November Yogi of the month : Leia
Thank you so much for being our wonderful Yogi of the month, Leia. I hope your story inspires more climbers to take up the practice of ashtanga yoga to be able to feel the same benefits that you have. See you on the mat soon. ~Allison
1. When and where did you first start practising yoga?
A few times I went to random yoga classes but never really thought much of it. About 3 years ago, I was looking for something to help improve my rock climbing and a friend suggested I try Ashtanga yoga at Live and Breathe Yoga.
2. Why were you interested in the first place?
Initially, I thought that improved flexibility would be the only benefit, however I was very much mistaken.
3. What is it that got you hooked?
The challenge of the postures. I love the way that when you think you are getting a posture there is a “next stage” to it. The improvements I saw in my climbing especially the mental focusing.
4. What do you love about Live and Breathe yoga?
Live and Breathe Yoga has such a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The teachers remember you, the postures you’re working on and go out of the way to help you improve. The community Live and Breathe Yoga has created is just lovely as well. Everyone is so friendly and hanging around after class for a chai is a definite positive.
The injury recovery knowledge of Allison and Harry. Even when I’ve got a few niggling injuries, Allison or Harry have come up with “work arounds” for various postures that have produced better posture results after the niggles have repaired.
5. What benefits/changes have you felt since practising yoga?
Strength. When I’m climbing, the moves will often require stretching the body to it’s limits, but even if you reach the hold you’re after, it’s no good if you don’t have the strength to move from that full stretch position. Ashtanga has developed my strength to move from and hold full extension positions.
Control and calmness. When you’re climbing and you start to get scared, you tend to breathe shallower and grip harder, resulting in stiffer movements and increased fatigue. This usually leads to a fall. As part of the yoga postures, I really try and focus on breathing slowly and calmly, especially when in uncomfortable or strenuous postures, as this translates directly with rock climbing. However, I still have a long way to go with this aspect of the yoga and climbing.
6. How often do you practice in a week?
At least once a week but I try for 3 times most weeks.
7. What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
The freedom of where and when you can practice.
8. What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
This is not just for flexibility and relaxing. This type of yoga can be very challenging and I think it’s great for injury PREVENTION. Start with the beginners classes but don’t give up thinking that yoga is “too easy” or “slow” until you’ve been to a few full series classes and tried a Mysore session or two.