As part of our Wellness Wednesday series, London Living’s Editor Katharine interviewed Jayne Ellis founder of HighTimes Yoga, a Kundalini Yoga & Meditation studio based in the heart of Covent Garden that also hosts events and sound healing experiences throughout London.
Jayne’s journey began in 2011 when she discovered the life-changing power of Kundalini yoga and meditation. She witnessed this ancient technology positively transform her own life and now, is excited to be sharing the wisdom of Kundalini yoga and CBD products with a crystal sound bath this Saturday (20th July) at the Truman Brewery.
Can you tell us a little bit about this weekend’s CBD and kundalini event, talk us through the day and your inspiration for it?
The Beauty Run Deep event is an exploration into inner beauty, deeper than just the external beauty we so often focus on. We will explore how to activate your inner beauty and expand radiant energy naturally.
The afternoon will kick start with Graces London founder Shiona Redmond explaining how CBD enhances inner balance and harmony via our skins own receptors. Graces London will also provide CBD samples for those attending to try out for themselves. This will be followed by a Kundalini yoga set to increase the flow of energy in the body, stimulate the skin’s glow and activate radiance from within. The afternoon will end with a deeply relaxing sound bath with the Crystal Bowls which accelerates cell renewal and brings the entire system into harmony.
There has been a lot in the press lately re. the benefits of CBD – can you tell us a little about that. Why should we use CBD products?
CBD extracts can be absorbed through the epidermis layers of the skin to interact with cannabinoid receptors located on skins surface cells. Products can range from CBD skincare oils, body balms, bath bombs, face masks plus many more! With the skin being the largest organ of the human body, what we put on our skin can not only affect the skin, but it can have long lasting effects on our health and general wellbeing. Skin issues are most often a surface manifestation of a deeper condition among the natural systems of the human body.
CBD is a cannabinoid, but what does that mean? We all have cannabinoid receptors within the body. Theses ‘cannabinoid receptors’ (known as the Endocannabinoid System/ECS) is a regulatory system responsible for a whole heap of skin, health and wellness benefits.
Being one of the largest receptor systems located in the body the main purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to create balance. In technical terms to create homeostasis. “Homeostasis is created when all internal systems of the body our working in synergy with each other to promote Balance.
The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the central and peripheral nervous system and immune system. Receptors are also located throughout the body, including receptors on the skin cells, in the gut, reproductive organs and even the brain.
The ECS was only discovered in the early 1970’s and is one of the largest biological systems located in the human body. It has been noted as one of the most important physiologic systems involved in maintaining our health and balance. It is a self-regulatory system in charge of the human body temperature, PH balance, appetite stimulant, pain management amongst more. Research and studies on the endocannabinoid system have never been so exciting!
Why is CBD often paired with yoga classes?
Yoga has the same effect on the body as CBD! Yoga uses postures, breathwork and mantra to create an inner balance and internal harmony. It has been proven than Cannabinoid receptors can increase by up to 42% when you sing – in Kundalini Yoga we work with mantra a lot! And, depending on the set we may chant for 11 or 22 mins! Coupled with the powerful sound and the pure vibrations of the crystal bowls the entire system vibrates in harmony, symmetry and balance.
You seem to have a great following in terms of your kundalini classes. What is Kundalini? How is this different to other yoga practices?
Kundalini yoga works with our own kundalini energy which for most people remains dormant at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga awakens this energy, once awakened our fears, stories, attachments and blockages clear and we are able to experience a life of filled with our highest possibilities.
I often describe Kundalini as clearing away the layers we have accumulated during our life/lives so that the diamond which exists within all of us can glow!
Kundalini is very different to others forms of yoga, it’s a Raj yoga, a royal yoga which has kingly powers – its effect can be felt deeply and quickly – regardless of experience.
Unlike other forms we practice with the eyes closed – this is so we can develop a deeper connection to the inner self.
Also, you don’t have to be flexible to practice Kundalini yoga – anyone can do kundalini yoga regardless of their age, fitness or experience.
It’s so much fun. One minute your deep breathing, the next your dancing and then chanting – we do some crazy stuff in Kundalini and it’s rare you’ll get the chance to do the same Kundalini set (or kriya) twice. It’s never boring!!
Could you tell us something about your journey to becoming a teacher and what you did before that?
In my 20s and 30s I worked in very competitive environments – including Channel 4 and British ELLE.
At that time from the outside my life was reasonably successful – I had a good job, friends, partner etc – and I had no reason to feel unhappy, unfulfilled and numb to my own joy … but I did.
It was whilst working on ELLE I was sent to write about a new yoga retreat. It was a Kundalini yoga retreat and it blew my mind … that was 10 years ago! Consequently, I passionately attended every class I could find – in those days there were very few. Every year I looked forward to going to a Kundalini retreat. I realised that when I did Kundalini I felt something I had longed to feel all my life … loved!
I felt secure and connected to a power greater than any job, boyfriend or flash handbag had ever given me. I got the call to become a teacher and it’s truly transformed my life, I can honestly say every day feels like a Saturday.
So exciting that your classes are above neals yard treatment rooms. Neals yard is such a beautiful brand. How did you become involved with them?
Pure divine guidance, a friend introduced me to the manager and she loved what I did and HighTimes was born. I really believe we were guided to create a sanctuary in the centre of crazy London!
Any other beauty and wellness tips that you think would be helpful for our London Living readers?
Kundalini!!! You just fall in love with yourself. Try the Kundalini set to be Enchantingly Beautiful for 40 days. Again Kundalini sets to for healthy digestion and elimination
Water, water, water too! I know it’s boring but it works.
Walk everywhere you can and whilst you are doing so think beautiful thoughts – outward to everything and everyone.
Imagine yourself very beautiful, very radiant, very graceful – practice this until you believe it and feel it!!!
I also read about your sound healing. Could you explain what that is. Did you have to do training? What are the benefits?
Sound is a great healing tool. The Crystal Bowls release sound waves which resonate with our brainwaves’ own alpha state – in this state not only are we able to relax deeply but we are more receptive to healing, our intuitive and creative channels open and our cellular repair accelerates.
The bowls are made from pure crystal, so they release pure tones – our entire human DNA is crystalline in structure, so we receive the transmissions of the crystal bowls easily.
My set of 7 bowls, work on the entire Endocrine system – which is important, not only for our health and vitality but also our fertility and sense of connection in the world. And if that wasn’t enough each bowl have been infused with a healing mineral, precious gem or metal ( eg Apophylite, Palladium, Platinum) which brings the receiver a deeply healing element
I trained with Yantara Jiro and I am a certified sound healer.
Why do you think wellness is suddenly becoming such a huge buzz word and so importance to people, especially Londoners?
I think that people now realise wellness is not something we can just expect to feel. As a species we are becoming more sensitive and feelings of disharmony are becoming harder to ignore – often showing up as insomnia, anxiety and depression … and we are more aware that this means something is off balance in a lifestyle.
Now there are so many ways to rebalance, harmonise and come back to your optimum state especially in London, that people are not only open to wellness they know the long term damage living without it can cause.
We have to recognise there has been so much change over the last decade – often in cities more so than anywhere else – the way we live today is so different to any previous generations. We have more information, external noise and messages that our parents, our grandparents etc, ever did!
In addition, many of the old systems which instructed our lives and how we should live have been eroded – and this means we have to find new ways of being and living, which can feel scary uncertain and unclear. In London there is too much rushing around too much technology, too much social media and this has led to anxiety, insomnia and loneliness. Londoners are seeking ways to feel better inside – and many are recognising that connection to internal power is greater than anything external! 5 years ago I don’t believe I would have made such a statement.
What is next for High Times yoga – any other events ?
I’m so excited for the HighTimes retreat in Ibiza this September – we still have some spaces available, make sure to check out our website to find out more!
We have a once a month Friday night Full-Moon specials in Camden – where we do some of the crazier Kundalini sets -our next one is on the 30th August.
Sunday 4th August is our one off Sunday afternoon special, Kundalini yoga journey to the soul and expand your vibrational frequency. Urban Souls is also on the 4th August – this session includes major sound healing.
Finally, an exclusive for you! Not yet announced but world-renowned Kundalini teacher and singer Siri Sadana Kaur will be hosting a special dance mantra and gong workshop for the HighTimes community … date to be announced watch this space!!
Finally, what are your favourite places for chill out and down time in London?
I love Hamsptead Heath – trees are everything! They always make me feel good.
I also love walking by the canals from Regents Park to Little Venice.
My current favourite place is Kings Cross – such a beautiful mix of eclectic people, architecture, I love the water, the open space and great vibrations!!!
My favourite product is the neals yard almond oil. I use it every day! What are your personal favourite beauty products – neals yard and others?
I can’t go anywhere without Neals Yard organic lavender – very good for my tube travels – quick inhale and I instantly feel calm and serene. During my time at ELLE I was very lucky to try so many beauty products that were gifted to me but interestingly enough my skin likes very simple products. I swear by high grade Allegan oil and Graces London CBD Boby Balm – and ALWAYS double cleanse!
Who else is loving summer in the city? If you’re looking for a picturesque view (and a movie, too!) then we suggest checking out Movies on the River, with City Cruises! Read on for the ultimate cruise in London town.
Near Traitor’s Gate Tower of London, London, EC3N 4DT
Opening Hours: Tues-Sat, time dependent on showing
Nearest Tube: Tower Hill
Picture this: it’s a Friday, you and your pals are all looking for something to do. The sunset is on the horizon, and the Thames looks stunning. Why not top it all off with a movie night ON the Thames?! Time Out have teamed up with City Cruises for the ultimate cinema experience for you.
From now till August, you can experience a wonderful evening watching a film on an open-deck viewing, surrounded by glorious London’s skyline. From classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Top Gun, to new releases like Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s safe to say City Cruises have got you covered with a huge variety of films to see!
Tickets vary per film, starting from around £35 per person – totally worth it for a summer-ready, outdoor experience! From a date night for two, or even a gift for a friend, Movies on the River is the perfect excuse to make most of London’s glorious summertime. Remember to check out their full movie listing and dates, and make sure to buy your tickets now to avoid missing out!
For an outdoor film with the most beautiful view of London, then we suggest booking a ticket to Movies on the River! Will we be seeing you watching Baby Driver, or Back to the Future? Let us know in the comments below! If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
Today is World Chocolate Day, and we can’t wait to try ALL the delicious sweet treats London has to offer! Fancy joining us? Then read on for our top five chocolatey recommendations the city has to offer!
If you’re looking to celebrate World Chocolate Day in style, then why not go to the finest chocolatiers in London town? Hotel Chocolat are the pioneers in delicate treats – who have their very own café in Covent Garden! We seriously suggest having a browse of their food menu (Milk Chocolate Shortbread for £1? Yes please!), why not wash it down with their drinks menu? Enjoy a chocolatey treat in the summer heat with Hotel Chocolat!
We’ll take any excuse to visit Harrods – especially since they have a glorious café situated on the second floor! Café Godiva prides themselves as chocolate artisans, serving London with the best of Belgian chocolate. This glorious rest stop is famous for indulgent truffles, melting fondues and more – there’s plenty to see on their menu. If you’re not checking this place out, we sure are!
World Chocolate Day. Soho. More chocolate. Honestly, what could be better? SAID London is based in the heart of the city, filled to the brim with sweet treats (and savoury dishes, too!). From macarons to tiramisu – celebrate the sweetest day of the year in style and visit SAID London.
Creams Café is the perfect American-diner style dessert parlour this World Chocolate Day, serving up the sweetest freakshakes and crepes imaginable! With glittering décor and welcoming staff, Creams Café is a family-friendly location for a chocolatey treat for all ages. Their extensive menu has got us torn between SO many desserts, from Vegan Cookie Dough to Creams Royale.
SWEET café began in 2015, and has opened up eight locations since then. We’ve got our eye on their delightful East London location this World Chocolate Day. A stone’s throw away from central London, SWEET Mile End raises the bar with excellent dessert, coffee and good vibes all round. We’d highly suggest checking out their mouthwatering Instagram and check discover out the endless possibilities of desserts they offer (we’re going for the Brownie Stacker and you can’t convince us otherwise!).
World Chocolate Day is the best excuse to indulge in the most delightful chocolates the world has to offer! Will we be seeing you snacking on Chocolate Shortbread at Hotel Chocolat, or taking a seat in London’s finest American-style dessert parlour? Let us know in the comments below!If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
With a heatwave on our radars, we can firmly declare that our favourite month, July, is right around the corner. This month is when it all happens, with four weeks of mindless fun splashing over the capital as school breaks for summer. It’s time to get outdoorsy as London’s finest pop-ups take to the street. From theatre to fairs, festival and even the famous London Pride, July announces itself to be a busy one.
The brightest day of the year is almost here! Join London’s LGBT+ community in celebrating all things diversity, freedom and love as the famous Pride parade takes to the streets of Soho. Expect glitter, dancing and everything in between as the whole capital will be joining forces to paint the town in the colours of the rainbow. The main event will then culminate in a street party in Trafalgar square where the LGBT+ community and their allies can come together and celebrate love all-around.
Opening Hours: Friday 12nd July – Saturday 13rd July
Lovebox’s 2-day music extravaganza aims to be the event of your summer. Packing everything from newcomer Lizzo, to cult obsessions Solange and Chance the Rapper, in one of the most promising line-ups of the year, the originally East End festival is taking over West London for a second year in a row. With the producers promising bigger and better things, we know that this is a date for the calendar.
National Theatre, Upper Ground, Lambeth, London, SE1 9PX
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Opening Hours: Friday 4th July – Sunday 4th August
The National Theatre is taking its summer shows outside – five weekends of cutting edge performances are taking over the Southbank in a free-for-all event aimed at those looking to get their cultural fix. From East London’s The Glory drag queens, to a weekend curated by the National Theatre itself, the programme promises to include something that could get even the most reclusive theatre fans outdoors. See for yourself.
Riverside bars, open-air theatre and an outdoor cinema – these are the ingredients of a good London summer and now they’re all condensed on the Southbank. Incorporate an extra dose of fun in your evening stroll as you venture down the bank between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. The long nights are here to stay and this is one sure way to make the most of them!
Where will we be seeing you this July? Let us know in the comments below!If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
Although summer is somewhat delayed this year, we can simply tell that some sunshine is just around the corner. Why is that? Well, with the first day of summer setting in on June 21st, it’s officially our favourite season. This year, we’re daring you to celebrate it like never before: put the rooftop drinks to the side and follow the call of nature as we guide you through some of London’s dreamiest hidden garden. From East to West and everything in between, chase the butterflies and kick off the season right.
If you don’t trust the weather just yet, dip your toes into an indoor tropical summer at the Barbican’s Conservatory. A space you’ve probably seen on Instagram before, the urban oasis is only open for a few hours each week, when locals and tourists alike are flocking to explore London’s mini-jungle. We recommend setting your alarms and getting there early so you can either enjoy some solitude or even snap away undisturbed.
A real gem amongst King’s Cross quickly developing landscape, the originally nomadic Skip Garden started off as a project to turn old skips into vegetable gardens. Get that community feeling and stay committed to a more sustainable lifestyle as you immerse yourself in workshops, supper clubs and even some good old gardening at this King’s Cross treasure.
If you haven’t strolled around this hidden oasis already, you are truly missing out. A setting straight out of paradise is hidden on Hampstead Hill, safely guarding one of the most romantic views in London. Word on the street is that this spot attracts London’s creatives on the regular, so why not make it a day out and immerse yourself in the inspiration?
A little spot of tranquility amidst the City of London’s bustling streets, the serene ruins of St Dunstan-in-the-East attract everything from film crews to Instagram enthusiasts every day. Though the former Anglican church is a widely popular location, don’t get discouraged. There’s something about its aura of peace that not even the flock of visitors can affect…
Where will you be spending the first day of summer? Let us know in the comments below!If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
This weekend is all about fathers and the great things they bring into our lives. If you’re looking to celebrate everything that makes your dad so special, then you’re in luck. From rooftop games to raising a glass to the old man, London has got you covered with plenty of events that will make you wish every Sunday was Father’s Day. Read on to find out how you can give your father a day just as special as he is.
7 & 8 Stratford Multi Storey Car Park, Great Eastern Rd, E15 1BB
Nearest Tube: Stratford
Opening Hours: Sundays 12-11pm
Make it a day out at Roof East’s Social Fun and Games Club, Stratford’s way of taking outdoor games to literal new heights. From fun takes on shuffle boarding and curling to a crowd-pleasing round of crazy golf, let your dad teach you some new tricks by indulging in this playtime delight. Worry not, there’s plenty of opportunities to have a beer with a view after you become the VR foosball champion in the family.
If you’ve ever wanted to seem to be a whisky connoisseur, at least in front of your dad, now’s the chance. For one night only, Whisky Altruist is putting on a tasting that will give you a chance to sip on the finest alcohol. Put the beers away and spoil your dad with some world-class whiskies. We guarantee this blind testing will have whisky turn into quite the family affair…
Up at the O2 is your dad’s equivalent of a spa day. Take your father higher by challenging him to climb one of London’s most impressive venues and raise a toast to the most important man in your life. From sunset to twilight climbs, this activity is the ultimate bonding experience that is bound to turn you into your father’s favourite child, at least for the day.
Another exciting chance to battle out your golfing skills comes in the shape of Swingers, one of London’s star crazy golf venues. It’s a good time to make it a family day out, as groups of four celebrating Father’s Day are promised a bottle of red or white wine on entry. What are you waiting for? Get swingin’.
We know your dad has taught you a thing or two. It’s now time to return the favour by immersing him in all things hipster. Take on the Secret Beer Tour and get the best of both worlds as you and your dad work your way through the finest craft beer Shoreditch has to offer. Three and a half hours of tasting and exploring the hippest spots in the city are sure to wipe out the generational divide.
Where are you taking your dad this Father’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
If you haven’t already heard, National Cupcake Day is just around the corner (13th June), and we’ll take literally any excuse for a cake (or two!). Get ready for our top five cupcake hotspots worth visiting for a top notch sweet treat!
Based in the heart of central London, Bea’s of Bloomsbury is the epitome of ‘Instagrammable’ cupcakes and glorious afternoon tea available on the daily. Filled with traditional treats and a fantastic tea listing, it’s safe to say Bea’s caters to all your needs!
Lily Vanilli is a delightful bakery/café tucked away in East London. Their menu changes on a weekly basis (watch their Instagram for menu updates!) featuring: cakes, brownies, pastries and more. Their café is open on Sunday’s only, however orders can be made and collected between Tuesday-Saturday – so why not order some cupcakes in for the best national day of the year (in our opinion)?
Peggy Porschen is Chelsea’s finest dreamlike café. From pastel pink décor to seasonal layer cakes and coffee – Peggy’s will be serving up the finest sweet treats this National Cupcake Day! Don’t forget to check out their delightful café menu (we’ll be ordering their award-winning Chocolate Heaven cupcake). For meticulously crafted cupcakes in a fairytale-esque atmosphere, then get on down to Peggy Porschen!
108 Pantry is home to The Marylebone Hotel, one of London’s finest hotels. The Pantry has a bright, modern décor and is the perfect pit-stop this National Cupcake day for delightful cakes, pastries and more! Their delightful cakes menu features some must-try cupcakes (Chocolate and Banana Cupcake? Yes please!). We also recommend visiting 108 Pantry for afternoon tea, with their seasonal menu currently focused on An English Country Garden. For modern décor and elegant cupcakes, then get on down to 108 Pantry (don’t forget to make a booking!)
We’re SO excited for National Cupcake Day on the 13th June, and can’t wait to try out these delightful hotspots in London! Will we be seeing you at one of our top five locations? Let us know in the comments below! If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.
It’s London’s favourite season and with it, there comes one of its favourite days. Mark your calendars as we’re one day away from a true London holiday: World Gin Day. Looking for inspiration on where to hopefully drink away the heat this June 8th? Then look no further. We’ve scouted the best G&T pairings around the city to ease you into the weekend. Read on and block your calendar.
Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane Entrance, London, E1W 3HZ
Nearest Tube: Wapping
Opening Hours: 11am-15pm – June 8th & 9th
Junipalooza is taking over the Tobacco Dock once more this June, bringing you up close and personal with gin makers from across the world. From new starters to the more seasoned players on the gin scene, the 2 day festival will bring together the best and most interesting minds in the world of gin ready to spoil your tastebuds all day long. If you want to learn more about that perfect tonic pairing, these are the experts to ask.
Scotland’s hippest gin is coming to the capital to add some rugged spice to this gin-tastic celebration. Follow The Botanist’s unique map to experience an exclusive selection of cocktails, just in time for World Gin Day. From Jin Bo to The Blind Pig, the route will have you tube-ing ‘round the big city in a treasure hunt for some of the United Kingdom’s best gin. Count us in!
If you’re not into that whole event route and would rather go for a classic gin experience instead, Portobello’s chilled GinTonica venue has the answer to your prayers. With over 100 world gins on its menu, the bar promises to provide for even the pickiest of gin lovers. Also, it’s a great way to be adventurous and mix and match all night long. If you’re looking for something juniper-free, however, the bartenders will make sure to provide for you too, although, trust us, on World Gin Day, you wouldn’t want to miss out.
An exciting entry on the £6 cocktail list bars, King’s Cross Drink, Shop, Do is inviting you to get crafty this weekend. Sip away on a fine pairing of G&T in the form of the Fresh Prince, a strawberry-infused concoction that will surely your boost your inspiration and get your creativity flowing whatever DSD activity you might want to indulge in. We’ll see you there!
Will you be drinking it up this World Gin day? Let us know in the comments below!If you like our posts, you’ll love our Instagram.