We caught up with Eryn, founder of the new brand and concept Funk & Soul Yoga, when we first heard about what Eryn was doing we really wanted to be involved, she is bloody incredible at what she does and brings her own unique energy. We really wanted to share it with you! As we weren't in a position at the time (we hadn't launched our gymwear range) We thought this would be a really cool way to start sharing her story!
Over to Eryn.....
Hello! I’m Eryn, a Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor and owner of the brand Funk & Soul Yoga. I’m based in Manchester, UK and my main aim in life is to help people move better and feel good through exercise.
Q1. You're a PT and a Yoga instructor, which are quite different disciplines, can you tell us how you found both of them?
I have been a PT longer than a Yoga Instructor. I became a PT around 4 years ago when I was in my first year of University. I’d love to tell you why I chose to do this but I haven’t the faintest idea! I have always been into my sport, and when I was 18, I started taking the gym more seriously, lifting weights. From there, I just really liked the idea of helping other people learn about improving their fitness and weight training.
With yoga, I only became a teacher 2 years ago, I had been practising yoga since I was 16/17 (8 years now) and wanted something to add to my Personal Training. I have always loved how I felt stepping out of a yoga class, and wanted to be able to give other people that feeling. I find yoga extremely restorative, and also, noticing how many people suffered with stiff joints and inflexibility, being able to incorporate yoga into my training meant I could help others with this.
Q2. How have you found practising both has helped you vs only one (for example just yoga).
When I became a yoga teacher, I found it extremely useful already knowing about anatomy and movement. From PT, I already had a good understanding of what positions should look like, how to use certain muscles and how to adjust people in certain postures to maximise potential and deepen the stretch.
Now, when I PT my clients, I can incorporate yoga into their training if I notice they need some form of active recovery, they need to de-stress, or need something to improve flexibility. Things I wouldn’t have known if I was just a PT. One thing I will say though, sometimes it can be hard to find your place when you do two things. Although both careers are placed in the health and fitness industry, I often find myself torn, knowing which side to dedicate more time to.
Q2. You have launched your business Funk and Soul Yoga, which we love the concept! What led you to come up with such a different take on yoga?
I came up with Funk & Soul Yoga one evening when I was brainstorming ideas for a yoga brand and I wanted to incorporate an element of fun into it. At the time I was listening to James Brown and that’s where I came up with the concept.
"I wanted to create a brand that was light-hearted and didn’t take itself too seriously."
Often I think yoga can feel quite exclusive, and people are afraid to join in classes because they aren’t bendy or spiritual when this isn’t the case. I wanted my brand to highlight high spirits and inclusivity for all.
Q3. What is your goal with your business and how do you see yourself helping others?
Building a community is the most important goal I have for my business. Each week I am humbled by the same people joining in my Zoom classes without fail. These people could be going to bigger fitness brands, or more experienced yoga teachers and it honestly fills my heart each week when they choose Funk & Soul.
I want to build a community of people that want to move better, and feel good doing exercise. Some people come to my classes to improve flexibility, others just to take some time out for themselves in the day, the thing that brings us all together is yoga. I know that isn’t a specific goal, but building a community of people is my main aim, and trying to spread the word of inclusivity and fun in yoga as much as possible.
This means keeping up work online, trying to get back to regular classes once covid is over and possibly hosting some pop up events. The real aim would be to go worldwide, have the whole world try yoga the Funk & Soul way. I know that my yoga classes aren’t the most traditional form, but why do they have to be? The most important points to me are that people enjoy the class and feel good about themselves.
Q4. You inspire women daily, you are their coach, cheerleader and support, how do you keep yourself motivated and hitting your own goals? (do you set goals?)
Yes I have goals, when it comes to business, I try to write down my 6 month, 1 year and 2 year goals to keep me on track and focused. The main point I want to highlight is that I write it down, something about putting pen to paper just makes things seem a little more real.
In terms of health and fitness, I stay motivated by surrounding myself with things and people that are also in line with my goals. I actively listen to a lot of fitness podcasts, talk to a lot of people in the fitness industry and read a lot of books on business, health and wellbeing. I think it is important to surround yourself with things that help you grow, and also surround yourself with people that have similar goals, that way you can push each other.
If your looking for some great self development and mindset books to read, we've got you! Check our blog - 7 Self-Growth Books To Read This Year
Q5. Following on from the above, can you tell us about your own training and how you have found a routine that works for you?
I have to be completely honest with you first, I workout because I love exercise, it isn’t usually a chore for me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have off days and times where I can’t be bothered, however it does mean that staying fit and healthy is easier for me than it may be for other people that don’t enjoy exercise as much.
I usually try to workout in the morning, I have found before even eating breakfast is best for me. If I get it done in the morning then I have no time to make any excuses later on and nothing can get in the way. I usually tend to do x4 weight sessions a week, with a mix of cycling, running and yoga in-between. In terms of routine, I tend to usually go off how my body is feeling. Because I don’t have a particular goal at the moment, I do what feels right for my body that day. If I’m full of energy I’ll run a bit further, if I’m tired I’ll stick to a more restorative yoga class.
That being said, I am about to start with my own PT in the coming weeks, so we will see that relaxed training programme go straight out of the window! Even I need someone else to help push me that little bit further sometimes.
Q6. Can you pass on any juicy tips and advice around training that you’ve learnt along the way? (you might have answered this above already, if so just skip this one!)
I have one VERY IMPORTANT piece of advice for anyone training, do something you enjoy. Of course it’s going to be hard going for a run x3 a week if you despise running. So, choose something else.
I think a lot of us have the perception that we have to do certain things because we have been told that they are going to be the best thing to ‘get us in shape’, or ‘tone up’.
But they aren’t if you don’t enjoy it and therefore can’t commit to it. If you need to increase your cardio, why not join a netball team? Or take up any sport that you enjoy, it doesn’t have to be standing on a treadmill for an hour.
Q7. Eryn, we love what you are doing and your positive message about health and fitness, as a professional in the industry, what things do you come up against that you would like to see change for the better?
I would really like to see females being taken a little more seriously in the fitness industry. Of course not all, but there are a lot of women in the industry that are used to sell ‘booty programmes’ and ‘slimming supplements’ using their bodies. Of course, I think you should embrace your body and flaunt it however and whenever you want, but I think there needs to be more focus on other things that women bring to the fitness industry.
There are so many female Physiotherapists, Personal Trainers, Nutritionist etc that provide us with so much useful content, however they aren’t given enough praise for the work they do. This needs to change, we need to see women being taken seriously in the health and fitness industry.
Q8. The fitness industry, especially online, puts out ALOT of mixed messages, what bad advice do you commonly see that you would like to address and change?
I think for the most part, it’s great that so many people want to help those around them get fit, social media is fantastic for that. For me, I’d love to see more emphasis on messages surrounding improving people’s mental and physical health, rather than getting in shape to look good.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be fitter in-order to look better, feeling good about yourself is essential for your mental health. However, most messages online regarding health and fitness are targeted on physical looks, e.g, getting abs, big biceps or a bigger bum. Whilst all of these things are good, staying fit to reduce chances of cardiovascular disease, building strength to reduce chances of osteoporosis are all important messages that get lost online.
Q9. Working for yourself can be a challenge to stay motivated, when you feel stressed, overwhelmed or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
I am stressed A LOT. But, for the most part, it’s a good balance of stress that drives me to keep going. One of the main things that drives me over the edge is trying to juggle too many things at once and becoming overwhelmed.
When this happens, I find it best to take a step back, look over all of the things that I am doing and pinpoint the things that are the most important, and things that I can take a step back from. It can be easy to become a busy fool, therefore sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture and accept that sometimes you need to remove one thing in your life in-order to fulfill another area.
The thing that keeps me running smoothly on a regular basis is lists. I write a list every morning before work and without those lists, I’d be a jumbled heap on the floor. The key is not to give yourself too many tasks, do this and you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Q10. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
The biggest investment for me was creating the physical studio for Funk & Soul and renting a shipping container just outside of MCR city centre. Although the studio didn’t last much more than 3 months as a result of covid-19, the idea would never have been born without the shipping container.
I never would have had the guts to open a studio in a bigger property, or somewhere with a longer contract. Opening the studio in a shipping container gave me the chance to build a brand, learn how to start a business and grow from there. I may not have the shipping container now, but the brand certainly hasn’t died, if anything, it has given it the opportunity to grow even more.
Q11. What is the best business/mindset book or resource you have read that you would recommend?
Last year I read a book called ‘Essentialism’ by Greg Mckeown and there was one sentence that stuck with me, “If it isn’t a clear yes, then it is a clear no”. From here, something just clicked and a phrase that was so simple changed my whole outlook on life and business.
The book is all about focusing on the right things in life, not about doing more, and many of us make mistakes in this sector. There is a common myth that because you’re doing a lot then it means you’re doing the right things, and this just isn’t true.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone that needs a bit of a life/business clear out as it will help you to uncover the things you want to keep, and the parts of your life/business that are making you a busy fool.
Q12. If you had a giant billboard that you could write anything on for everyone to see, what would it say?
I recently came across a Japanese concept called ‘Oubaitori’, meaning that like flowers, humans grow in their own way, in their own time. I just think that should really resonate with all of us, stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, your journey is happening how it should be. So, I’d just have the word
on a billboard, this way everyone could discover this beautiful concept for themselves.
Huge thank you to Eryn for some incredible tips and advice!!! If you fancy trying out one of her online yoga classes or want to know more about Eryn and her brand Funk & Soul Yoga and give her some support, make sure you check you her links below:
book a class : https://www.funkandsoulyoga.co.uk/book-a-class
insta : @funkandsoulyoga
insta : @erynbarber