The Wellington Yoga community just keeps growing and growing!
Annie is a IYTA certified Yoga Teacher and Massage Therapist and has practised Yoga since childhood – how awesome it that, being taken along to classes with her mum when she was 10 years old.
Like many of us yogis, she is passionate about the benefits of yoga for physical and psychological well-being and has a deepening interest in nurturing the inherent human impulse for natural spirituality and wholeness.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I have been gradually developing my own style of Yoga which I call Heartfelt Yoga. I incorporate many styles within any given class, with a background influenced by Satyananda, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Eric Schiffman, Donna Farhi and more recently Viniyoga.
The emphasis in my classes is on working very much in union with the breath, softly opening into postures and sequences, with compassion and awareness of your body and mind, just as it is in this moment. An important aspect of this is encouraging a non-competitive attitude.
I also encourage feeling into the energy of the chakras as they are enlivened by opening to more prana – and enjoy giving spontaneous, poetic encouragement to deepen into the natural silencing and spiritual awakening that Yoga encourages.
I have only recently arrived in Wellington and don’t have any regular classes as yet – although I will be covering most of Tyag’s classes while he’s away for August.
I will be running day long Yoga and Meditation workshops with my partner Stephen Archer and doing some relief teaching over the next few weeks. Also intending to establish some 6-week introductory courses at one or more of the studios in town.
2. How did you come to yoga?
I attended my first Yoga class with my Mum when I was about 10. I continued experimenting with Yoga through the rest of my childhood, and had some more classes in the last year or two of high school.
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
I was in Europe in my early twenties and had just experienced a hugely depressing few months in London. I was living in Holland and began doing Yoga every day, using a Richard Hittleman book, and was astonished how my whole being came into harmony in an irresistible and joyful way…. But it took me until my mid- forties to re-discover the life-enhancing potential of daily practice, (when I entered my IYTA training in 2003) and now I simply cannot imagine life without a daily Yoga practice.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
Both physical Yoga and meditation have the ability to keep reminding me who I really am – a spiritual being. My conditioned personality is prone to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. But Yoga constantly re-orientates my life to gratitude for this amazing gift of life, and a profound acceptance and love of myself and others. Clichéd though it is to say, yoga has opened my heart to genuinely feeling a sense of connection and appreciation for the whole of life and all the beings that arrive in my life – each one an unique expression of life force!
And of course all the physical benefits, but they feel more like a by-product…
5. What is your home practice like?
It varies hugely from day-to-day – I meditate every morning and always do some asana – sometimes a brief, vigorous (or gentle) “wake-up call”; sometimes a longer, deeper exploratory practice; or tailoring my morning practice to developing the quality that I most need for the day or gentle restorative yoga at the end of a busy day.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?” what do you say?
Yoga is a holistic therapy, which works on all levels of the human body and psyche, releasing tension patterns in the body and mind; embracing and re-vitalizing and re-connecting us with our body/mind/heart and spirit. Life-enhancing (dare I say saving) in a world so orientated to functioning solely within the domain of thought and therefore ego.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
To feel accepted and safe with whatever their current abilities and state of body/mind. To be encouraged to really connect with their breath. To enjoy the discovery of finding the perfect level of challenge for their body in this moment. To taste the poetry and metaphor of asana. To be reminded of themselves as a spiritual being. To experience blissful relaxation at the end of the class.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
When I am truly “in the flow ” I watch almost curiously as something else arises in my teaching that has nothing to do with my “ordinary” personality. And in that beautiful flow, feeling us all deepen together into the essence of the moment. (Hey, I’m not pretending it’s always like that!!). Seeing what comes alive in people’s faces during and after class, especially the eyes. Knowing this is my best and truest offering to the world.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
That yoga is not about a determined effort to be stronger, more flexible and have better balance (though all these things will naturally arise through regular practice).
That even people who don’t think of themselves as “good at physical things” can enjoy and benefit from yoga. That it is possible to approach yoga without feeling competitive (either with others or some inner standard). The transformative power of daily practice.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
Giving anyone who cares to find the right style of yoga for them, an enormously powerful tool for living a happier, healthier and wiser life.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you Kara Leah for developing this truly awesome web-site.
12. Where can people find you?
I can be contacted on 027 4272644 and my e-mail address is email@example.com. Please e-mail me if you would like to be on my database to be contacted about up-coming classes or workshops.