Q&A with Battersea Yoga founder Angus Ford-Robertson

23 October 2017 by
First published: 31 January 2016

Q&A with Battersea Yoga founder Angus Ford-Robertson

WHL caught 5 with Battersea Yoga founder Angus Ford-Robertson to discover how his life has changed since taking up yoga.

What was your job before you pursued a career in yoga?

I worked for nearly 10 years in magazine publishing, as promotions director at IPC media for the 17 men’s titles – including Loaded and NME.

When did you try your first yoga class and how did it come about?

At a Canon’s gym. It recall it happened by accident. I thought I was attending a cardio class, but ended up in the wrong studio. By the time I realised, it was too late to leave. That ‘mistake’ changed my whole life…

What prompted you to make such a drastic career change?

Truthfully, I was very unhappy with my life, my job, my stress levels. Despite everything looking super-rosy on the outside, I was utterly miserable on the inside. So I decided one day that I had to take radical action. I could see that if I didn’t change, things were only going to get much worse!

Why do you think yoga and mindfulness have become so popular in the last few years?

Because yoga and meditation are the perfect antidotes to our rising stress levels; the deadlines, the pressures, the expectations. We get lost in our heads, when what we desperately need is to come back to our senses. Yoga and meditation provide that path back to balance.

What would you say to those who are skeptical about taking up yoga?

Be skeptical for as long as you like, but notice where it gets you (nowhere!). I was the greatest skeptic ever about yoga – and I suffered a lot of unnecessary stress as a consequence. It was only when I got over myself and actually practiced yoga regularly that I understood its magical power.

How has yoga changed your body?

I can honestly say I feel better in my body now (at 47) than I ever did as a 20-something. Flexibility, core strength and stamina are the main physical benefits. But it’s on the mental/emotional levels that the biggest effects can be felt.

How has yoga changed your mind state?

Beyond all recognition; I was a ‘stress head’ back in my publishing days. I was no stranger to panic attacks and depression. Now, having been free from all of that for 15 years, I hardly recognise myself. I love my life, I enjoy having purpose and direction and almost never feel anxious. 

Describe your typical daily routine when you were working for Loaded.

I would rather not. But if you really want to know, think late starts, black coffee, beer, meetings, more coffee, endless launch parties full of aspiring models and pop stars, sleeping under desks in the office because you didn’t make it home (seriously). And repeat. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great highs, but in the end it was a rather predictable cliché – just like you might imagine of a men’s magazine.

Describe your typical daily routine now.

I have no set routine now – almost every week is different, and certainly every month there is new challenge as I teach retreats around the world; in Zambia, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Thailand, Sri Lanka. I feel so blessed to have work I love, work that takes me around the world. Plus, of course, I run the Battersea Yoga‘s beautiful Kite Yard Studio in London SW11, which has a whole bunch of interesting classes seven days a week, year round. So there is always something new going on.

What do you predict for yoga in the next few years? Is there a new trend coming?

Yoga will grow and grow over the next 10 years, as stress levels rise and demand for relaxation/spirituality increases. But I predict that the market will fragment and become more specialised. The big, ‘one-size-fits-all’ gyms of old are on their way out; they cannot offer the depth of teaching and personal attention that smaller studios offer. The new trend is for smaller, boutique yoga studios, with specialist teachers offering outstanding classes.

Want more? Discover why you should go to Yoga Connects festival or check out our article on Bhuti Cafe.

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Q&A with Battersea Yoga founder Angus Ford-Robertson
Discover more about the yoga guru’s lifestyle transformation in this Q&A with Battersea Yoga founder Angus Ford-Robertson