Lucy Barlow from Portsmouth Yoga will be first on stage at the hotly anticipated Fitness Festival on June 4th this summer. Lucy is a passionate advocate for living a healthy and active lifestyle, and runs Portsmouth’s best known Yoga centre in the heart of Albert Road.
In this interview with the team at SWEAT Southsea — Portsmouth’s number one personal training centre — we get to know a bit more about what motivates Lucy, and her day-to-day life around the city.
Hi Lucy, how long have you been teaching yoga and how did Portsmouth Yoga come to exist?
I’ve been practising yoga for 20 years, and teaching for 11. I started teaching out of hired halls in 2005, carrying a few spare mats for brand new students and a bag of old ties as spare yoga straps! I asked students to bring their own equipment, and the more classes I taught, the more I found it frustrating to deal with less than ideal room layouts and inadequate heating — I wanted to provide a dedicated space to welcome my students the moment they walked through the door. I initially moved into a small studio room in Everybody Pilates with Amy Kellow. From that point both of our businesses started to grow. The next natural step was to find my own premises, so in March 2014 I finally opened my own urban retreat in Albert Road, Southsea.
What does a typical day in your life entail?
Monday to Friday, my day starts with the school run. Three days a week I then head to the studio to teach classes from 9:30am until around 1:30pm. From 3:00pm I’m mum again, and with that there’s the school run, park, beach, skatepark or indoor play. Two nights a week there’s a swift handover with my husband, but we always eat together as a family and it’s 90% homemade and healthy as we want to set up good habits for our children. Somewhere in among teaching, practising my own yoga, and being mum, I have to clean and tidy the studio, check emails, update all the website information and social media. My typical day is a whirlwind! Weekends are either dedicated family time with a stomp in the woods or cycling along the seafront, or I am out early for a full day of tutoring workshops for professional development or yoga teacher training.
How do you fuel your body and stay energised whilst running a business, looking after clients, practising your own yoga and enjoying family time?
Food wise, my diet is pretty good and on teaching days I have a smoothie for breakfast; avocado, banana, beetroot, mango, chia seeds, and coconut or hemp milk is my default but I throw in whatever I have, aiming to keep it green, orange, yellow or pink depending on the contents of the fridge! I’m not a fan of sludge coloured smoothies!
I swim regularly, whenever possible in a coached session, and train with Cat Bednarski of Grounded Fitness at Sweat Southsea, and love to spend some time doing my own yoga practice after classes whilst my sons are still at school — it’s quite a privilege to have a whole peaceful studio to myself! At home I’ve developed a series of micro-practices — even just 5 minutes of yogic breathing, basic stretches or mantra meditation squeezed in between the family and running a business can be a sanity saver. Since becoming a mother, I’ve had to learn that a few minutes here and there adds up and is more manageable than an hour at a time, which can be tricky to find some days. Sometimes the only yoga I have for myself is Yoga Nidra when I head to bed — if you haven’t tried it yet be sure to try out Radical Rest with Rich Lister at the studio.
Who inspires you?
In the Yoga world I am inspired by Ana Forrest, Sandra Anderson, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, Doug Swenson, David Swenson, and the late BKS Iyengar. It’s a cliché, but I am genuinely inspired by my students and my children: they are my greatest teachers.
Where are your favourite spots for ‘you time’ in Portsmouth?
I’ve something of a weakness of Matcha green tea and great coffee, so you’ll often find me in Southsea Coffee. I also adore the sea, so sitting on the beach alone once in a while is a simple pleasure. If the weather isn’t so good, a good book in a hot bath is my favoured retreat.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Being frightened to fail is not a good enough reason never to try.