Yoga profiles

0

•  Briar Joy Shaw
•  Dee Lilly
•  Jeffrey Hiscock
•  Jocelyn-Rochelle Stewart
•  Katie Deare
•  Kavita Parshotam
•  Matthew Smart
•  Nadine Mesnage
•  Sarah MacDonald

BriarBriar Joy Shaw

Type of Yoga you practice:
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

Describe this type of yoga:
Ashtanga Vinyasa is one of the traditional forms of yoga which has a focus on linking breathing with movement. It is an energetic, faster style of yoga with every posture being held for about five breaths. A sequence is followed, starting with a warm up, standing postures, seated postures, a back bend, an inversion and then a series of relaxation postures which are held for ten to twenty breaths.

Why and how you got involved:
I took up yoga in 2009 when I was travelling in India. I found myself in Rishakesh, a holy city on the banks of the Ganges. An excellent Ashtanga teacher was recommended to me, so I stayed on to learn Ashtanga Vinyasa from Yogi Kamal Singh. I would practice Ashtanga in the morning and then practice Hatha yoga in the evening at at Shivananda Ashram. From there I went on to the beautiful city of Mysore to learn Mysore style. Mysore style is a variant of Ashtanga Yoga, where you practice your sequence at your own pace and the teacher will correct your pose but not instruct you on what to do next. I ran my own classes when living in Auckland and now I have started taking classes at Advance Physiotherapy. We have one class based on the principles of Ashtanga and Renew, a nice well rounded introductory class with a focus on relaxation.

Where you do yoga:
I mainly practice at home use a natural yoga mat made of rubber of jute. In winter I practice in my living room. In summer I sometimes head outdoors.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
Whenever I practice yoga I feel better after than when I started, energised but with a feeling of calm. Yoga helped me increase my flexibility and my strength.

Challenges:
The biggest challenge for me is fitting in a regular practice, followed by having cold feet in winter.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
I love the idea of having something that I can practice well into old age. I also love the fact it requires little in terms of fancy equipment or footwear. If you have a small space available you can practice yoga.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
People often think that yoga is only about being flexible and overlook that yoga is also about strength as well.

How/why should people give it a go:
Yoga is a great way to reduce the physical and emotional stress of modern life. It helps with common postural problems; the rounded forward shoulders, chin forward and inflexible hips. It puts you in positions that you would normally never get into in daily life to lengthen out all the muscles that are prone to shortening: the hamstrings, quadriceps and pectorals. It opens up the chest muscles, increases the mobility of the spine, hips and shoulders. It improves balance and strength of the stabilizing muscles. I believe the most important thing is that you finish your class feeling better than when you started, with a sense of calm that you can carry into the rest of your busy hectic life.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
My other interests include, running, gardening, DIY and learning the Indonesian language.

Describe your lifestyle:
I live with my husband and two cats. I work as a physiotherapist at Advance Physiotherapy as well as teaching two yoga classes at there. I have an interest in sustainable living, health and nutrition.

What/who inspires you:
I am inspired by those who are kind and selfless.

www.advancephysio.co.nz

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DeeDee Lilly

Type of Yoga you practice:
Astanga and Yin yoga

Describe this type of yoga:
Astanga is known as the ‘8 Limbed Path’ – Asana (postures) being just one limb. Others include refining personal and social codes and ethics (Yamas / Niyamas), breathing and meditation practice. It is a daily practice, following a set sequence of asana known as “series”, the first being Primary – postures for purification. Each series progressively opens the body (and mind). It is a traditional ‘Vinyasa’ method originating from Shri K Pattabois Jois, who continued the Lineage from his teacher Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.

Yin yoga is a more modern method, first taught in 1970, and stemming from Taoist and Zen philosophy. This practice includes more restorative and meditative seated postures designed to nourish and strengthen connective tissues (ligaments, fascia) in the body.

Why this type and how/when you got involved:
Yin being opposite to Yang, doing both compliments the Yang nature of the dynamic Astanga, to create balance. I tried many styles, and actually found an Astanga class in my gym! It was dynamic and as strength building as any other gym workout. , yet I found more mental benefits. I came to know Yin years later and found it supported my Astanga practice immensely. It’s a great alternative to when energy is low, or the body feels sore.

Where you do yoga:
Self practice is at home in Raglan, up at Solscape Eco Retreat, or in Hamilton studios (Abundance and Sunsalute). I travel around NZ to attend workshops held by other teachers. Next month I go to Mysore, India to study.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
A strong, lean and mobile body comes from regular practice. A healthy and regulated ‘system’ – better diet etc. also. The body will get sore and tired along the way, but it’s transforming into something greater, as Guruji would say “new body is coming”! I feel sense of bliss, and more grounded after being on my mat. I get a calmer sense of being overall.

Challenges:
As a student, finding more time to study. As a teacher, instilling faith in the long term benefits of the practice for those just starting out.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
The sense of community it can build. It’s a personal yet social practice, where people can share their experience. It builds strength – physical, mental and spiritual. It creates more compassion towards self and others.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
‘It’s a female thing’ – Only men were practicing yoga long before women, and until it came to the West.
‘I’m not flexible or slim enough’ – Yoga honors the unique body. Over time, the body will change with a disciplined and holistic approach to the practice. (including diet and lifestyle changes).

How/why should people give it a go:
Yoga is a therapy and designed for Everyone. There are many styles, so best to try them all until you find one that suits you, or at that time in your life. It can compliment any lifestyle, whether in sport, family or profession.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
Horses – love them! I used to travel a lot, but since settling in NZ, there’s no place I’d rather be.

Describe your lifestyle:
Simple. Focused, driven and passionate about …YOGA! It takes up most of my life (ask my partner!) Half my time is spent managing the Abundance Studio and teaching classes there, and at Sunsalute. In my spare time, I’m devoted to my horses, garden and partner.

What/who inspires you:
My Teachers and Students keep me going, with a great sense of gratitude. The bond with my horses also – they’re awesome and powerful healers, they teach me a lot about myself, sensitivity and unconditional love.

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jeffJeffrey Hiscock

Type of Yoga you practice:
Bikram Yoga, Yin yoga, Power yoga and anything else that’s going.

Describe this type of yoga:
Yin Yoga is the yoga that I am teaching currently. Yin is practiced at room temperature and is a meditative slow-paced yoga that explores long, deep stretching to enhance joint mobility and flexibility; this class is perfect for healing the body’s connective tissues and primarily targets the area between the rib cage and the knees. We hold postures for three minutes or more, which means you enjoy a deep stretch, especially through the hips, pelvis and spine. Yin yoga is a great antidote to sports-related and sitting-related stiffness and is deeply relaxing.

Why this type and how/when you got involved:
I first heard of Yin yoga while doing my Power Yoga teacher training in London. The main anatomist we referenced was Paul Grilley, the founder of Yin Yoga.

Paul Grilley is an amazingly well educated man with a masters in anatomy, kinesiology, has studied Chinese medicine, Thai chi and is a scholar in Yogic philosophy, and has years of experience with yoga asanas (postures). What he has to say about us Westerners and the way we live our lives and what that does to our bodies and minds makes a lot of sense to me. He says that we live a very Yang lifestyle; that is busy. This type of lifestyle clutters the mind and tightens up the whole mid section of the body, from our knees to our chest, ultimately resulting in lose of mobility in the sacrum, which leads to us ageing faster than necessary.

I attended several workshop that Paul hosted in London and got a good understanding of what Yin Yoga is all about and how it works.

Where you do yoga:
At the Hot Yoga House studio on London St and at home.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
Haha… I’m a yoga teacher so could go on all day about the benefits of yoga; mostly I think we become teachers so we can share all those benefits with other people. It makes all areas of my life better. To name a few. Yoga keeps me sane;I have an extremely busy life at the moment, so yoga helps to empty all the stuff that gets crammed into my head, which is really mentally refreshing and energizing. I have my own electrical business and I find that yoga helps improve my day to day concentration.

Yoga keeps my body functioning well; I suffered an explosion fracture in my spine because of   a car accident 9 years ago. When I practice regular yoga I have no problems, in fact I have more strength and freedom in my body than before I had the car accident. Yoga has helped me be able to run again; I injured my knees a lot skateboarding and mountain biking. Yoga also helps with my surfing, keeping my lower back feeling good. Generally yoga keeps my energised, agile and safe from injury. If I don’t practice regularly all the various past injuries come back to haunt me.

Challenges:
My current challenge is accepting where I am in my body at the moment. Due to my partner and I having a really busy lifestyle, setting up two new businesses, having a baby and renovating our house in our spare time, free time has been scarce. I had to put yoga on the back burner. Because of this the problems from my old injuries have slowly all come back . Now I’m back on the path of fixing them all up again. I have learnt my lesson this time; Regular practice is key!

What you enjoy most about yoga:
I am a much better person in general when I practice yoga! Life is good when I practice regularly.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
That its for girls and its all fluffy airy fairy stuff. You can find some of that in yoga if that’s what you are after, but yoga can be really psychically and mentally challenging; most people are surprised, especially men, when they come to their first yoga class.

How/why should people give it a go:
Why not try anything twice and see if you like it. You live in your body and yoga its probably one of the best maintenance things you could do for your body. Don’t you want it to function well? So that life is better and easier and you can live with good mobility and well functioning internal organs. So that you can live to a nice long old age in a healthy body.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
Surfing, sailing, fishing, hunting, diving, growing and gathering food.

Describe your lifestyle:
Busy, but getting closer and closer to being balanced each week.

What/who inspires you:
People who practice what they preach, people who actively work to live a balanced lifestyle, people who are already doing things that I’m working towards doing, people who look after themselves, people who are kind. My friends, my partner and my baby daughter Faye.

www.hotyogahouse.co.nz

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jocelynJocelyn-Rochelle Stewart

Type of Yoga you practice:
Power yoga (Hot)

Describe this type of yoga:
Power yoga is a Vinyasa flowing (uniting breath with movement) series of yoga postures that embodies strength, flexibility, stabilization, stamina, cardio and mind power all in one session. I love it, as this practice makes me feel fully alive and energized.

Why and how you got involved:
Back in 2010, my yoga teacher Ani from Raglan introduced Power yoga classes to her schedule. I was in love after the first class! I still enjoy my slower paced and longer held Hatha practice, however; the flow and dynamics of Power yoga resonates more with my innate nature of being energetic and fluid.

I got involved in teaching when my friend Dee got the job as manager at (the then newly opened) ‘Abundance yoga and Pilates’ studio in Hamilton. She needed more yoga teachers and approached me, thinking I’d be a great teacher. Thus my yoga journey expanded with me doing a 200 hour teacher training course with ‘Power Living Australia Yoga’ (I love how that spells play, as yoga should be playful and fun). Best part? The amazing and rewarding job waiting for me at the end.

Where you do yoga:
I teach yoga at ‘Abundance’ in Hamilton and also from my beautiful lounge with a stunning sea view in Raglan. As the weather warms up, I love to teach classes on the beach and in time, I am also available as a guest teacher at friends’ studios around the country and in the future would like to facilitate weekend workshops.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
I grew up always being fit and active, yet a total over thinker and worrier. Yoga has taught me how to calm my mind, find the inner silence and let go of all the ‘what if’s’. I am so grateful to yoga for the gift of letting go and processing life. Any time I do a hip opening posture it’s another opportunity to take my awareness inwards and see if I can let go of any tension or unwanted/limiting thoughts. Yoga helped me process the death of my mum and the ending of a long-term relationship. In short- it has allowed me to change for the better and stress less.

Challenges:
Every time I practice, the challenge is there to be really present and not caught up in my monkey mind. I find Forward Folds really hard, yet every-one is an opportunity to soften my mind, get ego out of the way and just see where I’m at in that moment. The heat in ‘Hot power yoga’ can really challenge me some days, yet I always feel amazing five minutes into class.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
The transformation it has brought into my life: how I feel about myself; my interactions with others; the music I listen to; how I react to triggers has radically changed. That’s what I love…..the ongoing journey of discovery of who I really am.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
That you have to be a gymnast or really flexible person to be able to do yoga and that you have to be female. We have some pretty burly rugby players come to our classes (not your typical yoga stereotype)

How/why people should give it a go:
People who are highly stressed, not sleeping well, suffering from aches and pains and sports injury will benefit from yoga. Yoga is safe for all ages and backgrounds and there are so many styles to choose from. There is bound to be one that you resonate with.

Other interests:
I love walking in our lush native bush and along sandy beaches; cycling, having coffee down the lane and immersing myself in a good book.

Describe your lifestyle:
I balance my lifestyle by eating a mostly a wholefood and organic diet rich in superfoods; and practicing yoga when I can. I try to get a beach/bush walk in every weekend and I make sure to get up early each morning; so I have lots of time to ease into my day with proper food digestion time. No rushing. Then, if the rest of the day gets a bit hectic, I’m alright with it, as I’ve had ‘my’ time then. I make time to stay connected with friends and forge quality friendships, this is an important part of feeling overall wellbeing in my life.

What/who inspires you:
My dad inspires me to just get on with living without complaining. The author/artist SARK has been inspiring me since my early 20’s with her colourful and fun books and life stories. Yoga teachers Tiffany Cruikshank; Noah Maze and Elena Brower inspire me to be the best yoga teacher I can be, and the best version of ME that I can be. My awesome network of amazing and loyal students/friends and family give me love and support to keep on doing what I love and am passionate about. Life is pretty sweet! I love the life I live and live the life I love.

www.abundancemindbody.co.nz

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katieKatie Deare

Type of Yoga you practice:
Ashtanga

Describe this type of yoga:
A structured sequence of poses performed as a series with particular meditative focus on the breath, the bhandas (core strength) and the natural flow of breath linking to movement known as Vinyasa. It’s a very physical and dynamic form of yoga that settles and quiets your mind.

Why this type and how /when you got involved:
It’s something that works for me. I like it’s physicality and dynamism but also it humbling and gritty quality. I got involved by experiencing this type in Auckland at the Yoga Academy and subsequently did their teacher training.

Where you do yoga:
I run the yoga studio Sun Salute in Hamilton East. So it’s there where I practice myself, most mornings. I’ve also been known to put down my mat in my lounge room, foot of the bed or in the kitchen.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
The ability to deal with life’s stresses and difficulties with relative ease or equilibrium. It helps you to see a much bigger picture of life. I sleep like a baby these days.

Challenges:
It’s hard. The practice is traditionally done in a ‘self-practice’ manner and that requires a good amount of discipline to get it all done without someone making you do it. And traditionally also done at 6am or earlier.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
The quiet you get when you are finished. How present it makes you feel. The way it opens something within your heart that feels a little magic. How old it is – a 5000 year old health regime and philosophy.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
That it is primarily something to do with stretching and that you need to be flexible in the first place. That it’s easy (or that it’s hard). That it’s a bit weird or uncool.

How/why should people give it a go:
To sleep better. To breathe better. To have healthier relationships. And yes, to potentially have more flexibility in the hamstrings.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
Tramping, MTB riding, gardening, cooking.

Describe your lifestyle:
Busy, creative, organic, healthy.

What/who inspires you:
The underdog who keeps a generous heart and sweet smile. My friends, for their creativity and love.

www.sunsalute.co.nz

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KavitaKavita Parshotam

Type of Yoga you practice:
Ananda Yoga, Kriya Yoga

Describe this type of yoga:
Ananda Yoga brings the science of hatha yoga back to its original purpose: transcending the limitations of the physical body in order to enter into higher awareness as it brings the body, mind, and spirit into mutual harmony.

Ananda Yoga includes:

  • Asana (yoga postures)
  • Pranayama (breathing and energy-control techniques)
  • Yogic meditation techniques
  • Applied yoga philosophy

What makes Ananda Yoga unique is that in includes Energisation exercises. The Energisation Exercises are a series of 39 special energy-control techniques that Paramhansa Yogananda, (author of spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi) developed in order to help the practitioner increase focus, and control the life-force.

Each yoga posture is paired with its own affirmation, which one practices silently while in the posture. The affirmation is designed to reinforce the posture’s natural effect on one’s state of consciousness, bringing the mind actively and directly into one’s practice.

Ananda Yoga is a good preparatory practice for the practice of Kriya Yoga, a psycho-physiological technique for raising consciousness and experiencing greater happiness.

Why and how you got involved:
From a very young age I was seeking freedom. I desperately wanted to be free. I didn’t know how. I thought I will be free once I left home, once I had an education, once I started earning,…even after attaining all of these, I felt something was still missing. I felt compelled to explore other avenues. Then about 20 years ago I came across the teachings of Paramhansa Yoganand. It set me on course. They showed me the way to attain what my heart had always longed for. Freedom comes from within. It is useless to seek it elsewhere. When the body is still and the heart and mind are calm, one feels great joy, great freedom. To this end, Yogananda taught the practice of Kriya Yoga.

Where you do yoga:
The Narrows Retreat also happens to be our family home. It sits on the banks of the Waikato River, just minutes from Hamilton city. I practise yoga from here and I share the teachings from this place as well. It’s the perfect environment for this. Often people experiencing challenging times will come for a retreat, become part of my family for that time and it is a wonderful way to practise and share these teachings with all. People leave with fresh perspectives, new insights and excited about living again. The results last long after the retreat is over.

I often get invited to present at corporate retreats and workplaces as part of their employee wellness programmes.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
Yoga has brought a lot of joy in my life and it has brought me opportunities that I couldn’t ever have imagined. Through my yoga practice I have met extremely great people and I feel very privileged to be part of a world-wide movement called Ananda (recently launched in Hamilton). Never before have the teachings of this Great Master Paramhansa Yogananda been so readily accessible in New Zealand. How this has come about is told beautifully in this letter by Nayaswami Asha to her friends. http://ashasletters.anandapaloalto.org/2014/09/new-zealand.html

Challenges:
Becoming still and quiet isn’t always easy amidst a busy modern life. Yet I find that when I take the time to practise my yoga, I work much more efficiently, I make decisions a lot faster and the day flows better.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
Yoga has given me the skills to enjoy living and to enjoy the ordinary moments and see the extraordinariness of the seemingly ordinary moments.

Through yoga I have met truly extraordinary people and being in their company is so thrilling and so humbling at the same time. The wisdom, the calmness, the joy, the genuine interest they have in others success and their willingness to offer whatever help they can. The practice of yoga softens the heart. It’s a beautiful feeling.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
Most people think of yoga as physical postures only, and a healthy form of exercise. But the physical postures, Hatha Yoga, are only one small means to a very important end: absolute inner peace, inner bliss, true unity and harmony with all life It’s what everyone is really seeking.

Hatha Yoga originally developed as an effective way to calm the mind and body in order to sit still for long periods of meditation

The benefits of Hatha Yoga are numerous… but if we forget the higher purpose, it’s like enjoying the exercise of preparing a meal, but forgetting the goal of eating it!!

How/why should people give it a go:
Ananda yoga is transformative. It speaks to the body mind and soul. It enables one to experience greater peace, calmness, love and joy in life.

 Other interests/sports/hobbies:
I enjoy being out in nature and pottering around in the gardens. Love preparing meals and sitting around the dinner table enjoying the company of friends and families, well after desserts are over

Describe your lifestyle:
I am married, have two daughters and run a business. I experience the same complexities that a lot of people these days do, including too much to do with too little time. However, my twice daily yoga practice which includes energisation exercises and meditation together with practices that help maintain that calmness cultivated during the formal practise and periodic seclusions keep me centred and balanced.

What/who inspires you:
I am inspired by people who are energetic and have the ability to make things happen, people who are willing to take risks and try things out. I am inspired by people who follow their callings, even though they walk alone. Every person has a unique contribution to make in this world and I feel especially inspired when I meet people who are doing just that.

www.thenarrowsretreat.co.nz

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mattMatthew Smart

Type of Yoga you practice:
Iyengar Yoga

How you got involved:
I started in Christchurch 30 years ago, before travelling the world studying with many senior yoga teachers for 12 years. I have taught in many Iyengar Yoga schools in New Zealand, Australia, China and America. I opened Iyengar Yoga Centre in Hamilton in 2003 and now have four other certified teachers teaching various levels of classes.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
The practice can be active and dynamic or passive and restorative. We can practice to build strength and improve flexibility. To maximise performance and to minimise the risk of injuries in our life activities. The practice of Iyengar yoga is ideal for the elite athlete to learn methods to recover more quickly from training. The practice is just as ideal for those recovering from injuries or with other concerns, (recovering from illness, pregnancy/fertility, breathe/anxiety, chronic fatigue, digestive concerns, psychological issues).

What you enjoy most about yoga:
Personally I am a soft body type with reasonable flexibility, the practice brings stability and strength. Also peace of mind is unequaled in my opinion.

What is challenging about yoga:
It can be challenging as it requires evolution of understanding of the body and ourselves. Also as we age the body changes or as our life circumstances change, we need to adjust our practice. There are constantly new challenges.

What/Who inspires you:
My foremost inspiration is BKS Iyengar.  I believe his approach to yoga is well rounded and intelligent. I am also inspired by the senior Iyengar Yoga community worldwide.

What aspect you find most rewarding:
I enjoy the daily practise of inversions.

What are common misconceptions:
The most common misconception of yoga is that you have to be flexible to practise yoga. This is wrong, most my students begin classes stiff and restricted. Also people tend to assume yoga as mainly passive this is not the full intended practice. Beginners need to work with an extended determined effort.

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nadineNadine Mesnage

Type of Yoga you practice:
Currently I practice Bikram Yoga and Yin Yoga. I have also spent a lot of time practising Iyengar Yoga over the years. Iyengar Yoga was my first love

Describe this type of yoga:
Bikram Yoga is a hot yoga, practiced in a room heated to 37 degrees, with 40 % humidity. Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 asanas or postures designed with Western bodies in mind. 80% Westerners suffer from back pain at some point in their life so the principal focus of this yoga series is the spine.  Bikram yoga is well known for fixing backs and knees.

Why this type and how /when you got involved:
I lived in London some years ago and was working in an investment bank. My colleagues knew that I was into yoga as I used to go and practice Shivananda Yoga in my lunch hour at the company gym. One of the bankers had invested some money into a Bikram Yoga studio and told me about this hot yoga. So I went along to check it out. I loved it. I was a bit of a party girl back then, so the sweating was what hooked me. You feel cleansed from the inside out after a Bikram Yoga class.

Where you do yoga:
I own Hot Yoga House on London St. I also practice Yin Yoga at home.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
Yoga is like brushing my teeth for me. It is something that is a part of my hygiene, mentally, physically and emotionally. The benefits are many and I could go on for pages about them. The great thing about a yoga practice is that it is endless. After all these years of practise I am still discovering the powers of yoga.

Challenges:
I opened the yoga studio 2 years ago and found out I was pregnant in our first week of opening. My challenge is that for the last two years I average practicing once a week instead of the habitual 3-5 times a week for the last 20 years. My body is different after having a baby and my mind is different with less yoga. I feel stress way more easily and am far more moody/negative without my regular yoga practice. The up side of this experience though, is that it has reminded me just how effective a regular yoga practice is. I am a better person all round. The experience has made ever more grateful to all those yogis that have patiently worked to grow and evolve yoga over the last couple thousands of years.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
How it makes me feel day to day. It gives me   space, physically mentally and emotionally. The point of yoga is optimal health, not performance. You work hard in the yoga room, to feel great in you every day life.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
That it is all fluffy and mystical. Yoga postures are just one aspect of a wider philosophical system. Yoga is not a religion. The postures are practical and scientific tools that help people to be the best they can be.

How/why should people give it a go:
Yoga is freedom; physically, mentally and emotionally. Yoga will help you to live your best life.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
I am a dancer, so I love a good boogie. I read fiction when ever I can and I like to go bush walking.

Describe your lifestyle:
I have a 16 month old girl, a life partner and a yoga studio. They all keep me on my toes. They have all been in my life for roughly 2 years, so it has been a huge learning curve.

What/who inspires you:
Art inspires me; writers, dance, art galleries and theatre.   My life partner and my daughter Faye are source of inspiration and motivation. Paul Grilley (founder of Yin Yoga) is probably my favourite yogi at the moment. He is extremely knowledgeable and articulate, both academically and in yoga practice.

www.hotyogahouse.co.nz

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sarahSarah McDonald

Type of Yoga you practice:
Integrated & flow yoga

Describe this type of yoga:
A merging of styles – bringing together my favourite aspects of hatha yoga influenced by Iyengar, Ashtanga, and vinyasa (flow) yoga. A healthy balance of alignment, natural movement and flow.

Why this type and how /when you got involved:
My practice constantly evolves and is influenced by more than 20 years of study and practice. I started with several years of Iyengar and then Ashtanga yoga in Auckland. Moving to the country 11 years ago meant there were no classes to attend, so this gave me the opportunity to develop my own practice and style. I have also drawn on more contemporary practices like core strength vinyasa, power and flow yoga. Most recently I am learning about developmental movement patterns, which is ‘softening’ my practice.

Where you do yoga:
For myself, anywhere! Mostly in my home yoga room. Outdoors when I can – in the countryside and at the beach. This summer I’ll be taking my practice onto my new stand-up paddleboard too.

For my students – regular classes at the St Andrew’s church hall in Cambridge, or at training venues around Cambridge where I work with athletes.

Benefits you personally get from yoga:
Keeping myself in check – mentally and physically. Depending on what I need each day, yoga keeps me feeling good – flexible, strong, balanced, centered and calm. Yoga also teaches me enhanced awareness, discipline, patience and perspective in life.

Challenges:
Being disciplined and patient in my practice, and finding the time to get on the mat some days.

What you enjoy most about yoga:
How much better I feel at the end of a practice than at the start – it is always worth it.

Most common misconception people have about yoga:
That to be ‘good at yoga’ is to be ‘flexible’. Flexibility is simply about the length of your muscles. Yoga is about so much more than this. A wise yogi once said ‘Yoga without the breath (and awareness) is merely gymnastics’.

How/why should people give it a go:
Depending on your lifestyle and individual needs yoga can bring a wealth of physical, mental and emotional benefits, ranging from muscular balance and injury prevention for athletes, to stress relief and relaxation for anyone coping with the demands of modern life. There are many different styles and instructors around. I always urge people to look around and find a class and instructor that feels right for them.

Other interests/sports/hobbies:
I love the outdoors, particularly water sports including waterskiing, ocean swimming and (this summer) stand-up paddleboarding. Interested in food, nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Describe your lifestyle:
Busy but good. I try to balance my work, yoga teaching and study, my beautiful young family and our five-acre slice of paradise at Lake Karapiro.

What/who inspires you:
Authentic, positive people. People who follow their dreams and live life to the full.

www.balanceyoga.co.nz

 

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