Meet the instructor – Sally Martin (Sagittarius – the archer)
When did your yoga journey start? And why did you start?
I tried yoga when I was in my early twenties as a method of recovery from rowing training. Rowing is a physically demanding sport with large amounts of time spent completing
training volume. As with most endurance type activities you
feel tired, fatigued and have sore and tight muscles a lot of the time. I went along to a local community yoga class and could not believe how much relief I found for my lower back and how soundly I slept after the yoga session.
Describe your first class?
The first class I attended was held in a classroom at a local primary school. It was winter so we covered ourselves in a blanket for final savasana. I loved how my body felt at the end of class but I remember finding it slow and I struggled to be present. My “monkey mind” was nattering away the whole time, something that I am still working on. About eight years later I started practicing Bikram after reading an article about it in the paper, the heat and the physical challenge appealed to me.
What led you to decide to become a yoga instructor?
After practising Bikram fairly consistently for a few years I started to really enjoy the connection between movement and breath and grew to see and appreciate the benefits yoga brought to my life. My husband, Chris, and I started at yogafusion a few years later and loved the style, mindfulness and instruction we received at the studio. Teaching others to appreciate yoga and to give back has motivated me to pursue teaching.
What do you find most rewarding about being a yoga instructor? And most challenging?
Although I am relatively new to teaching I have appreciated when students have come up after class and said they could identify with a quote or reading that I have shared. The most challenging thing has been to “get over myself” (fears, apprehensions, and nervousness) and stand up in front of a class to teach.
Describe where yoga has helped you overcome a challenge in life.
Yoga has helped me become more cantered and grateful. I love the way it makes me feel physically and the mental clarity it can help create. Yoga has also assisted me greatly through periods of my life when I was making transitions with life direction, relationships and my career. Through yoga I have learnt about the Yamas and Niyamas and continually try to apply this wisdom to life and my practise.
What else do you do in life, aside from yoga? Eg, job, hobbies, lifestyle, creative outlets
I love bike riding, swimming at the beach or lake, skiing and travelling. Occasionally, I will jump into a boat and go for a row. I am a high school teacher and teach health/physical education as well as looking after the girls’ sports program at my school.
What is your favourite yoga pose and why?
Currently my favourite posture is Dandayamana Dhanurasana, I had a few “aha” moments with this posture at teacher training. I love the way it opens the front of the body, lengthens the standing leg hamstring, requires balance, concentration and can be enhanced/ influenced by your breath.
What is the yoga pose that challenges you the most and why?
I find Parivrtta Trikonasana really challenging, I have only just started to connect and feel the foundations of this posture. The revolving and stacking my shoulders will take me some time but I’m looking forward to this journey.
What is your greatest fear?
Having, seeing and being near dirty feet! Maybe not an ideal fear for a yoga instructor!
Do you have any long term yoga goals?
To improve my Parivrtta Trikonasana, this is definitely going to take me a long time, which is fine – I have time. I also aim to teach with more intuition and fluidity.
Describe your lifestyle and eating habits:
I try to do some sort of exercise daily, usually I like to practise early in the day. I find it is a great way to get the day underway, you feel good, energised and ready to go. Chris and I try to eat things that are not processed or refined, we include lots of vegetables, fruit and nuts but delicious dark chocolate is a semi regular feature in my diet.
If you were a supermarket item, what would you be? Why?
A chocolate covered almond, mostly healthy with some yummy stuff thrown in.
If you could only instil one thing from yoga to your students, what would it be?
Practice Ahimsa (the first Yama); kindness to yourself and others.
What is your favourite thing in life? Besides yoga, of course!
Sharing a good meal with family or friends and being in water.
How would you cure world hunger if you had the chance?
Remove foreign debts and support local farmers to supply local communities.
Do you have a life strategy or a personal philosophy that rarely fails you?
Stop, breathe, go again!
Tell me something that not many people know about you?
I am a two time World Champion in rowing.
Stop, breathe, go again!
Don’t forget to read up about Simon here.