Who is behind Tough Love Collective?
Tough Love Collective is made up of Kirstie and Ben, a British couple previously living in South London, who moved to live and work in Kampala, Uganda in January 2018. They were both volunteering (Kirstie at a mental health hospital, and Ben with a women’s NGO), as well as teaching group and private yoga classes. They moved to the Kenyan coast in January 2019, where they are currently based.
Ben and Kirstie began their joint yoga journey when they took up Acroyoga (the combination of yoga with acrobatics) 3 years ago. Kirstie and Ben then trained together at Himalaya Yoga Valley in Goa, India, where they studied under Yogacharya Lalit Kumar. Lalit has descended from the Himaylan tradition of Ashtanga yoga. Their 200 hour yoga teacher training also covered Vinyasa flow and Hatha styles of yoga, as well as meditation, anatomy, pranayama, mantra and yoga philosophy.
Whilst in India, they also had the chance to spend a few weeks studying at the Himalaya Iyengar Yoga Centre in Dharamsala, to further their knowledge of alignment. Both Kirstie and Ben have also completed an 11-day silent meditation retreat (Vipassana), and are passionate about the numerous benefits of meditation.
As well as a yoga teacher, Kirstie is a Chartered Psychologist, holding a doctorate in Counselling Psychology. Kirstie has worked in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) since 2010, within a wide variety of mental health services, with both adults and children, as well as running her own private practice (London Counselling Psychology). Kirstie now specialises in working with couples, families, and children, and in the fields of trauma and equine-assisted therapy.
Kirstie has had a personal practice of yoga on and off for over 15 years. Having witnessed the inextricable link between mental health and physical health, and developing a keen interest in how we store experiences and emotions in our bodies, Kirstie decided to pursue a yoga teacher training in order to incorporate the body more into her clinical psychology practice.
Kirstie is passionate about combining mental wellbeing with the physical asana (yoga) practice to create a unique blend of mind/body vinyasa flow style yoga. Kirstie is interested in the benefits of embodiment – bringing ourselves out of our heads and into the subtle sensations of our bodies. Kirstie will be beginning her 500hr YTT in July 2019 with Tara Judelle and Dr Scott Lyons. Kirstie has completed an additional training in yoga for children and young people (ages 2-18 years) with Rainbow Yoga in London.
Never having been the most flexible individual (both physically and mentally!), Ben was finally coaxed into yoga by Kirstie, via AcroYoga (drawn in by the impressive looking poses!). Soon enough, he was finding himself attending yoga classes on a daily basis, and so it wasn’t a hard sell when Kirstie suggested they do their teacher training in Goa. Having admittedly been one of those people that thought of yoga as a bit of mindful exercise and stretching, he loved discovering that this was just a tiny element of much greater whole.
These days, Ben’s favourite practice is meditation. But he also loves learning and teaching the rules of proper alignment (and bending those rules), combining intense and dynamic asana with more mindful, static postures, and using yoga to complement other forms of movement and exercise. Ben is committed to furthering his development as a teacher and is beginning his 500hr YTT August 2019 with Jason Crandell. He is also training to become a mobility specialist in June 2019.
What is Tough Love Collective?
Together, we have formed Tough Love Collective. At the moment, TLC is the two of us sharing our passions for yoga, movement, psychology, self-care and self-discipline. In the not too distant future, we hope to have our own TLC space.
Tough Love Collective is about striking the balance between the relaxing elements of self-care (gentle yoga, massage, indulgent food) and the times you need to be tough on yourself – think ‘self-parenting’ (moving your body, high intensity exercise, nourishing whole foods). We have to work to create this balance. At Tough Love Collective, we want you to do something today your future self will thank you for.
It can be hard to do these things on your own. We’re a collective for a reason: we want to build a sense of community, helping one another to reach our goals.