February Yogi of the month : Annika
The magic of an ashtanga yoga Mysore style class has to be experienced to be believed. Most are too scared to try as they don’t feel ready, but Annika talks about how on only her third yoga class she walked into a Mysore session and was mesmerised! I am so inspired of Annika’s hard work and determination but also her willingness to keep a sense of humour when the practice is a challenge. The Mysore class really is for everybody from the brand new beginner to the practitioner of a few decades, you just need to walk up those stairs and have a go.
When and where did you first start practising yoga?
I first started practising yoga at Live and Breathe Yoga in June last year.
Why were you interested in the first place?
I had been looking for something ‘more’ for a while, something that required effort and something that was going to be meaningful to me.
What is it that got you hooked?
I was hooked from the moment I walked into my first Mysore class. I t was only my third ever yoga class and I distinctly remember walking in the front door and smelling incense and hearing these weird breathing sounds coming from up the stairs. I was totally perplexed and transfixed at the same time. My legs just kept walking up the stairs and I got to the top to see this room full of people in all sorts of postures, radiating this incredible sense of energy and focus. I really wanted to be a part of that and I haven’t looked back since.
What do you love about Live and Breathe yoga?
I love how welcome I feel every time I walk into the studio, I love the atmosphere, I love the opening and closing mantras, I love that the studio is close to good coffee afterwards, I love the dedication to the traditional teachings of Ashtanga – dare I say it, I love that we don’t skip Navasana, I love how knowledgeable Allison and all of the teachers are and how they always encourage me and of course, I love a nice cup of Harry’s Famous Chai on a Saturday morning.
What benefits/changes have you felt since practising yoga?
Other than a big improvement in my physical strength, flexibility and fitness I also notice an overall feeling of contentedness. Sometimes I can just practice my breathing in the car on my way to work and feel that familiar feeling of calm and focus. The benefits I have from practising Ashtanga yoga are very translatable into other areas of my life.
How do you stay motivated to keep getting back on your mat?
I have my own little space in my house that I use just for yoga. I keep my mat rolled out and when I’m feeling lacking in motivation I make myself a cup of tea and go and sit on my mat (Allison’s tip!). Sometimes I just sit there, but nine times out of ten the feeling of my mat underneath me drives me to do more. The more and more I practise, the more habitual it gets.
What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
I love so many things about Ashtanga yoga but my favourite thin g is how it challenges me and how it rewards me, in equal parts.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
Try it! It’s magic.