I did my first Yoga class when I was 11 Years old.
Mrs Henderson, my 6th Grade teacher was quite progressive for a Catholic school teacher and for Friday afternoon sports for one term, we cleared all the desks and chairs from the middle of the room, stood in a circle and copied our teacher in movements called Yoga. I wasn’t really good at team sports but I liked gymnastics and this I could do, easily. I loved it.
In Year 12, like most students, I was stressing out of my head preparing for the exams. My mother tried to help by giving me some tapes (the prelude to the ipod) with a body relaxation that a psychologist had given her. He had the worst voice, saying “REEEELLLLLLAAAAAXXXX’’ in the slowest, freakiest voice possible. Despite this, I regularly listened to the tape and started my lifelong love of meditation.
I continued to delve into meditation and relaxation for a number of years and I become very interested in alternate methods of healing. I studied Sandplay (1986) and Shiatsu (1999). A requirement of my Shiatsu course was 80 hours of Ki Yoga (Japanese style of Yoga). Shiatsu and Ki Yoga both work on removing stagnating energy in the meridians.
I must admit, I did not like the Yoga classes at first. It seemed like drudgery (maybe because we HAD TO do them). It didn’t take long before I started to love the classes. I completed more than I had to and after a year of consistent Ki Yoga I had the best six pack I have ever had in my life. I had wanted to complete my Ki Yoga training at the time, but due to family circumstances, I wasn’t able to.
Since that time, I continued to do some form of Yoga. I continued with Ki Yoga for quite a while, became a regular at a Hot Yoga studio, and tried a bit of Kundalini and Ashtanga Yoga. I found a Hatha class during my pregnancies and I found the best pregnancy Yoga class is Annandale with a teacher called Sevadevi. I continued to meditate.
After the birth of my second child, we moved to Kiama (NSW south coast). When we first went there, I felt like I had left my support behind and I was somewhere new with two small children. I couldn’t find time for my practice as life was so busy. I began to feel depressed. I knew that my Yoga practice had helped me through this before so I decided to look for a teacher training. I found one that suited me; one weekend a month over nine months. My husband could look after the kids while I was there which meant no stress and I could look after myself.
I never planned to teach – I was doing it to maintain my mental health. During my training one of my friend’s sisters, Tracey, said her Yoga teacher had moved and she wanted me to start teaching a class. So once a week, she would invite some friends over, clear her lounge room which overlooked Kiama’s Black Beach as we practiced.
When I finished the training, I continued teaching. This small group stayed with me for a while as I ran the classes from my home. Then I decided to hire the CWA hall and run 3 classes a week and so my Yoga business began. I continued to grow, running classes for other studios and then creating a home studio which I ran for a number of years.
I continued to train. I completed a Rainbow Kids Yoga Course. Completed my Cert IV in Yoga teacher training. I had a mentor for a while named Maurie. Maurie practiced a very traditional style of Hatha Yoga taught by Acharya. Maurie would practice every day from 6am to 8am. 30 mins of meditation, 30 minutes of Pranayama and an hour of asana. He mentored teachers and senior students and allowed us to practice with him. I can’t explain the value in understanding the foundations of Yoga in this way. He taught through practice and the practices I learnt are invaluable.
I am the type of person who when I go away anywhere I look for Yoga classes. I take my mat everywhere. I like to try all things Yoga so I delved a little into AcroYoga and fell in love with it. I decided to do my training in it. I spent 3 weeks in Bali working 10 hours a day at Acro. It is the most fun you can have doing Yoga. The best thing for me is that it showed me that I could do things I had never even considered before. It gave me confidence in my abilities. It also taught me inversions in a unique way which I still enjoy teaching students.
My teaching has taken me to Bali since my Acro training. A fellow teacher, Karen, loves to travel and we have taken groups on a ‘Bali Experience’ for a number of years. We explore the beauty of Bali visiting water temples, going on walks, visiting spas and of course Yoga in places like the Yoga barn and Radiantly Alive in Ubud. Our first trip was small with only 4 but grew to our maximum of 16 in a very short time. I think I have the best side of the deal as Karen does all the organising (which is not a small feat) and I simply go to Bali and do what I love to do. Unfortunately, these trips have stopped for now, but I look forward to the day we can take our next group over.
We decided to move back to Sydney and I decided that if I was moving back I wanted to have a ‘real’ studio and so Inspire was born.
As always, my Yoga seems to have a plan of its own and I kept attracting students who were injured or unwell. I was helping them but I felt I could to more. So I embarked on my Yoga Therapy training, a 2 year, 650 hour teacher training. It was a massive 2 years but I learnt so much. For me I had gone through full circle, Ki Yoga is designed to help specific ailments and now I was learning the same thing from a different tradition.
All my training came to a culmination in 2019. I had been teaching for 10 years and so decided to put my own Yoga teacher training together. I wanted to ensure the training followed the Yoga Australia guidelines and that completing teachers could become level 1 Yoga teachers with Yoga Australia (min 350 hours teaching). 2020 was probably not the best year to start a teacher training as it turned out, but we worked through COVID and ended up with 10 fully qualified teachers.
It has been a big year and now I look forward to running the level 1 Certified Yoga Australia training in 2021.
And I am still wondering where my Yoga will take me next!