Today, we met up with Kat Farrants, the founder of Movement For Modern Life, the UK’s most popular online yoga site. With MFML, you can practise yoga anytime, anywhere. They’re bringing 4am yoga sessions in dodgy tracksuits back. And, we’re loving it! We asked Kat what inspired her to set up this successful business, which challenges she faced in the process, her vegan dhal and her ultimate beauty secret. Read the full interview below!
Where did you get the idea to launch MFML?
I was living out in the remote countryside and needed some yoga! The local classes had pretty terrible teachers (I’m a bit of a yoga teacher snob). I’ve been practising for over 20 years with the best teachers. I just found the local teachers weren’t quite what I was looking for. I just needed the classes myself, which is why I started to contact the top teachers and ask them whether they’d be interested in doing some filming, so that I’d be able to follow the class from my home. My dog had cancer at that stage, and I needed to be able to stay with her, in the quiet, so online yoga was really my only option. When I started to think of the idea, I then thought back to when I was a city lawyer. I used to cycle back furiously from the office to try to get to a class, getting so stressed in the process, and often missing the class anyway! If I ever did make it to the class, it often wasn’t the right kind of class for me or I didn’t click with the teacher. It was just so stressful and limiting to have to work to the studio timetable, instead of being able to practise on my own. Even though I started MFML just because I wanted my own classes with the best teachers, I quickly realised that other people might enjoy this too!
Which challenges did you face when setting up your own business? How did you overcome these?
I faced a lot of (well-founded) negativity from friends and family, who were trying to just give me good advice. They told me how likely it was that a small business would fail. Everyone advised me that it was very risky to start a business and told me that it would be too hard. Luckily, I ignored all of that!
What advice would you give to women looking to start their own business?
Just go with whatever’s in your heart. Don’t be afraid to do your own thing, to take risks, to be the outsider, to ask questions and to tread on your own path. But, also don’t be afraid to lose life as you knew it. Your life will never be the same. You’ll be taking a less well trod path, so don’t even try to fit your ‘old’ life into your new life, with your new business. Create new rules, make new paths for yourself and your business, and be creative! Create the life, and the mission, of your dreams.
In your opinion, what are the keys to being a successful entrepreneur?
Being a tirelessly hard worker. Have a passion, a clear idea of your mission – what you’re doing and why. That’ll make sure that you keep up the hard work, because you know that you’re making a difference and doing your life’s work. You also need to have a healthy dose of good luck and auspicious meeting of the right people, who will be able to help you along the way! I believe that, if you’re truly fulfilling your Dharma – your life’s purpose – then doors will open and the impossible will swiftly become possible.
Why do you think this type of online subscription is so important for women nowadays?
I just think it’s so darn useful for so many of us. We all are a bit overwhelmed, a bit busy – so who on earth has the 75 minutes to do the class, plus the 30 minutes getting there and back. It’s a wonderful luxury to be able to get to a yoga class every day, but I just don’t think that people have the time. My belief is that it’s better to practise for just 10-20 minutes every day, rather than once a week in a 75-minute class. I also think that one of the key things is bespoking your class and your practice, so that you get exactly the class you NEED for that particular day and time. All of our bodies and minds are so different, we can’t all expect to do the same class and get the same thing from the class, which is why it’s lovely to be able to search for exactly what your body and mind needs at that point in time. I’ve created MFML to be able to search by emotion, so if you’re going through a hard time, you can find classes to move you away from heartbreak, or into confidence or love. You can also search by the physical benefit you might be looking for – ranging from sleeping well, to helping with your back and shoulders, yoga for women’s health or athletes, or just classes to help you re-energise and have a good morning!
How did you get into yoga?
I first got into yoga when i was 18 and I was in India during my gap year. I was a really unsporty type at school. just found it so liberating to be finally able to do something with my body that felt great, and nobody could judge me for it! I practised pretty sporadically (there weren’t many classes at that time) when i was at university. But, in my early 20s, I was particularly drawn to Ashtanga, and I used to love a very dynamic Vinyasa best of all! I continued to practise. I was in a very bad car crash, and lost a lot of my mobility for a while. I then suffered after my husband left me suddenly, and yoga really helped me get through the tough times. So, when I realised that I wanted to share yoga with people, my mission was always about making these very transformative and very healing practises accessible.
How did it become a career?
I taught yoga full-time in 2005, for about 6 months, when I just took over my teacher’s full teaching schedule. But, I then realised that this path really wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until after a bad car crash and my husband left me suddenly that I re-evaluated my life and realised I needed to do something meaningful. I wanted to show people the wonderful tool that yoga is, for getting you through the challenges in life. If I hadn’t had my yoga practice, I’m not sure how I’d have gotten through the rough times! So, I knew I wanted to do ‘something’ to spread the benefits of yoga, and luckily, I found my dharma, which is making the very best teachers and best practices accessible to all.
How often do you practise?
Every day! Sometimes on the mat, mostly off the mat!!
What is it that you love most about yoga?
It’s a wonderful tool to bring you energy, health and happiness – and it is so varied. Sometimes, yoga can be very dynamic, or it can be very still, helping you to just centre and rediscover yourself. The real yoga, of course, happens at the end of class, when we find your ‘yoga’ in everyday life.
What health benefits does yoga bring?
Everything, from helping with depression, anxiety, stress, sleeping well, and improving strength and flexibility. Yoga is really indispensable in my life!
Why do you think some people struggle to get into yoga? Any advice?
Yes. I think that yoga has a tricky image, so that people think it’s not for them. Maybe they just haven’t found the right kind of yoga to suit them in their lives for where they’re at. There are so many different styles of yoga and types of teachers. Every day our bodies and minds feel so different. So, it’s great to spend time to really customise, bespoke how you want your yoga to be. That’s why the site is really focused on the ‘benefits’ of yoga. I’d recommend you try all the styles and teachers on the site, and see what you prefer!
Do you have a favourite yoga pose? Why do you love it?
It just depends on when. My favourite yoga thing is taking long, deep, mindful breaths when I get anxious. Poses I love are the classic, Downward Dog – it’s such a lovely anti-gravity for the back, if it’s feeling scrunched up, and great to stretch the hamstrings. I also just love to twist out all the tension from my body in a supine twist at the end of the day. Deeply relaxing.
How do people describe you?
I think that folks would say that I’m hard-working and focused, but, hopefully, that I have integrity and am kind. They’d definitely call me a countryside lover and dog lover!
What else do you do to stay fit?
I walk an awful lot in nature, every day.
What does “healthy” mean to you?
Feeling like your cells and body tingle with energy. Having that feeling of energy, vitality and happiness.
Do you have a signature dish?
I do a mean vegan dhal (that’s what I feed our teachers on shoot days!) My vegan Chilli is wonderful too, so say the teachers, and my evening staple is my vegan broccoli, tofu satay!
What do you like to wear when you do yoga? What about when you’re just lounging at home?
I often wear my PJ’s. When I’m not in my PJ’s, I’m in my organic bamboo lounge outfits. For me, comfort and the feel of fabric is so important. I like to feel that my body can breathe and move freely.
Any beauty secrets?
Feel great on the inside, and the outside will take care of itself.
Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve ever met?
One of our teachers, Andrea Kwaitkowski, and my friend, Victoria Green.
Did they give you any special advice?
These two women are true yogis. They live a life by yoga philosophy and are two of the most compassionate beings I have ever encountered. Many of the teachers on MFML, who I am lucky enough to know and be friends with, are like this. Their advice is always to love, laugh, be kind to others and always do the practice.
What does an average day look like for you?
I start with a smoothie and lemon/ginger which I take back to bed with my girls, (my two dogs). I do an hour of emails and then an hour or so of creative work. Then I do my practice in my PJ’s. Or if it’s a nice day, and in the summertime, I practise outside in the garden. I then do more ‘reactive’ work (responding to queries/emails etc). I then train Shanti, my dog – we both train a lot each day. I love positive dog training, I’m a clicker trainer and it’s wonderful for my relationship with little Shanti. I then do 2 hours of ‘proactive’ work. Which is something creative, working on projects or writing. I then walk for around 2 hours. I come back and have lunch (maybe a salad or hummus or something like that). And I’ll settle in for around 3 hours of creative, proactive work.
I take 30 minutes off to create my dinner, often a stir-fry. Then I might train or play with Shanti. In the summer months, I take another hour long walk. I come back, eat my dinner and will be able to do around 2 hours of ‘reactive work’. In the winter, I would do a Yin Yoga class in the long evenings, as a break before dinner.
What keeps you balanced?
Well, I do what I love, and that’s the most important thing, and that keeps me balanced and happy. I also do 2 or more hours of walking nature every day. If I feel exhausted because I’ve had to go into London for meetings, for example (which really depletes me), I will do yoga nidra or a restorative yoga class. I really do rely on yoga for when I’m feeling tense or my mood needs to be improved!
Do you have a personal mantra?
I have a simple mantra. Decide what to do and then do it. People often fall at the decision stage. And then they fall on the execution!!
What piece of advice would you like to pass onto our readers?
Spend quiet time with yourself, in nature and go to wild places as often as you can. Spend quality time on your own, get fully acquainted with yourself – which is what yoga is to me, an ability to get to know myself, to get comfortable with how I’m feeling. I’m able then to make better decisions in my life – because I know what I want and need in my heart of hearts, and I know how my mission can help others.
A big THANK YOU to Kat for answering our questions!
Try Movement For Modern Life with a no-commitment 14-day free trial today! This is yoga made easy.
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-Your Fabletics Team-