A day in the life of a yoga instructor
Niki Perry, founder of Blessed Yoga, started practising yoga at her mother’s knee as a child. But her own yoga journey really began in 2005 when her discovery of Baptiste Vinyasa Flow dramatically changed her path in life. Niki travelled to Hawaii and Mexico where she began training with Baron Baptiste. Her passionate hobby became her full-time mission and when the chance came to move out of London and set up her own business in rural West Sussex, Niki knew it was the right thing to do. Niki and her team at her Cowshed studio teach a variety of classes for all levels from the Blessed signature vinyasa flow to beginners, slow flows and restorative classes. Niki said, ‘This style of yoga moves you far beyond poses, using breath and flow to blow past your goals and into your dreams. ‘It’s a freedom flow that expands your limits and cracks you wide open. Learning to appreciate your body and mind, and all the power it holds is life-changing. ‘Vinyasa yoga makes you strong, grounded, calm and happy!’
I’m often asked what a ‘typical’ day looks like and I’m not sure there is such a thing beyond 7am! I like to rise early; I either sit with a cuppa enjoying the peace of the morning and chirpy bird song, or do or teach a morning yoga practice. My little morning rituals sets me up for the day.
There’s been a lot of breakfast dancing in the kitchen over the last year – the silver lining of not having to rush off on the school run. Then it’s been a daily rigmarole of getting my three girls and their computers, Wi-Fi and printer set up for home schooling, so that each of them can do their lessons properly for the day – at the same time as I’m working. I’ve always loved our school teachers but, man, do I have a new-found respect for them, not to mention those incredible families who always home school! It’s been hard trying to give the girls the time they need and working at the same time.
Usually though, when the Blessed Cowshed studio is open – not long now hopefully! - I check it’s clean and set up, the woodburning fire is lit or the doors to the yoga deck flung open so the sunlight can pour in. I always walk with my retriever Jester (who often makes an appearance in yoga classes) and take a break for lunch.
Eating healthily is hugely important to me, and my family is beginning to understand why. As the girls get older, they see how different foods make them feel. Life can be busy and demanding at times on all of us and we need three nutrient-dense meals a day to keep us going. We love cooking – my middle daughter Izzy is fast becoming a master baker. I’m hoping she’ll love preparing salads just as much! And we love our sport; our spare time is spent windsurfing, surfing, swimming, playing tennis, biking or just walking so it’s vital to make sure we are giving our bodies the nourishment they need.
In between lunch and the afternoon school run, I’m either teaching, answering emails, planning teaching rotas, events or training with my team - and if I can squeeze in a swim in the sea with friends, I always will!
I am quite strict with myself – when I’m at work I’m 100% focused on work and when I am with my family, I am 100% focused on them. This has definitely been much harder in lockdown, with family and work at home all mixed in the same pot, but I have also really enjoyed seeing how the two have merged as the girls are participating in the classes and helping me with marketing initiatives.
The fact that my business is yoga makes it easier, as it is my life and everyone in the family is involved in it. Tim, my husband, is also a teacher, the girls join in classes and even Jester is head of meet and greet when the Cowshed studio is open! Yoga helps to focus the mind, it helps with concentration, helps me sleep and relax and keeps my body fit and strong which helps me to keep the wagons rolling. The wheels do come off though from time to time! I have learnt that the key is to try and stay present to the changes that are happening in the girls’ lives, Tim’s life and the business - not easy but I am now very aware of it and it is, dare I say it, getting easier!
I always make sure I stop work to make and eat the evening meal with the family and to make sure the girls are winding down before bed – sleep is SO important! But once they’re asleep, it’s not unusual for me to go back to the computer, to answer emails and use the quieter time to think of new ways to make sure that our Blessed members are always getting the very best service, content and teaching possible. We want to make sure they live their happiest, healthiest lives and so my passion is to make sure they are getting the maximum benefits from their yoga and meditation. Our mission (and passion) is to inspire as many people as possible to practise yoga – even if it’s only for 10 minutes - every day of their lives for the rest of their lives!