I started practicing yoga in high school and have been teaching yoga now for 10 years. For those of you who follow the different schools of yoga, I was trained in Hatha and Ashtanga yoga.
I love yoga, and I love to share yoga with others. I especially love seeing people discover the joy that I have found in yoga.
I started practicing yoga at a time in my life when I was facing a series of challenges. I was struggling with anxiety and depression and I was uncomfortable with my body. In hindsight, I had no connection to my body, my mind or my emotions. I was eating sugary foods and I had unhealthy habits. As a consequence, I felt yuck, stressed out and disconnected.
I wanted an exercise that I could do at home, so I got some yoga videos and started practicing. After three months I could do almost all of the poses and I started feeling really good. I was looking forward to my morning practice.
Towards the end of that three months I had an incredible experience. I was meditating at the end of a deep practice and I suddenly felt a level of self-awareness that I had never experienced before. I sensed my soul, my spiritual being, and I knew that I was on the right path. The experience was accompanied by a deep sense of peace and love for myself and others.
In 2006 I started attending yoga classes with a teacher at a gym. She was a great teacher and I loved her classes. One day I asked her where she did her teacher training. Before I knew it, I was enrolling in a level 1 Hatha teacher training course with My Health Yoga. I loved receiving the information that explained my experience at home.
My yoga instructor later said she was leaving to go back to Colorado and asked if I would like to take over her yoga business. Feeling nervous, I dove in the deep end. After 5 years of teaching and growing the business it was booming. My classes averaged out at 35 students per class. I loved reaching all those people.
I continued to practice under as many different teachers I could to gather more knowledge. In 2011 I moved to Perth for a year a and took Ashtanga classes at 8limbs yoga studio with Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci. Ashtanga is a demanding practice. I was up 5am six days a week. I loved it and went on to complete another yoga level 1 teacher training, this time in Ashtanga yoga.
After a year, I moved back to Brisbane and taught yoga. After a year in Brisbane I moved to Hervey Bay and I knew I wanted to teach yoga in Hervey Bay. As it turns out my husband Tom wants to become a yoga instructor in Hervey Bay also and together we planted the seeds that are now Soul Stance.
Soul Stance, while still a small seedling, carries in itself the potential to grow into something beautiful. We at Soul Stance share a deep appreciation for the spiritual reality within each person, the soul of each person. And we share a deep appreciation for the capacity of yoga to give a voice to that soul.
Yoga has connected me to, and taught me how to look after, my mind, body and soul. Yoga created in me, a space in which I am able to live to my full potential. A space in which I can identify and influence my soul stance.
We look forward to joining you on your journey to discover the many shapes of your soul stance.
I love yoga! That’s it! It’s a love affair that began a long time ago with my mother, my first teacher. She first taught me ‘Sun and Moon Breathing’ (Nadi Shodhan) to help me as I was a sick little kid. My sister and I spent afternoons playing with the postures (asanas) pictured in Mama’s yoga book, one of the first published in Australia.
My other love, ballet, left me injured and in my early twenties, I was introduced to my first (real) yoga teacher. Pam Brown inspired me and many others with her story and teaching of yoga. Those early lessons gave me the physical, mental and spiritual foundations of yoga.
After a life crisis, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (relatively new and little understood in those days), I ventured off to reset myself completely by staying in my first ashram here in Australia. It was here that I was immersed in the full practice of living as yogini. The discipline of early rising for meditation and individual practice, seva, contributing to the running of the ashram by working, classes twice a day and bhakti yoga, singing mantras in the evening, brought me back to me.
I started to fully understand the transformational power of yoga.
I’ve played around with different ‘styles’ of yoga so common now and have always come back to the traditions and philosophies of ‘classical’ Hatha yoga. Hatha Yoga is a complete mind-body system that takes practitioners deep inside themselves through postures ‘asana’, breathing ‘pranayama’, cleansing practices ‘kriyas’, meditation, contemplation and concentration.
After moving around Queensland for many years, I eventually completed my Diploma in yoga teacher training with the International Yoga Teachers’ Association (IYTA), Australia’s own highly respected yoga organisation in 1999. I then taught classes in Mount Morgan, Rockhampton, and Hervey Bay and ran retreats in Central Queensland.
Some of the best fun as a yoga teacher has been teaching children in various primary and high schools and to have adult students gain confidence in their bodies and find peace and relaxation.
My ongoing commitment to yoga means regular personal practice, regular spiritual practice (sadhana), meditation and professional development. The small mountain of books in my study and courses I am currently undertaking keep me busy in my thirst for knowledge to share.
This is such an exciting opportunity to be part of Soul Stance, with Romana and Tom who are also passionate about sharing the joy of yoga in our community.
I’d love you to find the joy of yoga in one of our classes,
At University I studied psychology - like many people, trying to understand myself but also idealistic about changing the world. I quickly became frustrated with people and chose a path in law enforcement.
Years later after a divorce and custody battle I found I was so stressed about my future that I was incapable of being present to my family and community. In desperation, I discovered Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and in particular Mindfulness which is central to ACT. Without it, I don't know where I'd be.
Essentially, Mindfulness gave me the capacity to quiet the noise of my thoughts and to act out of my values rather than out of fear.
I quickly learned that the noise in my head was matched only by the noise in my body. In fact, I learned that my thoughts were, like my body, ruled by years and years of habit and deep seated memory that was best thought of as being flesh.
Before I discovered yoga, I discovered posture - prayerful postures, praise or gratitude postures and good old stretching and breathing. But when I found yoga (which was also when I found Romana) I found an expressway to mindfulness that I could only have dreamed of.
Through yoga I have for the first time fully possessed my body. When I walk or run, I can feel what seems like every muscle. My dexterity, my energy, my vitality are all improved.
And by strengthening my mindfulness muscle, I am able to exist as a human "being" rather than a human "doing" or a human "thinking". I get much more out of my interactions with people. I enjoy being in my own skin rather than seeking unhealthy ways to block out the noise - as I have done in the past.
But most importantly for me, when I am truely still and my mind and body are quiet I have a sense of being spirit (created in God's likeness) and on a good day, I commune with creator God. In my experience true prayer begins when we are completely still and have a sense of being one with creation.
I'm not a qualified yoga instructor but I plan to be one in the next 12 months. I am especially excited about yoga for men. So guys, get in and have a go. And ladies, get your man onto a mat, you'll be doing you both a big favour.
I know what it's like to have a crushed and tired soul. I also know what it's like to assume a life-giving soul stance. I'd be honoured to journey with you while you find yours.