Movement for Modern Life has revolutionised access to yoga; no longer do you need to live in a city for top instructors and exciting classes. We speak with founder, Kat Farrants, to get the low-down on how she went from solicitor to tech and wellness entrepreneur.
Can you introduce us to Movement For Modern Life – what makes you special?
Movement for Modern Life was born out of my need to have the best teachers in the UK made accessible! I have found yoga gives me the tools in life to get through, and thrive through, the ‘stuff’ – emotional and physical challenges that happen in life. So I wanted MFML to be about folks being able to get access to these amazingly transformative practices, and for the classes to be ‘benefits’ focused – focused on what people will get from the classes, be it from helping with sleep, to helping with sore back and shoulders, to classes to help with computer use, dealing with anxiety and even cancer recovery.
What made you decide to put yoga classes online rather than have them in physical locations? And how has the response been?
I decided we needed a UK online yoga site very selfishly just for me, because I was stuck out in the countryside and the local teachers weren’t great and I wanted to be able to get inspiration with my home practice. I personally prefer to practice at home on my own as I’ve always been a bit busy to get to the right class at the right time, and it takes the stress out of getting to class. And living in the sticks, it’s definitely easier to practice at home rather than schlepping into a city just to do a daily practice. MFML is all about creating sustainable daily habits, not doing a once a month or week class, but doing a daily practice that is suitable for your body on this day.
The response has been fab! Considering I knew nothing of brands, marketing or PR, I think that take up has been brilliant. Our teachers have been key in spreading the word and supporting us, and it’s been amazing that the press have found us out – it’s wonderful to be supported by so many key publications. Being Yoga Editor of Psychologies magazine, for example, has really helped.
I decided we needed a UK online yoga site very selfishly just for me, because I was stuck out in the countryside and the local teachers weren’t great and I wanted to be able to get inspiration with my home practice.
You used to work in the city as a solicitor. How did you find the transition from law to fitness? What advice would you give others looking to make a career move?
For me, it was a very instinctual move. I just changed because I felt I had no alternative but to change – the law wasn’t working for me anymore and yoga has been so key in my life; it felt very natural. To anyone wanting to make a career move, I’d say: be brave, be bold, don’t listen to anyone or anything but your own heart. But don’t expect it to be easy!
To anyone wanting to make a career move, I’d say: be brave, be bold, don’t listen to anyone or anything but your own heart. But don’t expect it to be easy!
What changes have you noticed in the yoga industry and how do you see it developing in the next few years?
Well, for me, I’ve been into yoga for 20 years or so, so there have been plenty of changes over the decades. Now it’s seen as cool and is done by the youngsters looking hip, which is a real change from the image of old ladies in tracksuit bottoms it used to have! I don’t want it to be off-putting though to people who aren’t as concerned by their appearance. I think that’s another reason why online is big now – because so many studio classes are frankly off-putting, cliquey, and full of people concerned about the way they look and who see yoga as some kind of performance.
I’ve no idea how it’ll develop! What I’m hoping is that people will start to become a bit more savvy about what they are being taught and by whom, and will understand yoga’s immense therapeutic benefits, rather than seeing it as as some kind of workout.
What key business/entrepreneurial knowledge have you learnt from working with various yoga teachers and studios?
For me, I’ve been able to see what I don’t want from seeing how some studios are being run. I’ve seen all-sorts in the world of yoga!
I see many of them being run like just any other business, which I think is a wasted opportunity. For me, running a business as a matter of integrity is really important. I want my business to be as flexible, adaptable, responsible and responsive – as I want my mind to be.
After some less than positive experiences in workplaces over the last decade or so, I am absolutely committed to creating a workplace that is open, transparent, responsive and responsible. From adapting to customers, partners, stakeholders and being accountable. So for me, it’s a surprise that many yogic businesses aren’t being run like this; but for me, this is a very important matter of integrity.