Finding Inner Peace in Inner North London

Written by: Violet Myers

I’m late for work, it’s raining and half the human race is in my god-fucking-shitting way, yeah you heard me! My hands are screwed up into fists and that cheeky bitch and her stupid fucking guide dog just cut me off, I audibly swear at a blind woman. What has happened to me? When did I become so tense?

London has a way of turning even the calmest of people into power walking maniacs. Even Gandhi himself would resort to aggressive shoving tactics after 2 hours on a rail replacement bus, so what hope do the rest of us have of calming down and chilling out? Our lives are a mess of beeping phones and flashing cameras, is it even achievable to have a little inner peace in London?

I decided to see if the realms of possibility could be stretched to allow for the holy grail – maintaining a calm body and mind in one of the world’s most stressed out cities. I spent one week sampling the different therapies on offer in North London in a plight to find the secret to inner peace.

Yoga by Yoga One Crouch End North London Magazine, Finsbury Park, Haringey, Islington, Hackney, Holistic therapy.

Yoga – One Yoga London

We’re all familiar with the ‘downward dog’, the ‘upward dog’ and in my case the ‘Lassie! Go get help!’ But only having practised yoga in stinking sports hall, ommms regularly interrupted by badminton practise next door, One Yoga London is a serene luxury a stress head could get used to. 
We all know that yoga can help you reach your toes, add a new dimension to the bedroom and get you on the way to a better butt, but how is it going to get me on the way to inner peace?

“I think what it really does is remind you to slow down. To connect with your breath and remind yourself you have a body. It’s a great tool to get out of the busyness of the mind, to settle into a more relaxed and present state of being, to be more present.”
Meditation North London Magazine, Finsbury Park, Haringey, Islington, Hackney, Holistic therapy.

Says Eleonora who has been running One Yoga London with her partners Belle and Holly since September 2015.

The session is an hour long, it’s challenging, humbling and surprisingly sweaty but lying there in a lovely little thing called a ‘Shavasana’ (yoga lingo for sweaty floor nap) my mind is still, slow and dare I say… peaceful?

Contact Eleonora Ramsby Herrera for more info about One Yoga London


Reiki – Reiki with Mamta

Reiki originates from Japan and, apart from the use of hands somehow being involved, that is all I knew prior to my Reiki session with Mamta.

“What i’m doing by placing my hands on your body is helping you make a connection with the universal life force energy”

reiki holistic therapy holloway, north london magazine, inner peace, haringey, finsbury park, stroud green, hackney, islington

Says Mamta, who has been practising Reiki for fifteen years. The sessions usually last about an hour and are an incredibly still and peaceful experience. It takes a while, but after a few minutes I physically feel my body relax and I finally stop running through my weekly schedule, I quit planning what I’m having for lunch and finally stop trying to remember the lyrics to the ‘Round the Twist’ theme tune. Could this be the beginning of inner peace?

“I feel peace is about being centred and still, not being pulled in all directions from life. Being anxious about the future or the past can pull us in different directions, so Reiki by its nature is balancing, it is a connection to the source. It helps us be at more at peace.”

Mamta is based in Highbury. Click here for more info about Reiki with Mamta.

Mindfulness – Mindfulness with Catherine
The roots of mindful meditation goes back as far as 2500 years but has had a surge of interest in the last few years, with people such as Ruby Wax swearing to it’s effectiveness into treating depression and other mental illness.

Catherine teaches 8 week courses in the practise:

“Mindfulness helps us to return to the preset moment by simply shifting our awareness without being caught up in unhelpful thought, emotions and judgments”

Catherine shared with me a five minute mindful practise to do at home, it involved sitting quietly alone and focusing attention on different body parts and increasing awareness of the body. Although my mind was tempted to drift, It’s surprisingly effective and I feel more focused for the rest of the day.

“Our lives are often frantic, confusing and stressful. With mindfulness we become calmer and more open and able to respond to our daily life. We can be more mindful in our everyday lives by noticing our sensations in the moment, bringing our awareness to focus on the present rather than what might or could or did happen before.”

Catherine is based in Chalk Farm and her upcoming course starts in April.

Meditation – The North London Buddhist Centre
The practise of sitting in a quiet room, eyes closed blocking out the outside world has been practised by tired new mothers and fathers everywhere. Famously relaxing with endless health benefits, meditation is to inner peace what tequila is to hangovers.

I attend an afternoon session at Holloway Road’s North London Buddhist Centre and although expecting some sort of gentle voiced monk to float in on a lotus leaf, a robust middle aged Scottish man with a thick accent leads the practise. First he goes into detail as to what we should expect in the hour, before guiding us through a meditation aimed to strengthen empathy. He encourages us to focus on people in our lives, including individuals who we dislike in order to better understand them and their place in the world. The practise is much harder than I expect, my mind continuously drifts.

“I’m surprised how often I drift off into sleep, waking loudly with a slight shriek and ultimately disturbing the rest of the class.”

But as the session goes on, I slowly manage to focus. I’m told later that Meditation can take years to master, but the effort is more than worth it.
So what have I learned following my week of searching for inner peace? That meditation is a lot harder than it looks and that yoga is about more than just standing on one leg and looking smug? Yes, that having a stranger place her hands on your face is both predictably strange though oddly calming? All true. But what has really struck me, having been repeated time and time again in all these very different practises is this; in order to regain a little peace we must learn to focus on living in the moment and being totally present. A task so much easier said than done.

It’s so tempting to regret the past and worry about the future, to be thinking about a thousand other things at any waking moment. However, be it Mindfulness, Reiki, Meditation or Yoga each practise teaches us to slow down, take a breath and truly recognise how it feels to be alive right now. The simple habit of sitting quietly alone or attending one of these classes or sessions allows us to reconnect with a sense of immediacy we often lose touch with in our modern lives. It may take a while to master, we may never totally manage it, but the mere attempt to connect with the moment could be the secret to inner peace.


Photos: Top four images by Claire Holly Davies / header image by Spirit- Fire

North Four, North London magazine, pop up space, stoke newington, hire, north london, bar, food, restaurant
Eat & Drink Lifestyle

Listen Up Pop Ups, Stokey Space Wants You

Got a supper club, guinea pig cafe, unicorn tears cocktail pop up? Stoke Newington wants it. Luckily a cafe close to Columbia Road has the space you’ve been looking for all along. Probably. Think exposed bricks, boutique lighting and tiled counters, like you’ve just stumbled off a long haul flight and ended up in a trendy Brooklyn coffee house.

North Four, North London magazine, kerb food, street food collective, kings cross, granary square, food festival, foodies, vegan
Eat & Drink

Great British Veg Off: Vegan Street Food Battle

“I’m on the veg… of reeeeason” Sang Lady Gaga, whilst cavorting around a staircase in shorts. The very same can be said of Kerb Street Food’s latest event organisers. The amount of quality vegetarian food stalls they’ve gathered together for us is teetering on the unreasonable. It’s not fair on our stomachs, nor on our eyes that are bigger than said stomachs.

Stroud Green, Tavia Davies, Bike, Cycling, North London, Davies & Davies Estate Agents

Love Local: Stroud Green on Film

What’s it really like to live in North London gem Stroud Green? This short film gives you a glimpse into local life. See if you can spot yourself on Stroud Green's streets; walking your dog, buying bananas from the fruit and veg shop, cheering to a bad joke over a pint outside The Worlds End...

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington town hall, hackney council, maintenance, budget, proposed changes, refurbishments

Have Your Say: What Would You Do With Stoke Newington Town Hall?

Ever walked past Stokey Town Hall and thought, oh the things I’d do with that space. What would you do exactly, if you had the chance to take over? It’s a question we’ve often asked ourselves. Well now Hackney Council are finally asking us. Residents and business owners in the surrounding areas are being consulted on their draft proposals.

North Four, North London magazine, Telemachy, Camden Fringe, play, theatre

Beyond The Binary: Steps Toward Gender Neutrality

Sadiq Khan’s decision to change London underground announcements from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ to gender neutral greetings might have seemed like an obvious, positive step in the right direction. Unfortunately the news was met with some resistance and negativity. Some saw it as an attack against gender, deeming it ‘pathetic’, unnecessary and even ‘demeaning’. Presumably that affectionate term, Snowflake was also bandied around for good measure.

North Four, North London magazine, tube, underground, travel, underground, mind the gap, commute, lifestyle article

Small Toon Girl: The Pissy Commute

I'd had a bad day, so I thought reading the Slimming World magazine while eating a family-sized bag of crisps would help. This was the day I realised London was ridiculous. And it had rubbed off on me. I started out the day wet. Wet in my cute summer dress with a raincoat on top. It was July, pissing it down. But hot, very hot.

North Four, North London magazine, london queer fashion show, hackney, fashion, showhouse, fashion designers
Culture Lifestyle

Beyond The Binary: London Queer Fashion Show

Beyond The Binary is our mini series breaking down gender norms and exploring queer theory through events and interviews. We're kicking things off with an explosion of fashion, identity and expression. This September it’s London Queer Fashion Show. LQFS showcases the greatest new talent from people who know that ‘gender exists beyond the binary’, that clothing doesn't take male or female forms.

North Four, North London magazine, espresso martini, espressotini festival, coffee, caffeinated, bar, cocktail
Eat & Drink Events

It’s The ‘No More Sleepy Fun Sponge” Espressotini Festival

Did you know, the recipe is a relatively new invention? Back in the 80s, a soon-to-be infamous supermodel (sorry but it was blats Naomi Campbell) walked into a bar feeling sleepy and sober and in need of a pick me up. Asking notorious and rakish bartender, Dick Bradsell for something that would “wake me up and fuck me up”, she watched him crack his fingers and deftly shake up the tasty Espressotini we all know and regret ordering today when we look at our bank statements the next morning.

North Four, North London magazine, sutton and sons, fishmonger, fish and chips, islington, essex road, food review, fishery, lobster, crayfish
Eat & Drink

Posh Nosh: Date Night at Sutton and Sons

This family run restaurant has been sourcing the best of date night seafood the for the last twenty years, sourcing the finest and freshest fish from their very own fishmongers in Stoke Newington. But not only are they super sustainable, these guys are also super on trend with a signature lobster sub. So you can feel posh and down to earth all at once, stroke your beard then passionately get off with an avocado once you’ve finished cycling home on your fixie.

North Four, North London magazine, life drawing, neon, fluorescent, ultra violet, paint, art, class, duke of wellington
Culture Lifestyle

Neon Naked: Ultra Violet Life Drawing

Have you ever sat in the pub with ol Vick and Charlie and whatsherchops and thought, I’d love to draw a nude right now? No? Well what about a neon nude? Yeeah, now you’re keen! Well luckily that tasty Duke of Wellington pub happens to have just the right set up for a life drawing class. Not to mention a fluorescent one. So that is exactly what they do now. Every other Monday Jylle leaves her superb gin and tonic pouring duties to host Neon Naked.

North Four, North London magazine, the finsbury, live music, festival, performance, august, marshall amp
Events List

Top Six “Have You Heard Them Live Though” Music Nights

The last time I checked it was March 18th and I was watching someone drink green beer in a big hat and wondering whatever happened to Boxing Day. But someone has informed me that it is August and we need some kind of plan for the month because all logic has flown out the window and nobody knows what anything means anymore and I can’t remember if I had breakfast yesterday no but thanks for asking. Time for some live music to zone out to and tap along blankly while we gather our thoughts.

North Four, North London magazine, mally harpaz, hazel iris, piano, live music, cello, violin, percussion, band, the waiting room, stoke newington

Haunting Melodies and Soundscapes at The Waiting Room

Haunting melodies, rich ambience and devilish lyrics: indie folk singer Hazel Iris comes to Stokey all the way from California. Joining her is musician Mally Harpaz on accordion, cello, guitar and even percussion to create a pretty special double bill of musical awesomeness together.

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, walking tour, history, guided tour, event, to do, streets, shops

Small Toon Girl: London, Where All The Jobs Are

I’m Emmie, I'm 24 and from Newcastle. J'adore le foot. Ou est les piscine? I moved to London 6 months ago because 'it's where all the jobs are'. The above new-life-motto was a graffiti tag I saw in my first few days of London life. Capital R and all. I certainly followed through when, that night, I went to a gig and nipped to the loo... Sitting on the uncomfortably warm seat I looked up to see a club night poster advertising: '4 Jägerbombs for £20!'

North Four, North London magazine, mint gun club, aperitifs, cocktail bar, teahouse, stoke newington
Eat & Drink

Mint Gun Club: Exciting Little Gimlets in Stokey

Who’s Richard Hunt and what are exciting little gimlets when they’re at home? Take a walk down Stoke Newington High Street this month and you’ll find out. An intriguing new cocktail bar and teahouse has opened, calling itself The Mint Gun Club and offering up a three fold menu of teas, cocktails and pantry style food.

North Four, North London magazine, mammory tapes, club night, cheese music, vfd, dalston, stoke newington

Bring Your Bedroom to the Club at VFD

If only there was a club night that could tap into that special pre night out time. Or at least play your taste in music, sometimes on repeat. Imagine! Lucky for you musical homebirds, bi-monthly club night Mammory Tapes intent to do just that at VFD in Stokey. All night long you can expect an all girl playlist and the best of your bedroom beats on the dance floor. So get ready to finally showcase your once unseen pyjama/half ready outfit based choreography.

North Four, North London magazine, kerb, street food collective, donuts, ice cream, milkshake
Eat & Drink

Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasures, All Weekend

“He said, I know It’s only arctic roll but I like it like it yes I dooooo” Those are the lyrics right? Well this weekend they certainly are, at Kerb’s Guiltiest Pleasure in Kings Cross featuring an arctic roll of pure indulgence. Over Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July, the street food collective from your wildest dreams are hosting the most indulgent hits from all their pop ups at Granary Square.