October Yogi of the month : Martina
1. When and where did you first start practising yoga?
I took some classes at home in London and really loved it, but it fell by the wayside when I when I left to go traveling. When I eventually settled in Townsville I was really keen to start again.
2. Why were you interested in the first place?
My Mum encouraged me to try it at a time when I wasn’t coping with things very well, she thought it might help me relax. To be honest when I first started I was more interested in finding a form of exercise I enjoyed in order to tone up a bit – anything which didn’t involve having to go for a run. Little did I imagine what a workout yoga can be, or the positive effect it would have on my mind.
3. What is it that got you hooked?
That amazing feeling the practice leaves you with: calm and centered yet totally alive and invigorated. It’s addictive. What is so special is the fact that this amazing energy is not from any external source, it comes from inside you and with teaching and guidance you can find the key to unlock it yourself.
4. What do you love about Live and Breathe yoga?
I can’t imagine a more supportive, welcoming environment. Allison and Harry are both wonderful teachers, so dedicated and encouraging. Allison makes me feel like anything is possible! I like the sense of community too, it’s nice to have a chat after class and even start to think about some further ideas in the yoga tradition. Basically, no matter how I felt on the way in, I don’t think I’ve ever left the studio without a smile on my face.
5. What benefits have you felt since practising yoga?
I am definitely stronger and more flexible, but these days the mental benefits outweigh the physical for me. There are so many lessons I learn on my mat; the ability to fall and get back up, to laugh at myself, to accept where I am now, to think something is difficult or impossible but try anyway, to experience discomfort, breathe and carry on. Little by little I’m beginning to bring these into the rest of my life.
6. How often do you practice in a week?
I usually get to class one or twice a week due to work but I’m gradually starting to practice more at home. I am rarely motivated or organized enough time-wise to get through a full practice but even if I only manage a few sun salutations I’m always glad I did.
7. What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
I particularly like the Mysore style classes. It’s such a great way to learn. I love how it allows you to work to your own level and do only what feels right for you and your body that day. I am constantly inspired by the energy of those around me, it’s so good to see other people’s hard work and their developments over time.
8. What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
I truly feel that anyone, irrespective of age, gender, size, shape or fitness level could benefit from yoga. All you need is an open mind and the willingness to try. It’s magic.