Category Archives: passion

Loving the yoga practice and teaching yoga

It is Tuesday evening as I write this and I was teaching yoga tonight. I am always listening at the end of class to hear people’s reaction to my class. I am careful not to ask people what they thought but rather to wait for the feedback that often fills the quite moments when we finish class.

Tonight, at the end of class one of the people said, “I feel so relaxed…you can’t tell that it is busy out there” (points to the windows). She also asked if I taught anywhere else which is the best compliment I could have hoped for.

Two things are with me now.

Loving to do it

This is my favourite thing to do and I now have the skills to do it. I feel like I was given a raw talent to use my body in this way.  I know if I choose this as my one thing and invest all my energy and time into it, I can make it my life.

When I speak to people about their own businesses there are two types. There are those that work long hours in their business and make enough money to make ends meet. Their work is not exciting to them but a means to an end…paying bills.

The second type are the people who are excited and driven and motivated by their business. They face risk straight on, plotting and planning and are always excited about the next new thing. (As I write this I think of my Dad’s boss who is very successful in business. When I asked him about risk, he said not to worry too much about the risks. He said the things that go wrong are never the things you originally worried about anyway. I thought this was a helpful outlook and the truth.)

I aspire to the have the second kind of business. I like planning new workshops and experiences for people. I start by planning an experience for the people in the room with me. During each class, I focus on being present with people in the room with me. I want to inspire them to come every week. I want to connect the people in my community so they can form friendships at yoga. I hone my craft and share the practice and grow and improve and write and use my talents to become the yoga teacher that I know I can be.

Teaching Yoga – Sharing it

These teachings, the meditation, the poses and the seasonal yoga have been so helpful to me. First, yoga helps me to relax. But I also gain flexibility, mindfulness, health, vitality, strength, power, connection, community and fitness. I want to share it. Now that I have developed such a connection to the practice I feel compelled to share it.

At the end of yoga teacher training, my friend Ella who was on the teacher training with me told me she felt a compulsion to share what she had learned. And now I share that feeling too.

I am unique and I have a unique experience. I don’t have to be more skilled, more experienced, more like anyone else. I just need to be me and teach. I’m ready.

Yoga doesn’t deliver me to a destination, nor does it take away the hard-to-feel emotions but it does train me to go back to my breath and stay with the feelings instead of running from them or trying to distract myself from them, using food or screens or work or running or more sinister drugs of choice.

And that is why you will find me teaching yoga. Sharing the practice. It helps that my body and mind feels like it was made for this and that I love teaching yoga.

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This writing is part of a series of blog posts that I am posting weekly about my curiosity around yoga and movement and the body and our purpose how these can align.

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Posture, ballet and yoga

Ballet as my introduction to posture

My journey from ballet to yoga began when I was five and I had a ballet teacher with great posture. My childhood ballet teacher, Miss McLellan didn’t have an overly athletic figure, although she was fit and strong, but what she did have was immaculate posture. In the twelve years I trained with her I did not see her slouch once. I remember seeing her walk around and simply her beautiful straight spine gave her an air and grace that is unique to ballerinas.

My ballet teacher taught me about maintain correct posture using cues like: tuck your ribs in, hold your stomach in, grow and hold your tail under. These prompts on how to hold your body for good posture are ways that encourage our muscles hug into our spines. It makes you compact and strong. Nothing is wobbling out there. It is kind of like drawing in your core, as you learn in pilates class.

Ballet and yoga

Skip forward thirty something years and I came back to doing what I love and that is being in a room with people working our bodies into poses together. As a child it was ballet. As an adult it is yoga.

A lot of ballet dancers become yogis. Ballet dancers are usually flexible and this is seen as a benefit as a yogi, but yoga is for everyone. You do not need to be flexible to do yoga.

Some people think that ballerinas are drawn to yoga after they stop ballet because ballet can be so harsh on the body that it causes injuries that can be healed and soothed with yoga. I think that the reason is because practising ballet requires you to focus your mental energy on where your body is in space. Yoga does the same thing.

Finding yoga

I found yoga in my thirties and it was the space, the time, the focus on the simple practise of moving my body through certain poses with a concentration that let me escape my mind. I loved the discipline of letting go of the outside world and working on the physical work of bringing my body into set poses repeatedly. It didn’t matter how I felt physically before the class I would always feel better afterwards.

Just loving it

My Mum tells the story of when I was a child and she would pick me up from ballet class after school. I would get to the car and I would be sweating, I would be noticeably exhausted. She would look at me and say, how was class? She said I never once said, that I was tired or hot or that the barre work was too repetitive. I would always reply, that it was great. I would feel exhilarated. I loved it. There was nothing I loved more.

Ballet pain

It did become difficult in the middle of my teenage years when I grew centimetres in height in a short period of time. I felt gangley and I found I had to work harder to be as graceful as I had been when I was younger. But I loved the classes. I loved improvisation. I loved solos, I loved group performances at eisteddfods and concerts.

I had blisters and sore feet. Yep, the sore feet is definitely a pain that I can recall vividly. Imagine trying to get your wooden toed pointe shoes on again when your feet are already blistered. Mine didn’t bleed the skin just rubbed straight off.  A blister never lasted long enough to heal. Jumping all your weight on your toes when they are blistered with only a stocking and a small foam toe pad to cushion the impact is Very sore. But it does look beautiful.

Missing the love of my life

It was many years between when I attended almost daily ballet classes and a regular yoga practice. I learned a second language and travelled and lived abroad. I kept fit in gym classes and my own version of exercise and I had lots of fun and I got married and started a family but this disciplined body work that I had in ballet class and found again in yoga was missing. I feel sad that I let this main love of my life lay idle for so long. I feel happy that I have returned to what I love.

 

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This is a series of blog posts that I am posting every Friday about my curiosity around yoga, movement, the body and our purpose and how these can align.

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How do I know what I want?

Hello my Dears,

this month I’m doing something new.

Sometimes we have so much choice in our life and we actually are not sure what is the right next step for us to take.

I’ve taken up a challenge because…
I can

I want to

And it is fun!

I am making a vlog every day in August (VEDA)

I am making a short video every day and uploading it to my YouTube Channel.

So I’m committing and I’m making some new friends. And I’m learning. It is your chance to get to know me better…each day I answer a different question as part of the VEDA challenge.

My month so far:

enjoy

And remember it is never too late to ask yourself what you want to do this month.  Go ahead ask yourself: What do I want? (And it is okay…you can want whatever you want. this is a “should-free” zone)

love,

Sally

PS this was the theme of last week’s class of my Self Discovery Community Yoga Course. So much fun!

me being a fish

Floods of tears: witnessing true kindness

I was sitting at home, nestled on the lounge watching Yogawoman the film that a friend had dropped over because she knew I loved yoga.

I found the film quite interesting and then, in a moment I found myself in floods of tears, gentle sobs even.

My heart was opening to the amazing kindness of one woman who was bringing yoga to young woman inmates at a juvenile detention centre in the US.

This kind human had brought fresh flowers, candles and brightly coloured stripped blankets to decorate the centre of the yoga circle, to make a beautiful space for these women to be in.

What touched me the most was one young inmate’s recount of what she most liked about the class.

At the start of the class while everyone was in child’s pose, the teacher had asked if anyone did not want to be touched during the class. (Some yoga teachers like to adjust their students to help them in certain poses). The young girl said that this kindness and safe space to be in her body with control over whether she was touched or not was the the best thing for her. No one had ever asked her that before. No one had showed her such respect for her body.

I wiped away my tears. I knew this was the kind of work that I want to do.

In that instant I remembered that by providing a safe, comforting, beautiful space for people to get to know, appreciate and love the body they were given, a yoga teacher is doing life changing work.

lotus-312768_640

And I was inspired.

lots of love

Sally

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how do I help someone open their heart so they can stand tall?

I was at a shopping centre today and as I walked back to my car, I saw a young man waiting at the bus stop. He was overweight and smoking a cigarette. He was looking at his mobile screen. He was very hunched over. Very very hunched for a young man. From the side, it looked like he sat hunched over his phone or watching tv for a big part of his day…I felt a strong urge to help this young guy. I wanted to kindly show him how to open his heart and roll his shoulders back. What could I do?

I couldn’t take him to a yoga class. He is a stranger.

Can I help other people like him?

I know for me doing yoga and opening my heart, lets so much more love in and lets me give out more love!

How would I get him to a community yoga class to move, play, laugh, stretch, feel touch and stand tall?

and then I took circus classes

My teacher Gopala Amir Yaffe from Rainbow Kids Yoga, who I did my kids and family yoga training mentioned that he and his wife Angel had been doing some circus training. They were seeking inspiration for aerial yoga poses for their kids yoga classes.

I thought “oh, that sounds cool but it is not for me.” I can juggle three balls but I thought the circus was a bit out there. I think I was afraid.

Then a few months later I was walking along one evening and happened to pass a women’s circus and there were brochures outside the door. I grabbed one and then forgot about it. But I kept coming back to the idea.

My favourite podcast is called “The Unmistakable Creative” hosted by a guy called Srini Rao. This podcast is very inspiring to me because all of Srini’s guests have been busy doing what creatively calls to them.

Dance and inspiring others to move more is my creative outlet (and I neglected it completely for a big stretch of my adult life). And now I feel like I am heading in the right direction again. And I want to inspire others to take some time to recall what they loved when they were a kid and to start doing a version of it that fits in with their life now.

So this week I’m enrolled in an intro to circus class with the Vulcana Women’s Circus in Brisbane. And I found out from my trainer Chae Lindeman that Brisbane is a bit of a circus hub (yay! for Brisbane).

Not so I can perform my new trapeze tricks to an audience (although you never know!) but so I can bring some circus to my family yoga classes and entertain my friends and family and help them to have fun and play together.

family yoga love,

Sally

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