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I’d like to introduce you to Rekha Pankhania, creator of a fabulous artisan vegan food company called Smiley Vegan (@smiley_vegan on Twitter). She makes some of the most amazing healthy food and snacks you’ll ever try.

Rekha, who began practicing Bikram yoga in 2011, also has a great story to share. Here it is, in her words. smiley_vegan


What impact has hot yoga made on your life?

It has improved my health and aided my recovery from breast cancer; physically and mentally. It has allowed me to help myself more through increased physical fitness and in turn gives me more independence as I find it is easier for me to get out and about. In general, happier and healthier.


How did Smiley Vegan begin?

At the beginning of December, my daughter Meera and I went to the Fat Gay Vegan Christmas pop-up market. We started talking to Sean (the Fat Gay Vegan) and he offered me the opportunity to sell my Christmas edition, ‘Christmas spice’, of my chocolate.


How do you come up with the recipes?

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and experimenting. When I eat something that I like, I’ll ask and find out what’s in it, then usually add my own twist to it. Or most days, it may just depend on my mood and what’s in the fridge/ cupboards.


How does your yoga practice connect with your work?

It gives me a clearer mind and allows me to help my patients more. As a dental nurse, I often get very nervous patients and so I find I can help put them at ease with breathing exercises and by talking to them prior to treatment.


What is one thing you wish people knew about the relationship between what we eat and how we feel?

By having the right diet e.g. being vegan, it makes you realise how important it is for your well-being.


Who or what inspires you most in your daily practice?

My daughter Meera inspired me. She was the reason I started yoga after my cancer through her encouragement. I hated the first six weeks, but after that, she committed me to an annual membership and I have never looked back.

Follow Rekha on Twitter @Smiley_Vegan and Instagram the_smiley_vegan