Ich Bin: Liz Allan, owner, Leyton Yoga

‘My second career has taught me that life and passion and work can all be one, and that service to others uplifts the mind and body’

Liz Allan is a yoga teacher with 15 years’ experience, and the owner of E10’s first dedicated Vinyasa studio, Leyton Yoga. Born in Manitoba, she grew up in Ontario, Canada, and after several years working in television production in Toronto, she moved permanently to London. Basing herself in Hackney to study fine art and yoga, she and her husband moved to Leyton from Clapton last year. Inspired by the lack of local quality space for authentic yoga practice around Waltham Forest, she opened Leyton Yoga over USSR grocers in Bakers Arms in June 2014. A small, bright and airy studio, it offers 20 drop-in classes every week.

When were you happiest?
I believe that joy is our natural state. I try to stay present and grounded in each moment and experience the world around me with a soft and open heart. I don’t always succeed – that’s why yoga is called a “practice!” As my practice evolves, I hope to find my happiest, or my most deeply contented, moments in my future.

Where would you like to live?
London is my favourite city in the world so I’m already living where I’d most like to live. That said, six months every year in India would be pretty amazing.

What is your favourite sound?
The sound of OM, the universal mantra of peace, truth and wholeness. And early Bowie.


What is your greatest life achievement?
My marriage, which nourishes and supports me. Relationships provide constant opportunities to investigate and work through our human ‘stuff,’ to listen to and serve our partner’s needs as well as our own with an open mind and a soft heart.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
I am not my body. I am not my mind.

What is your earliest memory?
Watching the solar eclipse from my back garden in Winnipeg, Canada in February 1979.

What makes you unhappy?
All unkindness is an unnecessary act of violence. And often, we are so unkind to ourselves and others.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
I would love a Pacific Social Club or Cooper & Wolf or Mouse & DeLotz style café to open on Lea Bridge Road near Markhouse Road. #LeaBridgeVillage – let’s make it happen!

What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t let guilt interfere with my pleasure.

Where do you hang out?
My local pub is the Hare and Hounds pub on Lea Bridge Road. It’s a proper pub and Reet, the fantastic landlady, makes the best vegetarian Sunday Roast in east London. We had our Leyton Yoga staff Christmas party there, and Reet’s mum made us a Gujarati vegan feast. It was one of the best meals of my life.

‘The stress of over-work is not natural.’

What’s been your best experience?
In 2005, I travelled to South India for my first yoga teacher training, at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Tamil Nadu. The country, the people, the food, the music, the philosophy – I loved it all. All of Kerala felt to me like yoga-in-action – a deep calmness surrounded by the colour and calamity of life. I also met Amma, the Hugging Mother, for the first time at her ashram in the backwaters. I felt I’d come home to my true myself.

What’s been your worst experience?
After years of relentless television production in my twenties, working superhuman hours, I collapsed into a mystery illness in 2006. Doctors disagreed on the source of my symptoms – theories ranged from Hepatitis or ME to nervous breakdown. Only months of self-care, acupuncture and yoga brought me back to health and balance. It was an enormous learning experience. And a total re-birth.

What has your career taught you?
My first career in telly was so much fun, but the experience ultimately taught me that the stress of over-work is not natural, or worth the consequences. My second career in yoga has taught me that life and passion and work can all be one, and that service to others uplifts the mind and body.

What are you working on right now?
I’m currently reading Yoga for Emotional Balance by Bo Forbes and am studying with Judith Lasater, the American Restorative Yoga expert, to deepen my understanding of how the nervous system can be soothed, and how the body, when truly rested, can naturally bring itself back into balance and health.

What did you do today?
I’m a small business owner in the first year of trading, so of course I’m working. But I also find time every day to do nothing, to rest and to be present to my inner silence.

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Find Leyton Yoga at 691 High Road Leyton (first floor above USSR), E10 6RA. Follow @LeytonYoga on Twitter.

Want to appear in this column or know someone who would be suitable? It’s entirely democratic and we hope to give everyone a voice, no matter what you do for a living. Email us: info@leytonstoner.london

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  • Show Comments

  • Naomi Costantino Taylor

    Love it!!! Wise words lady xxx

  • Sarah Rush

    Well done Liz and with you on the early Bowie 🙂 could have lived without Let’s Dance mind xx

  • Sheetal Parmar

    Brilliant! You managed to get the you I know across so well, even if that is just in yoga class x