I’d had enough and needed a break. The commute was overpowering, London was depressing me and my resignation fantasy was taking up an increasing amount of my day. Everything around me seemed grey and miserable. I needed to do something drastic and whilst nice, an escape to the country wasn’t going to cut it.
As the bus crawled over Waterloo Bridge, I took out my phone to join the other passengers – numbing myself from the morning routine. I loaded up the news, flicked through the headlines and just I was despairing at world events an email came through about yoga retreats in Sussex. An occasion of serendipity if ever there was one.
As I packed for my retreat (a few weeks later), I realised how much of my yoga gear reflected my current mood. All dark, tired looking and had definitely seen better days. But wasn’t yoga supposed to be about love and light and happiness? Something didn’t quite add up.
Brightening my wardrobe was a much easier task than colouring my mood but it felt like a good place to start and more than that, I liked the analogy that could be drawn from it.
There were slim pickings available both online and in the stores. I really wanted a pair of mood-lifting coloured leggings but the only ones I could find felt cheap and clung (or bagged) in all the wrong places. So I gave up and reconciled myself with the fact that I’d saved a few quid.
The setting of the yoga retreat was beautiful. An old farm house with nothing but fields and nature for miles around. The studio, an old living room with floor to ceiling windows and a real roaring wood fire. As we practiced snow fell outside making it feel quite magical and narnia-esque.
Or so I thought. I realised the impact of coloured clothing when on the second day one of the women wore stripy leggings. It wasn’t just her that seemed to be more irreverent and vibrant in her practice, they seemed to lift the spirits of everyone around her. Pretty much everyone at some point commented on how fantastic and cheering they were.
I told Helen about this when we next met up. Always being one to embrace ideas and see the bigger opportunity, we continued to chat about the fact that others might also like well made coloured tights.
And as we explored the idea further, we realised that this wasn’t just about flipping our yoga wear or even the yoga wear of others it was about injecting colour and richness into lives more broadly. By dreaming big we could flip what we were doing, we could have more fun and help others to flip their lives too.
And in that moment, even though we didn’t know it then, Flip The Dog was born
Photograph by Robert Steele