'I felt a sense of calm for the rest of the evening'

Nahid de Belgeonne

What inspired you to take up yoga, how did it all begin?

I had a really stressful job in technology dealing with TV companies. The contract over-promised and my job was to negotiate the under-delivery…!

I’ve kept fit all of my life and worked in a health food shop when I was 19 so knew about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. But like most people I dealt with my stressful job by punishing myself with a full on social life and tough fitness regime too. I used to kick box and a run but did nothing to calm and ground myself.

Where were you trained?

My 200 hours was an 18 month British Wheel of Yoga accredited teacher training with Simon Low’s Yoga Academy in 2010, but I’ve never not been in training.

I trained in advanced anatomy and movement with Gary Carter who is an expert in fascia and current anatomy. I’m an advanced Relax and Renew teacher which I completed in San Francisco with Judith Hanson Lasater, she is the godmother of restorative yoga. I trained in mat pilates and am a reformers teacher in training. I completed a mindfulness training with Michael Stone, a buddhist, psychotherapist and activist who is sadly no longer with us. I am trained in yoga nidra and about to embark on a somatics training. I am an eternal student, which helps me to refine my understanding and to keep my classes fresh and relevant.

If you hadn’t gone into yoga, what might you have become?

I have been so many things in my life before I got here! My degree is in Textiles and I had my own fashion textiles business in my 20s, I completed an MA in Computing in Design so learnt to code in my 30s, I was one of three women who set up Scarlet magazine, and in my 40s I set up Good Vibes, one of the first boutique fitness studios in London, which has really shaped the fitness landscape. I set up a yoga teaching training school in 2017 – we are getting ready for our 2018 intake.

Of all the hats I wear, I adore teaching: giving people the tools to look after themselves and feel at ease in the world is, I feel, a revolutionary act.

What is your ethos?

I am passionate about getting people who don’t think yoga is for them, into yoga. I teach a range of populations from A-list actresses, stressed out CEOs, to magazine editors on tight deadlines, to the not so bendy, the sceptics who don’t think yoga is for them, the curious beginner, the open-minded improver, to those who are training to be yoga teachers right through to clients with a range of addiction issues. My aim is to demystify yoga yet still show you the magic of this powerful ancient technology.

I’m very much about mindful movement which roots you in the present moment. We all live too much in our sympathetic nervous system which is where the fear and flight responses are triggered from whereas mindful movement allows you to tap into your parasympathetic nervous system where rest and digest processes reside and bring the body back into balance.

Mindful movement helps to cultivate awareness and from a more balanced space you open up a world of possibilities.

How has yoga impacted on your life?

How hasn’t it impacted my life is more the question. I am less reactive and calmer, I sleep better, I can deal with stress a lot better than I used to. I am a much nicer and kinder person to be around.

What’s the yoga scene like in west London?

I’m not too sure as I am usually in central London, but London’s yoga scene is booming. What I want to offer locally though is a quality of experience, small classes of just 12 people and with a focus on expert teaching (I’ve been teaching bodies for over 10 years). I provide all of the equipment including luxury manduka mats and blankets and gorgeous star printed Shanti Sunday bolsters.

How is what you offer different from other forms of yoga?

The mindful flow is an alignment based slow flow. I emphasise finding the pose for your body rather than trying to force your body into the shape of the pose. The classes are intelligently sequenced so that your body and mind are well prepared. And we also bring attention to the breath, I am a geek for research so you will get the latest teaching based on current thinking.

Why are you teaching small groups locally?

Lots of people asked me to teach when I would teach locally and I found the room and it all fell into place. Also it’s to counter my busy life, running the busy studios and teacher training school in town and a reaction against yoga studios where they have 50 people in a yoga class! I wanted to form a connection with my local community and to be fully present with everyone in class.

We know west London is brimming with celebs, have you had any famous faces in your classes?

Yes quite a few, but I can’t really disclose too much info on that. Gemma Arterton is a regular client and won’t mind me mentioning her and Alicia Keys was darling, I got her to sing the chakra mantras back at me in a restorative one- to-one just to hear her beautiful voice.

What are you offering at the Ravenscourt Park venue?

I am teaching two classes: a 6.15pm a 60 minute mindful flow and a 75 minute restorative class starting at 7.30pm.

I’ll be offering pregnancy one-to-ones in Ravenscourt park venue between 4pm – 6pm and also restorative yoga one-to-ones for those who suffer from chronic stress, anxiety and other issues.

What are the characteristics of each, how do they differ?

The mindful flow starts with awareness to breath and then intelligently builds you into a creative flow. We explore new poses every week to keep the classes fresh and with the right amount of challenge. There are options for beginners right through to intermediate levels.

Restorative yoga is a class supported by props, we start with movements to increase mobilisation, we move to deeper holds to increase flexibility and we end with releasing poses and yoga nidra (a guided meditation) to help undo the stresses of modern life.
This class is great for those with a tense body, sports people or gym bunnies wanting a little more ease of movement, right through to those with a busy mind wanting find stillness.

Do you have any favourite west London hangouts?

I am usually in Ravenscourt park every day with my husband and my little Boston terrier. Having a dog means that you are out in all weathers and I really love the changing of seasons. I am often at the west 6 café in the park which has undergone a menu make-over and is now vegetarian and gluten free.

Angie’s in Chiswick is my Sunday brunch hang out and I do my food shopping at health food shop Bushwhacker on King Street and fancy veg shopping on Turnham Green Terrace. The Anglesea Arms, The Andover and the Royal Oak are all easy places to meet friends, I love places that allows dogs. I also love the walk across Hammersmith Bridge to Barnes and back stopping off at duke’s meadows for a game of frisbee.

Do you have anything else in the pipeline?

In the new year, locally I am running a beginners 90 minute workshop on Tuesday 16th January, it’s a fast track to understanding the common bread and butter yoga poses. This is a great gift for the men in your life as well as those who want to start yoga but don’t know where to go.

I am also teaching a 90 minute restorative workshop on better sleep. We all seem to be wired and tired all of the time, this workshop will teach you techniques for better sleep hygiene.

I teach Monday evenings locally, I have a break in December and I’m back from January onwards. I also offer yoga holidays, Almeria in Spain in September 2018 and Sabina, Italy in June 2019 – I’ll take just small groups of 12 to make sure that everyone gets the attention and peace they deserve.

Nahid de Belgeonne is the Director and Founder of Good Vibes Studios, Aveda UK’s yoga expert and her corporate clients have included Orange, Mac Cosmetics, Estee Lauder and ASOS.

Monday evenings small group class 6.15pm mindful flow and 7.30pm restorative yoga. Upstairs at The Hampshire Hog, 227 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9JT

www.YogaWithNahid.com; nahid@YogaWithNahid.com

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