Teacher Spotlight: Nikita Akilapa

Gorgeous Nikita Akilapa teaches our Tuesday lunch class and she’s quickly developing a cult following for her beautiful breath-led classes. She’s also available for one-to-one sessions either side of her class. Here she tells us how she got where she is….

How long have you been practicing?

I've been practicing for about 16 years, on and off. I took my first class while travelling round Asia in my early 20s. I started practicing in a gym back in London, then the studios. About 7 years ago, I found an amazing Ashtanga yoga retreat in Portugal that I would go to regularly. 

What compelled you to start teaching yoga?

I worked as a PR consultant for about 10 years, and had dreams of making yoga my life but couldn't really see a way to make the switch. When my brother died in 2011, everything changed. I realised clearly that any day can be the last and I didn't want to waste any more time doing anything that didn't serve me. Driven (or dragged) by something much bigger and more powerful than me, I left everything behind and went to India to train as a yoga teacher. I then moved to Portugal to work at the retreat I loved so much.  When I became pregnant with my daughter, I moved home to London and started to teach in the studios that I had loved practicing in.

Describe your classes in three words?

Only three! Ok. Strong, soulful and breath-based 

Which pose do you find most challenging?

Double Pigeon forward fold. Simple but strong posture that is always hard for my tight outer hips and my grumbly knees. INTENSE

What inspires you as a teacher?

The quest for my truth and the bravery/strength to live in it

What’s your favorite pose at the moment?

Wheel. Because it was my nemesis for so long, I can't get enough of it these days.