Alli’s first class at Live and Breathe Yoga was a Mysore class and I remember thinking wow who is this brave girl? I like her spirit! And just like that she became a huge part of the Live and Breathe yoga community. Alli’s generous, bubbly and hardworking attitude is what makes her special but it’s her silly side that makes us all love her most. Check out how this wee leprechaun found and fell in love with Ashtanga yoga below…you can also check out her very own blog here...
When and where did you first start practising yoga?
I had my first experience of yoga at home in Ireland, where I turned up to a Bikram yoga class, attracted by the heat of the practice. (I was someone who avoided yoga for ages because I was convinced I was not bendy enough to do yoga!). I continued yoga when I moved to Australia as a backpacker; because when I was in South Australia for a few months I had to thrown my running shoes out to make space in my bag, so a barefoot activity was welcome. Upon moving to Townsville Live and Breathe came highly recommended by a friend and I’ve never looked back since.
Why were you interested in the first place?
I was interested in yoga from teenage years (a friend even gave me a book about yoga for my birthday and I remember falling over in my bedroom trying to do tree posture), but I can’t quite remember a turning point where I sought it out, it was more like a subtle development and coincidence of being in the right place at the right time. I think the influence of celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga doing yoga kind of put it on my radar too (but I’ll leave wearing meat as a suit to Gaga).
What is it that got you hooked?
The thing that got me hooked about yoga, and Ashtanga yoga in particular, is the energy I put in and get out. It feels like the savings account that dreams are made of you put in as much as you can, and somehow get a whole lot out in return almost immediately! I am more flexible (now finally bendy enough to do yoga, phew), which allows me to do other things without being so vulnerable to injury. Also because I am now more aware of what’s going on I can pay attention to some “warning signals” a bit earlier than before. I usually feel zingy and more relaxed after practising, and so that feeling of space is well worth the effort.
What do you love about Live and Breathe Yoga?
What I love about Live and Breathe Yoga? That makes it seem like there’s only one thing! I love the teachers – I always say my favourite thing about them is that at Live and Breathe, they take the practice, but not themselves seriously, and that quality is what makes Live and Breathe so accessible. New yogis feel so much more welcome and less pressure because the teachers have a warm and gentle manner. (This is so important to break the idea of perfection in yoga down.) I also love the students and am lucky to call so many of them my friends, all thanks to Harry’s oh so delicious chai (another thing to love). I love the studio – the light during the morning, the flickering candles in the evening, the breeze it catches when it’s stinking hot (!), and the instant calm atmosphere the moment I cross the threshold. I love the quiet buzz of the studio when Mysore is in full swing too.
What benefits/changes have you felt since practising yoga?
I think the benefits that I’ve noticed are more than strength, flexibility and moving more mindfully (as if they weren’t enough). I think the other aspects are that it challenges me to really think carefully about the things that I’m doing and saying in my time off my mat, the idea that yoga is practice, the real life application of the practice is the main event. Of course it’s easier said than done but at least I’m more aware of when I’m not at my best!
How do you stay motivated to keep getting back on your mat?
Motivation to get on the mat is tough, but clambering back on after a little time away is harder for me. I think the first part is to not be too hard on myself (see above question!), and just accept that sometimes shit happens and all I can do is GET BACK ON THE MAT! I think when I lose my way the best thing is to start small – a few sun salutes is enough to get hooked again, and usually I find myself getting carried away and doing more than I had planned. Quite often I don’t think it’s a “real” practice if it’s not a full one, and so breaking this mentality is challenging, and just doing what I can each day (sun salutes, standing postures) is better than nothing at all. In no time it’s business as usual!
What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
It’s hard to pick one favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga. I love the physical challenge, I love the sequence so I can see the difference day to day (typical physio, always measuring!), I love that you’re never finished (there’s always another posture, another series), I love the structure and tradition, and the Mysore style of practice really makes sense to me. So if you made me pick, I’d say the fact we get to practice Mysore style is a luxury because we get to tailor the practice to our individual needs on a given day – this feels so sensible! Soon I’ll get to practice Mysore style in Mysore and can’t wait to experience it all for myself…!
What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
I highly recommend it, especially at Live and Breathe. You will be so well looked after and have your individual needs and abilities catered for by the wonderful teachers, and there’s no pre-requisites, you don’t actually have to be bendy to begin with! (Allison doesn’t have a Bendy-ometer to measure if you’re bendy enough to do yoga, thankfully.)
Be brave and book in! Don’t overthink it, you’ll never regret a visit 🙂