As part of our Wellness Wednesday series, London Living’s Editor Katharine interviewed Jayne Ellis founder of HighTimes Yoga, a Kundalini Yoga & Meditation studio based in the heart of Covent Garden that also hosts events and sound healing experiences throughout London.
Jayne’s journey began in 2011 when she discovered the life-changing power of Kundalini yoga and meditation. She witnessed this ancient technology positively transform her own life and now, is excited to be sharing the wisdom of Kundalini yoga and CBD products with a crystal sound bath this Saturday (20th July) at the Truman Brewery.
Can you tell us a little bit about this weekend’s CBD and kundalini event, talk us through the day and your inspiration for it?
The Beauty Run Deep event is an exploration into inner beauty, deeper than just the external beauty we so often focus on. We will explore how to activate your inner beauty and expand radiant energy naturally.
The afternoon will kick start with Graces London founder Shiona Redmond explaining how CBD enhances inner balance and harmony via our skins own receptors. Graces London will also provide CBD samples for those attending to try out for themselves. This will be followed by a Kundalini yoga set to increase the flow of energy in the body, stimulate the skin’s glow and activate radiance from within. The afternoon will end with a deeply relaxing sound bath with the Crystal Bowls which accelerates cell renewal and brings the entire system into harmony.
There has been a lot in the press lately re. the benefits of CBD – can you tell us a little about that. Why should we use CBD products?
CBD extracts can be absorbed through the epidermis layers of the skin to interact with cannabinoid receptors located on skins surface cells. Products can range from CBD skincare oils, body balms, bath bombs, face masks plus many more! With the skin being the largest organ of the human body, what we put on our skin can not only affect the skin, but it can have long lasting effects on our health and general wellbeing. Skin issues are most often a surface manifestation of a deeper condition among the natural systems of the human body.
CBD is a cannabinoid, but what does that mean? We all have cannabinoid receptors within the body. Theses ‘cannabinoid receptors’ (known as the Endocannabinoid System/ECS) is a regulatory system responsible for a whole heap of skin, health and wellness benefits.
Being one of the largest receptor systems located in the body the main purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to create balance. In technical terms to create homeostasis. “Homeostasis is created when all internal systems of the body our working in synergy with each other to promote Balance.
The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the central and peripheral nervous system and immune system. Receptors are also located throughout the body, including receptors on the skin cells, in the gut, reproductive organs and even the brain.
The ECS was only discovered in the early 1970’s and is one of the largest biological systems located in the human body. It has been noted as one of the most important physiologic systems involved in maintaining our health and balance. It is a self-regulatory system in charge of the human body temperature, PH balance, appetite stimulant, pain management amongst more. Research and studies on the endocannabinoid system have never been so exciting!
Why is CBD often paired with yoga classes?
Yoga has the same effect on the body as CBD! Yoga uses postures, breathwork and mantra to create an inner balance and internal harmony. It has been proven than Cannabinoid receptors can increase by up to 42% when you sing – in Kundalini Yoga we work with mantra a lot! And, depending on the set we may chant for 11 or 22 mins! Coupled with the powerful sound and the pure vibrations of the crystal bowls the entire system vibrates in harmony, symmetry and balance.
You seem to have a great following in terms of your kundalini classes. What is Kundalini? How is this different to other yoga practices?
Kundalini yoga works with our own kundalini energy which for most people remains dormant at the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga awakens this energy, once awakened our fears, stories, attachments and blockages clear and we are able to experience a life of filled with our highest possibilities.
I often describe Kundalini as clearing away the layers we have accumulated during our life/lives so that the diamond which exists within all of us can glow!
Kundalini is very different to others forms of yoga, it’s a Raj yoga, a royal yoga which has kingly powers – its effect can be felt deeply and quickly – regardless of experience.
Unlike other forms we practice with the eyes closed – this is so we can develop a deeper connection to the inner self.
Also, you don’t have to be flexible to practice Kundalini yoga – anyone can do kundalini yoga regardless of their age, fitness or experience.
It’s so much fun. One minute your deep breathing, the next your dancing and then chanting – we do some crazy stuff in Kundalini and it’s rare you’ll get the chance to do the same Kundalini set (or kriya) twice. It’s never boring!!
Could you tell us something about your journey to becoming a teacher and what you did before that?
In my 20s and 30s I worked in very competitive environments – including Channel 4 and British ELLE.
At that time from the outside my life was reasonably successful – I had a good job, friends, partner etc – and I had no reason to feel unhappy, unfulfilled and numb to my own joy … but I did.
It was whilst working on ELLE I was sent to write about a new yoga retreat. It was a Kundalini yoga retreat and it blew my mind … that was 10 years ago! Consequently, I passionately attended every class I could find – in those days there were very few. Every year I looked forward to going to a Kundalini retreat. I realised that when I did Kundalini I felt something I had longed to feel all my life … loved!
I felt secure and connected to a power greater than any job, boyfriend or flash handbag had ever given me. I got the call to become a teacher and it’s truly transformed my life, I can honestly say every day feels like a Saturday.
So exciting that your classes are above neals yard treatment rooms. Neals yard is such a beautiful brand. How did you become involved with them?
Pure divine guidance, a friend introduced me to the manager and she loved what I did and HighTimes was born. I really believe we were guided to create a sanctuary in the centre of crazy London!
Any other beauty and wellness tips that you think would be helpful for our London Living readers?
Kundalini!!! You just fall in love with yourself. Try the Kundalini set to be Enchantingly Beautiful for 40 days. Again Kundalini sets to for healthy digestion and elimination
Water, water, water too! I know it’s boring but it works.
Walk everywhere you can and whilst you are doing so think beautiful thoughts – outward to everything and everyone.
Imagine yourself very beautiful, very radiant, very graceful – practice this until you believe it and feel it!!!
I also read about your sound healing. Could you explain what that is. Did you have to do training? What are the benefits?
Sound is a great healing tool. The Crystal Bowls release sound waves which resonate with our brainwaves’ own alpha state – in this state not only are we able to relax deeply but we are more receptive to healing, our intuitive and creative channels open and our cellular repair accelerates.
The bowls are made from pure crystal, so they release pure tones – our entire human DNA is crystalline in structure, so we receive the transmissions of the crystal bowls easily.
My set of 7 bowls, work on the entire Endocrine system – which is important, not only for our health and vitality but also our fertility and sense of connection in the world. And if that wasn’t enough each bowl have been infused with a healing mineral, precious gem or metal ( eg Apophylite, Palladium, Platinum) which brings the receiver a deeply healing element
I trained with Yantara Jiro and I am a certified sound healer.
Why do you think wellness is suddenly becoming such a huge buzz word and so importance to people, especially Londoners?
I think that people now realise wellness is not something we can just expect to feel. As a species we are becoming more sensitive and feelings of disharmony are becoming harder to ignore – often showing up as insomnia, anxiety and depression … and we are more aware that this means something is off balance in a lifestyle.
Now there are so many ways to rebalance, harmonise and come back to your optimum state especially in London, that people are not only open to wellness they know the long term damage living without it can cause.
We have to recognise there has been so much change over the last decade – often in cities more so than anywhere else – the way we live today is so different to any previous generations. We have more information, external noise and messages that our parents, our grandparents etc, ever did!
In addition, many of the old systems which instructed our lives and how we should live have been eroded – and this means we have to find new ways of being and living, which can feel scary uncertain and unclear. In London there is too much rushing around too much technology, too much social media and this has led to anxiety, insomnia and loneliness. Londoners are seeking ways to feel better inside – and many are recognising that connection to internal power is greater than anything external! 5 years ago I don’t believe I would have made such a statement.
What is next for High Times yoga – any other events ?
I’m so excited for the HighTimes retreat in Ibiza this September – we still have some spaces available, make sure to check out our website to find out more!
We have a once a month Friday night Full-Moon specials in Camden – where we do some of the crazier Kundalini sets -our next one is on the 30th August.
Sunday 4th August is our one off Sunday afternoon special, Kundalini yoga journey to the soul and expand your vibrational frequency. Urban Souls is also on the 4th August – this session includes major sound healing.
Finally, an exclusive for you! Not yet announced but world-renowned Kundalini teacher and singer Siri Sadana Kaur will be hosting a special dance mantra and gong workshop for the HighTimes community … date to be announced watch this space!!
Finally, what are your favourite places for chill out and down time in London?
I love Hamsptead Heath – trees are everything! They always make me feel good.
I also love walking by the canals from Regents Park to Little Venice.
My current favourite place is Kings Cross – such a beautiful mix of eclectic people, architecture, I love the water, the open space and great vibrations!!!
My favourite product is the neals yard almond oil. I use it every day! What are your personal favourite beauty products – neals yard and others?
I can’t go anywhere without Neals Yard organic lavender – very good for my tube travels – quick inhale and I instantly feel calm and serene. During my time at ELLE I was very lucky to try so many beauty products that were gifted to me but interestingly enough my skin likes very simple products. I swear by high grade Allegan oil and Graces London CBD Boby Balm – and ALWAYS double cleanse!
Location: The Truman Brewery, F Block SF, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL