When I moved back to London from Vancouver, despite being a Brit born and bred, I got some of the fiercest culture shock I've ever experienced in all my travels. A country girl by nature, and fresh from a year of living by the ocean, with yoga at the heart of most of my days, I was bowled over by the size of the city, and the pace everyone seemed to be going at left me feeling more than a little off-balance.
Steph and the Robson St. team in Vancouver
While in Vancouver, I'd worked as an educator in the heart of lululemon's hometown, at our Robson store. From my first interview, I was blown away by the sense of possibility and positive energy at the store, but it took moving back to London to make me realize how much the experience had given me.
find your fitness community to feel at home
Moving to a new city, and being able to count the people I knew on the fingers of one hand, might have seemed overwhelming a few years ago. But armed with the one-year goals I'd set back in Vancouver, I had a clear plan for what I wanted to accomplish - I knew I wanted to reestablish my yoga practice, and make connections with those amazing people in the fitness community who inspire you to stretch yourself beyond what you thought was possible. (I always seem to find a lot of them in yoga classes!) That connection to community was something I'd been lucky enough to experience first-hand when working at Robson, whether it was meeting our amazing ambassadors or trying out new classes I never thought I'd attempt. I knew that by finding my London fitness community, I'd start to feel more at home and regain my balance.
Steph's living the manifesto and sweating once a day with Crossfit in London.
home is wherever you unroll your mat or lace up your sneakers
Commuting on the tube in rush hour with my yoga mat may not have won me any flavour of the month awards. But when I let out my first om at a north London Bikram centre, I knew that I'd come home - not just to a particular country, but to my yoga practice, which helped me to make sense of those first few crazy months. From that first moment of calm in a crowded studio, came a wealth of new experiences - from my foot hitting the wall for the first time kicking up to a handstand, to trying (and loving!) my first Crossfit class, to running through the amazing urban greenery of Hampstead Heath on a hazy London Sunday morning with twenty other London runners.
Green space (aka a "heath" to Londoners) in downtown London!
a lululemoner in london
Being a lululemoner in London has inspired me to get out and make those community connections myself - meeting everyone from policemen-turned-personal trainers to future London 2012 Paralympians in the process!
And best of all, while I miss my fellow lululemoners dearly, the folks from lululemon have been with me every step of the way, whether it's their goal-coaching advice ringing in my ears as I rejig my five-year goals on the tube, or their words of encouragement as I blog about another sweaty Crossfit personal best. Whether it's an impromptu goal-coaching session in Regent's Park or trying to convince my fellow Crossfitters to try a yoga class with me, I know I can bring a little bit of lululemon to London, every day.
Have you moved somewhere new and taken your practice and fitness goals with you? How did the move impact on what you accomplished or plan to accomplish?