Meditation tips from Jillian Lavender

Meet our featured guest meditator for the month of July, Jillian Lavender. Co-Founder of London Meditation Centre and New York Meditation Center, Jillian believes that meditation is fundamental to staying energised, calm and well in the 21st century. She talks to us about her journey from stressed out city flyer to meditation master…

1. Tell us about your life before finding meditation

Wow – it seems like another lifetime! I learned Vedic Meditation nearly 25 years ago when I was living in Sydney. My life was full-on. I was starting up a division of a global publishing company and I was flying long-haul to the States and Europe every few weeks. I was tired, stressed, overwhelmed and not living a very healthy lifestyle. I found out about meditation via a friend who had taken the course and was noticing such positive changes (he had been an insomniac and was now sleeping much better). I knew I had to check it out. I had a strong feeling I had to do something – my life had ‘unsustainability’ written all over it.

2. Can you describe a typical day in the life ‘then’ and ‘now’

Before meditation I struggled with my energy levels. Even after a so-called decent night’s sleep, I did not want to get out of bed. I would prop myself up with caffeine to get going. I was working long hours, across different time zones so I wasn’t eating well – snacking, too much sugar and eating out a lot. And I was drinking too much wine. I always felt like I was chasing my tail – I never felt like I had enough time and was always scrambling to get stuff done.

When I learned to meditate I’d get up and the first thing I’d do was meditate for 20 minutes. Very quickly, I started waking up before my alarm clock (which had never happened before!) and I was actually feeling like I needed less sleep over time. I noticed how much clearer I was feeling and my anxiety levels dropped very quickly. I started exercising and making much better choices about what I was eating and drinking. In the late afternoon I would sneak away to a meeting room and meditate again for another 20 minutes. It was like a shot in the arm – I was re-energised and ready to go. I often had to be on a conference call with the States in the evening and I was more alert and way less resentful!

It’s interesting, because when I heard that I’d have to carve out two sessions of 20 minutes per day to meditate I freaked out a bit because I was already feeling overloaded. However when I started meditating I soon felt like I had more time even though I was sitting around with my eyes closed for 40 minutes. I see this a lot with our students – the clarity and energy mean you are much more efficient and able to prioritise in a better way.

3. How has meditation helped you?

In so many ways. More energy, more clarity, less anxiety, feeling more calm and grounded. I know I make better decisions now because I’m not worked up and out of balance. (We never make our best choices when we’re tired and cranky!)

One of the big changes is the way I deal with the demands of life. I have a lot going on and yet I see myself handling it in a way that’s not draining me or causing me to be stressed.

I feel well and I take care of myself in a way which seems to work better for me. I gave birth to my daughter in my mid-forties and I know that process was natural and smooth in a way that was directly affected by meditation.

The biggest gain has been the improvement in my ability to trust my intuition. I see meditation as a perceptual sharpener – you’re able to cut through all the noise and tune in to that quiet inner wisdom. It transforms the way you make decisions and your sense of self-confidence.

4. Why did you set up London Meditation Centre?

Because I could see the need in people all around me. And I felt that I could make something which is so ancient and possibly a bit weird, more accessible and inspiring in our modern times.

We’re living in a world where stress levels are off the scale. The pace of change is intense. People are struggling with lots of demands and lots of uncertainty. The majority of mainstream coping mechanisms are not working in a natural, sustainable way.

With Vedic Meditation there are no negative side effects. When you take care of your mind, your body will also be in better shape. When you rest deeply you clear out the stress and fatigue that’s getting in the way of who you really are. You’ll be much happier and more able to deal with stuff in a good way.

5. What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced and how did you overcome it?

I was transferred to Paris with work after my time in Sydney. I threw myself into a major restructuring process and it meant many people left the company. There was a huge amount of change in a short space of time and that was very tough for everyone. I was alone, not speaking great French, a young woman in charge of a very male oriented environment. It was tough and I very nearly walked away from it all. One of the things that changed it for me was that I worked out I needed to get some good people around me for support. People who I could be honest with, and who were able to help me. It was a big lesson. Reach out and don’t try to go it alone.

6. What do you love most about London?

The diversity. I come from a relatively smaller town in the South Island of New Zealand. It’s beautiful and yet it doesn’t have the cultural variety and the history of London. I love that I can walk down the street and hear many different languages and that people are safe and free to wear what they want and be who they are.

7. What are the greatest benefits of learning to meditate?

There are so many – energy, clarity, better health, slower aging, better decision making.
Most important of all is you learn that fulfilment is not something you’re going to find ‘out there’. Trying to gain stable happiness via acquiring people, things, money and experiences is a mistake. Sustainable peace and happiness is an internal, self-referral process. Meditation helps you find that inner source.

8. What are three things you wish you could tell your younger self?

– It will pass – change is the only constant.
– Be kind to yourself and the people you meet.
– You can do it.
– Learn to meditate.

(sorry – that’s 4!)

9. Favourite dish at Yeotown Kitchen?

Compassion Wrap – love the combo of avocado, courgette, cheese and mayo in the lightness of a wrap

Jillian Lavender is Co-founder, London Meditation Centre

Be Good To Your Gut: 5 Tips from Eve Kalinik

Nutritionist Eve Kalinik shares her 5 tips for good gut health…

Getting yourself on the road to a happier gut can be super simple, with minimal costs AND crucially full of flavoursome foods. Just following some of these basic tips can help you to be good to your gut and in turn create a more positive
mind set…

1. CHEW CHEW CHEW – sounds obvious but most of us don’t do this (or not enough anyway). Food should ideally be liquid before you swallow it so roughly that equates to around 20-30 chews per bite. Once you get into the habit you’ll soon get the gist and just this simple act can alleviate obvious unhappy gut symptoms like bloating and excessive gas.

2. BE PRESENT WITH YOUR PLATE – sitting and eating without distraction or stress means we are more focused on the task in hand and that not only serves your gut well as you are less likely to inhale your food (see tip above on chewing properly) but it also encourages you to eat more mindfully which helps you to better connect with your food. The gut-mind connection starts with the obvious plate in front of you. Switch off the various devices and fully appreciate your food and your gut will thank you for it. Rest + digest.

3. DRINK WINE NOT WATER – thought that might get your attention! What I really mean is that gulping huge amounts of water WITH your meals can dilute gastric juice secretions but ironically a glass of vino can help
digestion for most of us…but thats a glass not a bottle. However it is really important that you hydrate well in between your meals as the gut is a thirsty organ after all and it has a lot of work to do.

4. DIVERSIFY YOUR FIBRE – a diverse intake of fibre (think veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds, beans & pulses as well as certain types of grains) help to support the growth of the trillions of microorganisms in the gut, collectively known as the microbiome. Current research suggests that a more diverse microbiome supports a healthier and indeed happier gut.
Prebiotics are certain types of dietary fibre that our microbiome particularly love to feast on and include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, oats, apples and sourdough just to name a few. Word of caution though go easy on these as if you are not used to them or are currently experiencing gut symptoms as you may get a bit of a trumpeting circus going on so just add in gently and mindfully.

5. TAKE A DAILY PROBIOTIC – whilst research on supplements can often be confusing and misleading getting a daily dose of probiotics can markedly improve gut health. My preferred choice is SYMPROVE, a liquid formulation that has the research and backing behind it. Also don’t forget about nature’s best beneficial bacteria sources that largely comes from fermented foods such as traditional cheese, unpasteurised sauerkraut, kimchi & miso, kefir and kombucha.


Mini Popeye’s Smoothie Bowl with Super Seed Mix.

Tempeh Reuben on Sourdough: Eve says: “This is a sandwich bursting full of natural probiotics that your gut is going to love. Tempeh is made from fermented soya beans and sourdough is made by a process of fermentation”.

7 Climbs in 7 Days

If you can climb around 4,000 ft in a @sweatbybxr Versa Climber class then you have what it takes to take on Everest in 7 climbs. Why not challenge yourself and reward efforts afterwardS @yeotownkitchen with our aptly named ‘Versatility’ smoothie…


  • Vanilla protein
  • Hemp
  • Banana
  • Cacao
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Dates
  • Flax
  • Ice

Tag @yeotownkitchen with your Versatility smoothie post-workout for your chance to win a 2-course meal for you and your fitness buddy.


Meet our June meditator of the month: Light Watkins

Meditate with LA based meditation guru Light Watkins at Yeotown Kitchen. Light’s students have used his meditation to tackle everything from PTSD to depression, even cancer. Tune in to his recording at our downstairs Meditation Station throughout the month of June. Read our interview with him here…

What first got you interested in meditation and why Vedic Meditation in particular?

I first became interested in Meditation through my yoga practice, while living in New York ?and working as a model. I tried to meditate and was unsuccessful for three years, but then moved to Los Angeles and found my Vedic Meditation teacher. That was when I fell in love with meditation and knew it was the path for me. I had such a powerful experience that I couldn’t ignore.

How has it transformed your life?

?Meditation has given me more refined intuition and presence and a greater sense of fulfilment in my everyday life.

Why is it important to train the consciousness like we train the body?

Because everything that we see is an outpouring picturing of our consciousness. If we want to have better life experiences, then we need to sculpt our consciousness so that it becomes an asset and not a liability.

Why do you think it’s so important to build consistent daily routines?

Because if we have to rely on discipline, we’ll stay frustrated. By being consistent, we build the muscle memory for meditation.

What would you tell people who are sceptical of new-age gurus and practices?

To base everything on your direct experience. If you have a good feeling about a person or a practice, it usually indicates that you’ll have a good experience learning something from them. I found that the more connected I felt to the teacher, the more I learned.

Do you think there is an image problem with meditation?

?Not as much as there used to be. It’s getting a lot better now. More and more people are considering the practice and not necessarily believers in Hinduism or religious affiliations, etc. They are seeing meditation as a functional way to live their best life.

How impactful is meditation on helping insomnia?

When people meditate, I find with most of my students are able to sleep better at night, even those who’ve been insomniacs for years and years. I can’t imagine a better way to assist one’s sleeping efforts.

Can you discuss the impact of meditation on the fight or flight response…

This is a tricky one, because meditation doesn’t eliminate the fight or flight reaction. What I have seen when people start meditating on a regular basis is the frequency of the flight or flight reaction diminishes.

What are some of your favourite things about living in LA?

?My favourite things are really the ?access we have here to people and places that are at the forefront of the wellness industry.

What are 3 things you would tell your younger self?

1) Follow your heart.

2) Experience daily stillness and don’t ever be afraid of being uncomfortable.

3) Being uncomfortable is actually the safest place to be.

This interview was originally published on DOSE

Yeotown Kitchen launches a Poké menu

Say Aloha to Poké at Yeotown Kitchen.

Hawaiian for ‘to cut crosswise into pieces’, Poké, known as the ‘surfer’s sashimi’, originates from Hawaiian fishermen who would cut their catch of raw fish into cubes and season it with whatever ingredients they had. Think of it like a burrito bowl meets deconstructed sushi.

Poké bowls are also packed Omega 3’s from fish and avocados, protein that will keep you full, and essential vitamins that your body needs for cellular respiration.

The perfect addition to your picnic basket and healthy summer snack!

Try our ‘Power’ Poké bowl at Yeotown Kitchen with salmon or ‘Patience’, our vegan take on a Poké bowl, where raw fish is replaced with tofu – both are served with crunchy plantain crisps.


Tofu, Brown Rice, Black Sesame Edamame, Coriander Roasted Corn, Avocado, Cucumber, Marinated Seaweed, Radish, Nigella Tomato, Rocket with Chilli Ducted Mango, Vegan Poke Mayo, Turmeric Yuzu Dressing. Crunchy Plantain Crisps.


Smoke Salmon, Brown Rice, Black Sesame Edamame, Coriander, Roasted Corn, Avocado, Cucumber, Marinated Seaweed, Radish, Nigella Tomato, Rocket With Chilli Ducted Mango, Vegan Poke Mayo, Turmeric Yuzu Dressing. Crunchy Plantain Crisps.

Image: Shuttershock

Strong on your own, unstoppable together

Photo: KCA LAB

“Strong on your own, unstoppable together” is the mantra behind this fire cracking team of sisters behind a new style movement that helps you to unleash the warrior within. Their idea came to be in June 2011 during a stay at our very own Yeotown retreat. “We felt rejuvenated and reborn after just 4 days of healthy eating, loads of fresh air and exercising”. Read the full interview…

When did you realise that your lifestyle habits needed addressing?

In June 2011 during our first experience at Yeotown – the health and wellbeing retreat on the beautiful coast of Devon. We felt rejuvenated and reborn after just four days of healthy eating, loads of fresh air and exercising!

How did your experiences at Yeotown and the Ashram help to inspire KCA-LAB?

We realised that our work life balance was not in tune and we needed to start to give back to our bodies, minds and souls. In January 2012 we visited an Ashram on one of the hikes in the mountains of Calabasas. After this experience, we had the idea to take the leap and start our own business together. From taking time to listen to our bodies, we felt stronger and more empowered, ready to start a new journey together as sisters. Our mantra ‘strong on your own – unstoppable together’ was born at that point in time because we really had each other’s backs on these intense, exhausting and very long hikes up the mountains. We strongly believe in this mantra which has become a part of our daily lives and spirits.

Photo: KCA LAB
What are the highs and lows (if any) of working with your sisters?

Being sisters means laughing and crying together. We know all our weaknesses and strengths and therefore it of course is on one hand very helpful but on the other it can also get quite intense. Also, because we have our certain roles as sisters, it’s sometimes difficult to snap out of them.
Overall we would never change a thing and we are extremely grateful for this opportunity of being able to run this label together as sisters. And as our mother always taught us: Blood is thicker than water.

You each represent different elements. Can you explain more about this?

Our collection is based on 3 elements (Fire, Wind and Water). Each sister represents one of these elements. Kathrin, the eldest stands for Fire because her personality is strong, very outgoing and vibrant. The pieces in her capsule are therefore more colourful and more edgy. Also the fire capsule is good for High Intensity Workouts. The fourth element for us is ‘sisterhood’ and this is established by the 3 elements unifying their powers and coming together.

Photo: KCA LAB
KCA-LAB is “a modern uniform for an active lifestyle” – what kind of woman does your collection speak to?

Women like us. Our lifestyle as women has changed and we have to fulfil many different roles throughout the day. We not only want to be successful in our jobs but we want to stay fit and give back to our bodies and stay healthy. And also take some time out. We wanted to design clothes which accompany the modern woman through every aspect of her life. We wanted to create pieces for the warrior with all of us.

Photo: KCA LAB
What is the wellness scene like in Germany right now?

Germany is catching up and in every corner you see fitness clubs and healthy restaurants. We’re seeing innovation in the athleisure sector too. We see KCA LAB at the forefront and have aspirations of pioneering the German market.

What are you favourite places to work out and eat healthily in Berlin?

A great place for a good work out is the boutique gym Becycle, this is also where we had the press launch for KCA LAB. The Klub Kitchen – this place always makes us want to come back. So healthy and delicious. Quick service and good value for money.

What are some of your favourite things about London?

That every day is different and you can be whoever you want to be without any judgement. You can wear whatever you want to wear. London is full of opportunities. We are inspired by it every day.

Where can we access your collection in the UK?

The collection is available online at The Yeotown retreat in Devon.

What are three things you wish you could tell your younger self?

Stay cool, calm and collected. In the end everything will fall into place.

Visit the KCA LAB website

Meet our Neighbours… Sweat by BXR

At Yeotown Kitchen, we like to earn our breakfast, so it’s lucky that we’re just a few doors down from the fitness gurus at Sweat by BXR to keep us in check. And there’s nothing like high-intensity rounds of boxing and a high-energy playlist to kick-start our morning. Or climbing a mountain before breakfast in Europe’s first VersaClimber studio – a zero impact, total-body cardio workout that’s a thrilling alternative to spinning . If you feel like you need to stretch out, Sweat by BXR also offer mobility classes with foam rolling, stretching and flexibility moves to assist in the recovery of an over-trained body. And when the work is done, you know what to do… Head to Yeotown Kitchen just a few doors down on 42 Chiltern Street for a hearty breakfast, like our ‘Benevolence Bowl’ – organic scrambled eggs, steamed greens, grains, avocado and a seasonal super-seed crumble with sprouts, micro-greens, house-kimchi and zaatar tahini. View the full menu here.

Sweat by BXR, 4 Paddington St, Marylebone, London W1U 5QX

Distance to/from Yeotown Kitchen: 2 mins walk

Book a class here

Image: Sweat by BXR