Get to Know Your yogafusion – Sally Martin

Meet the instructor – Sally Martin (Sagittarius – the archer)

 

When did your yoga journey start? And why did you start?

Sally Martin Adelaide

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.

Get to Know Your yogafusion – Amy Light

Meet the instructor – Amy Light (cuspy Virgo and Libra)Amy Light Yogafusion Adelaide

When did your yoga journey start? And why did you start?

My yoga journey began in the second to last year of high school (2003). Yoga was something I knew little about before I started and I just felt this  strong urge to try it out. It transpired that I enjoyed it so much I started practising every morning before school.

Describe your very first class?

What I remember the most about my first class is how it made me feel – really connected with my body, invigorated, alive and that I wanted to keep practising and learning more.

Describe where yoga has helped you overcome a challenge in life.

Yoga helps me to be completely aware of myself – watching my reactions and feelings as they arise (especially when things don’t go as planned) so that I can choose what’s useful and not useful in a situation.

What led you to decide to become a yoga instructor?

There were two main reasons:

Firstly, I wanted to change my own lifestyle (especially work wise) as I was I had no time for myself or others when I was taking on long hours at work and starting to develop stress related health issues.

Secondly, as yoga has impacted my body, life choices and the way I look at things in such a powerful way, I felt drawn to want  to share and pass on the benefits and ancient teachings to others.

Describe your lifestyle and eating habits:

I’ve been a vegetarian for the last thirteen years and I like to eat fresh nourishing food and  to know where its come from. I really like the idea of being as self sufficient as possible. I cook most of my own food and like to eat what’s in season at the time and try not to over complicate things. When I do dine out I enjoy eating Japanese and Korean food.

If you were a supermarket item, what would you be? Why?

A mango – as it’s my favourite fruit and reminds me of summer, holidays, the beach and Christmas which one of my favourite times of the year!

What do you find most rewarding about being a yoga instructor? Any most challenging?

Probably what’s most rewarding is knowing that I’m coming into the studio each day for yogafusion amy light adelaidesomeone other than myself and that one word I say or one movement that I teach has the power to change someone’s day and their life, potentially.

Probably the most challenging thing I found when I first started teaching and still often do is when I’ve got a lot going on in my own life and then to be able to put it all aside and show up 100% (be present) for my students.

What else do you do in life, aside from yoga? Eg, job, hobbies, lifestyle, creative outlets

My “other” job is as a chef. I’ve worked as a fulltime chef for seven years and for the past two years I have spent a couple of days per week as a pastry chef in a patisserie. This extends into my spare time as I love cooking for my family and friends.

I love summer and the outdoors, especially swimming at the beach (where I practically live in the summer.) I love to go snowboarding in the winter when I get the chance (one of the very few activities that get me out in the cold of winter.) I also enjoy spending time outside in the garden whether it’s at my own house or at my parents vegie garden.

Just take things one breath at a time (both on and off the mat) enjoying and accepting each moment for what it is!

What is your favourite yoga pose and why? What is the yoga pose that challenges you the most and why?

Incidentally, my favourite postures are often the ones that challenge me, also as everyday this changes for me depending on how I’m feeling, what’s on my mind and what;s going on physically. Every practise I find myself experiencing two types of “favourite” poses. There are oness that allow me to completely be myself and honour the place where I’m at – where I can find complete strength/support with complete surrender at the same time and be completely united with the breath.

And then poses that challenge me in some way whether it be physical limits, whether it interferes with my breath, or whether it conjures up a reaction – (eg being uncomfortable, doubting myself, being frustrated). This indicates that there’s something here for me to observe, discover and learn about myself.

If you could only instil one thing from yoga to your students, what would it be?

Just to take things one breath at a time (both on and off the mat) enjoying and accepting each moment for what it is! This extends as my personal philosophy as well.

What is your favourite thing in life? Besides yoga, of course!

Spending time with my family and friends.

How would you cure world hunger if you had the chance?

Seen as so much of the world’s food is wasted it would great to somehow distribute the excess to those in need.

 

You can also read about Andrew, Margarita, Sue and Emma!

Vishuddha chakra

Chakra may now be a common term to you and you may even have an understanding of its meaning.

The chakras (meaning wheel or cycle) are culmination points for nadis (channels) of prana sacral chakra(energy or lifeforce). A useful analogy when considering chakras is to envision nadis as highways, filled with cars (prana) and the chakras are the intersections and roundabouts where these highways meet.

The chakras reside on the sushumna nadi, which is the central channel of energy that is aligned with the spinal column.

Let’s look closely at the throat chakra:

Vishuddha Chakra

This is the centre of physical and spiritual purification and detoxification. Associated with chakra throatthe colour blue (more specifically a smoky purple or lavender grey), it’s where your words of clarity form and is also the space of purity and infinity.

The Vishuddha yantra is generally depicted by a sixteen petalled lotus as well as images of the moon, a circle and a white elephant. Unlike the base chakra’s elephant, this elephant represents a spiritual orientation in the physical life. The circle represents akasha (space or the place where nothing exists). The mantra or seed sound, ham (or hang) associated with this expressive area is said to elevate awareness beyond all physical manifestation.

It’s the seat of sound and is governed by the element of either, which Jung purports to be ‘more volatile than air’ and not too dissimilar to prana. It also looks after our creative expression, communication, dreams, memory, intuition, improvisation, knowledge and self expression. This is where that well know Hindu Goddess, Saraswati, is believed to live.

Physiologically it presides over the lungs, throat, thyroid, hearing/speech organs and cervical spine.

‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.’  Epictetus

Do you ever notice tightness or soreness in your throat or the frequent need to clear it? Do you have swallowing troubles or find yourself talking a lot or too little? This could represent an imbalance in your throat chakra. You may also notice the following if this chakra seems out of balance:

  • fearfulness
  • nervousness
  • inability to speak up
  • unable to speak your truth
  • jaw pain
  • laryngitis
  • sore neck

When in harmony this area brings balance, clarity and understanding to situations and perspectives. Having a deep awareness and understanding of this area helps us to really learn to listen to ourselves first and foremost and then you can really hear others.

Vishuddha dictates a sort of higher discrimination – that facility to choose between “right” and “wrong” or more directly interpreted, “nectar” and “poison”; “nectar” being what sweetens and helps you grow and “poison” analogous to something that hinders and stunts your health and growth. Yogis can look toward the yamas and niyamas for guidance on their personal code of right and wrongs.

‘The truth needs so little rehearsal.’ Barbara Kingsolver

What you can do to bring your throat chakra into harmony:

  • quiet speech/stop talking
  • undertake a complete day of silence
  • attend a vipassana retreat
  • stop the internal chatter
  • maintain and enjoy silence
  • speak your truth
  • sing
  • really listen to others
  • write a letter to someone or yourself

Asana that can help rebalance vishuddha:

  • Hasta utthanasana
  • Halasana
  • Salamba sarvangasana
  • Simhasana
  • Ustrasana
Did you know? this chakra is also linked to self expression for writers and often a blockage in this chakra can manifest as writer’s block.

 

Did you miss our posts on Anahata, Svadhisthana and Mooladahara chakras?

affirmations chakra

Get to Know Your yogafusion – Emma Hewett-Smiles

Meet the instructor: Emma Hewett-Smiles

yogafusion

When did your yoga journey start? And why did you start?

My yoga journey started at a London gym in 2003. I was doing aerobics plus contemporary and hip hop classes at Dance Works studio and thought I’d give a yoga class a go. The teacher was from New Zealand and I found the class more inline with my former dance/ballet training that I’d grown up with. I realised how much I would need to work to keep it up dancing at the level I was previously at. Yoga was a more practical alternative at the time and more suited to the stage of life as I was entering my twenties.

Continue reading

Manipura Chakra: stand in your power

Chakra may now be a common term to you and you may even have an understanding of its meaning.

The chakras (meaning wheel or cycle) are culmination points for nadis (channels) of prana sacral chakra(energy or lifeforce). A useful analogy when considering chakras is to envision nadis as highways, filled with cars (prana) and the chakras are the intersections and roundabouts where these highways meet.

The chakras reside on the sushumna nadi, which is the central channel of energy that is aligned with the spinal column.

Let’s look closely at the solar plexus chakra:

Manipura Chakra

Manipura is located at the solar plexus region and driven by the element of fire, this is where your inner sun is located – the area that produces your inner heat and sun like energy.

It is about your core self, your “power”, and your inner sun, which produces heat and energy. It’s about accepting the “jewels” of life – also known as your birthright. The yantra features a ten petalled lotus, with an inverted red triangle in the centre. Continue reading

Base Chakra

Chakra may now be a common term to you and you may even have an understanding of its meaning. base chakra

The chakras (meaning wheel or cycle) are culmination points for nadis (channels) of prana (energy or lifeforce). A useful analogy when considering chakras is to envision nadis as highways, filled with cars (prana) and the chakras are the intersections and roundabouts where these highways meet.

The chakras reside on the sushumna nadi, which is the central channel of energy that is aligned with the spinal column.

Let’s look closely at the base chakra.

Muladhara

base chakraMula (or moola) = base/root
Adhara = substratum/foundation/support

Known as the base or root chakra, this can be visualised as being located at the floor of the torso or base of the spine. It is the seat of our primal energy.

This is our foundation and if it is imbalanced the prana is not able to easily flow freely throughout the rest of the chakras and beyond. You may even be able to feel the subtle energy changes when this chakra is out of balance. Continue reading

What Does Yoga Actually Mean?

Yoga is an all encompassing term which is derived from the Sanskrit word, yuj, which translates in its most simplistic form to yoke. However, the translation isn’t that straight forward and it can mean to bind, union, attach and communion or a culmination of all these words.

With such multifaceted semantics, yoga can also be interpreted as connection, contact, method, application, addition, combination and performance.

On first glance, yoga may appear as a series of stretches and postures but it’s a traditional method of practise, principles and philosophy that aims to bind or yoke the individual together with a higher being or existence.

Another way of looking at the definition of yuj is ‘to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply’,Light on Yoga, page 19.

Yoga is both a state and a means to attaining it. Despite the differing styles and ways of practise, there is a common underpinning thread of belief that we, as people, are greater than just a body and mind. Continue reading