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Celebrating International Yoga Day with Ally Vispo & Emma Barfield

The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on the 21st of June since 2015. Yoga is a group of ancient physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in India. We believe yoga practise is a great form of self-care and we know that many of you love burning our candles while practising it at home.

Today, we'd like to introduce you to Ally and Emma, two great yogis and great friends of ELM RD., who will be sharing with us how yoga has become a key part of their self-care rituals.


Barcelona, Spain

Favourite ELM RD. Scent: Sueños

Ally is a writer and sustainability thought-leader, currently residing in Barcelona. ​​She moved to Spain after almost a decade living and working in London in the e-commerce and luxury fashion industry. In 2014, after experiencing a series of very tough personal situations, she decided to completely change her lifestyle. She started eating healthier and soon became vegan. She also trained in yoga and started studying nutritional therapy, mindfulness and Ayurveda. These changes in lifestyle led Ally to enter the Zero Waste world (a lifestyle that she has adopted since 2015-16) and learn about sustainability, ethics and the well-being of people and animals in a deeper way. In 2019, she completed her yoga teacher training (Hatha Vinyasa), something that she had wanted to do for many years!

How long have you been practising yoga, and how would you describe your preferred practice style?

I have been practising yoga since 2014, almost daily, and my preferred style is either Dharma (my favourite by far, I love a devotional practice) and Vinyasa, although I quite like Jivamukti too. I like mixing it up with Yin and Restorative too!

What does your typical daily routine look like? What non-negotiable rituals do you practice both on and off the mat?

There needs to be a yoga practice somewhere - for me, it’s about body and soul and my daily practice is non-negotiable. I always plan my day in a way that I can practice at least for 1-3 hours. My mornings usually involve yoga, meditation, work, a healthy breakfast, and hanging out with my 7-month-old kid. But the first thing I currently do as soon as I get up is having a cup of freshly brewed coffee and tending to my plants! I have a lovely urban jungle on my terrace and I find it so relaxing. A great way to start my day!

Yoga has an extensive and well-documented array of mental and physical benefits. What is the most noticeable way in which yoga has enriched your life, personally? 

Yoga has helped me to know myself better, discover who I really am and what I am here (on Earth) to do. It has taught me to see what’s really important in life, and to be grateful for every single second I can spend on Earth. But mostly, it has shown me that I should do no harm but take no shit either! Respect towards myself and others, mainly. 

"Yoga has helped me to know myself better, discover who I really am and what I am here (on Earth) to do."

What general advice would you give to those who are just getting started with yoga and may not have a lot of props, or a lot of time to practice long sequences?

The most difficult part is getting to the mat. Even if you have 5 minutes, I can assure you it WILL make a difference. And if you don’t have any props, don’t worry! Be creative and use books instead of blocks, a scarf instead of a yoga strap… you don’t really need much to practise yoga, just the willingness to do so. If you can breathe, you can practice!

How can yoga help with wellbeing in the current climate specifically? 

Yoga helps us to move stagnant energy, stretching the muscles and oxygenating the body. It is extremely important that we practise daily and make it a habit - only then we will be able to feel all the benefits from our practice. I think that lots of jobs will be done from home or remotely from now on too, and that means more time just sitting at home, so it is even more important to tend to our body and find the time to stretch and move it to make sure we keep it healthy!

Do you have any tips for practising at home?

Find a safe space and make it your own. Put on a candle, burn some incense, use your favourite essential oil roll-on or drops, make it a thing. Also, invest in a good yoga mat and take care of it so it can last a long time. 

You can find Ally on Instagram as @ally_viamalama


Gloucester, United Kingdom

Favourite ELM RD. Scent: Intimacy