Colony Co-Working Space Manchester Colony Co-Working Space Manchester

In Conversation with...The Beloved Company

Colony Co-Working – Down Arrow

19 November 2019

Some of our members are Manchester born and bred and some have made the city their adopted home. One of those businesses, The Beloved Company, focuses on wellness, conscious living and restoring the body’s natural balance. Aimee Watson is its founder and a Colony member. We sat down with Aimee to talk meditation, the teachings of yoga and how a one-way ticket to India changed her life!

Why did you start The Beloved Company?

After seven years of experience in the corporate sustainability space I felt that without an increase in an individual’s personal awareness and sense of responsibility, large scale change remained limited and superficial.

I started the Beloved Company as a comprehensive guide to help people live more consciously and ethically to “be the change” they wish to see. Our products and services can be broken down into the following three pillars of wellness:

  • What you put on your body: this includes making and selling organic, vegan, non-toxic beauty eco-products with my partner.
  • What you do with your body and mind: I teach yoga and meditation across Manchester’s studios and corporate spaces, as well as in workshops and luxury retreats. I also offer conscious life coaching 1:1 and to groups.
  • What you put in your body: I am an advocate for plant based-living and being mindful and responsible about what you consume. All the events we create offer organic, vegan food, snacks and drinks.

You also give Yoga and Meditation classes to our Colony members; how did you get into yoga and meditation in the first place?

The first time I actually tried yoga was at school when I was about 13, but it took another 15 years and sporadically taking the odd class before I actually began a regular practice. In 2017 life took an interesting turn and I found myself on a one-way flight to India. It was there that I took courses in Buddhist meditation, Yoga teacher training, breath and energy work. These trainings were the bedrock on which I began my own daily practice and I then wanted to share the benefits I experienced more widely through the Beloved Company – which is what led me to teaching you lovely Colony members.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?

I didn’t originally have the intention to teach yoga. I took the training to deepen my own knowledge, understanding and practice. But on return to the UK my local gym was already looking for teachers and my dad had put my name forward before I was even back, so week one back in the UK and I was auditioning to teach yoga!

I teach meditation as part of my yoga classes, but really delved into it more deeply on a Re-balance Retreat that I led last September in Turkey.

What would you say to someone who thinks yoga isn’t for them?

This quote always cracks me up “Saying you’re not flexible enough for YOGA is like saying you’re too dirty to take a BATH”.

Yoga is for everyone. It is a tool and practice to help you live a happier and healthier life. It’s good for the body and mind and even deeper. For anyone who says yoga isn’t for them, I would invite them to give it a fair chance. I think a fair chance is to practice something every day for a month. After that, see how you feel and make your mind up.If they told me after 30 days of daily practice they still didn’t like it, then fair enough!

I can only speak to my own experience, and yoga has been the most powerful tool to help me overcome life’s hurdles and is the one thing that brings me back to balance and joy faster than anything else. I just want everyone to feel its benefits.

There are many different types of Yoga and I believe they can vary quite a bit, which ones do you teach and what are the main differences?

All yoga originates from “Hatha” yoga, meaning – sun and moon. A balance between yin and yang, active and passive, male and female. Yoga itself means, yok or union – we use our focus on the breath in yoga “asana” poses to reign in the running mind and get the body to enable body makes effort.

All types of yoga are different variations, delineations or sequences taught by specific teachers, often with an emphasis on certain features. It would take a while to explain each one, but in general you have very “yang” or strong practices like Ashtanga, Rocket, Power and then more gentle classes that focus on alignment (Iyengar), flowing with the breath (any flow class), or on the whole practice (Jivamukti). You also have Yin yoga which holds poses for much longer, releasing connective tissue, and Yoga nidra which is sleep yoga – like a lucid meditation.

I teach Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Power, Slow Flow, Yin, Yoga Nidra mainly.

What do you think about the current image that yoga has — for example, the way yoga is portrayed as super-fit people doing poses that are impossible for most people?

I think we live in an externally orientated, active predominantly “yang” world, where image holds a lot of importance. I think it is a shame, often these people are ex-dancers or gymnasts and the poses are contortionist. This for me is not yoga and I think it can make yoga seem inaccessible to people that would benefit from it.

For me yoga is a practice of the breath first and foremost, if you can breathe you can do yoga. There are plenty of fantastic teachers online that make yoga accessible like Yoga with Adrienne, most studios also offer beginners classes, which I would encourage people to start off with to find the foundations.

What would you say to someone who has tried meditation and thinks it doesn’t work for them or someone who hasn’t tried but doesn’t believe in it?

For someone who says it doesn’t work for them, I would ask them what meditation they had tried, how often they practiced, why they practiced, where and what time of the day. These are all big influences! There are so many types of meditation. E.g. if sitting still isn’t your thing, there is moving or walking meditations for example. I highly recommend the book “Wherever you go, there you are” by Jon Kabat Zinn for a summary and rationalisation of meditation and its various types. I would encourage them to try a few types before ruling it out.

Meditation is a practice, like anything, we don’t start off experts. Generally, our society doesn’t place any importance on our inner world, it is the outer appearance that we value. But everything we experience, we experience though the mind, so kind of like our home, it makes sense to keep it in order. Meditation is like that, it’s like cleaning and tidying our inner home.

We live in an overstimulated world full of distractions and stresses and so the majority of people’s minds are so full and busy and running wild. It is our job to tame them and meditation is the practice to do that. Mastering our minds is key to overcoming a vast array of sufferings.

I would explain this to someone that doesn’t believe in it, and then refer them to all the medical disciplines that advocate meditation as a critically important tool for mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

The Beloved Company are hosting a well-being day at Colony Jactin House on Thursday November 21st.You can get tickets here.

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