Introducing London Fields member, the Founder of Mindwalk Yoga Online Studio and big Beautiful Chorus fan: Zakiya Bishton.
We sat down with Zakiya to find out how Mindwalk Yoga started, who her biggest inspiration is and what her hopes are for the future of Mindwalk.
I am Zakiya Bishton and I’m the founder of Mindwalk Yoga Online Studio. We offer hundreds of practices; yoga, wellbeing, sound baths – it’s all on demand and live so available from wherever you are, home or on the go. I’m a yoga teacher and I specialise in yoga therapy for anxiety.
What made you start Mindwalk Yoga & why the name?
I started Mindwalk Yoga on the first day of the first lockdown in 2020 on the 23rd of March, when the whole country was going into a complete time of uncertainty. I’ve been teaching yoga for about 12 years and decided to start teaching it online from home and gradually over the space of a year and a half, it grew to being not just me but five other teachers.
I’m building a studio, so all the other teachers have studios from home. So really it was about an opportunity at the start of the lockdown to venture into online yoga, which was something new.
The name comes from taking your mind on a mindful experience because yoga is about much more than us, it includes meditation, mindfulness and really just being kind to yourself.
"It's a social enterprise. It's a not for profit community interest company and we've got a social intention. It's actually written into our articles as a company, and that's to make yoga accessible, inclusive and affordable."
Can you tell us how long you’ve been practising yoga and what the major benefits are?
I’ve been practising yoga for about 20 years or so, I can’t remember precisely how I entered into it as a youngster in Birmingham, but somehow I ended up with a book and started practising, continued doing it in university and it just kind of stuck with me. And now I reflect back and realise I was probably quite an anxious teenager and I think in some way I kind of navigated towards yoga because the benefits of yoga is that it reduces stress, you connect to your body, you learn how to breathe properly, something which I think we should be taught in school, but we’re not.
So all of these things, all of these practices have been with me since I was a teen. I think it really helps you to reduce stress, lead a more fulfilled life and also have moments of rest as well.
How important is it to incorporate exercise into your working week?
Finding time for yourself in your working week is so important. I find that if I haven’t made time for my well being like walks, jogging, I love swimming, Of course I do a lot of yoga – I’m less creative, I’m more agitated, I’ve got a shorter attention span
Finding time in your working week for wellbeing, for sports is so important. I find if I haven’t been for my mindful walk, if I haven’t done my yoga practice or been swimming or done any of these things, I’m just not as creative. I’m more agitated, I hate going on Zoom calls because I’m just kind of frustrated. But getting that time, getting that down time means I’m more productive in the time I am spending working.
One of my biggest inspirations is Angela Davis. She is an incredible woman, an incredible human being. She’s a black civil rights activist, she was a Black Panther. And when she was in jail in the 1960s, she learnt yoga, and she’s talked a lot about this, it was one of the practices which she found really kept her sane during that time.
She’s written loads of amazing books. I’d highly recommend her autobiography and also a recent one ‘Freedom is a constant struggle.’
Tell us a bit more about Mindwalk Yoga and what your ambitions are?
Mindwalk Yoga is a social enterprise. It’s a not for profit community interest company and we’ve got a social intention. It’s actually written into our articles as a company, and that’s to make yoga accessible, inclusive and affordable. So one of our unique propositions of Mindwalk Yoga is that we’re entirely led by black and black mixed heritage women and black people are really underrepresented in the yoga world. And that was one of our big things that we wanted to do as a collective – we wanted to see ourselves represented, but we’re open to everyone.
We’re open to all genders and all ethnicities, and we have a really rich diverse community logging on home from home, accessing our app from home. And I suppose my ambition for Mindwalk Yoga is for us to be a sustainable social enterprise, we’re grant ufnded we’re still really new, we’re still learning and growing and building ourselves but yes, I suppose we want to become a sustainable social enterprise.
"I love working from Second Home London Fields; I love the colours and the plants. I find that I am more creative here than I am at home. I love just being around people."
So how long have you been a member?
I’ve been a member of Second Home for about six months and I’ve been passing it by for a lot longer than that and thinking I need to go there because I spent a lot of time, as everybody else has, at home. And it’s been a wonderful six months so far.
What would you say the main benefits or favourite things are about working at Second Home?
I love working from Second Home London Fields; I love the colours and the plants. I find that I am more creative here than I am at home. I love just being around people because otherwise I’m at home alone and you know, I run a virtual social enterprise, so I’m literally alone at home. Everyone else is doing their thing from their studios and their spaces too.
So coming here has been really nourishing and good for my creativity and also my social skills as well. I think we all dipped down in those during the COVID years. So yeah, it’s a really wonderful experience.