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Meet some of London's finest yogis

19 November, 2018

 Meet some of our favourite yogis. 

At Fitty, we have the pleasure of meeting with some amazing people, and we're big believers in learning from others. And who would we be if we didn't share the knowledge? You never know, you might pick up a tip or two...


 Meet: Char Holmes. 

Where do you teach? Regular public classes at Another_Space in Covent Garden and Bank – I'm there about four times a week at least! (Not till December now though, as I'm working abroad in November!) But you can catch my yoga, strength and cardio classes on the FiiT app. 

What has yoga bought into your life? The real breakthrough of the practice for me has been the transformation in my outlook on life off the mat, rather than on it and how I cope with situations and deal with people and problems. My commitment to my time on the mat is a chance for me to be with myself and my breath, and that's something I really love; moving and breathing and flowing – it's my meditation.  

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual?  I think yoga is whatever you want it to be in your life. People get so hung up on the idea of what they think yoga is or what it should be… and it can be a practice of as much or as little of all or one of those things listed above. Thats why its a practice. That is why it's beautiful.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? I dont have one in particular. But I do try an think of a mantra for my breath at the start of every practice. It's a great way to remain present when the mind starts to wonder.

Who do you look up to? My parents.

How do you handle negative thoughts?  I sit with them, try and feel out where they sit in my body in terms of the emotion they create. Look at the emotion and sit with it a while. Then let it go. I find sitting with the feeling – even ‘negative’ feelings such as pain or guilt or sorrow or anxiety, bring a sense of acceptance and presence. Since it's present, I know it's not the future, therefor won’t be forever. So it's ok.

Are you a fan of meditating? Yes, but I find my meditation through movement mostly. Being completely present moving on my mat with my eyes closed, walking in nature, or being in the ocean.

Instagram: @misscharholmes


 Meet: Lauren Kennedy. 

Where do you teach? I run an Ashtnaga Yoga Class in Upminster at Deep Yoga Beats, Thursday 7.30-9pm. I also teach privately at student's houses.

What has yoga bought into your life? Yoga has brought so many wonderful things to my life, but if I had to choose the top three it would probably have to be... freedom, acceptance, and health.

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual Personally I think it's a complete balance of all three. The more spiritually aware you are, the more mentally strong you will be and therefore, your physical strength will nourish. Yoga is a practise that works on connecting all three.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? Lokah Samastah Suhkino Bhavantu – it means “​may all beings be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all”.

Who do you look up to? I look up to my 90 year-old Nan for her way of life, her strong heart and mind and her patience and focus she has still, even with old age. I also look up to my mother and her ability to love and nurture with such pure intentions.

How do you handle negative thoughts? Yoga, or any other type of movement like gymnastics, handstands or just using my mind to be creative with my body usually send any negativity flying away.

Are you a fan of meditating? Ashtanga yoga is moving meditation for me. It takes around 90 minutes to move through the primary series and I am always surprised when I reach the final poses and realise I really haven't thought about anything other than my breath and my body through the practise! It really has changed my life. Sitting meditation is a little more challenging for me, but I am building my way up to it as I know how beneficial meditation is for us.

Instagram: @lookgoodwithlauren

 Meet: Sarah Malcolm. 

Where do you teach? I teach at Frame (mostly Fitzrovia branch, but cover other studios too) and Mortimer House. I also have pop-up classes and run my own events in London.

What has yoga bought into your life? Oh gosh, this is a huge question. I could probably write an entire book on this but in very very short…it has brought self acceptance, in both my physical and mental body, but also acceptance of others. It has allowed me to connect with the notion that nothing is meant to be perfect, it is just meant to be felt. 

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual? I think it is a beautiful mix of all three. I feel you can’t have yoga without all three because all three are within you. Yoga isn’t just what you do in a class or on a mat, but what you take off it into your real life. How you deal with every day situations and your sense of self.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? “Find the fear and do it anyway.” I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t feel a little terrified, but repeating this to myself allows me to enjoy the ride.

Who do you look up to? My boyfriend is the most grounded, level headed person I know. He’s constantly brings me back down to earth when I’m away in my own thoughts & emotions a little too much.

How do you handle negative thoughts? I try to approach my emotions with kindness. A lot of the time, my negativity is linked to my cycle so understanding how that affects me has been a real game changer for me. And then I approach with compassion and consideration and try not to be too hard on myself.

Are you a fan of meditating? Yes – a massive fan! But I think for a lot of people, a seated meditation for 20 minutes is a little too overwhelming to face (sometimes me too). So I like to bring meditation into my day wherever I can, from a slow asana practice to cycling, walking and even painting! Mediation can be applied in so many different forms, whatever that looks like for you- allowing yourself to turn inwards.

Instagram: @sarahmalcs

 Meet: Kim Hartwell. 

Where do you teach? I currently teach power yoga and stretch classes at Core Collective, and my signature Tone & OM class at ONE LDN. In addition I teach at a lot of pop up events around the city and retreats all over the world.

What has yoga bought into your life? Mindfulness, positivity and appreciation for life as we live it in the present moment. Yoga brings me grounding wherever in the world I may be and whatever I might be doing. It creates a mind body connection unlike anything else I do.

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual? All of them. You can’t have one without the other in yoga. Each play a pivotal role in the practice. Although some aspects can speak to some more than others.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? Yes, some of my favourite quotes: “The grass is greener where you water it” and “life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful”. 

Who do you look up to? My Mum – she is the eternal optimist. She's one of the strongest people I know and has faced some pretty tough times but still manages to see the positive in any given situation. If I grow to be half the women she is, I’ll be one proud Kimmy! My husband is also an incredible source of inspiration for me daily. Yogi wise; Celest Periera is my absolute yogi girl crush – she’s an ex physio and dancer and has the most magical way of weaving this into her teachings. I’m forever inspired and in debt to her for all of her wisdom she’s imparted on me over the years.

How do you handle negative thoughts? I would say I’m a pretty positive person. I’ve always been a firm believer and huge advocate for the power of positive thinking, and I’ve always said that I would rather have been the one that smiled at a stranger than the one that turned away. I immediately know when I’ve let negative feelings take over my thoughts. Everything seems to spiral like a little domino ripple. “This” is bad. Which makes something else bad. Which leads to even more bad…spot the trend? Now reverse that. How about I turn whatever negative feelings I have into reasons to be positive. When you flip those thoughts on their head and turn them into gratefulness, your whole world changes. That new found light and perspective can spread like wildfire.

You know those bubbly people that you can’t help but walk away with a grin on your face from seeing? Become one of them! You have the power to be that person. We all want to be happy. So let’s be part of that what makes us happy. Less overthinking. Less human doing. More human being.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle, and the life of that single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared”. When we empower each other, love each other, pick each other up, spread our beacon of positivity everyone wins.

Are you a fan of meditating? I'm an avid believer in meditation. I 1000% am a more productive and better human once meditated! As someone who races around at a million miles an hour it really helps to keep me to be grounded, it allows me to breathe, reset, refocus and then be in a better position to go out and be the best version of me! I wrote a little blog post about all the benefits, which you can read here.

Instagram: @kimhartwell

 Meet: Adam Husler. 

Where do you teach? In London, I teach public classes at Triyoga and members classes at Equinox. Most weekends I teach workshops and teacher trainings in cities around Europe and beyond. Awesome, but lots of miles by foot, plane, train and Uber!

What has yoga bought into your life? Beyond the obvious physical benefits of increased flexibility and strength, yoga has undoubtably brought a sense of balance in all aspects of my life. I’m no longer looking for extremes in any part of my life and those extremes arn't finding me; instead there is a prevailing sense of equanimity. its not awakes there, but in gradually increasing amounts.

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual? It's a practice that touches all parts of ones life, but there are various pathways or vehicles by which to explore it. For most westerners , the most accessible way to practice yoga is via the physical body, but even thorough these physical poses, your main observation is how your breath and mental state are interacting with the the challenge.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? My go-to is my breath. Stopping o simply watch air more in and out of my body in that particular moment.

Who do you look up to? So many people inspire me. My fiancé's desire to bring joy to peoples lives. My teachers ability to humbly embody a yoga practice without being attached to looking or sounding like a ‘yogi’. My mother’s ability to be there, no mater what. The students that rock up to class, despite everything else in their lives pulling them in other directions.

How do you handle negative thoughts? I don’t want to just spend time with ‘bliss’ I want to spend time with the ‘blisters’ too. They need each other and we need them both, however I try to indulge in neither. I let the over positive or over negative thoughts come in my mental background rather than foreground, and attempt to let them fall away, just as easily as they appeared.

Are you a fan of meditating? Whatever your views of yoga, the effects of meditation have been well researched and studied by globally respected organisations and universities. In an ever noisy, hyper-active, distraction filled society, we need time to be with ourselves more than ever.

Instagram: @adamhusler



 Meet: Hannah Cluley. 

Where do you teach? I just moved to Bali and right now I am teaching at Odyssey in Canggu, Bali, and loving it!

What has yoga bought into your life? Yoga has honestly changed my life. Aside from better mobility, strength and flexibility, it's brought me so much emotional awareness, it's made me kinder, happier, more loving and it's enabled me to find more spirituality which is something I was very against growing up.

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual? Above all else yoga is spiritual, but the mental and physical aspects all lead to that, it's like different petals to a flower, they are all one in the same.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? My main mantra in life is 'Find gratitude in everything'. Even the challenges or the situations you maybe wish hadn't happened. Find some gratitude, maybe for what it taught you or how it changed you, and you will never worry about anything ever again.

Who do you look up to? This is going to sound conceited but I actually look up to myself. When I am able to fully detach from that little voice that constantly tells me I'm not good enough, I have actually achieved some pretty incredible things! And I am super proud of myself for that.

How do you handle negative thoughts? Some days it's easier than others, the first thing I do is try to recognise it, understand that I am not my thoughts, sometimes I sit with them, sometimes I write about them, sometimes I flip them on their head and turn them into a positive thought. It really depends on what it's about.

Are you a fan of meditating? Yes I definitely am! I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes every day, some days that's easier than others! It's called the being technique and I've been doing it for about a year. Some days I notice the effects straight away and come out of it feeling physically lighter, or more calm. Sometimes it goes the other way and I actually feel very tired after! But overall I just know that it helps me have more mental clarity, keeps my energy up and really helps with my depression which I have been working with for about two years.

Instagram: @hannahrosecluley



 Meet: Fi Clark. 

Where do you teach? I am Head of Yoga at FLY LDN in Aldgate, so teach all of my studio classes there, plus I teach some private classes around West London where I live.

What has yoga bought into your life? Yoga has significantly improved my relationship with myself. I’ve become a lot more accepting of who I am – warts and all! I also feel a lot better equipped to deal with every day life off the yoga mat. When I come up against adverse situations, where previously I would have gone onto auto-pilot in feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I now naturally take a step back and feel a lot more calm and collected because I’ve honed the benefits of breath-control and the positive impact on my mental wellbeing. As a side bonus to the mental health benefits, I’ve never been in better physical health.

Do you think yoga is more mental, physical, or spiritual? I’d say it’s a real mix and each time I come to the mat I need different ratios of those three elements depending on how I’m feeling physically and mentally. For me personally, the mental benefits are what first got me hooked, and have kept me practicing regularly ever since I went to my first class years ago. The physical is very important to me too as it not only keeps me fit, flexible and healthy it’s also necessary for me to focus on my breath control and the way my breath acts as the hydraulics to the movements of my body in a bid to find some head space and mental clarity.

I have always been a spiritual and philosophical thinker ever since I was young. Studying and practicing yoga has been a great facilitator for me to explore this further, it’s a never ending part of life and self exploration in being open to learning differing theories but also to look past the text book to cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself.

Do you have a mantra or any go-to affirmations? I have quite a few depending on what I need at the time but my most common go-to has to be ‘Trust the process’. My life has taken numerous unexpected twists and turns, as most people’s have, and it’s when life throws challenges your way that it’s imperative to understand that it’s the way you deal with these situations that refines your strengths. I think it’s also important to not expect life to be plain sailing – it’s not supposed to be and getting through challenges is the best test of self development and understanding.

Who do you look up to? I look up to anyone that comes into my life that has had a positive impact on me, and it’s something I’m very grateful for as they have collectively got me to where I am today, without a doubt. I have four sisters (yes, five girls...no boys!) so the obvious person is my long suffering mother! She is the most selfless individual I’ve ever met, I’ve never heard her raise her voice or swear yet the respect and love we all have for her as head of the family is her due to her ability to raise a family of strong-minded females and never fall short of encouragement and support. On a wider scale, I feel very privileged to have worked alongside media industry leaders who I have inadvertently learned so much from and aspire to be like.

How do you handle negative thoughts? I used to get instantly stressed and anxious by the negative thought patterns that we all get caught up with. It’s thanks to my yoga teacher training and experience in teaching that I have developed a way to take a step back to gain perspective on my thought patterns. I use breath-control and my yoga practice to detach myself in the knowledge that I have complete control over my thoughts in order to control how I feel towards something. When negative thoughts about myself crop up (all too frequently!), more often than not the way we see ourselves is in a much more negative and critical light compared to how the outside world actually sees us. One of my favourite sayings is “If you could see yourself through my eyes, you’d be in awe of yourself”

Are you a fan of meditating? Yes, yes, YES! Just as yoga has been, meditating has been life changing for me too. I think there are many forms of meditating and it’s important to find the best way for you as it’ll be the most effective and sustainable. For me there are two ways that I meditate. One is more active but equally as effective and is surfing. Everything from paddling out, sitting out the back waiting for wave sets to come in whilst taking in the natural scenery and sunsets surrounded by magnesium-filled sea air. Pure bliss. I find my mind is so calm and focused on the present and whether its 30 minutes or a whole day of surfing, it never fails to leave me feeling so calm and complete and happy.

The second way is more traditional in how people view meditation, sat comfortably and usually listening to my carefully curated playlist, tuning into my breath and simply observing the subtle movements of my chest and ribs as I find the equilibrium between inhale and exhale. I do find that I need to practice yoga before I’m able to sit still and focus properly, I have a lot of energy to burn so if I can do at least 60 minutes of dynamic yoga first, I can meditate for much longer.

Instagram: @fifiyogagirl



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