These are a few of my favourite things....
Maybe we need to file this under "narcissistic blog posts" but I always love it when friends, family and colleagues share the everyday things that they love. I know as yogis we are supposed to practice non-attachment and non-hoarding of material possessions, but most of these are consumable items rather than 'stuff.' So, in no particular order, here's a list of things I love that keep me fueled, happy, and healthy in my beloved London.
As Guruji said, "No coffee, no prana." My coffee love (read: addiction) is a bit notorious among my friends and family. Although I am no coffee snob (I'll happily chug Starbucks iced coffee in the summer), I have a local favourite in each corner of London so I'm never stranded without my favourite source of caffeine.
SOUTH: Birdhouse. Down the street from Clapham Junction and just a short walk from where I live, this is one of the friendliest coffee shops in London. They know my order and start to make my soya flat white (one of the best I've had in London) before I've even walked through the door. They use Climpson's coffee and also make an avocado on toast with a slow-cooked egg that is sublime.
WEST: Local Hero. My go-to coffee place when I'm in Parsons Green teaching at The Power Yoga Co. Great coffee, nice patio out back, and good food.
EAST: Ha. I never go east. It's about as accessible to me as the EU will be to all Britons in a few years (too soon?!)
Yoga will always be my true love. Shout outs to some of my favourite London yoga teachers: Mark Kan, Alaric Newcombe, Lolo Lam, Erin Prichard, and Marcus Veda. But it turns out I like to sweat in other ways too.
F45: These classes combine HIIT and functional movements together in a tidy 45 minute workout that will leave you begging for mercy. There's no DOMS like F45 DOMS. The owner of the London Bridge branch, Rob, is also a super nice guy.
Climbing & bouldering: I like climbing not just for the physical challenge but also for the mental challenge-- it's like one big puzzle that you have to figure out as you go. Also, the pulling actions are an excellent compliment to the pushing actions that dominate in vinyasa yoga. My favourite climbing centre is The Arch in Bermondsey.
Swimming: The Marshall Street Leisure Centre is a total hidden gem in central London, and their 1930s-era marble pool makes swimming laps a joy.
I love to eat. Especially Indian food.
Dosa n' Chutny (Tooting): Cheap and delicious south Indian food with dosas that rival the ones I demolished in Mysore
Trishna: Fancy pants Indian for a special occasion. Well worth it.
Hoppers: Sri Lankan and south Indian, and also London's worst kept secret at this point. I finally went for lunch a couple of weeks ago. It's my new favourite place.
Ganapati (Peckham): Yummy. Cheap. What more could you want from your local Indian restaurant?
I grew up thinking that having ice cream every night after dinner was normal. My father strongly believes that if there are not at least 2-3 pints of ice cream in the freezer, we should declare a national state of emergency. Like coffee, I have a few favourite places for gelato in London.
Gelupo: Yes, I know about Ratgate. I also know this is some of the best gelato in London.
Music has always been a source of great happiness in my life, and as a yoga teacher, I'm always on the look out for new tunes to play in my classes. So what's hot on my Spotify playlists at the moment?
Mt. Wolf, "St Michael": I discovered this group a little over a year ago and I'm still obsessed.
ODESZA, "Kusanagi": a new regular on my yoga play lists.
HVOB, "Clap Eyes": like "Kusanagi," you'll hear this in my classes a lot.
Sia, "Reaper": what can I say? This is such a feel good song. It makes me want to dance.
Yoga teachers carry a lot of kit around with them every day. Most days, you'll find the following gear shoved in my bag:
lululemon "High Times" pant: Obsessed. The 7/8 length is basically full-length for petite women like me. High-rise waist is totally the way forward. These are the best yoga pants I have ever owned.
Nike free TR 5 Flyknit trainers: For those times when I can't be barefoot, you'll find these on my feet.
Manduka eko superlite travel mat: The best yoga mat is the one that you always have with you. This baby is light, folds up to be the size of a jumper, and stays sticky, even in the sweatiest yoga class (and I sweat a lot). It's also relatively inexpensive. I've used the same one almost daily for 4 years, and it's travelled all over London as well as to somewhat more (and less) exotic locations (all over India, Sri Lanka, Central and Eastern Europe, Boston, Los Angeles....) without any wear or tear. Highly, highly recommended.
Patagonia Black Hole 25L Rucksack: I need something durable for schlepping all my stuff around London every day. This backpack rules. It holds everything, is waterproof, and is super comfortable. Not cheap, but I've had it for more than a year and it has held up to the beating I put it through every day.
So that's my list of favourites. What are some of your favourite things?