February is a super exciting month for the Aligned Life Studio and our community as we are introducing several new ways to get aligned and flowing. This month, the amazing Charlie Morgan joins the Aligned Life Studio with classes in yoga, meditation, and breathwork.
I am so thrilled to welcome Charlie to the Studio as she not only is a fantastic world-class yoga instructor with a beautiful personality that I know you are all going to love, but she is also trained in one of my loves, myofascial release. Charlie incorporates fascia-focused techniques into her yoga practice, so her teaching perfectly complements the existing workouts in the Aligned Life Studio. Plus, Iloooove yoga and have practiced it for years (as well as having some basic yoga training).
This is all part of our mission to make the Studio a more holistic one-stop-shop for all your health, wellness and fitness needs. So stand by as we’ve got some more amazing new experts and some incredible new classes coming over the coming months! I have been searching hard to “curate” a small team of world-leading experts who are top of their field and whose teaching aligns with mine - and Charlie is our first. So a huge welcome to Charlie - I know you are going to love her as much as I do!
Charlie first began practicing yoga when she was a teenager in the U.K. and continued to practice throughout college and her early years as a professional as she always recognized how good it was for her mental, as well as physical health. In her early 20s, Charlie began to think of a life outside of the office, which led her on a 7 month trip to India to source fabrics for a clothing line she wished to create. It seemed that the universe had other plans for Charlie, though. Before leaving, a friend’s mother told Charlie about a 12-day yoga retreat in India and Charlie intuitively knew she had to attend. It was there that Charlie began to learn more about yoga, specifically around the history and philosophy of the practice. While at the retreat, her teacher asked her if she ever thought of becoming a teacher herself and planted a seed. When Charlie returned to London, she applied for yoga teacher training in Bali and was off on another adventure. “For me, it brought together all of my passions - my passion for movement, music, spirituality, and philosophy,” Charlie - who majored in French and Philosophy in college - says of the practice.
Upon returning to the U.K. the corporate life Charlie once lived was far in the distance and she found herself teaching yoga to members of her community, first in her own space and then at studios, and festivals (including Wilderness festival, where she taught over 1,000 students ‘Glitter Flow Yoga’). Since then, Charlie went on to become a Sweaty Betty ambassador, teaching yoga classes and participating in events for the brand and has traveled the world, teaching yoga in all the wonderfully exotic places like Greece, Italy, Ibiza, France, Mexico, The Virgin Islands and Africa, on land and out at sea! Charlie also spent a number of years at Europe’s largest yoga company, Hotpod Yoga, where she headed up the yoga side of the business and lead their 200-hour teacher trainings. And, in alignment with my own background, Charlie has worked with celebrities and many professional athletes, including England’s national Rugby team, bringing yoga movement and philosophy into their training to promote strength and balance - quite the fun challenge with those burly blokes as you can imagine!
I sat down with Charlie to learn more about her practice and the practices she’s bringing to the Aligned Life Studio. Here’s what she had to say.
Aligned by Yoga
Yoga is so much more than a movement practice and comes with a host of benefits, massively impacting your mental state by bringing more mindfulness and alignment to the body, as well as nourishing the fascia.
“Every yoga pose targets a certain area of the body and by following the cues, you’re essentially distracted in a way that allows you to step out of your mind and back into your physical body, something most of us rarely do,” Charlie explains, adding how the practice allows you to get out of your head. “ There are two main ways to approach the physical practice, through Yin or Yang yoga. “In a Yang class, you’re working with the superficial body i.e. the stuff you can see, by flexing and strengthening the muscles, joints, and ligaments,” she explains. “In a Yin class, you’re focusing on the subtle body by stressing the connective tissue, the cotton candy-like structure that quite literally holds us together, but that we can’t see or tangibly feel. By stressing this tissue, you are stimulating blood flow to that area and as a result encouraging any stagnant energy, known as prana in yoga, to start flowing again. Sometimes this can lead to what feels like a massive mental or physical release, which is pure magic!”.
You can check out “Intro to Yoga” and “Beginners Yoga Class” by Charlie now live inside the Aligned Life Studio for more on the mind-body connection of yoga.
Aligned by Breath
In addition to yoga, Charlie will also bring breathwork to the Aligned Life Studio. I’ve talked about it before on the blog and the Aligned Life Collective lives but breathwork is incredibly important for the nervous system and can actually help us release that clutching hold so many of us have.
“Breath is everything - it’s the one thing we can’t live without,” says Charlie. “And, even though it’s this thing that’s happening all of the time to us, it is something that we actually really lost our way with,” she adds, noting how so many of us aren’t breathing properly. The reason for our poor breathing habits has a lot to do with our mental state. How we feel is “completely reflected in how we’re breathing.” For example, when we feel anxious, our breathing becomes more rapid and can put us more into that state of fight or flight. When we slow down our breath, we can start to invite more feelings of calm and peace into our bodies. “The idea with breathwork - as is with yoga - is to try and balance our system and to try to get that middle ground,” says Charlie. “It’s really harmonizing for the body,” she adds, noting how the practice of intentional breathing is great for anyone who suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, or has trouble sleeping. “These exercises are really good at regulating the whole nervous system - literally regulating life within your body - and reassuring your body it’s fundamental need is being met.””
If this interests you check out the 10 minute‘Intro to Breathwork” video inside the Aligned Life Studio.
Aligned by Meditation
Speaking of mindfulness, meditation - just like yoga and breathwork - can have a profound impact on the nervous system, too. Charlie, who has been practicing meditation for over 10 years, says this is the most challenging practice, noting how sitting in your own head “is the hardest thing you’ll try and do” but it’s also the most rewarding. “The whole goal of yoga, according to the yoga sutras, which is one of the oldest yogic texts, is to calm the fluctuations of your mind,” she explains. “Imagine if you can have a mind that’s a bit calmer.” Albeit challenging, Charlie makes meditation attainable and says the most important thing to do is “just keep coming back” even if it is for only 1 - 2 minutes each day. “Remember that every single grain of sand is responsible for making up a beach - so you just have to add those grains to your beach.” Want to know more about the practice of meditation? Join Charlie inside the Aligned Life Studio for her short “Intro to Meditation” video.
If you have a regular yoga practice or this year is your year to start your own yoga journey, then please join Charlie in the Aligned Life Studio, launching this February. Charlie will teach a variety of yoga classes, including flows and restorative practices, plus breathwork and meditation from beginner to intermediate and advanced. So look out for Charlie’s new classes whenever we add new content to the Studio this year and I can’t wait to see you on the mat!
With love and gratitude
“I’ve met so many amazing people on my health journey but one of the people that has stood out most is Charlie. She is the most beautiful, inspiring yoga teacher and her positive energy is so infectious. One of the things that I love most about her is that she makes healthy living feel accessible but even more importantly she makes it seem fun and exciting.” Deliciously Ella
“I’ve been practicing Yoga for about 3 years with many different instructors. It’s easy to say that Charlie has been the most influential and by far the best instructor I’ve had. She’s awesome! Her classes are a fun environment to learn in, where you always feel challenged to push yourself further. She is truly an inspiring Yoga teacher who is extremely passionate about what she does.”
Photography: Alice Kuo Shippee @alice_in_mamaland