Last week we had the good fortune of spending a few hours in the presence of the incredibly beautiful Lou Kenny. A model and yoga teacher, a mother and entrepreneur - her natural state so full of energy. We discussed the concept of connection, not just with our physical bodies but also the connections we make in the digital landscape - with friends old and new, and how important this format is for our sense of belonging in today’s world.
Can you share a little more about yourself, your upbringing, and background — what has been integral in becoming the woman you are today?
My childhood was mostly carefree, although being the youngest of five daughters I don't expect the same could be said by my now deceased parents....14 years from the oldest to the youngest, so different generations in one house hold. My older sisters used massive amounts of makeup, including false eyelashes, thick foundations to cover freckles, switches (hair pieces) to increase volume, padded bras, slimming hosiery and many, actually endless brawls over boyfriends, clothes, sporting and school achievements......I was the "baby" who according to my sisters was spoilt rotten, not according to me of course, my relationship with my parents was one of "we're all done, you can go do whatever you like!" which I did, I always felt like I had licence to experiment in many aspects of life and my journey as a teen was filled with excursions to the coast, usually hitch hiking (it was the 70's), surfing and hanging out in that culture......I was and still am quiet sporty, as an 11 year old I was high jump state champ but once at secondary school this title wasn't so cool so the lunchtime high jump practice was soon abandoned for smoking behind the shelter shed. Competitive tennis managed to remain in my life always though and Saturday afternoon comps were on my agenda for decades, in fact I still sniff out a club where ever I am, London, Zurich, or home in Ocean Grove I find a court and will on my own (if I can’t find a hit partner) go practice my serve with a bucket of balls.
Yoga was always on my radar too but it took until I was in my 30's to embrace it and then in my 40's to immerse in it and that love continues forever......my two adult children drawn on it too, they were both so used to seeing their mum hanging upside down in some fashion that impacted on them, which they engaged in as well and to this day use/enjoy the benefits a yoga practice provides, even if it’s just to bust out a quick back bend before going out to a gig or a restorative shoulder stand after a long day.
As our careers and daily lives become more digital/cerebral, what advice do you have for reconnecting with our physical bodies?
I am currently really enjoying the digital landscape, I love the connections we can make with old and new contacts with similar interests, it’s so cool......to balance out the physical structure from one of a presumable seated position whilst texting/computer use is to do the opposite, easy, lift shoulders over the back of the couch/chair so to arch into a mini back bend, or better still sit on the floor in a cross leg position.....mix it up by rolling onto the tummy and do a few cobra poses, feel it, be a child again over and over.
What conversations do you not see happening now surrounding wellness / health? What do we need to wake up to?
I noticed in the new paper recently a whole article on "inversion" - hooray!
Inversions (hips higher than the heart, e.g. shoulder stand, headstand, handstand etc) are an absolute must for virtually everyone, there are a few counter indicators such as glaucoma, however generally speaking inversions are safe especially when learnt properly with props, or as simple as lying back down with the legs up a wall, in an L shape, that’s an inversion, the legs get drained, the heart is rested.
What are some personal non-negotiables when it comes to maintaining your own sense of “wellness” or “balance”?
Time near the ocean is always non-negotiable, I can handle a few weeks/months, once even a whole year without smelling, hearing, swimming in the ocean and it nearly killed me........I live walking distance from the beach and I'm there daily when at home, soaking up the negative ions, practicing yoga, teaching/sharing yoga with friends, that is the greatest gift I can give, and in giving I feel so alive.
We’re always learning and relearning, discovering and rediscovering parts of ourselves. Tell us about what you’re learning about yourself at the present moment.
The power of feminine energy is drawing me in, initially it was via yoga, there are many feminine practices that I find empowering.....plus music, I'm loving Sampa the Great - have you heard her song "Energy"? and Kaiit, wow what a fantastic young performer, I love how music can transport me so fast out of any black hole
What is the best advice that you have been given – either personal or professional?
Many years ago, I was only 27, just married, no children and I was working in Hamburg modelling.
At the time my Mum was quite ill back in Melbourne and I was freezing in -25 degrees, it was January, and I had a call from my sister's boss, a very well-known successful business man who told me "quitters never win, and winners never quit" he was encouraging me to stay on, I never took his advice and boarded a flight back home within a few months, which I fast came to regret, Mum was fine and my career limped along in Melbourne whereas I was on the cusp of a cool career in Europe.
Never mind, I'm back in the saddle now, and love that saying, as my kids well know and are sick of hearing it!
We highly recommend following her on Instagram if you are not already.
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