September Yogi of the month : Mandy
1. When and where did you first start practising yoga?
I started at the yoga space about 3 years ago and tried to go once a week, then September 2010 I did a beginners course with Live and Breathe. Prior to that, I did some yoga 8 or 9 years ago.
2. Why were you interested in the first place?
I always preferred slower activities and had over the years sustained a lower back injury and then I hurt both shoulders and struggled to do any exercise. I knew that I needed to regain some flexibility and strength and knew that yoga provides both. I also decided that it was time to do something for myself now the kids are young adults.
3. What is it that got you hooked?
I started to notice the benefits almost instantly, especially the ability to completely relax and I always feel better after practice than I do before. The flow of movement and breath enable you to start to open up your body. Finally my search for the perfect exercise is over, no competition, go at your own pace (except on a full led primary), it didn’t matter that I was unfit or overweight and to begin with a lot of the postures were modified because of my injuries. I noticed that if I practiced more than once a week my body felt better.
4. What do you love about Live and Breathe yoga?
Alli and Harry of course! I love the workshops put on themselves or with visiting teachers and the way they both encourage students listen to their bodies. Because they have both had injuries, they understand if you cannot do a posture correctly and help you find a way to practice at your own level without feeling like a loser. I also love the friendships I am forming, participating in different activities within the yoga community. The new studio is so lovely to practice in too.
5. What benefits have you felt since practising yoga?
Almost too many to list! The reduction in chronic pain, fatigue and stress would be the biggest. The most visual would be in the postures, 2 years ago I could not raise my arms for the majority of the postures, I could not sit cross legged on the floor and I could not sit in a chair for more than 10 minutes without pain – a drive to Cairns in the car was torture, I used to cry doing the warrior sequence. I still have a way to go with my shoulders and my hips but given time they too will heal. I said the other day that I feel about 20 years younger and with yoga and a better diet I have lost 12kg and gone down 2 whole sizes in clothing.
6. How often do you practice in a week?
I wish I could say daily but I work full time shift work including nights, am studying at Uni part time and have a family. I fit in whatever I can. 2-4 classes sometimes more, I also try for some at home often it is just stretches but I am planning to make space so I can do more. I feel lousy if I go more than 3 days without yoga.
7. What’s your favourite thing about Ashtanga Yoga?
Everything, I just love it. People at work have noticed how much it has improved me in body and mind. When I have had a crappy few days or I just feel lousy I can go along and 1 ½ hours later I feel fantastic.
8. What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying yoga?
Just give it a go for a few weeks, you will notice the benefits. Be patient and listen to your body, the postures will come, maybe not this week, month or year but they will come. I am living proof!