Meet Annie Clarke, a qualified yoga teacher and creator of popular blog Mind Body Bowl. She talks to us about her approach to social media and her gorgeous upcoming retreats…
You set up your business approximately two years ago. If you could step back in time and give yourself one piece of advice (knowing what you know now) what would that be?
To be honest, I never really intended on setting up a business so I find it quite hard to be reflective! That said, I’ve definitely learnt a lot over the past few years. One thing being that it’s ok to make mistakes and allow things to grow differently to how you imagined. Sometimes the best direction is an alternative direction and there is a lot to learn from getting things wrong.
You’ve said in the past that fitness came first for you. In terms of your mindful approach to food, did you start by making subtle changes or were you forced to be quite radical?
I suppose it was a case of taking a more radical approach because I’d got to the point where my quality of life was impacted by symptoms I was experiencing and I’d reached the end of my patience with that.
It wasn’t until a little later, as I began to discover more and more about my body, that I really started to be more mindful about the things that I was putting into it too!
Was there defining moment where you realised Mind Body Bowl could become your full time business?
I think there have been a few different moments that have been equally important. The first month as a yoga teacher I expected myself to be calling friends and family to help me pay my rent, but I managed to make it work by myself and secured some regular studio classes. I was really proud of that!
Since then, it’s always reassuring when other people express their confidence in your work – for example getting my book deal or becoming a lululemon ambassador.
Do you remember your first ever Instagram post?
Not the first post, but I do remember when I hit 60 or 70 followers and I hadn’t even told my friends or family that I had started the account. I said to my mum “isn’t that quite a lot?”… it seems a long time ago now but it was the first step of building a community and it felt special!
You have some gorgeous looking yoga retreats/events on the horizon. Can you tell us more about what’s coming up on your agenda?
I’m absolutely loving curating my retreats at the moment and I’m trying to expand my offering so there’s something to suit everyone. That way I can connect with as many people as possible.
Over the next six months I’ll be hosting retreats in the UK, Thailand and Portugal, and there’s also some exciting plans for later in 2018 although they haven’t been announced yet!
I don’t want to say too much until everything is finalised but my motive is to help educate people around their practice in order to translate it into daily life beyond the mat.
I’m also starting to offer programmes to workspaces/offices and schools which is really exciting too!
Do you find running your business to be hectic? How do you let your hair down on a Saturday night?
It can definitely be hectic. Especially as there is usually a lot going on outside from my regular classes and writing.
I don’t tend to party often but I am definitely a festival fan! At the weekends I’ll have a few drinks with friends or find fun things to do to relax.
I also love to go to the local market where I sit with a book and a coffee and people watch!
On Instagram, you recently posted about an unhealthy trend you’re seeing whereby people are becoming obsessed with body aesthetic. In a world where we’re so connected, how best can we prevent ourselves from getting caught up in this?
I think it’s incredibly important that we, as a digital generation, become more aware of what we are putting out and consuming on social media.
For the consumer, scrolling down a social feed is often so habitual and has become mindless. It’s really important that we take responsibility for how much we can consume and that we are consuming the right content.
Who is your fitness inspiration?
It sounds corny but I try to be my own inspiration to some degree! There are some amazing business women and people in the industry who I admire, but we are all doing different things and at the core of my work is my own connection, to myself, my students, readers, etc. and so I think it can be distracting to look around too much.
Do you have any plans to release any more books?
I love writing so I never say never but at the moment the focus is on my recent book, Mind Body Bowl, which launched earlier this year.
Do you abide by any kind of mantra?
Yes – ‘Everything happens for a reason’.
What are your goals for Mind Body Bowl? How big is the team and are there plans to grow the brand?
At the moment it’s just me full time, but I have two lovely girls on-board part time. There is definitely room and plans to grow but I’m very happy taking it at my own pace as I’ve learnt not to rush into hiring. Finding the right people is much more valuable than filling a role quickly!