Bind is a new yoga studio on West Green Road, founded by local yoga teacher Beccy Watkinson. Open to anyone who wants to try yoga, Bind aims to bring health and wellbeing to the community. Amy Bush spoke to Beccy to find out more about Bind and her Yoga journey in Tottenham.
Photo Supplied: Beccy Watkinson, founder of Bind Yoga Studio
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m from Nottingham originally. My mum was an accountant and my dad has a job in technology (which I’ve never really understood to be honest!). I moved to London with my boyfriend (now husband) after university when we were 21. We lived in Stoke Newington to begin with and then came to Tottenham about eleven years ago. I come from a background in retail, doing fashion buying, so I never imagined I’d become a yoga teacher. How did you get into practicing yoga and what made you want to become a teacher?
I started yoga in the grips of an eating disorder in my early teens because I wanted to achieve epic levels of skinny - like Geri Halliwell when she credited yoga for her transformation. Not the most spiritual or enlightened reason, but it’s true. We very rarely come to the mat feeling complete. Yoga helped me to heal. What started off as a means of punishment really changed my whole life. It taught me to connect to my body, to notice how I felt, how I responded and how to better manage that.
Photo Supplied: Beccy doing yoga
I dropped in and out of yoga over the years and didn’t get fully into it until after my second child was born five years ago. I felt like a needed some time for myself so I started going to a class at the Triangle Centre every Wednesday night. After a while I began to notice a real change in the way I handled things in my life; I felt much calmer and more able to cope with things. I then did the teacher training, purely to develop my own practise and to do something for myself after years of working and raising babies. I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher because the idea of standing in front of loads of people filled me with horror. But I found an amazing teacher who was so supportive and I began to really enjoy it. I like being able to encourage people to find something a little bit deeper than just up-dog, down-dog; it’s about the calm and the inner journey as well. I started by teaching a class at Lordship Hub. I remember my first class, three people came and it was amazing! It then all snowballed from there. I’ve had some people in my classes for a few years now and love that. I love the community we’ve created, I love being able to joke with them, see the shift in their practise and support them on their journey.
Tell us about your new studio, Bind.
Bind came from an idea of wanting to do more in the area, wanting to offer more yoga classes and run more events. Yoga has exploded in the last few years, but it can sometimes be quite exclusive. I wanted to take that back and create a place where everyone would feel welcome. I didn’t want it to be a really trendy space, I mean it’s a really nice space, but I did want to make it more accessible. I’ve tried to keep the pricing as low as possible and the more you practice the cheaper it gets. From February we’re going to offer a community flow class where the price is £5 and all the money will go to Mind in Haringey. Yoga was a huge benefit to my mental health so it is really important to me to do something to help the mental health of the community. Even though we’re a business and there are certain things we have to do, a big part of my aim is to support the area in which it works.
Photo Ben Grubb Photography.: Bind Yoga Studio
Why did you decide to open your studio in Tottenham?
Because I live here and we’re raising our family here, and I think there’s so much more this area can offer and sustain. I got tired of travelling 30 minutes to get to a class that suited me and fitted my schedule. I feel like in Tottenham we deserve a lovely place to practice yoga, we deserve to have some wellbeing and more health facilities on our doorstep. Also, there’s so much interest and support for new ventures in the area and that’s what I love about it. Tottenham isn’t just a cheap place to live on the Victoria Line, it’s got some amazing things going on and there are so many people who are passionate about making it more accessible, not just changing it and then ignoring the existing community, but bringing everyone together.
Photo Ben Grubb Photography.: Bind Yoga Studio
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
My approach to Tottenham as a woman is quite conflicting. We’ve lived here for eleven years and it was very different back then. I had some horrible experiences when I first came here, I have been attacked and harassed; so when it’s dark I’m still reluctant to walk around the streets. But on the other hand, I look at all the amazing things that people are doing and the ways in which women, in particular, are stepping up and creating opportunities for themselves. They’re opening up businesses, they’re holding events and standing up a bit more and owning it which I think is amazing. The issues with Tottenham crime wise aren’t just a Tottenham issue, it’s everywhere.
In terms of change, I would like Tottenham to have more resources dedicated towards it. There should be a lot more provision for people who are struggling: low income families, homeless people, people with substance abuse issues or mental health problems. I’d like people to be more cared for and safe. For myself I would like more places to go, like restaurants, and better facilities in our parks.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in giving yoga a go but might be a bit apprehensive about it?
A lot of people do email me saying they want to come to yoga but they don’t know what they need to bring. But you really don’t need anything, just yourself and an idea of what you might want to gain from it - whether you’re wanting to build up strength or flexibility, or whether you want more of a meditative, mindful approach to life because that will affect the style you choose to do. For example, if you want to gain flexibility try a Yin class, if you want to move your body and sweat and get strong and flexible then try a Hatha class. If you’re already quite physically fit maybe push yourself to Ashtanga. You may need to try a few classes to find the one that feels right for you, but I really believe there’s a style for everyone. The hardest part is booking that class and turning up.
Favourite things in Tottenham
I love the café, Forks and Green. It’s opposite the studio so I’m in there a lot. My family love San Marco, we’ll often go for a pizza on a Friday evening. When I’m out and about I’ve often got the kids with me so we like the parks. Lordship Hub is another favourite, I’ve got huge love for that place as it’s where I started teaching yoga, but there’s also the park there which is great for the kids. My son plays football at Broadwater Farm and they are so welcoming, it’s an amazing football club, and my daughter does ballet down at Bernie Grant. It’s all the little things that make Tottenham so great.
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