Emma’s one excited yoga teacher – she’s just bought the Dunedin Yoga Studio in Moray Place and will be taking over in early June.
She’s been teaching yoga for about five years and used to teach scuba diving before that.
A writer with several short stories and one poem published in literary magazines, Emma recently spent four months sailing up the East Coast of NZ with her six-year old son.
Her practice helped her overcome post-natal depression, and now informs the way she lives her life.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
I teach Hatha Yoga. I love incorporating many different styles into my practice and classes. I teach whatever feels good for me on the day, what may suit individuals in class or go with the feeling in the room, temperature, season, random whims and what is most inspiring me. It’s delicious to have an infinite resource to draw on. I teach in Dunedin and am about to take over The Yoga Studio in Moray Place. Very excited!
2. How did you come to yoga?
I came to yoga seriously when my son was 10 months old. I was still suffering from post-natal depression, and at that stage was afraid to leave the house. My community yoga class, (we were a small group in a drafty hall) was one of the few places I felt completely safe. My teacher was kind, compassionate and humorous and I am so grateful to her for taking me under her wing. This was the beginning of a healing journey for me.
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
When I noticed how my practice was positively affecting my health – mental, emotional and physical.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
Yoga completely transformed my life. I can state with complete confidence that yoga helped me through serious depression, without pills, potions or doctors. It was a long slow process, with slips and slides along the way, but yoga practice gave me the tools I needed to help myself. I had always been seeking a spiritual life and, for now, yoga practice is the most effective system for me, always bringing me back to the ever-changing, ever-unfolding self.
5. What is your home practice like?
The biggest part of my home practice is trying to stay present for each moment. I start each day with cleansing kriyas. I practice asana and pranayama each day, but this varies according to how I feel, and finish with meditation. Asana and Pranayama make meditation easier, and all of the above help me to be present in every moment of my life, to surrender to my now and enable me to partake fully in the world.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
Yoga enables us to find out who we really are. It is great for the body, mind and soul.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
I tend to focus on breath and body awareness throughout the practice. The physical level of the practice in class is really dependent on the student’s present state and the situation. Some people need the intensity of a strong asana practice and others need to soften or to go inwards. It can vary enormously. I emphasize non-violence to the self and honesty about where we are at in order to practice with integrity and self-awareness. I like to share pranayama and believe the one asana everyone would benefit most from practicing every day is Savasana (corpse pose). I would welcome anyone of any physical ability to come to a class, and the classes in the studio vary from restorative to advanced.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
I learn so much from teaching yoga; it is such an enriching experience. I love to share the things that have made a difference in my life and outlook. I also love the energy a group practicing yoga creates – it is very special and every class, every session is different.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
Anybody can do yoga and benefit from it. There are no prerequisites.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
I see Yoga as one of the many things contributing to a worldwide shift in consciousness.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
We run a free class on Sundays at The Yoga Studio at 10am with an optional cup of tea afterwards. Come to the studio and pop your name on the list for the free class as places are limited. Different teachers from different styles will be leading the class. It will be an opportunity for teachers to gift their experience and for us all to benefit from building a community. Energy exchange happens in non-monetary ways too, and I want teachers and students to experience yoga as a pure gift. Not charging a fee can also release teachers from expectations of how a yoga class ‘should’ go. You really get so much back from doing this, it is such a beautiful thing.
12. And finally, how do people find you?
The Yoga Studio, 492 Moray Place, Dunedin
Classes six days a week from restorative to advanced, including an Introduction to Astanga class, lunchtime sessions and express classes.