Jan 03, 2018 | By Sandra Halliday
As Active Director at WGSN I enjoy the opportunity to catch up with other active fans. On a recent trip to work with a high profile fitness brand I met up with yoga teacher Cat Meffan. Post event we caught up and talked about key wellness trends, what self care means for the industry and the rise of active influencers.
Check out the full interview below:
Tell me about your Imperfect Matter blog. How did it come about and what’s the story behind the name?
Imperfect Matter will be 5-years-old in February 2018! I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for so long. It started as a way to motivate myself to get back into fitness. I did gymnastics and dancing from a young age, but after having a knee reconstruction and being told I wouldn’t be able to follow my dreams as a professional dancer I got out of sync with what fitness meant to me. After a few years spent punishing myself with eating disorders and a general lack of self-love, I knew something needed to change. Imperfect Matter was created to motivate me and, in doing so, has hopefully motivated and inspired many others on their fitness, wellness, mental health, yoga and self-love journey. Life isn’t perfect and that’s what Imperfect Matter is all about. The matter of being very much an imperfect human in a world where everyone is striving for perfection.
At WGSN, we’ve been tracking the importance of connecting with nature as an important part of wellness and mental health for some seasons now. It’s something that you talk a lot about in your sessions and on your Imperfect Matter blog. Is this something that’s evolved organically for you? And what does it bring to your wellbeing?
My parents have been taking me on walking holidays in the UK since I was born, so being in the great outdoors has very much been part of my whole life. When I was going through school I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now… at 15-years-old, hiking through cow pat in rainy Wales isn’t the most glamorous holiday to tell your friends about! Now though, I’m so grateful to my parents for making me get out there and breathe in the fresh air. It’s a huge part of my wellness routine now, going on mindful walks when things get a bit much. I also plan hiking holidays with my partner, so we can appreciate this epic world we live in and I made the decision to live outside of London, where the countryside is right on my doorstep. Being outdoors (that doesn’t include being outside, but staring at your phone!) gives me clarity of mind and helps my body to feel at ease. I’m forever in awe of what our world/mother nature has created, so it reminds me that I’m part of something much bigger than my own issues.
According to recent research in Australia fitness bloggers are now overtaking celebrities as role models for teenage girls. Why do you think that is? Are there responsibilities that come with that status?
There are most definitely responsibilities that come with such a status. Fortunately for me, I knew a world before social media, so I am very aware that it is not the be-all and end-all in life. A lot of young women see something that their favourite blogger is doing or promoting and will instantly give it a try. This is why as bloggers we have to be SO careful and true to ourselves when it comes to working with brands. I see celebrities promoting things that claim to aid weight loss just by sticking something on your tummy and it honestly makes me sick. Think of the girls who might believe that. As a blogger, you have to be doing this job because you’re passionate about it and not for the money.
In the Imperfect Matter blurb you describe yourself as ‘a yoga-teaching health and fitness blogger with a passion for active living and snazzy leggings!’
Who are your go-to active brands? And is there one piece of kit (apparel or non-apparel) you couldn’t live without?
Gosh, this is a tough question! You’ll know from my Instagram that I love so many brands. Right now I’m loving P.E. Nation, Alo Yoga and Free People. In terms of something I couldn’t be without, that would have to be a pair of high waisted black leggings. I recently did a video of my top 5 black leggings, so if anyone is keen to know my favourites, here it is:
We had some interesting chats about hybrid yoga trends – everything from goat yoga, to nude yoga and even beer yoga. What’s your take on them? Are the good or bad? Fads? Why do you think there are so many?
It’s a tricky one. I’m all for making yoga fun, as I do think some styles of yoga come across as a little elitist even though that is absolutely not their aim. I love that some of the new trends will bring people to yoga who otherwise might never have found the practice, but then at the same time I do think that the message of yoga is lost in some of these trends. Yoga is a physical practice, but more than that, it teaches us about who we are and how we can be the best version of ourselves in day to day life.
Are there any alternative yoga/wellness practices you’ve come across?
There are a few places that do a nightclub style yoga practice which I’ve heard people say is a lot of fun. I think there will be more places like Morning Gloryville opening up next year. Also SUP yoga is on the rise. It’s been popular for a while, but I think it’s going to keep growing. Aside from yoga I’m really into bouldering, which again I think will get even more popular in 2018.
Finally, somehow and albeit with a lot of help, you got me to do a headstand. I am now determined to master this alone so what are your top tips?
You did so well! Top tips would be to strengthen the core and to just spend a few breaths in that upside-down position with your head on the floor, pushing up through the shoulders. Keeping the feet down, just work on walking the feet in as far as possible in order to get the hips above the shoulders. Working on opening up the hamstrings will help too.
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