International Yoga Day

Thursday 21st June is International Yoga Day!

We will be celebrating with a day of peace, gratitude & community. Please join us for free, donation based yoga with proceeds to beyondblue. There will be free bliss balls and chai after every class.

Please Note: the 6pm & 730pm classes will be merged to a 630pm class. Spaces limited, please only book if you can definitely make the session!

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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 – Simon Michelmore

Meet the instructor – Simon Michelmore

What do you find most rewarding about being a yoga instructor? And most challenging? Simon Michelmore

Teaching a class, or even just preparing to teach, challenges you to ask yourself a lot of questions – ones which are often difficult. Am I being genuine? Am I being present with the class, or simply “going through the motions?” And countless others. They can be very similar to questions that you would ask yourself during your own practise, but they now become directed outwards as you want to strive for each and every student to be able to find what it is that they need.

In the process of trying to be sincere, it also means that you have to be vulnerable in a very public way. I know that when I go to practice in a class, the last thing I want is the teacher to be placing themselves on a pedestal and preaching from on high to me. Instead I believe that we simply desire for them to relate to us as one human being to another.

In attempting to do that you end up running head first into a bunch of your insecurities and confronting someone that can be either your best friend or your worst enemy – yourself. A person who knows all of your secret fears and regrets and, given a chance, can easily use them against you. The challenge for me is to try and let go of those fears and just be open for people to read, imperfections and all.

As a teacher one of the most rewarding aspects is when you can see students directly challenging their own fears and, after the class is over, they walk out of the room as though they’re just that little bit lighter.

What is your favourite yoga pose and why?

Parivitta Trikonasana. One of the core postures that we teach, but often the most under appreciated. To really get “into” the posture, it requires you to focus on every single part of the body from the feet and legs, right through the hips and spine, and into the head and fingers.

Describe your first class?

Weirdly familiar, as it had echoes of various martial arts, but at the same time different enough that I was thrown completely out of my comfort zone. Rather than being the rather constant movement that I’d experienced with most forms of exercise, with a lot of fast action and dynamism, you were encouraged to find the pose and then be still with it. It required that I put aside every assumption I’d unknowingly made before and moved me – little by little – to be quiet.

 

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

 

Late 2001. I came from a martial arts background and, after our school disbanded, I’d been looking for something along similar lines for several years. When several friends talk about their yoga practise, I become intrigued enough to go a beginners’ course at a studio in town.

After the initial eight weeks of the course were up and I realised that my weeks felt incomplete if I wasn’t attending a few classes, I was hooked and knew that I’d found what I’d been searching for!

What led you to decide to become a yoga instructor?

It was more of an evolutionary process, as opposed to a revolutionary one. I’d be practicing for over a decade, with the regularity of my practise growing each week, but I had never actually considered my practise to be anything other than “for me.” Once I started at yogafusion, Sue encouraged me to think about going to teacher training and – honestly – at first I thought she was just being supportive and telling me I was “doing okay” in a diplomatic, roundabout way.

When I realised that she was quite serious, I took about a year to think about it and decided that, at the very least, it would be a once in life experience, even if I decided to not actually move into teaching.

Once the course was over, however, there wasn’t a shred of doubt left that I wanted to be in the room and guiding people through their practise.

What is your greatest fear?

For some reason I have a quite irrational fear of deep water (I put it down to seeing Jaws to many times when I was about five years old). Despite the fact that I enjoying surfing; am a competent swimmer; and am regularly out in the ocean, I always feel uneasy when I can’t see the seafloor beneath me.

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

Everybody has their own personal hurdles in life to overcome; for me a large one has been learning to cope with depression, which I was diagnosed with in my early twenties.

I started yoga with the idea of the physical practise helping me deal with it, as it would be an excellent form of exercise. Although that was certainly important, it didn’t take me too long to discover that the real benefits came not from how deep I could go into Trikonasana or if I could do the full splits, but questioning the very assumption of why I believed I needed to be “deeper into the posture” in the first place.

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

My hobbies have a habit of starting off being casual interests and then become larger and larger parts of my life before I know it. As a result I dabbled with computer programming as a teenager, and it’s now what I do fulltime. I was interested in cinema from a fairly young age, which led to me being in the film and TV industries for several years, where I worked on various feature films, documentaries and short films.

Outside of “work,” I like finding the balance between seeing friends and family often, but also setting aside some time for myself and enjoy something quiet.

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

One legged pigeon – Eka Pada Kapotasana. If you want to challenge yourself to find stillness amidst difficulty, this might be the pose that someone should try. If anything challenging – mentally or emotionally – is occurring in your life, then this will bring it right to the front of your conciousness. The exercise is then to stay with it, despite every instinct of the ego telling you to do otherwise, and just let it be.

Describe your lifestyle and eating habits:

I like to be active – even if it’s just a simple walk with my dog – and eat well. But I do have to make sure that my house is devoid of chocolate or anything sweet, or they generally don’t last more than a few hours.

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

Fish oil. Nobody really knows what it does, but apparently it’s really good for you, so … why not?

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

Take on board the essential, strip out the unnecessary and add what is uniquely your own.

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

Friends, a film and good bottle of red wine. Preferably with chocolate (type irrelevant).

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

Give every world leader a conscience. Do that and the problems of the globe would be solved in a matter of days.

Do you have a life strategy or a personal philosophy that rarely fails you? simon michelmore

I find a lot of life seems to be dictated by the idea of ‘Thou shalt not.’ Instead, I like to approach everything with the idea of ‘Thou shalt.’

Tell me something that not many people know about you?

I’m quite the geek … actually, people probably already do know that!

 

Read up on our other staff members here.

Get to Know Your yogafusion – Sue Czuchwicki

yogafusion

Meet the Director/Principal Teacher – Sue Czuchwicki  (Taurus)

 

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

Sixteen years ago – to complement triathlon and cycling training and to get a good stretch, relaxation and grounding. My first class was a community class run by the local pharmacy in Bendigo, Victoria. The teacher (Sally Downes) was warm and friendly and had a special disposition about her that I was really drawn to and no other past coach/trainer had. The class itself was a nice mix of physical work and relaxation and I remember having the best night’s sleep after that first class. I knew then that there was something in this practise; something deep.

What led you to decide to become a yoga instructor?

Nothing in particular led me to it as it intuitively just felt right. Whilst initially the benefits of practicing yoga were of a physical nature I was amazed how soon yoga began to extend beyond the mat and into my daily life and relationships.

Yoga brought a calming focus to my life, a greater awareness when facing life’s challenges and I wanted to share what I was receiving with others. It was fairly soon after I had started yoga classes that I had already made enquiries to Sally. Interestingly, she said that out of all the students in her classes, she had a feeling I would be the one asking her about teacher training. Maybe it’s Karma?

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

Firstly I would like to make the distinction between yoga instructor and yoga ”teacher”. I believe that yoga is a science, a philosophy and a way of life. An instructor is someone who details physical postures whereas a “teacher” is someone who uses the postures to stimulate awareness and deeper understanding of yoga science. Having said that it doesn’t mean I’m not instructional in my teaching but for me “instructor” doesn’t involve inspiration or understanding. An instructor tells you what to do but a teacher helps you understand why you are doing it. Continue reading

Get to Know Your yogafusion – Margarita Houllis

Meet the instructor: yogafusionMargarita Houllis (Scorpio) 

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

My yoga journey started in 2002, a good friend dragged me along to a yoga class and I had no idea what it was all about the pending effect it would have on me – I just thought it would be something different and fun. My friend spoke so highly about it and because she is such a centred person in the face of everything and takes everything all in her stride – I wanted to emulate those qualities. She believed most of that was due to her yoga practise so it was a Harry met Sally moment for me – ‘I wanted what she was having’ – and that was the beginning.

‘I wanted what she was having’

My first class was an Iyenga class, in a massive warehouse in the city. It was a cold, raining Saturday morning; the practise – mixed with the sound of the rain beating down on the tin roof – absolutely seduced my senses and – BAMM – I was hooked! Continue reading