Starting a very British Online Yoga Revolution by Kat Farrants
Movement for Modern Life is the UK’s online yoga site. Born out of a very British conundrum, this is the story which led me to start up a very quiet, British revolution of making online yoga class accessible to all.
Yoga's been part of my life for over 20 years now, but I think that yoga has a pretty bad branding issue. It used to be associated with only hippies in baggie tracksuits. And now, maybe worse, it’s associated with the uber-trendy and bendy, men in goaties in shoreditch and bendy, trendy blondes showing off about their juices and yoga ‘lifestyle’.
This isn’t fair. Because yoga encompasses some really beautiful, soulful practices, which truly do give us the power to transform our lives and live the very best version of ourselves. It’s fabulous for those of us seeking to live our best lives. For me, it’s not exaggerated to say that yoga saved my life. When I hit rock-bottom, if I hadn’t had this tool in my tool-kit for dealing with life, I would still be living in a kind of grief-filled haze, a shadow of the brave, risk-taking woman I am today. In my experience, the best transformation is precipitated by crisis.
How the plan started!
The plan to start my own online yoga business moved onto the point of no return when I was stuck out in rural Sussex taking care of my dog who’d been recently diagnosed with cancer, just a year after my husband had left me, completely out of the blue, and when my movement practice was rock bottom due to a horrid car crash a couple of years before that. Life was rock-bottom! It felt like I was at ground zero, I had nothing, was going nowhere.
The story begins when I was at this particular point of crisis. Every day was utter sadness and despair. Being out in the sticks was beautiful, I love nature! But it meant I had no nearby decent yoga teachers to get me out of my slump. I checked out yoga online on YouTube. Once I had got past the plethora of naked yoga, yes, really, it’s a thing! I got to yoga teachers online who clearly had a better knowledge of social media and online marketing than they had of yoga know-how. I tried practice online but was so put of by this bunch of over-enthusiastic Americans with better social media skills than real-life yoga teaching skills cheer-leading people into ‘advanced’ postures which would cause injury to most. A a far cry from the health that yoga is meant to be. As a yoga teacher myself, I know that not all teachers are created equally and I wanted the very brilliant teachers who had taught my teacher training to help me out of the woods. For me, the massive benefits of yoga which had got me through my car-crash, through my divorce and I needed to get me through my dog’s cancer was nothing to do with forming elusive cirque de soleil moves on a beach in California. But for me, yoga is a simple tool for dealing with the inevitable ‘stuff’ that crops up in life and gives us a way of thriving through it all. The fact that I can do a backbend or touch my toes is just the result of doing an everyday movement practice which has the ability to transform how I feel everyday. It isn’t the goal.
I realised that there would be so many more like me! Those whose lives would be really improved by the very best teachers coming into their homes, on holiday with them, who needed a little helping hand with getting started without the egos or judgements and who needed teachers with more than social-media savvy to get them moving. And those who were a little bit ‘stuck’ without their teachers. And who didn’t view yoga as a fashion parade. Who weren’t going to be cheer-led into ever-advancing poses. Who only wanted to practice to the very best teachers. I wanted all of us, even us living in wooly jumpers and wellies most of the time England, in the depths of winter who rarely make it out of PJ’s and muddy clothes to get access to the most amazing teachers.
What is Movement for Modern Life All About?
Movement for Modern Life’s yoga is a more fun, homely kind of affair. We think that it’s great to pop into a studio whenever possible to get some alignment shoves in the right direction. The rest of the time, yoga can be your very own, personal little escapade. The great news about doing yoga online is that you can check in with yourself and work out what exactly is it that you need right now. Not what class are you able to get to, or what’s the newest and trendiest teacher - but what would really heal your soul and help your body right now. Maybe it’s a quiet, relaxed Yin or Restorative class you can do in your living room in your PJ’s to wind down before bed or after a hard day’s work instead of your glass of wine. Maybe you have a baby or business at home and you only get 10 minutes as a break - we have classes to quickly relieve tension and stress. Or you want to energise and get yourself moving in the morning. Try 20 minutes of breath-initiated movement. We promise that life will never be the same.
Be believe that life without movement goes nowhere. Come one, come all, come Move!