“I never set out to create a business,” says Annie Clarke, the creative force behind Mind Body Bowl, an online lifestyle and wellbeing platform where the yoga teacher, foodie, speaker, and author inspires readers to “connect to their own sense of balance” with recipe ideas, positive thoughts, and natural alternatives to everyday foods and products.
“When it comes to our minds and our bodies’ physiology, I’m a real believer in individuality. What might feel good to one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other – whether that’s food, exercise, meditation, or learning. For that reason, Mind Body Bowl is about stepping away from prescriptive ideas of what is means to be ‘healthier’ or ‘well’, and opening the door to a more holistic, personalised approach to wellbeing.”
In addition to hosting regular retreats and yoga classes everywhere from the UK to Thailand, Annie released her first book earlier this year. Also titled Mind Body Bowl, the book explores the idea of non-prescriptive advice through three ‘pillars of wellbeing.’ ‘Mind explores how we can use breath, meditation, yoga, and other practices to calm our minds, ‘body’ considers how we can discover the best style of exercise to suit our bodies and ‘bowl’ provides recipes that explore the benefits of natural foods to heal inflammation. “By linking the mind and body practises together and applying some small changes, I believe it’s possible to set yourself on the path to wellness and greater happiness,” she says.
Although she only started blogging two years ago, the entrepreneur emphasises the importance of not rushing towards achievement. “Life and work shouldn’t be about being the first to do something, but rather about doing things well and with authenticity. When thinking about career or business targets, we often put pressure on ourselves to meet certain goals within specific timescales. With whatever it is you’re setting out to do, there will always be uncertainties and unexpected things cropping up that will interfere with where you want to be. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you’re failing or have failed, instead it probably just means you’re learning a lot along the way.”
When it came to starting her business, her biggest lesson was gathering the confidence to start. “My number one piece of advice for someone thinking about creating something is: Don’t be scared to take a leap of faith in fear that you might fail.”
Annie also emphasises the value of a supportive community. “I’m very grateful for the the guidance and support I’ve received. It’s really important to have people around you that you can talk to – for brainstorming, sound boarding, taking your mind off work when you need to relax, and for hugs and laughs along the way. When building my team, I’ve learned to recognise my weaknesses and recruit others who can support me in those areas, rather than hiring people with the same strengths just to lighten the load.”
Despite her success, it’s the relationships she’s built along that way that she’s most proud of. “I realise I should probably say that [my biggest achievement is] publishing my book, but in all honesty, every time I know that I have truly connected to someone through my work, in class, in writing or online is when I feel most proud.”
You can follow Annie on Instagram at @Mind_Body_Bowl. Her book is available here.