and "zone out". With practice, you become stronger, calmer and more balanced - both mentally and physically.
It's also a good complement to other sports.
Yoga seems to be on the rise but what do you say to those who stereotype yoga as being "boring"?
Try it out! Not all styles of yoga are "just napping on a mat".
Do you have a personal mantra that you use on and off the mat?
"Show up and be there". Yoga is incredibly grounding - again, both mentally and physically. It helps me be more present in everything that I do, on and off the mat.
What is your advice for beginners?
First of all, you can't be "bad" at yoga. In the beginning, look around for visual cues and don't forget to breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
A lot of first timers bring friends for support. It makes it more fun! Yoga doesn't have to be so serious.
Do you follow a specific diet/are you strict when if comes to your nutrition?
I find strict diets counter-productive. Food isn't the enemy. I eat my greens but I'm also French: I love bread and wine. As a general rule, I aim for balance.
What's the most important lesson you've learnt? (In yoga and life)
Spend your money on experiences, not things.
3 favourite moves for beginners...
Downward-facing dog: you can't escape it!
Plank: Core strength is key.
Savasana, or "the little nap at the end".
Where can we catch you?
I teach and practice at The Power Yoga Company and Union Station Yoga. During the week, when I'm not on the mat, you'll find me at Lululemon Europe head office, where I work as a localisation specialist. At the weekend, I'm often hanging out in Clapham Common or Brixton or boxing at Kobox (the yang to my yin).
For more about Léa visit her website at leasana.com or on Instagram @leasana