Yoga with friends.
It can be hard to see your friends in the big city. So what could be better than bringing your friends to FGB? Just imagine hanging out post class over a cup of green tea in the foyer or un-rolling your mats side by side in the studio…
We thought it would be great if you were rewarded for bringing your friends, so we offer a very special perk, called 1-2-3 FREE* to members who bring along 3 friends who are new to Fierce Grace Brixton and who sign up for an Introduction Offer. As a thank you from us, you’ll get 1 MONTH FREE yoga!
We chat to Valentine Ohagwa about bringing along her 3 friends, getting a free month and why she came to FGB in the first place:
“11 years ago I was reasonably fit, until I suffered a road traffic accident where I was hit by an uninsured drunk driver. The long and short of it is: 10 years and 4 operations later, I still have a damaged right leg which causes back, hip and knee problems. No only that, I can no longer wear heels or run!
Finally, I found yoga. Yoga is the only form of exercise I have done which I feel is fully helping me heal. Realistically, I can only do 70% of the class, but I have to remind myself that it’s better that nothing! I have been coming to Fierce Grace Brixton for about 1 year now and have told all of my friends about it. Over this year, they’ve seen my mood lighten, change and I’ve become more of a positive positive. I encouraged them to come along and they loved it! I’m so happy that the 1-2-3 Free offer helped me practice 1 month for free. If I was 100% able, I would be a teacher!”
So there you are folks: bring your friends and get free yoga. Simple.
Friends with benefits, really!!
*Friends must be new to the Fierce Grace Brixton studio and sign up for a package with us.
This week we meet one of our Hot Founder members, Liz Popovich. Having regularly practiced hot yoga for six years now, she’s a great example of how yoga can keep you interested, engaged and ever evolving. Her practice today is just as exciting as it was when she discovered the sweaty delights of hot yoga, but she freely admits the variety offered by the Fierce Grace system of connected classes is her idea of bliss.
1.What brought you to yoga? How long have you been practicing?
I started practicing about six years ago. I had a back injury and my chiropractor told me that I had to stop using the cardio equipment at the gym, which was my only form of exercise at the time. When I asked what type of exercise I could do, she said: “yoga, but make sure it’s hot yoga!” I was living in Islington at the time, so I did a drop-in class at the City studio. This was before Fierce Grace – it was still the Bikram method – and I remember leaving the class, still dripping sweat even after changing and wondering what just happened to me! I was hooked. I moved to SW4 the next month and joined the Bikram studio in Balham immediately. I practiced six days a week there until the Fierce Grace studio opened in Brixton…
2. How have you been finding Fierce Grace?
I was in love with Fierce Grace from the very first class. As soon as the Brixton studio opened, I signed up for an introductory package, and knew I was going to commit to a Founder membership within the first week. The timing was perfect because I had reached the point where I was looking for more variety in my yoga practice. I actually abandoned two other yoga studio memberships to make the change. I find the classes brilliant, the teachers inspiring and the studio so friendly and welcoming. I feel like I belong there.
3. How has your practice changed or developed since coming to FGB?
I think I’m much kinder to myself in my practice now. This could be because I’m six years older, or because I’ve dealt with a nagging hip injury/condition, but I feel that I’ve moved beyond a solely physical practice into one that’s more mindful, observant and kind. It feels more comprehensive and much more satisfying this way.
4 . What is your favourite class and why?
I have to say all of them – because it’s the variety that works for me. I love the fact that in a given week, I get a mix of FG, Classic and either Core or Fix. For me that’s perfection!
5. What do you like doing in Brixton?
People watching. Every day I go there, I say to myself “you don’t see that every day!” Brixton has such a great vibe and colourful people – all you have to do is wander through the village and you’ll be entertained!
6. Tell us a fun fact…?
I was able to retire six years ago after being a co-founder of a medical software company. We sold the company and I took the opportunity to retire early after working way too much for the sixteen years I was part of the company. It’s not a coincidence that my yoga life started immediately after retirement – this is what anchors my days now. Bliss!
7. Anything else to add…
I am so grateful to all my teachers from FG and before whose generosity and inspiration help to keep me on my yoga journey. I hope to do this for the rest of my life.
Thanks Liz! It’s always a pleasure to have you at the studio. x
You’ve heard of the 30 Day Challenge, right? You’ve seen those brave souls rock up at all hours, every day to the studio, ticking off each class on the white board? You might have noticed that Teresa McGovern has powered past the finish line of her 30 Day Challenge and is now heading towards her 60 Days!
Go Teresa! We love having you here every day with a smile on your face! You are truly Living Life with Fierce Grace.
Find out what makes her tick….
What brought you to yoga? For how long have you been practicing?
I’ve been doing FG since the Studio opened in Brixton (Dec 2014), prior to that I did Bikram (a little less regularly) , which I started in 2009 and prior to that I did other random yoga classes (but not a regular practice).
And how have you been finding Fierce Grace
I love it. I love the variety of the classes and I love the studio.
What made you decide to do a 30 Day Challenge?
I came back to London after having been away for a lot of the Summer, having done hardly any exercise. I’d put on weight and felt very unfit, and wanted to change that and challenge myself.
How have you been finding it? Have you noticed a change in your practice?
Really great, tough dragging myself out of bed some mornings (early morning is the only time I can really fit in classes) but once I’ve finished class I feel brilliant. The change in my practice has been slow but I am beginning to notice the difference.
We see you have been attending the full range of classes (Classic, FG, Deep Core, Fix plus SOB) therefore making full use of the integrated Fierce Grace system. Has this been helpful for the 30 Day Challenge?
Absolutely. It’s fantastic to have the option of fix for those days when I’m short on time and I love that class. I also hadn’t really tried Deep Core before the challenge but am beginning to really like that class too and find it’s brilliant after having done a couple of days of Classic or FG, and I weirdly find this class tougher. I’ve tried wild too and liked that, but not quite ready for the Beast yet!
Do you have a favourite class?
From a purely practical point of view I love fix, as I’m always rushing around but I do love FG too. I especially like having music.
What is your favourite pose and why? And what is your most challenging?
I like Camel, although it’s challenging it has such an immediate impact. Challenging – well loads – big to stretch, froggie, side crow…
On a different note – just to learn more about our Brixton community – how long have you lived in Brixton?What are your favourite things to do in Brixton? What do you like about the area?
We’ve been in Brixton since 2014, but were in Stockwell before this so were in the area. In terms of things to do…I think we are really lucky in Brixton with loads of great eating and drinking places around the market and at Pop now, and also some great haunts locally for us up Brixton hill. The cinema is fantastic, and I have a 5 year old, so we spend alot of time at Brockwell park.
Anything else to add…
Just thanks to all the crew at Fierce Grace Brixton. All the staff are amazing, it really is the friendliest studio I’ve attended!
Thanks so much Teresa and keep up your excellent work!
Tasty and delicious and equally nutritious! Smoothies have rocked the health and fitness world for many years. Packed full of goodness, smoothies give you a daily dose of what your mind and body needs. In doing so, they help to support a strong yoga practice.
That’s why this week, during our month of healthy choices, we have put together some of our favourite smoothies for you to enjoy! So get raiding Brixton’s markets for the finest fruit and veg and get blending!
Brixton Berry Bonanza
With its vibrancy, energy and bustling atmosphere, this berry extravaganza captures our beloved Brixton in a cup. Feel your taste buds explode!
1 handful blueberries
1 handful strawberries
1 handful raspberries
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp flaxseeds
1 tsp hemp seeds
¼ tsp cinnamon
Seeds are a great addition to your smoothie, adding extra vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. After your next class, nip into Brixton Wholefoods, just around the corner from the studio at 59 Atlantic Road and see which ones get your juices flowing!
Fierce Grace Green Goodness
For your everyday staple smoothie, with some fierce flavour and some graceful goodness, go green! You’ll feel the difference immediately – pretty much the same as hot yoga!
Half a banana (frozen if you would like it more chilled)
1 / 2 sticks celery
Handful of spinach
Half a dozen almonds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 / 2 scoops protein powder (optional)
Splash of unsweetened almond milk, topped up with water
Adding protein powder to your smoothie is a great idea after class in order to repair and replenish muscles, plus it will keep you going until lunch. Our Arbonne protein powders available to buy at the studio are made from split pea. They provide 20g of vegan protein, delivering vital amino acids to support muscles, plus 20 essential vitamins and minerals and a low glycemic index.
Classic Cleansing Cosmopolitan
Simply heaven in a cup. The perfect way to replenish after a strong Classic!
½ or whole avocado
½ or whole banana
1 small orange
1 tbsp honey
Avocados are a strong foodie favourite, almost what you could now describe as a cult! Remember that the stone actually contains 70% of the fruit’s antioxidants – to read more, read our blog here.
Deep Core Date Daiquiri
Dates are full of soluble and insoluble fiber and amino acids therefore helping to regulate the digestive functions of the body. They also include copper, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamins B and K. And they are delicious.
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp oats
2-3 pitted Medjool dates, to taste
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
¼ to ½ tsp ground cinnamon, to taste
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
4-5 ice cubes to chill
This smoothie includes more than 8g of protein but you can add more vanilla protein powder to boost it up to 20g. Perfect for post-Deep Core-power-up to nourish those worked muscles and tissues!
Flaxseeds might be small but they pack a good nutritional punch! See the analogy? Like our own Fix, working incredible magic in record time, you could call them the “Fix” of the seed family! 1 tablespoon of flaxseed will add some protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, including potassium for your heart and iron and zinc for your immune system. Plus a few grams of unsaturated fats and inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids. You can buy ground flaxseeds from Brixton Wholefoods or put whole ones in a coffee grinder.
220 ml coconut water
1 handful almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ scoop unsweetened protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
Take a walk on the Wild side and re-vitalise with this cocktail-inspired smoothie that will satisfy your exotic Mojito taste-buds… but avoid the headache.
2 cups ice
1 cup coconut milk
2 small limes
Handful of fresh mint
1 – 2 tbsp honey
Although smoothies are generally enjoyed to keep you zinging during the day, there are also some soothing smoothies out there. This one contains some great ingredients to ensure you’re soon counting sheep after a Sunday night Nidra!
1 cup chilled chamomile tea
1 banana (preferably frozen)
1 cup coconut milk
Handful of almonds
1 tsp honey
1 tsp nutmeg
The anti-inflammatory qualities of herbal compounds help to calm digestive systems which are ailing under stress. Bananas are high in B-complex vitamins that calm the nervous system, the muscle-relaxant magnesium and also contains melatonin and serotonin to help you sleep soundly. Nutmeg has rejuvenating qualities whilst honey has been used for years as a natural sleep aid.
Got any favourite smoothies? Share them with us! We would love to hear from you!
It’s that time of year again when we vow to become all-round super-humans – our healthier, slimmer, stronger, more adventurous, more travelled, more successful self is right around the corner! But how do we make that New Year Resolution stick, sadly just like those few extra Christmas pounds?
Fear not! We have collected all the top tips on how to stay focused on the path to greatness.
1. Motivation comes best from within. Decide what you want to change, not what you think you should change.
2. One thing at a time… We only have so much willpower; don’t spread yours thin! You are more likely to succeed with just one resolution rather than many.
3. Set behavioural targets. Rather than “exercise more”, define the parameters – “I will go to yoga 4 times a week and go for a run.” That way you can measure resolution progress, tick things off and high five yourself!
4. Stay happy! Self-control and motivation thrives on a good mood. Be kind to yourself, stay your No. 1 Fan! Write things down you’re proud of where you use willpower, even down to “I got up early to go to yoga!”
5. Willpower, like a muscle, gets stronger the more we exercise it. Run even if it’s raining! Get up for class even if it’s cold… it’s hot in the studio!
6. Don’t stress out! Stress can make us hungry and tired so STEP. AWAY. from temptation, back awaaay from the muffins…give yourself a break until you’ve relaxed (probably by coming to class…) and you’re back in the game!
7. …But do treat yourself – it’s in our nature! And here’s the science to prove it: our pleasure-seeking function is located in the primitive part of the human brain; it’s hard-wired and powerful! In fact it is a lot stronger than self-restraint, a rational desire, relatively new to the human brain! We get a delicious dump of dopamine from giving into survival instincts such as eating, even when the evolved part thinks we should resist.
8. Be patient… It takes 21 days for a new habit to form and about 6 months for it to really set in. Just like your yoga postures, if you fall out, get back in! Still struggling? Tackle it in 24 hour windows.
9. All the gear’s the right idea! Incentivise yourself from the off. Buy some sassy yoga-pants to make you want to show them off every day of the week, or assemble a list of great reads if you want to read more (or come along to our Free Book Day at the studio Saturday 9th January!)
10. Map your success! Many of us are visual, goal-orientated creatures. Clock in days throughout the year to assess your resolution progress. You can always go a step further and get geeky with it by marking % achieved against % time completion… rulers and felt tips at the ready!
Why not make our 30 Day Challenge your 2016 Resolution? Come to class every day for 30 days and see enormous advancements in your practice as well as getting your name in shining lights (or board marker) on our new 30 Day Challenge board by the studio entrance!
As part our new campaign to ‘Touch Your Toes in 30 Days’, we’ve linked up to support the valuable local charity – Brixton Soup Kitchen. As a thank you for your support, we will also match fund donations to £5 per person raised by our Touch Your Toes event on 17th October in Windrush Square.
We thought you might like to know a little bit more about Brixton Soup Kitchen, which incidentally, sits on Coldharbour Lane just along the road from our FG studio.
Brixton Soup Kitchen was founded in January 2013 by Solomon Smith and Mahamed Hashi. Before setting up the Soup kitchen, Solomon, a support worker at Lambeth Youth Centre began by driving around Lambeth one particularly cold Winter with donations of warm clothes and flasks of hot tea and coffee for those in need. Since finding a Brixton base, their aim is to help homeless people and Londoners in need by providing free food, support and company. The environment they provide is warm and friendly, which in turn can help people regain confidence, self worth and eventually get them back on their feet. Since 2013 they’ve provided 10,000 meals to those in need, seeing 35-40 people every day and also life skills such as CV writing workshops, advise on housing and benefits, filling out forms and job guidance.
Although initially set up for the homeless, Brixton Soup Kitchen also provides support for elderly people who are lonely and young people who have behavioural issues and may have been excluded from school.
“It’s crazy when you speak to people and see their experiences and how they have become homeless” said Solomon. “Some used to have successful business, but now have lost their business or their job and are homeless, many people suffer from depression because they can’t get work. It’s really opened my eyes and it’s made me realise that anyone could become homeless in a day.” (Solomon Smith)
Visit Brixton Soup Kitchen, Brixton Dominoes Community Centre, 297-299 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8RP.
Call 07538 419 514
We’ve all had it up to here with rules, restrictions and fad diets. So what’s any different about this one? For a start, it’s not so much a diet, but more an eating plan which puts emphasis on alkaline foods, such as broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, kale, peas, peppers and spinach. Alkaline eating helps your body maintain balanced pH levels, which in turn can improve digestion, sleep, skin tone, mood and weight loss. What’s not to like?
The foods that cause an imbalance in our pH levels are the usual suspects —sugar, dairy, processed or excessively fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine, certain meats, etc.
How do you know if your body is acidic or alkaline already? First, a brief chemistry lesson: pH balance is a measure of acidity. Anything below a pH of seven is considered “acidic”, and anything above seven is “alkaline” or base. Water, for example, has a pH of seven and is neither acidic nor alkaline. To sustain human life, your blood needs to remain in a slightly alkaline state.
You can test your alkaline levels at home; this may well take you back to school chem’ class! You can pick up a packet of pH test strips, or litmus paper, in your local pharmacy and use on either saliva or urine. The goal is to test at the same time every day, ideally the morning and get your level between 6.5 and 7.5.
Lemon is, surprisingly, one of the best alkalising foods to eat. It’ll come as no surprise that it’s a great idea to start your day with a cup of hot water and lemon; not only does it give your digestion a kick start, it also clears skin and boosts your immune system. Most people ask why something that is typically acidic and ‘citrus’ on the outside can be non acid forming on the inside. This is due its very, very low sugar content and high alkaline mineral content and their citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolised.
There are some fantastic Alkaline recipes out there, often aiming to use 80% alkaline ingredients and the other 20% a combination or less alkalising food. Some of my favourites can be found on www.alkalinesisters.com and www.honestlyhealthyfood.com who also have a brilliant recipe book!
So when life give you lemons… get alkaline 🙂
Brixton, steeped in culture, is a perfect place to wander around; absorbing the sights and smells of this buzzing environ, it is impossible to ignore the overwhelming ambience and sense of community. Here’s what we think are the highlights of living and breathing in this well-loved town huddled in amongst our South London neighbours…
1) The food – That Brixton Village offers a plethora of high-quality cafes and restaurants is strikingly obvious, offering a broad range of cuisine from all corners of the earth, particularly the Caribbean.
2) The shopping – dotted in and amongst the food stalls are many exciting and quirky shops, whether you’re looking for a vintage fur coat, a handmade bespoke necklace or a bauhaus lamp, you’re sure to find it here. Oh, and we have our own department store. Take that, Selfridges!
3) The people – The very definition of the phrase ‘melting pot’, strolling around Brixton you will come across an exotic blend of folk, to say the very least. From families on their way to Brockwell park, to hip young fashionistas already wearing next seasons trends and the occasional gent with a boombox slung over his shoulder playing reggae dub deafeningly loud, it’s ever evolving and always brilliant people-watching material.
4) The Markets – Brixton is famed for its market on Electric Avenue selling fruit, veg, fish, meat and much more. With each weekend satisfying different needs, the market on Brixton Station Road is well worth checking out after your morning yoga class.
5) The Ritzy – this beautiful century-old cinema is a Brixton landmark and institution. Famously accused of having a left-wing agenda in the ’80’s (true?) it now has a great little music venue Upstairs with a balcony that boasts the best view across Windrush Square.
6) The Black Cultural Archives – situated at the other end of Windrush Square, gorgeous modern renovation of a beautiful old building offers important information on Black history, which is after all, embedded into the history of Brixton itself.
7) Brockwell Park and Lido – opened in 1937, this superb art-deco grade II listed building is worth a visit for the architecture alone. One of London’s few remaining outdoor swimming pools, it is open 7 days a week all year round for the brave, the fit and the just plain mad. Climb the hill of the accompanying Brockwell Park, home of the annual Lambeth Country Show, to gaze upon London’s toy-like skyline in the distance.
8) The music – from the ever-welcome spirit-lifting steel drum players found outside Brixton tube station, to the prestigious Brixton Academy, it’s clear to see Brixton offers a fertile creative hub for all types of musicians. The Academy is one of London’s leading music venues, with an in-tact original art-deco interior, offering a broad range of acts bringing crowds from all over the country. Notable musical Brixtonites include: David Bowie, Dillinja, La Roux and The Clash’s Paul Simonon.
9) The nightlife – one only need venture down Brixton road on a Friday night to join the stream of hubbub, with such a high saturation of bars and pubs, (there really are too many to name!) it seems needless to travel anywhere else for your weekend fun.
10) And last but not least… Fierce Grace Brixton, of course. But you already knew that 😉
We love hearing from you! What’s your favourite thing about Brixton?