June 2020

OnlyWillow has been so lucky in the past to receive support and motivation from many different individuals and businesses. We aim to share that good karma by using our platform to share another inspirational small business each month.

For those of you who follow us on Instagram, @onlywillowjewellery, you will have seen the many stories posted by Olivia regarding her daily morning yoga routine. We’ve also mentioned it in previous blogs too, like Our Wellbeing and Over Worked. Yoga has been beneficial for Olivia’s mental health as well as physical health for a few years, and even more so recently during lockdown.

With other volunteers at the Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

In this month’s Ones to Watch, we are featuring Millie the Yogi @millie_yoga

Olivia met Millie when they volunteered at the same elephant sanctuary in Surin, Thailand back in 2015. Connecting over their mutual love of elephants they have stayed in touch ever since.

My name is Millie and I’m an online (and in-person when life returns to normal) vinyasa and ashtanga yoga teacher. @millie_yoga is where I post all of my updates and mini flows so people can get a taste of what I teach and enjoy in my own practice.

Millie in Agonda, Goa, India.

I teach vinyasa and ashtanga yoga to everyone who’s interested, whether someone has never done yoga before and wants to get a little bit more bendy or practitioners who are working on complex arm balances and poses, I enjoy helping and seeing their progress from week to week.

Although originally from the wonderful North Yorkshire, I’m currently based in Bethnal Green, London.

Showing you that all you need to practise yoga is enough space for your mat.

I’ve only been teaching for a few months. Somehow a global pandemic has become incredibly useful by giving me the time to focus on getting my group classes up and running.

After graduating from SOAS University of London with an Arabic and Politics degree, I wanted a deeper understanding of my own yoga practice before I got my head down and entered the ‘real world’. As a kid and teenager, I did a lot of gymnastics and cheerleading so had a sort of head start on the physical aspects of yoga. However, the reason I enjoyed it and stuck with it is because of the ‘me-time’ it gave me where I was completely switched off from the outside world and focused only on my breathing and the movements that I wanted to do. After a fairly stressful period living and working in the UAE for 6 months, I returned to London just 2 weeks before Covid-19 locked down the UK. Teaching yoga has given me a focus and a purpose, as well as allowing me to connect with friends and people I haven’t spoken to in years, during an anxious time.

Here Millie is practising a headstand, between gazelle and peacock spotting in Abu Dhabi.

I still find the classes I teach are largely inspired from my favourite yoga teacher (Imi Wiseman – I can’t recommend her classes enough). During self-practice I generally let my body do what it feels like on that particular day and then try to hone that into a flow that I can teach in a class. I like to feel like I’ve pushed myself a little further in each practice, so my classes are generally quite dynamic and sweaty!

Receiving feedback from people telling me that they’ve noticed differences and improvements is really heart-warming. Especially at the minute it’s great to feel like I’m helping people in a small way during what can feel like a very isolating and demotivating time.

Back home, at her local park in Bethnal Green.

Before every class I still get nervous, worried that no one will turn up, my instructions won’t be clear, the WiFi will drop out (although not an irrational worry clearly) or people just won’t enjoy it. I think the pressure I put on myself will ensure each class is the best it can be and this is definitely helping in other aspects of my life.

At the end of April I began a new 9-5 job, this time in Public Affairs. Balancing two very different parts of me will prove a challenge but I feel so fortunate to have an outlet for work stress and a great community surrounding and supporting me.

In terms of yoga, I’d love to continue teaching in studios after quarantine is lifted. More short term, I’d like to start doing some workshops that target specific aspects of yoga. I’m still finding my feet as a yoga teacher and I’m enjoying figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and what people are looking for in their teacher.

Thank you to Millie for taking the time to share your story with us. If you would like to support Millie, or are interested in beginning to practise yoga, you can follow her on Instagram @millie_yoga

If you are an independent crafter/retailer or a small business looking for tips, support or interested in being featured in next months Ones to Watch post, please contact us at info@onlywillow.com.

Stay Safe and Shop Local where you can.

For even more OnlyWillow, visit our Facebook or Instagram.

Written by Siobhan Green