In today’s Inspiration Interview, I’m really pleased to be chatting with Ruby & Christabel Reed, Founders of the Advaya Initiative. I first came across their environmental and wellbeing organisation when I went to their screening of Riverblue, a film exploring the fashion industry’s impact on the environment, and particularly waterways.
Ruby and Christabel are sisters, and it’s clear they’re both passionate about finding kinder ways to live. They put on events that invite their audience to find new ways to follow a more sustainable, ethical and environmentally-aware lifestyle in a way that is fresh, fun, and ultimately, feasible. Their events span from yoga retreats to ethical fashion talks, supper clubs to debates on ecology.
In speaking with Ruby and Christabel, I was interested to see how their relationship as sisters drives their business, how they successfully span such a wide range of ethics, and how yoga has impacted both of their lives. I hope you enjoy our interview!
1. The Advaya Initiative is closely aligned with my own ethics – to highlight the best things in life that will positively impact on yourself, others, and the planet. What inspired you to create the platform?
The understanding of our inherent interconnection with all life and the interconnected nature of the issues we face is what inspired us to create this platform. This understanding largely grew out out of our yoga practice, spending time in nature and with figures such as Satish Kumar.
Such an understanding does not have to overwhelm but empowers us to know that we may create small but significant changes in all realms of our existence and the effects of these changes will ripple out into the rest of our lives and those around us.
The health of the planet and that of the people are two sides of the same coin. Furthermore, our treatment of the environment reflects our treatment of ourselves. A truly healthy and happy society could not possibly perpetrate the damage we cause to the natural world and the beings which inhabit it. True change, real transformation, has to begin from within, from looking at the effects of our own actions and learning how to gradually adapt so that we may continually be nourishing our relationship with ourselves, each other and the natural world.
2. I understand you both enjoy and teach yoga. What’s one thing you would recommend to anyone looking to get into practicing yoga?
Anyone getting into the practice should take their time with it, there’s no rush, and should try avoid it becoming another area in life in which we are grasping for something. To know that yoga and meditation are states that occur, you can’t just be taught them, they come with determination, faith and consistency and there are manifold tools for all types of people. I encourage people to explore what works best for them, there’s no blanket rules or cookie-cutter formats for everyone to follow.
3. I know with my sister, I would find it both great and gruelling for us to work together! Did you ever think you’d work together, and how do you make it work?
I never ever imagined we’d work together! We were both very different growing up but somehow came to share a vision, a purpose and a passion. Now our differences, which used to separate us, make us the strongest team. We balance each other out and work intuitively together. It’s really one of the greatest joys of Advaya being able to work along side my sister.
4. Who do you admire and recommend we should all be following?
Satish Kumar, Resugence Magazine, Rupert sheldrake, Jill Purce, Pat McCabe, Justine Huxley, Alastair McIntosh, Mac Macartney, Chris Johnstone, Sharon Blackie, Joanna Macey, Mick Collins, Jay Griffiths, Charles Eisenstein…
5. Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the future you can share with us?
Yes! We have many events coming up in 2018, from nature and yoga retreats with Satish Kumar to day-long workshops exploring our relationship with money and how we may feminise the economy.
Right now we’re gearing up for Toxic Threads: The Dark Side of Fashion in which pioneers of the sustainable fashion world uncover the true cost of clothing. The evening will run with solution-orientated talks, panel discussions, Q&As, drinks, food and music. Joining us are Orsola De Castro (Fashion Revolution), Alex Noble (EMG Initiative), Sophie Slater (Birdsong), Martin Brambley (The Sustainable Angle) and Tamsin Lejeune (Ethical Fashion Forum).
I’m really looking forward to the Toxic Threads event – do let me know if you decide to come along too!