It’s entirely appropriate that Trudi’s profile photo is of her hula hooping – this is a woman with boundless energy and enthusiasm for yoga, and life in general.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at Twee’s teacher training last October, and am looking forward to catching up with her at Twee’s training next week. There is something so wonderful when you meet someone who’s experience of yoga, and ethusiasm for it rivals your own. Her and I could sit and talk (and do!) yoga all day long!
So next time you’re in Napier, make a point of catching one of Trudi’s yoga classes at Synergy Fitness.
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
Mostly, I practice prana flow. I discovered Shiva Rea via a DVD about four years ago, and had integrated many of her sequences (like the dancing warriors) into my home practice, and my teaching.
Then last year I did the teacher training with Twee; a wonderful, life changing experience I would recommend to everyone! It has refined my teaching and moved it even more towards prana flow, though I do mix and match things a bit – like many of us, I have a background in lots of different styles.
Currently I’m teaching on Monday and Wednesday nights at Synergy Fitness, in Napier.
2. How did you come to yoga?
Hmmm…I first found yoga when I was 19 and working as a gym and aerobics instructor. I heard some of my clients talking about it, so went to a class to find out what it was like. The teacher was a fabulous woman in her early 70s, and many of the students were retired.
I ambled in, thinking I was pretty strong and supple and was promptly humbled completely by everybody there (I still giggle and shake my head when I think of it!). I can remember very clearly thinking this was something I wanted in my life – if it made me that young, when I was that age, then it would be madness not to do it!
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
A few years later.
Like most of us, I dipped in and out (always knowing I would come back to it), but it wasn’t until I started doing regular Iyengar classes in Auckland that I really started to commit more time – my life just didn’t feel right without some yoga regularly. Then, when I shifted to Hawkes Bay six years ago I met Kelly Edlund, who became my friend and mentor. She teaches a beautiful style of hatha yoga and she strongly encouraged me to integrate yoga into my daily life.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
Well, I guess there is all the obvious stuff – my body has changed…I am stronger, more supple, and fitter (it feels like the longer I do yoga the younger my body gets!).
It was enormously helpful during my pregnancy, birth (I had my baby at home), and now – with a one year old – I feel like my body is in better shape than it has ever been in.
Then there is all the other intangible stuff. What I think are the truly useful ‘side effects’ of yoga. I feel like I know myself better – how I will react in certain situations, for instance, and I am less judgmental of myself, and others, because of it. This is, of course, a constantly evolving process…but I just don’t take things so personally, I am more understanding of what is going on underneath.
I feel like, when I’m in a situation that I would normally just react to I can take a deep breath and respond accordingly. Most helpful with an active little boy! I suppose you could say I find equanimity more easily. And, underlying everything I pretty much always have a feeling of joy – happiness – connection with and trust in life. Hurrah for yoga!!
5. What is your home practice like?
In the immortal words of Bono, some days are better than others! Generally I get in 20-40 minutes most mornings, and often I will also do some sadhana in the afternoon as well, especially if my little boy is asleep when I do my morning session – he thinks yoga is a wonderful game, and loves climbing over and under me while I’m on the mat.
I add yoga into as much of my day as I can, whether it is by doing handstands outside after hanging out the washing (this thanks to encouragement from Twee), or squatting while I work in the garden – I really like Shiva Rea’s attitude that yoga is something to integrate into every part of your life, so I try to consciously take the time to enjoy the sounds of nature, or the feeling of the sun or wind on my face.
When I am moving on my mat, I tend to start with three breaths – and then just see where my body needs to go. Sometimes it needs a rest, in which case rejuvenation yoga is the order of the day, other times I need to get physical, and I get into the flow. Regardless, it all feels good.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
It is about union. I especially like Mark Whitwell’s take on yoga: that it is about intimately connecting with your breath, and body, and therefore with the source of life itself. That is what makes it more than just another form of exercise – it is totally life changing.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
Fun! We come together as friends, to have a good laugh, and do something physical along the way. Aside from my pregnancy class, they all tend towards being a prana flow style, focused on moving with our breath. I like to strongly encourage everyone to truly honour their body, by doing what you need, so the classes can be as strong and challenging as you wish. You can also expect to be encouraged to do some asana at home…it doesn’t have to be much, and I guarantee it’ll change your life (if you haven’t started yet, please think about it!).
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
How much joy there can be, in coming together and breathing. And I really love to see when it clicks, and someone just gets it: nothing better than watching a participant come out of an asana, into a resting posture because that is what their body needed. In a gym class you might feel stink, but in yoga: you’ve got it baby, the intimacy of breath and body, bravo.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
That you don’t have to be flexible to do it!! If you can breathe, you can do yoga, end of story.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
As yoga spreads…well, I think it has the ability to completely remake it. Imagine a world with all of us intimately connected to ourselves, source…and therefore each other. Seriously cool idea, huh?
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
If you haven’t started already, then kia kaha, give it a go. And big ups to KL for starting this fantastic site – putting her money where her mouth is, and spreading the yoga bug, bravo!!
12… And finally, how do people find you?
I teach at Synergy, above Chantals on Hastings St in Napier, Monday and Wednesday nights. If you want a timetable, or anymore info you can contact them on 06 835 0235.