Yoga With Emma

500hour RYT, Musician, Writer, Published Author of 'Ancient Yoga Wisdom For Modern Yogis', Children's Yoga Teacher, Massage Therapist, Spreading The Word On Health & Happiness….

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Hridaya: The Heart & Mind

brain and heart

The heart is a place focused upon in many different aspects of life: from the physical attention given to heart rate variability within an athletic context, to the heart as a romantic standpoint, to the heart explored within the realms of Yoga and other eastern practices.

The word heart can be used in a lot of different ways too; ‘the heart of something’, ‘listen to your heart’, ‘heart-felt’, ‘a cold heart’. We speak of the heart being broken, full of love, beating, being operated upon and being torn apart. The ‘heart’ we speak about is both the physical beating organ within the chest, and the feeling, the essence of what the word ‘heart’ actually means.

The Sanskrit language – as you may have heard being spoken at your yoga class, with words like ‘virabhadrasana’, ‘tadasana’ or ‘padmasana’ – is unique in the fact that the words


Symbolism of The Heart Chakra

are not just simply ‘words’ or nouns, they contain the essence of what the very word means. For example; the word ‘hridaya’ is the earliest Sanskrit reference to both the heart and the mind. The meaning or feeling of the word ‘hridaya’ though, is the ‘centre’, ‘essence’, or the ‘heart’ of something. In classical Yogic teachings, the heart is thought to contain the spirit of a being.

Why is it that we place a hand on the heart when we’re speaking from a place that is honest and true? Because it’s a natural reaction, almost as though we’re connecting to that place of truth in the centre of the body before speaking.

The heart is both physically in the centre of the body, wrapped by muscle, blood, bones and fascia, and at the centre of who we are too. There’s a reason people say “listen to your heart”, or “follow your heart”, because when the mind and heart connect and work bottomlogotogether rather than separately, we are able to listen to our intuition and therefore make decisions from a heart-felt place. Rather than ‘getting out of your head’ the next time you’re about to practice physical asana or meditation then, why not consider connecting the head to the heart, so that everyone works in co-operation? After all, the word ‘Yoga’ comes from the word ‘yuj’ or ‘yoke’, meaning ‘to bind together’, ‘to unite’ or ‘connect’.

Courage & The Heart

Anything to do with the heart is often thought of as feminine, and someone who ‘wears their heart on their sleeve’ as vulnerable. As you may well have seen however, Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on vulnerability, explores the fact that it actually takes a huge amount of courage to act from the heart, that a life worth living is one lived from a place of truth and authenticity, not from a place that is false.

heart-clearThe Heart Line

In China, the word hsin also denotes both the heart and the mind, calling it the ‘king’ of the organs, because it ‘The heart commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions.’ [1] The rest of the body depends upon the heart for circulation of blood and oxygen, while just in front of the heart is the thymus gland, which controls the immune system and much of our mood and energy levels.

During the summer, the heart must increase circulation throughout the body in order to cool the surface temperature down, and the season of Summer is closely related to the heart. Regulating and maintaining the body, the heart is also said to govern ‘intelligence, wisdom, and spiritual transformation’. [2]

It seems as though we in the West seem to be the only culture to have separated this heart-mind connection. Perhaps it’s time to have courage, practice yoking or ‘connecting’ to the heart, and living more in line with the truth that lies at your centre.




[1] Internal Medicine Classic

[2]  The Yellow Emperorʼs Classic of Internal Medicine



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Ashram Experience Workshop Day: Exploring Ayurveda

Ashram Experience Day

Exploring Ayurveda 

Saturday 22nd October 2016


East Grinstead  

With Pauline O’Connor (Premaratna) and Emma Newlyn

Address provided upon booking

(Concessions available, please get in touch if this is required)



This full day retreat of Yoga practice, meditation, pranayama, chanting, enquiry, discussion and much more will give you an insight into the workings of a traditional ashram experience.

Our Ashram Experience days are seasonal, and this Autumn we offer the chance for you to learn more about Ayurveda, the ancient ‘science of life’. Ayurveda is a health and wellbeing system that has always existed along-side Yoga, and holds wisdom that can help us to live a healthier, more vibrant and fulfilling life. The aim of Ayurveda is to help each person find their natural state of balance, and live and eat in a way that helps them feel their best. You will discover your Dosha (your natural body and mind type), learn ways of keeping yourself in balance – and where you may be out of balance – , and leave with knowledge that empowers you to make lifestyle choices that help you to live a happier and healthier life.

This is the second October date as the first date has sold out, so we recommend booking early to secure your space.

Included: All yoga and meditation practices, materials to take away, breakfast, lunch, tea and healthy snacks. We recommend booking early, as this is the second released date due to the first workshop date selling out.

  • Mats, blankets and meditation shawls are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own
  • Please bring any personal medications (inhalers etc.)
  • All food and drinks are provided, please inform us of any allergies

To book or enquire, please email or contact 07841 373308

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Moroccan Plant-Based Feast Pt.1: Falafel

falafel photo

This is part one of a healthy, plant-based Moroccan Summer feast recipe. While teaching, massaging and cooking out in Ibiza at the very beautiful Samskara Retreat Centre recently, I cooked this for 9 people. The whole dish – including the tajine, falafel and cous cous – takes about 1 ½ hours, so I’d recommend putting on some music, and even pouring a glass of your favourite drink to keep you company while you cook!

This is a great meal to make for a gathering, it’s suitable for lovely long lazy Summer meals and cosy warm winter dishes too. With plenty of flavour and healthy ingredients, it’s a meal worth taking time over and making again and again so you can adapt and change things depending on the flavours and amount of spice you and your guests enjoy the most.

Part 1 is falafel, which is often eaten with salad, in a wrap, as a snack by itself, or with hummus.

Ingredients (feeds 6-8)

  • 1 small handful fresh parsley
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 handful nuts (walnuts or cashews work well)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

How To

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is well combined and begins to stick together. Ensure there are still a few chunky pieces to give the falafels a varied texture.
  • Scoop out the mixture and gently use your hands to form them into small balls, the size of each will depend upon how many you want to make per person. I would recommend 2-3 falafels each. If you have a lot of mouths to feed, simply make the falafels a little smaller.
  • If you’re preparing other food for the meal or you have something else to do, then leave them to set in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients. If you need to cook them straight away then they’ll still work perfectly.
  • When it’s time to cook the falafels, preheat the oven to 180C, add your coconut oil to a shallow pan and fry the falafels for 3-4 minutes on each side, which will make them crispier on the outside and soft in the middle. (Tip: to make the falafels crispier, roll them in corn flour or corn starch beforehand)
  • After frying, place the falafels in the oven to finish off for about 10-15 minutes
  • Serve with this hummus recipe:

Easiest Hummus In The World

Simply blend a can of chickpeas, a big glug of good quality oil (Olive oil, hemp oil, walnut oil, avocado oil etc, or a combination), and a good pinch of quality salt! You’ll be surprised how tasty this hummus is, and you’ll even save yourself the garlic breath too….


Recipe for the Moroccan Plant-Based Tajine & Lemon and Date Cous Cous coming soon….

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Plant-Based Avocado Pesto (No Garlic)

avocado pesto

Mid-August calls for something that provides an abundance of nutrients, but doesn’t require hours inside the kitchen to make it. It calls for something healthy and light, but also filling enough to last until the sun sets late in the evening. It calls for something without garlic, because Summer is a social time of year…..

This recipe is vegan, raw, low sugar, high protein and quick to make. You can store the pesto in the fridge for a couple of days by adding extra lemon juice to preserve the avocado, but as with everything, it’s best eaten fresh!

(Serves 1)


  • 1 Avocado
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • Handful fresh basil
  • A glug of hemp oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp B12 flakes (optional)
  • 1 courgette, spiralised
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  • Place avocado, hemp seeds, hemp oil, lemon, salt, basil and optional B12 flakes in a food processor and process until they reach a thick texture similar to pesto.
  • Spiralise your courgette
  • Stir the pesto through the courgette and crunch some pepper on top to taste
  • Serve on a warm August day with a sprig of fresh basil and fresh tomatoes

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LookFantastic Best of British




This month saw the release of a box that celebrates the very finest of what the UK has to offer in terms of health and beauty. From all the products we’ve worked with this year, the August box has selected the best of the British goodies and found something to nourish hair, skin and lips to leave you feeling lovely.

As always, the products are natural, kind to the planet and kind to the body. This month’s box is available from £11.25 and worth over £50. Click HERE to get yours!
The extra-special thing about this month’s beauty box, is that I wasn’t sent it in the post, I was invited to the very special #LFBestOfBritish event in Covent Garden, London to receive it!

The evening was host to some very special companies: Dr. Botanicals were mixing custom blends of their nurturing facial oils depending upon each person’s skin type, with no parabens or harmful ingredients. Neom provided their energy boosting on-the-go mist, while Organic Surge offered their Extra Care Replenishing Facial Oil and Lavender Hand Cream – all of which I’m currently using and very much enjoying! I’ve even been able to use the hand cream with massage clients who have loved the relaxing scent, and the fact that the mixture is all-natural too.


Bloom and Blossom

LFspritzRejuvenating Facial Spritz

Treat your skin to 11 natural ingredients and a refreshing boost this summer. Horsetail Leaf and Gotu Cola extracts help to reduce fine lines and dark circles, while aloe vera and lime oil improve skin tone too. This is a perfect pick-me-up spritz to keep in your bag, and even better for taking on long flights to refresh you upon landing.


Percy & Reed

LFhairbalmWonder Balm

Use this smoothing cream as a base for any styling products, or just to bring some control to unruly Summer locks. If your hair is drying out in the sunshine, treat it to a dose of Wonder Balm for added moisture and nourishment.


Balance Me

Congested Skin Serum

LFcongestIf your holidays are taking place in the city this year, then this product is an absolute must. Not only do pores tend to become blocked due to extra sweat in warmer weather, the pollution from the air around us can cause harm to the skin too, creating congestion in the pores and inflammation to the skin.

This serum contains Lavender, May Chang and Eucalyptus, which are all naturally antibacterial, while also serving to purify the skin. Ditch the chemicals in favour of nature’s medicine to calm blemishes and revitalise the skin.


Bee Good

LFbeeVanilla and Honey Lip Balm

Nothing says British Summer like buzzing bees and flowers, and this product even uses British Beeswax too. Condition dry lips with Borage Oil, while naturally scenting them with vanilla and honey fragrance. Keep this with you while you’re on-the-go, as it’s easy to apply quickly.



REN Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist

ren_flash_defence_mistAnother handy product if you’re in a town or city this Summer; this anti-pollution mist contains zinc and manganese amino acids to protect the skin from the stress of oxidisation. Our environment doesn’t always help when it comes to maintaining optimal health, so when little helpers like this come along, they’re worth keeping with you to maintain the skin’s health. The skin is the largest organ the body has, so it’s important to take care of it!



Lip and Eye Active Lift

LFrenuEven if you’ve been on a holiday to remember, you can still come back looking fresh as an English daisy with this little solution. The skin around the eyes and lips is thinner than on any other part of the body, which is why these are the first places we notice signs of ageing. Wild Yam, Soya extract and Active Marine Magnesium all stimulate collagen, while Arnica dramatically reduces dark circles under the eyes that would otherwise give away those late nights. Use a little at a time, massaging into the upper brows and cheekbones.


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Interview: Boys of Yoga founder Michael Wong and London Yogini & Mudra Yoga founder Emily-Clare Hill

maxresdefault (1)

Back in June, I met up with Michael Womg and Emily-Clare Hill at Dalston’s new and trendy Good Roots festival, celebrating all things ‘wellness’. As well as an opportunity to try breakfast from 26 Grains, lunch from Deliciously Ella’s Mae Deli, and never-ending tasters from the likes of Pure Earth and Planet Organic, there were inspirational talks and Q & As with Hemsley + Hemsley. Since then, both Michael and Emily-Clare have shared their special Asana Addict Yoga workshop at the Brighton Yoga Festival, and are continuing to bring their inspiring co-lead classes to the masses.

Michael Wong is the founder of Boys of Yoga, a group of guys from around the globe and from all different backgrounds, who aim to break the stereotype that Yoga is ‘just for girls’. Not only is Michael a great practitioner and now very known in the wellness world, he’s actually a wise, soulful and talented teacher too. Emily-Clare Hill is one of London’s top Yoga teachers, with a tonne of knowledge and passion, and has just opened her own Yoga studio – Mudra Yoga in Stoke Newington, with fellow wellness enthusiast Paul Wong.

After seeking out a somewhat quiet-ish corner of the Good Roots festival, we sat down to chat about Yoga, Health, their exciting new co-taught workshop, and what they both do to maintain their own health and happiness while living a busy life.


Q: How did you get into Yoga?

Michael Wong PhotoMichael: My journey with Yoga started about 15 years ago. I grew up in LA and came from a
typical sports background. Everyone in LA surfs, skates and practices Yoga. That sense of wellness
and a beach lifestyle was very much part of my childhood, and Yoga was around all the time, but I actually got dragged into it…. Some of the most inspiring teachers in the world base themselves in LA, so once I got started it kind of shifted a lot of things – coming from a sports background where you’re used to pushing to win, this was a good opportunity to step back and see more of myself. Now it’s part of the everyday for me, and a really exciting journey to be on, but I’m lucky in that where I grew up that it was already part of the culture.

emily clare hill imageEmily
: I used to dance and when I was a dancer it was all about ‘having to look and be a certain way’. There was a lot of looking in the mirror all the time, and everything I did had to be very specific, rigid and structured. I actually ended up falling into this Yoga class at the gym and realised the teacher was saying you could ‘be yourself, your postures don’t all have to look the same’ and I got really intrigued because that was the polar opposite to what I was studying, and the movement was helping to almost re-balance what I was damaging through dance. The industry I was stepping into was telling me “you have to look like this” and Yoga was saying “you can be anything you want to be. Embrace yourself”. I was totally blown away and wanted to learn more, and actually very quickly got more interested in the philosophical understanding of it.


Q: Do you have a daily Yoga practice?

Michael: I do have a daily practice, but it’s probably different to what most people would expect; A good four days a week are physical practice, but now it’s more balanced with different styles and things like meditation. It’s one of the most difficult things to keep up with a busy life, but you make
it a non-negotiable, and for me it’s not necessarily about getting out there and doing really vigorous stuff, but more about spending some time by myself on the mat, to reflect upon what the

2 m w byf

Brighton Yoga Festival 2016. Rene Solari Yoga Photography

practice is for me.

Emily: Especially when you’re a new teacher – myself included – you’re suddenly going from attending lots of classes, to having your energy spread across giving and teaching, and finding the time to fit in your own practice is difficult. [Self practice] is so important though, because what you’re offering needs to be replenished, and you need to continue learning as a teacher. If you’re not feeling something in your own body, then what you’re teaching is inauthentic. I do practice daily, I try to
get to the studio early before I teach because it gets me into the right mindset to be able to then give. I own a studio that is barely a year old, so the past year has been even busier than usual, but that means making time to practice is all the more necessary.


Q: When you’re teaching, what do you hope people get out of your classes the most?

e c byg

Brighton Yoga Festival 2016. Rene Solari Yoga Photography

Emily: The main thing for me is empowering people to empower themselves. It’s not about me making people do something to pull their energy forward, it’s about encouraging them to do it themselves.

Michael: Everyone comes to the mat for different reasons, and I think a big part of our responsibility as teachers is to be able to hold space for people to explore and move through whatever they want to – whether it’s physical, mental or emotional, it’s about giving people a safe space to have that opportunity to say “this is my time to get to know myself”.


Q: You have just started to share a new practice and workshop together named ‘Asana Addict’, what’s the story behind the concept of the class?

Emily: What we’re seeing, particularly in London and other cities within the Yoga scene, it’s just about ‘asana, asana, asana’ and doing handstands, and parts of the practice are being lost. This is our kind of play on guiding people into other parts of the practice who are essentially addicted to
Printonly the asana part of it. We just want to lead people through some steps to bring their awareness back to the practice as a whole, but in a fun, lighthearted way.

Michael: In the class we will go through some strong asanas and inversions, but ultimately it’s about understanding why we do these things, and finding the balance, not getting lost in handstands and what things looks like, but why you do them, how you feel and what that helps to set you up for. It’s really important that people start to be more appreciative of the fact that Yoga is not just but shapes and funny poses, but that there’s a huge amount of depth to it. It’s important for us to celebrate the asana, but then give people more of an experience that goes deeper.

Find out more about Asana Addicts here.  

Q: Have you always been ‘healthy’?

Emily: I’ve always been interested in health, possibly more as an active girl – wanting to feel healthy, to have bright skin and lots of energy to enjoy each day. When I used to dance I was using a lot of energy so I always had to be conscious of my diet, and maybe sometimes that was in the
emily-clare-hillwrong way because I had to look and be a certain way. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a small child so I’ve never had that battle between eating meat and not eating it. Of course there are times where you’re ‘playing’, you’re out and having fun and not necessarily being that healthy, but that’s balance! Because I’m interested in it, I tend to retain a lot of information on health so it’s not an effort to sit and read things on health, the way food effects the body and the way our works with food.

Michael: I’ve always ‘wanted’ to be healthy (Emily laughs) but I guess like life, you go through ups and downs, and I think from a very young age – especially growing up in LA – you’re very aware of what it means to ‘be healthy’. It’s a process and a journey, sometimes you go through a phase where you’re really healthy, you do a lot of physical activity and you eat really well, and there’s other times where you just eat, sit around, have fun and relax. The balance of both is absolutely important to livelihood – being conscious and mindful of all these things, but also compassionate to the fact that it’s ok to fall off the rails a bit or take a bit of time. It makes you human. If you can be mindful of what you put into your mouth and conscious of what comes out of it then ultimately you’re living a healthy life.
I think you could re-phrase that! (laughs)

download (3)Q: What three things do you do every day to look after yourself and your health?

Michael: Brush my teeth. Drink water. Make sure I go outside.

Emily: Drink tea, learn something new or read something new, and pause to make sure you’re looking and seeing and noticing something about your day every day.

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Family Recipe: Anytime Go-To Pasta Sauce


pasta sauce photo

This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. When I was a baby, I was generally fed avocados, bananas and this pasta sauce…. And not much has changed since to be honest. This is a very simple, delicious, versatile and family-friendly pasta sauce recipe, which you can also use as a base for lasagne, a dip, or as a filling inside a wrap or sandwich. If you make this pizza recipe, you can use it as the sauce on top too.

One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s much healthier than even the ‘healthy’ pasta sauce recipes in the supermarket, AND it’s quicker to make this sauce than popping round the shops to buy a jar.


  • 2tsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (The one I have is a mix of oregano, basil, marjoram, red pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp honey

How To

Melt the coconut oil in a deep pan.

Add the onion, cover and stir occasionally until softened.

Add the carrot and celery and stir well.

Add the chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning and honey – cover, stir occasionally and cook for approximately 10-12 minutes.

Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.


Blend until smooth and use in your favourite recipe. Let me know how you used it!



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