owner, yoga therapist and principal teacher
After working for the BBC and Scottish television in Glasgow, the universe led Allison to studying at the Chi School of Yoga in Glasgow in 2005.
“It’s such a discipline. It’s a real challenge. The set sequence doesn’t allow you to avoid postures you don’t like, so it forces you to notice things about yourself. You can’t hide anything in Ashtanga yoga. It’s a self-study activity. I love that it’s very personal, but it’s also universal at the same time. All of the teaching comes from one individual and has been handed down over time. There’s a consistency to the practice that feels very authentic.”
Allison has extended her training at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (KPJAYI) in Mysore, India several times. “I absolutely love my teachers in India. I feel such a connection to them with the tradition they pass down, which then gets spread across the world and is practised everywhere, even in Townsville. It feels so good to be a part of seeing the effects it can have on people’s lives.”
“I love that Ashtanga yoga can be different for each individual. For some, it’s all about strength building. Others, it’s about flexibility or movement. Some again, it’s about rehabilitation and others, it’s more about meditation and relaxation. It’s nice to share in this with all the students that come through the door.”
Teaching yoga for over ten years, the chance to be a positive force in people’s lives is the best thing about each day. “I love seeing the transformation of my students, it makes me very proud of them. I love that yoga and teaching is a slow-burning practice, it’s removed from the instantaneous world we live in, the stress of life that somehow feels like we can’t escape. Yoga can be a key to that escape: it’s about discipline to showing up, and being gentle with yourself. It’s so nice to be part of that, helping people find balance in their lives. And when you are physically strong yet gentle with yourself, which Ashtanga yoga is all about, you’re better able to handle the demands of your day with grace and ease.
“Townsville is a special place. There’s something simple about the way you can live here, enjoying the relaxed pace and beautiful setting. And the weather in winter is heaven!” “Plus, the Townsville yoga community is very unique. Here, the community is open and supportive of each other, all teachers know one another and catch up regularly and put on events together. I think potential Townsville yogis benefit from that as it means there are lots of great choices for studios and styles, and there’s a greater community aspect to your practice, which can expand one’s horizons even more. All of those factors secured why I wanted to open a studio here and I’m loving it.”
quick facts about allison
originally from: Mount Isa, North Queensland
former life : Certified practicing accountant for 12 years, so I understand about the stresses of corporate life
favourite ice cream: Chocolate and Vanilla (why try the fancy flavours when the classics are just so good?)
signature dish : Spinach and mushroom soup (it’s really simple and anyway, Harry is the cook of the house)
best overseas trips: India and New York (the two extremes of the earth and if I only go to these places for the rest of my life I am happy)
responsibilities: I’m on management committee of Yoga Tools for Schools, a not-for-profit organisation that provides training to school teachers to introduce yoga into the Townsville school system, and organises community yoga events such as Global Mala and Sundalah Sunday.
something you may not know : I’m a Super fan of The Bold and the Beautiful. (Seriously, a die-hard fan for about twenty years!)
senior teacher and chief chai maker
Harry is a highly passionate and experienced Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist and CHEK exercise coach. Harry comes to yoga teaching with a rich background in the health, fitness and sports industry. It all started when he was teaching taekwondo in South Africa in 1998 and 1999. “It’s a sport that demands high levels of coordination so I wanted to learn more about movement and biomechanics. Since then I’ve studied continually in the UK, US and India and worked in gyms, clinics and Scotland’s Institute of Sport, helping people to move better for rehabilitation, injury prevention and performance. For the last three years I’ve had the freedom of working in my own studio, Spark Movement Studio, running a diverse and involved program that continues to help people get great results”“What I love about Ashtanga yoga is that you can never finish it – there’s always another layer of complexity to challenge you – and that the more you concentrate on it, the more you get back from practicing.
“For me, yoga is like a reset button for my brain and body. Getting absorbed, even in a 20-minute practice, can unwind my brain and give me a much clearer perspective on the rest of the day. It also allowed me to start moving again after a sporting injury sidelined me for two years, so I’ll always be grateful for that.“As a yoga teacher and studio instructor it’s always great to see the positive changes people can make just by concentrating on the simple basics of Ashtanga. I’m still fascinated by the process, so I learn something from every class.”
What should a participant expect from one of Harry’s classes? “I always try to act as a guide as much as a teacher, encouraging you to explore the postures with curiosity. As you get to know your own body’s unique reactions to the postures, you can really begin to make yoga your own.”
quick facts about harry
originally from: Glasgow, Scotland.
former life : Mining engineer
favourite ice cream: A nugget slider from the Hillfoot Cafe in Glasgow. (If you’d like to know what that is exactly, you should come to one of Harry’s classes and ask him)
favourite book: On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
best thing about Townsville: After living in big cities for most of my life, I find Townsville the perfect size for me to get around, meet people and do all the stuff I love. It’s been really easy settling here.
best movie genre: I love old Westerns; they always bring back good memories.
favourite place to visit/holiday destination: I can’t wait to get back to Capetown one day, and I’d love to explore Africa some more. Allison and I always talk about going to Zanzibar, so we’ll have to make that happen one day.
something you may not know: I was the South African heavyweight ITF taekwondo champion in 1999!
I first started practising Ashtanga yoga in 2000 and I quickly noticed the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga. I felt stronger, calmer and more balanced in my daily life.
I moved back to the UK temporarily in 2001 and my yoga practice was rather sporadic and intermittent over the next 10 years, as I continued to travel a lot and my daily routine was often quite interrupted. I began to notice how much better I felt when I practiced yoga regularly, compared to when I “fell off the mat” for a period of time.
I came to realise that there is something utterly magical and transformative about regular yoga practice.
I decided to do a yoga teacher training course initially to deepen my own yoga practice. Until I began teacher training, my yoga practice had been mainly focussed on the physical, asana practice, and I wanted to learn more about the rest of the 8 limbs of yoga. The teacher training course was an amazing and wonderful journey of self-discovery and I decided I wanted to share with others the wonderful benefits of yoga, as it has improved my life immeasurably.
I love Ashtanga yoga for so many reasons. I love the set sequence of postures, but that somehow every time it is different. I love that it is familiar but that it continues to challenge me each and every time I get on my mat.
I love it because it somehow makes me “more” of me.. It makes me really see myself, who I am, what I want, what I am doing with my life. It makes me happier, nicer and more loving to others. Ashtanga yoga makes me a better version of me.
My yoga mat is my familiar friend that I can visit when things get too tough. No matter how good or bad I feel when I get on my mat, I always wind up feeling better after I get off.
I am excited about teaching at Live and Breathe Yoga, because Harry and Allison are such fantastic teachers, and the studio is such a beautiful and welcoming space. I feel so lucky that there is a dedicated Ashtanga studio here in Townsville I feel so happy and honoured to be a part of it. I love the philosophy behind yoga and the mindfulness that yoga brings into my life, and I hope that in my yoga classes I can share snippets of how this has helped me.
quick facts about jenni
originally from: Glasgow, Scotland, but I grew up in Perth, Western Australia
who are you in your other life : Veterinary pathologist
favourite ice cream: New Zealand hokey pokey, YUMMY 🙂
favourite book: “The Secret Garden” which was written over a century ago by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
best thing about Townsville: The friendly people, the climate and Magnetic Island.
favourite movie: I love romantic comedies. Corny as it may be, my all-time favourite has to be Bridget Jones Diary
favourite place to visit/holiday destination: Anywhere with crystal clear blue sky, turquoise ocean and white beach sand, bliss.
For me, my yoga practice is the one constant, in an ever-changing world. No matter what else is going on, just getting on my mat each day gives me what I need to cope. It simply helps me to feel better, inside and out. Practicing a set sequence is also a great exercise in self -awareness. From observing myself as I’ve worked on the same set of postures over the years and noticing how I respond to the challenges, I’ve learned a lot about how I approach life.
Being a part of the Live and Breathe community is very special, and I feel truly privileged to have been able to take my first steps as teacher in an environment which has always been so nurturing for me. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to share what I love.
tracey uber cook
more info coming soon….
Helen Sheeran is a clinical mental health social worker and psychotherapist in private practice. She has a passion for supporting people to experience optimum mental health and well-being through mindfulness, meditation, hypnotherapy and counselling. Helen takes meditation courses at Live and Breathe yoga on a regular basis.