Name: Sarah Kekus aka.. the Health Architect. Sarah was the Yoga Teacher on a retreat I went to in Turkey. Here is an interview about what she does… and her lifestyle..
From: Edinburgh – Scottish-ness eludes me though!
Current location: Lake District
Current happiness levels out of 10: Life has taught me to view each new day as a blessing, so 10
Favourite film: Maybe Motorcycle Diaries – brings back memories of living and working in Chile
Favourite musician: There’s everything from classical harp to Kanye West in my music collection so choosing one musician is quite impossible. However my most recently purchased album is Grown Unknown by Lia Ices – it’s fitting my mood this week!
Favourite artist: Picasso; Guernica is mesmerizing – a powerful depiction of suffering and chaos. The combination of being a talented draughtsman with an awesome imagination and determination to bring social and political polemic into art is what makes Picasso stand out for me.
Favourite book: Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston
Favourite colour: All really strong bright colours are terrifyingly fabulous but when it comes to my wardrobe I often end up wearing black. Possibly because I’m a woman of black origin, I always like a bit of gold too!
Brief synopsis of business: The Health Architect provides yoga classes, nutritional advice and challenging, yet supportive, coaching to individuals who want to improve their wellbeing.
Your lifestyle is very health based, how did you find yourself on this career path? My health literally unravelled about 15 years ago after an intense period of mountaineering to climb peaks in Nepal, Bolivia, the French Alps and back to Nepal – phew! In the aftermath, and having suffered with both dysentery and pneumonia, I went to see a naturopath, who was instrumental in helping me regain health. After this experience I always dreamed of changing career and the chance finally came in 2010 when my contract as a Project Manager ended.
Has healthy living always been a way of life or was there a catalyst that sent you down this avenue? I really hated having to eat so much meat as a child and so I became a vegetarian at the age of 12. This was the catalyst for a lifelong exploration of the impact of dietary choices and exercise on health. I experimented with vegan and raw vegan diets for a few years but now, whilst I still choose a largely plant-based diet, I have re-introduced some animal protein (mainly fish), and I find this suits me the best. Balancing health requirements with ethical and environmental arguments against meat eating has forged a dichotomy in my thinking – but I can live with this now and I feel calmer and less neurotic than I once did.
What kind of people generally reach out for nutritional help? Sadly, often people only turn to nutritional therapy after conventional medicine fails to help them or when they’ve been offered medication they don’t want to take. The most common problems that people seek my help with are weight gain, chronic fatigue, hormone imbalances (especially relating to fertility, menopause, stress and thyroid dysfunction) and gastro-intestinal problems.
Do you see a similarity in the challenges of making lifestyle and dietary changes? What are they? Making any changes to your life can be very hard but both diet and lifestyle can be unwittingly governed by a range of emotional factors and these need to be recognised and addressed before lasting positive changes can be achieved. Coaching people through change is the biggest part of what I do.
You have a very active lifestyle, how do you like to relax? In the autumn and spring I love fell-walking with my husband; it restores my energy and lifts my mood, especially if the week has felt tough. If the temperature picks up then a day out climbing takes my mind off everything so I can just enjoy the moment! Whether I’ve been out walking or climbing, stopping by a favourite coffee bar on the way home is always a welcome treat. Ps. I don’t drink much coffee – honest!
If you would like to hire/get advice about your diet please contact Sarah HERE
Thanks for the health inspiration.. Becki BXx
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” Bertrand Russell
When I booked myself in for a week at a Yoga Retreat in Turkey – I didn’t think too much about it. I wanted some hot weather and it sounded like a healthy way to spend a week. I assumed several things might come with a trip of this type…‘away from temptation…out of trouble… lose a bit of weight…meet like minded people’. I had practiced yoga for over a year a while back and for some reason stopped – so this seemed a great way to get back into it. So. Yoga Retreat… no brainer really?
I arrived exhausted yet, excited to Suleyman’s Gardens, Turkey, a beautiful family run farm on the coastline where I was assigned a simple wood cabin with a comfortable bed. All one needs really.
Scouring the weekly timetable I saw yoga was to begin at 7.30am for an hour and a half. We would then reconvene at 6pm that evening for more yoga. There were huge spaces in the day to do with what we wanted. A feeling of fear washed over me as I realised the long blank hours and the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere. ‘Oh god.. what if it’s really boring..’ was my feeling of dread.
“Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.” Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
I took myself off to the beach and flicked to the chapter “Boredom and Excitement” of the book I’d taken ‘The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell’
“Ok”. I thought… feeling less afraid.
As I sat in the yoga den clad in my Primani leggings at 7.30am the following morning the realisation that mayyybe I should have thought about my attire a little more washed over me. As the other women commented on each others fashionable yogi outfits I made a joke about my cheap leggings to a quiet audience. But I had to remember – I wasn’t there for that. I was there for a holiday from my mind. From societal pressures and to do some yoga. But where there are other people it can always be hard to remain centred and to keep with one’s game plan. There will always be comparison, self reflection, opinions, advice, or perhaps some drama of some sorts. To remain unfaltering in a world of conflicting ideas and opinions is perhaps the hardest thing to do.
Boat trip..a bored fisherman looking for stimulation from.. Facebook?
And I guess that’s what I learnt on this trip. That my fear of boredom was just that. Fear. The days indeed, magically filled up themselves up.. either with spontaneous walks or exploring on the seashore. I faced my fear of spiders. As I woke up and spotted a very big beast on the wall. Mosquito netting between us. In my groggy state…. I realised – that maybe… just maybe there wasn’t really anything to be afraid of. So. I went back to sleep.
There is something extremely satisfying about stretching and working out as the sun rises over an amazing horizon, feeding on home grown food.. and swimming in the Mediterranean sea and listening to the wise life stories of others. I could definitely get used to it. But.. could I ever become a real.. yogi? Hmmm. We’ll see.
The #yoga classes were led by Sarah Kekus of website The Health Architect. Sarah delivered an eclectic mix of Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and core strengthening work and easily led two hour morning sessions and deceivingly made them appear only an hour long (helped along with her awesome collection of empowering music). I found Sarah to be a strong minded yet sensitive teacher who easily adjusted her teaching to the needs of different skillsets.
A good week with some interesting women, excellent food, beautiful landscapes and some lessons learnt. And the life advice offered up by the retreats’ Conceptual Designer Ian Worrall was second to none.. Suleyman’s Gardens – a very beautiful place to escape to..
Looking forward to my next adventure.
Artist: Mr Adrian Mills
From: Rugby ,Warwickshire
Current location: Suffolk
Current happiness levels out of 10: 7
Favorite film: Singing In The Rain
Favorite Book: (Novel) The World According To Garp (John Irving), (Children’s book) The Red Tree (Shaun Tan)
Favorite colour: Orange
You say you aim for your art to be ‘contemporary’ can you go into that in more detail?
I try as time goes on to change my style, this isn’t a conscious thing but my work changes as I change my art materials, for example I have just changed pens and my work has become more finely defined.
You create images for both adult and children – do you have a favourite audience to create for?
I think it’s a very fine line from the children’s work and adult, as much of them are characters’ I do enjoy working on the adult themes as I sometimes think maybe my work is too dark for children but I have a very exciting project lined up so lets see how dark I can go.
You have studied art to a Masters level – did you find that imperative for your skills? Can art really be learnt?
Before I started my masters in which I need to finish, I thought I was a good artist but I have learnt so much from that course. I have learnt to draw as view, to see life as stories and watch the world in a different way. “Art can’t be taught but the way of you seeing art can.”
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration from every day life, I always carry a sketchbook around with me…since I can remember. I am always writing down questions and what I see on my travels, and you never know when they may pop into your head. I also did a project in which for a year I drew everyday things. This helped my skills as an artist and encouraged me look at the world a different way. I sometimes wonder if everyone looks at the world in a different way.
Have you experienced a creative block/or black hole?
Yes I go thought many creative blocks as life gets in the way and work. At the moment I have many projects and cant get moving on them.
So what do you do to get out of it? Tips?
Normally a day in a busy city normally works, seeing art and creative people. This helps me to start believing in myself again.
Has it been difficult to carve a career as an artist? Was it a childhood dream?
Yes, I have worked every day to cultivate my skills as an artist. I have always drawn and was lucky as a young boy to have a friend who loved art as much as me. I always knew I would always have the skills as a creative and have always spent a lot of time with artists, so I knew that is what I would do. I couldn’t imagine what life is like without art?
What do you think you would do if you weren’t an artist?
When I was young I wanted to be a stunt man as I watched too much of the The Fall Guy but I never learnt to drive or… a time lord! I work in care so I think I would have been a nurse as I like caring and helping people.
Your favorite current artists?
Like music it depends on my mood but I am a big fan of Turner, I love his big spaces and moods. As for children books I love Shaun Tan books, his writing and energy and the great Catherine Rayner . I have just found a great children’s artist Chris Applehans and look forward to seeing his future work.
What is the most important thing in life?
To be nice to everything and leave something nice and good behind for people to talk about.
What is the most beautiful thing about art for you?
I sometimes speak to people who say they are bored and don’t know what to do, I feel I can not be bored as I create images, dreams that it seems people can’t get out in any form. To feel that mood when you are drawing is so special.
Do you feel like you’re on the right path?
It’s been a long path as I work part time on the other days… so every spare minute I create my art. I have an exciting project in the works so I do feel like it’s all finally coming together at the moment.
What would be the dream?
To travel the world, for people to like my work and give up my part time job and draw every day.
Looking at your life from ten years ago – are you where you wanted to be?
I did think I would of got my art out by now but I am happy that I am still trying.
The next big election is coming up in England – do you have any hopes or thoughts on this? Artists can be influential… no?
I am very interested in Politics and have strong views, having been a young man in the 80s. I have always been interested in the daily politics cartoon which still runs in the UK. It must be a hard job to do… to make a comedy out of the politicians. Or maybe not as politics does seem to be a comedy most days.
Favorite quote to leave us on:
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Links to work:
Enjoy! Becki Bx
“Hell is other people”
Set upstairs in an intimate room above a lovely little pub in Camden called ‘The Lord Stanley’.. I squashed myself in between two men, academically clad in rounded glasses and corduroy suits. They looked like they knew their Descartes from their Heidegger and I found myself begin to worry that the play I was there to see, was going to be full of linguistically respectful sentences only someone who had studied literature/philosophy might be able to understand. New to Philosophy, I fell for its charm when I discovered… from a little self study that I might be suffering a little from Existential Angst.. and since then I’ve found myself wanting to read/know more, albeit finding the subject a little intimidating as a self starter.
“Remember you’re not alone; you’ve no right to inflict the sight of your fear on me.” Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit
Performed behind a wooden mesh, I was impressed by the theatre’s resourceful use of both the space and lighting. I forgot to worry about my lack of knowledge and my intellectual looking neighbours as after ten minutes I found myself absorbed in the extremely well acted discourse between the three ‘deceased’ characters.
The story in a nutshell, is a depiction of the afterlife – and punishment is being locked in a room together for all eternity. It is based on the quotation “L’enfer, c’est les autres” or “Hell is other people” in which Sartre very cleverly sums up the hellish reality of living with other people, the struggle for tolerance.. and the struggle of seeing oneself as an object in another persons world. The three characters in this adaption are played by actors Shaban Arifi (Garcin) – Phoebe Higson (Estelle) – and Josephine Berry (Inez).
On leaving, feeling thoughtful, yet in a jovial mood I turned to my friend.. who had been sitting a few rows back.. “So… what did you think?” I asked him… “I thought it was brilliant!” he beamed at me.. “But Becks…” he turned to look at me – a serious expression on his usually upbeat face…
“I think we are stuck behind that wooden mesh.. and we’ve gotta get out…”.
I looked seriously back at him. “Yeah.. I know…”…I smiled back.
INEZ: One always dies too soon – or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are – your life, and nothing else.”
Highly recommended – go see! It’s playing until the 24th of March… buy tickets HERE
This week Becki is going to find a copy of Bertrand Russell’s ‘The History of Western Philosophy’ and start reading it on recommendation from the very nice man who was sitting next to her…. a great place to start apparently… 😉
SARTRE FACT: Sartre was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but refused it, saying that he always declined official honors and that “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution”
Until next time folks.. have a good week..