Sitting on level 24 of the Shard, looking out over London whilst the summer sun was gleaming on the buildings with trains coming and going from London Bridge Station, The Sybarite sat with Leo Lourdes, the co-founder of the phenomenally popular Yogasphere.
“Every human being has done yoga, we all started in our mother’s womb in the foetal position”.
Yogasphere begun with Leo’s quest within himself to delve deeper into his Asian heritage, after growing up with one foot in each continent and feeling displaced in both. Leo attended a local yoga class, and something aligned within him. His exploration into how yoga and the Indian philosophy can help us in the modern world we now live, had begun. Being inspired by Iyengar’s yoga voyage, the strength of his Mother who taught him to love, and the courage seen throughout Indra Devi’s journey, Leo drew on these feelings to create and grow Yogasphere to over 30,000 clients worldwide. Leo is building a community who are truly benefiting from his ethos and teachings.
Yogasphere and its boundlessness are helping the planet through their partnership with ‘Trees for the Future’, planting 10 trees for every class attended, 50 trees for each one to one session, and 1,000 trees per individual on a retreat. Discussing ways in which we can help the planet, Leo states, “Ecology is something we can all agree on”. Yogasphere’s intentions are in helping the mind, body and spirit whilst providing for the planet; in my mind there isn’t a more beautiful ethos for a company than providing a mindfulness movement for the planet and its people.
Referring to The Shard as an ‘Urban Mountain’, Leo explained why this building was originally chosen for Yogasphere’s beginning, for both sunrise and daytime classes. This interesting phrase resonated as we spoke about the building being built from 95% recycled material, being a symbiosis between East and West. Being the tallest in the skyline, this mirrors the time when this was true of church spires, mosques, and other religious buildings. The Shard itself has become a beacon within London for tourism and business, and now for Yogaspheres’s ever-growing community.
As conversation turned to how Leo’s classes at the Shard offer a unique perspective of London and facilitate yogis to enter a meditative headspace, the heavens opened, and the thunderstorms begun. It was beautiful to watch, as if the change of weather was emulating our conversation around the shift that occurs within oneself through the practice of yoga. And just like that, the clouds parted, and a stunning rainbow appeared over the City of London. This was the moment where I truly understood the intention behind Leo’s venue choice for Yogasphere’s classes. Whilst having an alternative perspective on our beautiful city, it’s also true that on the ground we may feel a lack of space both physically and mentally. Yogasphere’s classes throughout London offer a safe space, not only physically with an inspiring and extraordinary view, but mentally, providing space for practice, for mindfulness and to learn. Classes also happen around London in other locations including the Gherkin, Regents Park and Bond Street.
With Leo’s warming and welcoming nature, discussion flowed onto how individuals can practice yoga teachings in our day to day lives. Leo provided some tips to enable clarity, balance and mindfulness on the matt, as well as off the matt. The first was to always be present and stop escaping; from our jobs, relationships, decisions we make, Leo stated “the solution is never in escaping, you always take you with you”. The second lesson was to always leave with gratitude, “whether that be leaving a relationship, difficult situation, having a tough conversation, a job, there is always a lesson to learn and to take forward with a sense of appreciation.” Thirdly, Leo detailed the importance of being present. “Do sensory based activities; order food that you like and take time to chew it, go swimming and feel the water on your skin, come to yoga and stay longer in the Savasana pose, these will all help you to be present in the moment.”
Another facet of Leo’s growing business are the unique retreats Yogasphere provide around the world to enable connection: with each other, with yourself and with the environment. These handpicked, stunning locations have included The Maldives, Himalayas, Morocco and Bali, and offer a bespoke service; a variety of exclusive clients such as Oprah, Elle McPherson and Tom Daley have all given glowing testimonials. Leo offers a truly valuable experience. Providing an exciting journey to exclusive handpicked destinations, yoga sessions, sharing’s, fantastic food and meaningful experiences, the whole focus is on you. To reflect, learn and be true to yourself. Connecting to the exquisite and unique nature of each location, focus remains on your mind, body, and soul. These retreats offer the tools required to practice reflection, yoga and clarity once you have returned home. Leo provides a learning experience, to return to yourself.
Leo’s personal vision is to organically grow Yogasphere to have a more global presence, to become a vehicle to inspire people to enter the wellbeing space. Through inspiring classes, bespoke retreats and a growing portfolio of specialised products, partnered with the fact that the business is growing from a place of love and sheer passion, I see the business doing just that.
To find out more about Yogasphere’s retreats and classes, visit the website at www.yogasphere.eu, or find them on Instagram @yogasphereuk.