We’re kicking off this new Interview Series for the CPress blog with the amazing Saskia Vidler. Last week we caught up with the uber busy, uber cool Saskia – yoga teacher, art lover and fashion enthusiast. We first met Saskia at triyoga Chelsea where she teaches and since then have collaborated with her on a series of Yoga Supper clubs at the Lyndsey Ingram gallery in Mayfair. Saskia has amassed a group of hard-core yogi fans across London who follow her from triyoga, to KXU to Indaba and even now to Morocco where she’s teaching a retreat this month. We chatted life, yoga and happiness with Saskia, and here’s what she had to say about it all…
What does yoga mean to you?
That’s a big question... For me though it’s a mind practice that encompasses the stilling of the multitude of its fluctuations...In a nutshell, it’s an internal practice, not one solely dependent on being flexible, and which works on sorting out our inner worlds so that we may function more effectively, mindfully in the outer world. The asanas are just one of the tools available to us to achieve this.
Do you get that same feeling of inner peace and presence when you teach or just when you practice by yourself?
You have to be extremely present and aware of your students and the space you create for them when you teach. You need to tap into their needs or help them do so themselves, so that a constructive exchange can happen. I’m still present, but it’s a different form of presence.
With my own practice that same inner space needs to be created for myself. It’s about dealing with my own internal world.... my own internal paraphernalia and its relationship with the physical world.
Is yoga a form of exercise as well for you?
No... If I want a work out, that is to say, 100% unadulterated exercise I go to the gym or I run. I suppose a good side effect of yoga is increased strength, but as I mentioned, for me it’s a breath practice first and foremost.
(Side note, we would definitely class Saskia’s classes as a work out as well! You have been warned!)
How do you connect your two passions, art and yoga?
I’m not sure whether I really connect them as such, but they’re both very present in my life.... and there is an exploration in both. I do however organise some really wonderful yoga supper clubs at my friends Lyndsey Ingram’s Gallery in Mayfair.
How do you feel about yoga and social media?
I don’t think that Instagram is the best thing to have happened to the practice. I don’t actively promote myself through social media, nor post photos of myself doing yoga postures. The most important thing in the physical practice is that that keeps us alive...the breath, and you can’t see that in a picture. We’ve become “form obsessed” rather than interiorly focused.
Pet hate in yoga?
Best yoga clothing brand?
So they aren’t typically yoga leggings but I love the 2xu plain black compression leggings as they make my legs look great and as I’m on my feet all day I think these really make a difference.
I love FreeCity jumpers and Ts (I’ve been obsessed with these for years), Zoe Karsen Ts and jumpers and then when I want something fun I go for some colourful leggings from Aussie brand The Upside. I’m not brand loyal, I like to shop around!
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you whilst teaching?
To me or my students? One of my students lost a toenail once! I’m not sure what that says about my teaching style. But really, so many bizarre things happen on a daily basis, you start to think it’s all normal.... what is normal anyway?!
Where do you go to relax?
Biarritz is my happy place, I love the ocean and I’m learning to surf out there. My mother loved Biarritz and so I feel hugely connected to her when I’m there.... but really anywhere sunny by the Atlantic
Fave place to eat in London?
Lowri and Baker on Portobello, which I’ve recently discovered thanks to my friend and incredible photographer Valerie, they make the best salads, and Maramia, which is a Palestinian restaurant on Golbourne Rd. Neither are pretentiou,s just homey, healthy and yummy. Otherwise it’s Chucs or Grangers on Westbourne Grove. I love an easy and casual setting with incredible food.
When you’re not upside-down what are you doing?
I love walking around in Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove near where I live, popping into shops and meeting friends and family for a coffee or some lunch…Or indulging in the creative world.
For anyone wanting to get into yoga how would you recommend they start out?
Try some classes until you find a teacher that you really connect with and then stick with that teacher and let them get to know your practice and help you grow.
Chocolate or Nut butter?
Chocolate without a doubt! Nut butter is overrated.
(steady on Saskia…we beg to differ!)
What’s your favourite CPress juice?
The Hot Ctruth bomb, it’s so fiery and the ginger and cayenne are amazing on my tummy. I also love the avocado toast and matcha lattes!