Annie Clarke, the founder of Mind Body Bowl, discusses all things yoga, journaling and wellbeing. Annie created Mind Body Bowl as a space to share her teaching, recipes and inspiration to help connect you to your own sense of balance.
What does balance mean to you?
I believe that balance is a flow state rather than a fixed end goal. I think in life there are times where we need to lean into one thing more and then another thing another time. Having the ability to adapt is where I feel most balanced.
It's easy to forget the little joys of life when you're caught up in the busy whirl of everyday life - so, what are your favourite simple pleasures?
I love to sit and make myself a coffee in the morning and sip it slowly while writing my journal or clear a few emails. It's so simple, but it allows me to set my own pace in the morning and it has a real knock on affect for the rest of my day. I also try to walk as much as I can, plugging in an audiobook, put my phone in my pocket and just allowing myself to totally switch off. Any time that I put my phone away, or have it switched onto do-not-disturb, feels like I am taking back a little of the control that it has won over!
What's your favourite comfort read?
I am a very slow reader, so I struggle to go back to the same book more than once (because the list of books that I want to read is ever-growing) but one of the books that hugely changed the way I look at the world is the very simple 'The Happiness Advantage’. It helped me to reframe what happiness is as a concept and so rather than condition my happiness on things that may or may not play out for me, I try to find happiness in the things that already exist in my experience.
What do you do to express yourself creatively?
I write and have recently rekindled my love for painting. It's a great way to switch off and be totally in the moment. I find that through my yoga practice and teaching I get to be creative too but that is sometimes held back by the 'work' attachment, so I am thinking of starting dance classes, where I can be totally useless without it mattering at all!
Tell us about the self-care ritual that makes you feel good?
Journaling has been a revelation for me. As a child and teenager, I thought it would be really 'cool' to write a diary, but I was terrible at sitting still and never knew what to write. I'm sure it would have done me good but having committed to journaling over the last 6 months or so, I am so pleased that I gave it another shot. I write every day (usually in the morning with that slow coffee, but sometimes before bed if I didn't make enough time first thing). It helps me to make big things feel smaller and more manageable and clears my mind of unnecessary chatter. I started writing 3 pages a day, but it was hard to commit every single day. Since reducing it to two pages, I've not missed a day or even a line in my notebook! So it's taken a bit of flexibility and commitment but right now it's my self-care ritual that I am really grateful to have found.
How do you use yoga to help create a sense of calm and balance?
I'm being challenged at the moment because I have had an injury which shifts the way my yoga practice looks. I'm only just able to do a physical practice again after almost a month off. It's been a reminder though of all the things yoga has taught me and continues to teach me about the way I approach my life and relationships. I think a lot of it comes down to kindness and compassion - to ourselves and others... and realising that nothing that I do is life or death. People make mistakes, they have good days and bad days and in the same way as I would forgive someone else for needing time to grow or figure things out, I am worthy of that too.
And if you have one… what's your favourite Balance Me product?
At the moment, I am loving the combination of the Moisture Rich Face Cream and the Gradual Tanning Drops. I ditched any kind of 'fake tan' many years ago but this is a lovely way to give a little extra glow which definitely boosts my mood at this time of year. And with really dry skin in winter, the moisturiser is the best I've found.
About Mind Body Bowl
Mind Body Bowl is a space created by me, Annie Clarke, to share my teaching, recipes and inspiration to help connect you to your own sense of balance.
Mind Body Bowl is all about you as an individual, stepping away from prescriptive ideas, and opening the door to a more wholistic approach to finding your own sense of health and wellbeing.