Mercede is Co-Founder of the award-winning wellness retreat Yeotown in Devon, and London’s first mindfulness café Yeotown Kitchen in Marylebone. An expert Vinyasa Flow Yoga teacher and certified Positive Psychology coach, her passion is inspiring people on how to build upon their existing strengths, lead more meaningful, fulfilling lives and flourish as the best possible version of themselves.
What’s your morning routine and breakfast choice?
Well I’d like to say I wake up at 5am, practise yoga for 90 minutes and meditate, then sip lemon water, dry brush my skin, put a face mask on and eat the bowl of overnight soaked organic chia oats I lovingly took a half hour to make the night before which I then enjoy in the garden with my children however……at the moment with two young girls many days it’s looks more like…..alarm goes off, I hit snooze trying to get 8 more minutes more of sleep because girls woke me up several time throughout the night but I have to get them to school so I whip us all up some porridge or maybe avocado toast, bribe them with promises of a pudding after dinner if they could just brush their teeth and get their school clothes on a bit quicker and pile them in the car, trying not to spill the reusable tea cup I’m balancing in my hand while trying to carry all their various books and sports bags and think about what excuse I may have to give teacher as to why we were late again! Not very Zen I know but very much most working Mom’s realities whether yoga teacher or not!
When did you first start practising yoga and why?
I first started practising when I moved to California for University. I initially tried it for no particular reason to be honest other than I was always curious about it and I saw a class that was taking place advertised on a flyer so thought I’d give it a try.
What advice would you give to those starting yoga and meditation?
Yoga and meditation are kind of like dating. You are more than likely going to have a few bad experiences before you find ‘the one’. If you go to yoga class for a first time and don’t enjoy it or the teacher, don’t just give up and say yoga isn’t for you but rather try a different class or style with a different teacher. Keep trying enough times and I promise you there will be a teacher and style of yoga and meditation that is the perfect fit for you and will become an invaluable tool in your life
Which people or books have had the most influence on your growth and why?
Don Miguel Ruiz ‘The Four Agreements’ by far is one of the books I continue to go back to since I first read it in my early twenties. One of the four ‘rules to live by’ that always stays at the forefront of my mind is “Don’t take anything personally”. We often cause ourselves so much stress and upset in many scenarios when we take what others do and say personally. The truth is however what anyone says and does is a projection of their own reality and story and nothing to do with you.
What’s your overall approach to health?
Everything in moderation, balance and not to take things too seriously (or personally as above!)..
What does “mindfulness” mean to you?
It means being human, making mistakes but then being mindful and self-aware enough to know how to auto correct and do better next time.
What inspired you to start Yeotown Retreats?
When I moved to London from Los Angeles I noticed a real lack of both yoga studios and health related businesses in the UK. My husband and I had a country home in Devon which always felt like a perfect backdrop for a retreat. We are near the ocean and have some of the most stunning coastal hikes and scenery you’d find anywhere in the world. There were loads of extreme retreats going on in not very nice accommodation like bootcamps, juice fasts and colonic retreats but there really wasn’t anything that seemed to offer a well balanced experienced where you just got outside with nature and walk, hike, cycle and work-out but then also ‘work-in’ so to speak and practise yoga, meditation, mindfulness with lovely relaxing massages and down time peppered throughout. And all delivered in a very ‘rustic chic’ accommodation. This is why Yeotown the retreat was born.
You have just opened Yeotown kitchen in London. What else have you got planned for the future?
We really love the Yeotown Kitchen offering and designed it as a sort of before/after care to our Yeotown guests to support them on the Devon programme. We are really inspired to keep growing that offering and have a few areas we are branching into in the New Year. We are also in the midst of negotiating on possibly another Yeotown retreat in an amazing location I can’t speak of just yet but fingers crossed that will come through to fruition!
Countryside or Beach?
Summer beach, Winter Countryside.
If you could jump on a plane tomorrow, where would you go?
Bali for sure. It’s all my favourite things in life all on one island! We’ve been going there every year for extended periods for the last 7 years and it still feels new every time.
What is your favourite Silou item?
I’m a big fan of a great one piece so the Tatiana unitard for sure!