From Australia to Arizona: Amazing Insights from 3 Inspiring Yoginis

From Australia to Arizona: Amazing Insights from 3 Inspiring Yoginis

While my first two posts for Ah Ha Moments were devoted to detoxification and boosting the immune system via key nutrition and goal setting tips, this week I’m taking it back to my holistic roots by focusing on yoga.

Yoga, yoga, yoga. What would we do without yoga? For starters, I would not be as cognizant or conscious of each of the topics previously addressed. Yoga has opened my mind to an entirely new way of thinking, walking, talking, breathing, interacting — of LIVING! When you learn to find balance with your physical body in the yoga room –just you, your mat, and your breath, the concepts of balance and truth trickle into every other element of life. Almost instantly after beginning my yoga journey in 2004, I started to tune in more to what I really needed. I listened to my inner voice tucked deep inside in my ¨core center.¨ I listed more closely to what I needed from relationships, my career, and from food; like magic, my soul began to feel more nourished.

Two of the most profound realizations I have experienced, which have remained constants for me over the past ten years, are the necessity of a plant-based diet and a hot yoga practice. I have also experienced tremendous benefits from Jivamukti and Forrest Yoga, however, the combined sensation of simultaneous sweating, stretching and strengthening is second to none.

Three beautiful women, from Australia to Arizona, also have developed a deep connection to hot yoga. Joanne, Leyla, and Vanessa light up the room wherever they go and are here today to share their insights.

Joanne, Australia

What is your favorite asana, and why? 

My favorite ASANA is half tortoise. It allows me to really get a good stretch in my back, neck and shoulders without the struggle. It also gives you the medical benefits such as increasing blood flow to the brain, helping to increase memory and mental clarity.

Who inspired you to practice yoga?

I inspired me to do yoga. I came to a point in my life where i knew  a change was needed. I always did different types of fitness to keep me fit and healthy as I was always into health. I knew I wasn’t achieving my ultimate goal doing those things needed. So I began yoga and it changed my whole life.

What type of yoga do you practice/teach? What are some of the benefits you´ve experienced?

I teach and practice Bikram Yoga. The benefits are so many – I´m healthier, happier, more open minded, calmer, enlightened, The list goes on. I no longer feel that I am just getting through life. I am now living life.

What would you like to share with yogis nationally?

What I would like to share is that I never knew how good my body was designed to feel until I started Bikram Yoga. I went on with life thinking that this was the best I could ever feel. I never felt so good ever. After 27 years, my life has turned around. I am now starting up my own business with so much determination and less distraction in my head, everyday is a good day.

Leyla, Australia

What is your favorite asana, and why? 

I have thought about this, and as much as there are better, more challenging/ impressive postures, the second set of the first backward bend in Bikram´s series is my favorite. No matter how minimal the 1st backward bend is, the second one always feels divine. There is a point in the posture when you have to focus your eyes, breathe, lift and surrender completely and then all of a sudden the spine is willing to go back completely. It’s the most wonderful feeling and most of the time I’m disappointed when I hear the teacher telling us to come back up again.

Who inspired you to practice yoga?

No one, really. I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t even want to do it! My sister dragged me to my first class so I suppose I have her to thank for it! My favorite teachers were the ones who kept me inspired and it was because of them that I wanted to keep practicing.

What type of yoga do you practice/teach? What are some of the benefits you´ve experienced?

I teach Bikram and I only ever really practice Bikram. I think as a beginners yoga, it is fantastic. I love practicing in the heat. I love to sweat. Everything about me physically is better because of practicing that yoga. It completely changed my life and did it so subtly that I never really put the two together. I have lost many of my Type A character traits and somewhere along the line, I stopped fearing everything that unexpectedly came my way. With my yoga practice came a new found ability to let go, and since then, have lost the desire to control things.

What would you like to share with yogis nationally?

Only that every single human on the planet should do it! Even if it’s just once a week. It is the key to living your true life. I shudder to think where I would be today if I hadn’t started. Go and try some different classes with different teachers until you find something that works for you and stick with it. Everything else will follow without you having to do anything else.

Vanessa, Arizona

What is your favorite asana, and why? 

Standing Bow Pulling Pose is my favorite because I think the postures in the balancing series require just as much mental determination as physical.  It makes me focus really hard on myself and it is also such a beautiful posture once in the full expression.

Who inspired you to practice yoga?

My sister! She brought me to my very first Bikram Yoga Class.  She started doing a 30-day challenge and I was so inspired by the changes I saw in her body as well as her spirit.

What type of yoga do you practice/teach? What are some of the benefits you´ve experienced?

I practice and teach Bikram Yoga.  I have experienced such benefits as a leaner, more toned body, mental balance in my daily life, and I am generally in a better mood when I get to practice my yoga.

What would you like to share with yogis nationally?

I would like people to know, especially beginners out there, that this yoga really can heal the body and the mind.  When I first started doing yoga, it was strictly for physical reasons (I wanted to be in better shape).  But little did I know that it was also improving me mentally.  It has the power to calm my mind during savasana and increase my determination in balancing series.  It can push you and rebuild you into the best version of yourself!

With well over a dozen types of yoga practiced over the world today and more than double that in dietary approaches, it is up to the individual to listen, learn and respect their own needs. Roll out your yoga mat; stand on it like a grand red carpet at the Academy Awards; breathe. I promise, the answers will come.

Make this juice-smoothie hybrid and keep it chilling in your duffle for a delicious post-savasana boost.

TURBO CHARGE SMOOTHIE  by Jason Vale/Juice Master

  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1/2 small pineapple
  • handful of spinach leaves
  • 1/4 lime, peeled
  • 4 Golden delicious apples
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Spirulina powder (optional)
  • Small handful of ice (optional)

Juice the cucumber, celery, pineapple, spinach, lime and apples. Place juice and Spirulina in a blender with avocado and ice and blend for 45 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy! As per usual everything should be as fresh and organic as possible.

Craving more? Here´s a little extra weekend reading material featuring the founders of Jivamukti Yoga, David Life and Sharon Gannon ¨Chanting Compassion¨. Enjoy!

Namaste.

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