Denise Payne: Fearlessness And Mercy

denise payne yoga bali

In the 1970s, as a teenager, Denise Payne was introduced to Kundalini Yoga by her teacher Sat Jiwan Singh. It became more than “a life saver”. Yoga became her life’s work through practice and teaching. Many Australian and international yogis have met Denise through her regular Power Yoga and Yin classes at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali. When not speaking (not entirely fluent) Indonesian or Sanskrit, there is the obvious accent that serves to remind that Denise is originally from Phoenix, Arizona.

It was in Portland, Oregon – her home of 10 years - that she owned Yoga Bhoga and campaigned for the working rights of yoga teachers to continue as contractors. This is also where her son, 14-year-old Charlie was born.

Denise has a rich and nuanced understanding of yoga which culminates in classes where stories from the Bhagavad Gita are seamlessly interwoven with smart anatomical and energetic cueing, sutras and explorations into bandhas, mudras and pranayama.

denise payne yoga bali
At 55, Denise has become even more physically strong and her inversion practice continues unabated. Her motto of being fearless, brave and loving life emanates beyond words and into practice. She holds regular Yoga Teacher Trainings in Jakarta and Ubud, and has travelled worldwide to host training, workshops and courses. Throughout the year, she runs Yoga Teacher Training, enabling Yoga Barn regulars and those who are new to her teaching to be enriched by her experience in yoga practice, teaching and teacher training for over 30 years. 

Whether it is her thorough knowledge of the chakras and nadis, or the art of mudra, there are many aspects of yoga which are not commonly taught either in classes nor the standard 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings in Australia. Denise’s particular focus is on the koshas and their relation to every other aspect of yoga and life. The body, breath, mind, inner wisdom and sense of bliss are integral to the experience of living yoga on and off the mat. In Bali, the spiritual life is not an afterthought – it is in the morning and evening rituals, the approach to nature, food, dance, art and life. This has been attracting Australian yogis, surfers and spiritual seekers for decades.

While Denise has best been known for her Power Yoga practice, chakras and mudras workshops over the past 8 years at Yoga Barn, and prior through One Song in Portland, she has also won over many yogis with her meditative approach to Yin Yoga. She describes the experience of Yin as “a deeper conversation with the body and the self”.

Yoga has become even more of a sanctuary for Denise now that she has moved back to the United States after 8 years of living in Ubud, Bali. As anyone who has faced a major move or life event knows, the practice of yoga can provide a sense of groundedness in uncertain and challenging times.

Denise took time between teaching, planning an upcoming Ubud Teacher Training and finalising her book on Yin Yoga to answer questions.

How old were you and how did you first discover yoga?

I was 8 years old when I first met my teacher and 15 when I was first introduced to Kundalini yoga. I was kind of a sick kid that wasn't allowed to do anything really, and being introduced to that was literally a life saver.

Do you feel that you chose to be a teacher or that it was almost inevitable once you immersed yourself in study with your teacher?

Teaching has always come naturally to me, and my teacher, Sat Jiwan Singh was very pushy and determined to get me teaching, as well. But I never thought yoga would turn into what it is today. Back in the 70's you did it in a back room, and didn't really talk about it to friends!

Your classes weave the yamas, niyamas, stories of the Bhagavad Gita, the yoga sutras, chakras and koshas into a vinyasa context. Is this a challenge?

The wonderful qualities of yoga open us up to always learning and studying some new aspect. As I continue to grow and evolve, so do the elements I bring into a class. I do strongly believe in the power of the combination of philosophy and asana, and it's always a work in progress. 
When you first moved to Ubud, you initially planned to write rather than teach. How did you come to join Yoga Barn?

I did want to write, but was really without direction! About 3 months in, I was lucky enough to become friends with Meghan Pappenheim, one of the founders of The Yoga Barn. The rest is history!

What are the challenges of teaching short-term, international yogis in Bali?

I really appreciate this question. There is a lot to be said for the regular students I had at my schools in Portland. It was a natural progression for us over the years. In any given class during the week the most incredible yogis would show up to practice. In Ubud, I feel more of a sense of urgency with students at times. If I feel I really have something to offer any particular student I'll ask them how long they're in town for, I'll give them homework and always ask that they email me with their progress. I also ask for requests before every class to ensure I'm working on what they want to work on; maybe I have some fresh ideas for their technique.

The physical asana practice can take a toll on the body. Have you altered your practice at all to prevent injuries or overuse?

Honestly. Cat, it's yoga that helps me recover from injuries from doing things other than yoga! I just turned 55 and I' so grateful for the practice. It's something I'm always making progress with and there’s always work to be done. I'm actually relearning handstands right now to change my technique. I think it would be tough to do that if I didn't have all the years of yoga keeping me strong.

Yin yoga is being embraced by major gym chains here in Australia. Can you tell me what role yin yoga plays in the system of yoga compared to styles such as Power Yoga and typical Hatha yoga?

That's really cool to hear that it's becoming more mainstream in your neck of the woods. Yin is so new, relatively speaking, that interpretation is up for grabs and just about anyone can teach it. I think the tattvas, or principles of yin yoga, are essentially the same as a yang practice in many ways. Stillness, holding poses, finding the edge in a pose can be translated equally in both styles. The breath, as I do recommend a soft breath in a yang practice, the meditative qualities, as well can play a roll. Because yin transcends the yang elements of the physical body, slowly creeping into those nooks and crannies of the plastic parts, the role of yin becomes more about a deeper conversation with the body and the self. I love to support a daydreamy type atmosphere, in fact, and allow for the students minds to wander. This might get some thumbs down in the comment box. But, seriously, Cat, daydreaming is a lost art. We are so busy being mindful, or scrolling, or whatever. Yin offers the perfect environment for such an important and healing practice like mind-wandering/mindlessness.

Tell me about Waheguru and how this affects your approach to daily life and meditation?

Waheguru translates to Wonderful Teacher. Everything is Waheguru. Samadhi, the 8th limb of Astanga yoga is Samadhi, which means to See Equally. To see equally, one must let go of any judgement and increase their compassion 1000 fold. When you begin to see equally, you see that everything is your wonderful teacher with no judgement. Waheguru!

One of my most memorable moments in class with you was being half-way into the splits and you recounted the story of Hanuman leaping.

I'm so glad you remember that! The philosophy is vast and many teachers play with it so well! I have my moments, glad you were there to witness one of them. But me, I'm a great big chakra geek. It's how I see students, how i sequence, and most of the language I use in class revolves around the system of the sacred chambers. Every now and again I'll bust out a story, a few weeks ago it was Trivikrama, however my chakras studies never end, so I always have something new to work with in class. There are so many dimensions to the physical practice and so many elements to focus on for students. That’s the magic of hatha yoga.
The book that you had intended to write when you first moved to Ubud... how’s that going?

Well that book will get written someday. In the meantime I have a gorgeous book coming out on Yin yoga and myofascial release work. It’s based on a class I've been teaching for almost 15 years. Hopefully it's in full swing by the time this article is published.

Thankyou. Waheguru.

denise payne yoga teacherWaheguru.

Denise is holding Yoga Teacher Training at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali in September. More details on her site at

Denise Payne Teaches Yoga at Kerobokan

I had the great fortune to meet Denise when I went on holiday to Ubud, Bali a few years ago. A weekly pass to The Yoga Barn ensured I was a regular Power Yoga participant and her teaching, her delivery, her appreciation and compassion and knowledge of yoga beyond physical asanas to the real essence of what it is to live yoga emanates from her in class and outside it.
As well as taking Yoga Teacher Training in Indonesia and internationally, Denise also teaches at The Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali as well as volunteering her time to inmates at the infamous Kerobokan Prison.

Yes, the same one that Australians Schapelle, Myuran and Andrew were imprisoned for drugs charges. Denise met both Myuran and Andrew, though it was Myuran who took to yoga with greater interest and effort.

Here's my interview with her and if nothing else, perhaps it will make you re-think how you pigeon hole people - any and all people. It might even make you consider how you could donate your time and skills in a way that uplifts people who need it. And don't we all?

Cat: When did you first begin teaching yoga at Kerobokan? 

I first started teaching at Kerobokan prison in 2011

How did you find out about the opportunity or did you approach them?

I was contacted by Myuran Sukamaran, who had gotten my information from a woman involved with the silver program, Joanna Witt.

We communicated for about 2 weeks about starting the program and going through the proper channels.

How did the authorities respond and has that changed over time?

I felt very fortunate, as Myu had initiated so many programs by the time I showed up, the class was very well received. The guards were always friendly and some of the participated in class at times.

It changed over the years for various reasons. There was a riot a few years ago that set the program back for a couple of months. Or a new head of security would need time to adjust and then the class would be on hold. Once Myu and Andrew were moved in February of last year, there was also some upheaval, but the classes continued, as well as after the execution. I’ve always done my best to keep the consistency of the program for the other inmates.

Many Australians are familiar with the prison because of Myuran and Andrew. Did you meet them and what can you tell me about them as you knew them?

Myu and I had a wonderful relationship. He loved the yoga and always participated in classes. During the last few months before being moved, however, it was very hectic at Kerobokan. He had a lot of family visiting and had numerous meetings with his lawyers. The classes were on hold for a while and I would do private sessions with him.

I was able to get to know Andrew a little bit over the years, too.

Who else have you met at the prison and has their responsiveness or commitment surprised you?

The people that participate in the yoga program are there every week and always amaze me with their smiles and hugs and dedication.

Do you introduce spiritual aspects of yoga or is it purely the physical asana practice?

It’s hard to have one without the other, really. I have a tendency to wrap it all up in one package anyway. There is so much mediation and spirituality opportunities in each asana, it makes it easy. :-)

How often do you teach there?

We have classes twice a week now, and I’m so lucky to have another teacher that has taken this to heart. I could use two more teachers with her dedication to giving back!

What are the conditions like for inmates and has this changed over time?

I’m going to pass on this one.

What have been the major learnings for you from working with the prisoners?

Going to the jail is quite often the highlight of my week. It’s kind of funny because most people might think that the prisoners are the ones that get something out if it, and they do, no doubt, but the truth is it’s me that gets a does of medicine when I see everyone's smiling faces, rocking up with their mats and ready to work. It can be quite depressing to say the least about being in jail, yet the hearts still shine. So, what I've learned mostly for the classes and the group is to let my heart shine in the worst of times.

What I learned from Myuran is how to surrender completely.

What do you think most people misunderstand about those in Kerobokan?

I don’t really know how to answer this question, Cat. I’ve never thought about it.

Do you conduct the class in Indonesian or English and what nationalities are your students?

I teach in English, and the yogis are from all over the world, including Indonesia. Most of the foreigners speak English, and the locals follow along. Our classes are very giggly.

Is there a favourite pose? Do you work on handstands?

Yes of course! Loads of handstands and other inversions. I’m lucky to have 90 minutes for class so we have plenty of time for everything, including a nice long savasana.

What do the Kerobokan students struggle with most?

I’d imagine the same things we all struggle with. Do we feel loved unconditionally? Do we feel like we are good enough? Do we feel like we do enough?

Further information on Denise and her YTT courses are on her website, Denise Payne Yoga

Being In The Moment

There is no harsher critic than the voice in my head. My family has a history of OCD and I see it in my anxious thoughts over what I HAVE done and what I MUST do.
By no means are yoga, meditation, dance and fitness a "cure", but I know I am a calmer, more aware and more content person when I'm practicing.

As part of my yoga course, I am required to do classes on top of teaching my own. While I struggle with the scheduling of this, I have been gaining so much from listening to, watching and absorbing the methods and delivery of the instructors. From the actual poses, sequencing and cues to their tone of voice, introduction and ending, and their relationships with regulars and new class participants. While some of this is lost in doing online classes, I am still really enjoying the diversity of instructors and classes on Yoogaia.

I have been doing yoga and pilates at local YMCAs and this week I'll be checking out Australian Yoga Academy in Northcote and Xtend Barre in Hawthorn. If you're a Melbourne yogi, let me know what classes you love and where you do them. I have done Power Yoga at MSAC and that was fantastic.

Just as I dipped into Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet for inspiration and soul nourishment, I'm currently flipping open the pages of Rumi's poetry and seeking nuggets of wisdom to hold onto. Not only does this herald the start of Spring, but it also reminds us to be right here, right now because every moment matters. Just because you're here.

Don't flounder in the preambles of the past
Wounded with regrets; don't let autumnal
Nostalgia blind you to the sounds and scents
Of the present's Spring; you're a native of 
The pellucid moent, make it infinite beyond
The curving snake of passing time and space.
Learn to die in the infinitely elusive moment.


Online Yoga Classes - Let's Do It Together

Most of you know I'm currently doing my Yoga Teacher Training. This requires 3 extra classes a week, which doesn't sound like much, but I'm already teaching 10 barre classes a week and it's physically exhausting!
Then there is the financial and logistical issues. As you can imagine, there isn't a yoga class every hour of the day at a convenient location. Most of them are running at the same time as I'm teaching. SO.
I admit online yoga classes do not have the same communal atmosphere of a real yoga class, with the awkward smile you get when you almost trip over someone's mat or the teacher gently adjusting your hip or foot... but:

  • there are a diversity of classes from "Relax" through "Energy & Sweat" options
  • there are  Master Workshops
  • instructors are highly qualified, experienced and come from all over the world
  • if a class doesn't work for you, stop and change without causing any offence!
  • your dogs, cats, rabbits can stay for class
Most of all though, it's super convenient. Do it before work, after work, in the middle of the night or the early hours of morning. There are live classes you can book for as well as pre-recorded classes

It's much cheaper than signing up to a studio too. In fact, you could do both in an ideal world. Being able to do your meditation at home, in your own time and space might suit you best. Perhaps you're not much of a team player and you'd prefer to do pilates in your loungeroom. Perhaps you'd just prefer to do it in your loungeroom on Tuesday and go into a busy class on Thursday. That's the beauty of Yoogaia. I have signed up for the length of my teacher training.

I am aiming to go to actual classes the majority of the time, but when I'm struggling to fit it into my schedule alongside recovery time (essential for body and mind!), I will be using my Yoogaia membership to explore meditation, power yoga, core strength, pilates and Yin yoga. In fact, I did my first Yin Yoga class last week! It was difficult, as a restless soul, to hold long poses (4 minutes...of stillness...) but it became easier with every minute and actually, time passed pretty quickly once I got past the first 10 minutes. I did Heidi Poon's class. I'd love you to try some classes and give me your recommendations! I started with the free 7 day trial. Do it!

#Snoopette - Jen Crescenzo, Yoga Teacher & Power Lifter

My name is Jennifer Crescenzo and I’m a full-time yoga teacher in Melbourne Australia. I’m very passionate about Yin Yoga but when I arrived in Melbourne five years ago everyone was practicing Hot Yoga and Power Yoga so there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm for a slow, deep stretching practice that emphasizes meditative stillness! Today I teach, write and facilitate Yin and Hatha Yoga teacher training, and travel to lead yoga workshops, trainings, and retreats.   
I think people envision the yoga teacher lifestyle as really relaxed - teach a few classes, spend lots of time practicing yoga, drink some kombucha, talk about chakras - that kind of thing.   But it’s really more like running your own small business with a research and development department, a sales and marketing team, and people who need to get out and deliver the product. Oh - and you are the head and sole employee of all those departments :)  I am often up early to write - whether that is developing material for new workshops or writing content for teacher training.  I don’t like to go straight from bed to sitting at my computer so I move around a bit first.  Some mornings that means sun salutations but other mornings I go straight out to the garden and dig around in the dirt a little.  It sounds a bit yoga cliche but it changes my perspective when I start the day caring for other living beings rather than seeing who has liked me on Instagram.  Also I have discovered that my plants like coffee as much as I do! So, we share a morning ritual.  I make coffee in my French Press  and enjoy my morning cup and then pour the grinds over the plants.  

Part of my job, like any other job, is meetings.  And that means having some cosy meeting spots near my home or the studios where I teach.  Current favorites include Urban Projuice in Albert Park because it’s a family affair run by a mother and her daughters and they make delicious vegetarian and vegan food.  This winter I am especially fond of their Turmeric Latte because it’s earthy and spicy and warming and Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and boosts your immune system. 
Because I don’t have a car, I’m often on the go and I carry everything I might need for the day in my bag, a beautiful hand-sewn creation from my last trip to Thailand.  Inside you’d find whatever book I am reading (currently it’s Connectome: How the Brains Wiring Makes Us Who We Are), my iPad, a scarf (I collect them from all over the world!) some sort of refreshing spray for my face (I picked up Yuli Cocoon Elixir in LA a few months ago ) jasmine essential oil from Jamal Kazura Aromatics in Singapore, YSL Touche Eclat, and usually a random piece of fruit (this week it's mandarins)  

Since I’m on foot or on trams a lot, I’m a big fan of podcasts.  I spent 10 years as a documentary filmmaker so I’m passionate about storytelling.  On my podcast playlist you’d find RadioLab, 99 Percent Invisible, Serial, Invisibilia, Planet Money, and This American Life.  I love how a good story can grab you and turn you in a different direction, compelling you to see the at the world from a totally different perspective. And I think that’s what yoga offers - twisting your body into different shapes gives you different ways of seeing yourself and the world around you. 

Although I have built a reputation as a Yin Yoga educator, those who know me best know that I embrace the cooling, contemplative nature of Yin to balance my fiery, Irish-Italian Yang side. Whether it’s powering across the finish line of a race or facing an opponent in Kung Fu, I love to move!  This year I found a new passion, Olympic Lifting.  Although lifting something big and heavy sounds more brutal than mindful, it’s actually a delicate balance of the two.  Like Yoga, it is all about a union of opposites!  You have to be patient but violent.  You have to be willing to fail but determined to succeed. The moment you put your hands on the bar, you have to coordinate all of your power and intention to lift it.  But, when you take your hands off the bar you have to relax and let go.   My Olympic Lifting coach, Luke Bryan of CrossFit 3000, said I was being “too zen” in a lifting session and that I needed to get a little more violent.  So we created “Nej”, my lifting alter-ego who resembles the fierce Indian warrior goddess Kali. Kali holds a severed head and wears a necklace of skulls made from her fallen foes. I know - it doesn’t sound very yogic.  But Kali represents the erradication of ego.  She cuts through the illusions, forcing us to see things as they are rather than as we want them to be.   And I would describe Olympic Lifting in much the same way.  It quickly reveals where you lack coordination, power, or precision - like the parts of you where electricity doesn't flow. And if you are willing to work on those parts of your body and mind, you can electrify them! 

I wear a lot of yoga clothes - comes with the job!  Since I can spend all day in a sports bra or pair of yoga pants, I need things that are durable but feel good on my skin and can transition from the studio to dinner with friends.  When I’m not in yoga clothes, I’m either in jeans or Melbourne-made Nevenka.  Designer Rosemary Masic blends lace and edge.  It’s like Stevie Nicks meets Lauren Bacall...

Jennifer teaches weekly classes at Ohana Yoga, MOVE Yoga, and Power Living South Melbourne and runs yearly retreats at Le Yoga Daylesford. For more about Jennifer, visit her website 

Braids, Buns & Twists at the Barre

We're off the barre! Or the bar.
Really, you can wear your hair in buns, braids, intricate plaits and twists either to the gym, yoga studio or bar. Or the office. A waterfall plait says "I'm creative but I am in control here. Don't mess with me!"
I am loving this book by Christina Butcher, Braids, Buns and Twists! Step-by-step tutorials for 82 fabulous hairstyles
I discovered it on a Google hunt, naturally.

 I also discovered Power Yoga For Athletes that gives pictures and instruction on 100 poses that are intended to improve sporting performance. It can be difficult to gain the confidence to go to a yoga class for the first time, especially when you are skilled in a particular sport and you have to face being a beginner BUT starting out with a book and streaming online classes is a great introduction. Author, Sean Vigue is a skilled and notable pilates and yoga instructor who also runs online classes and writes for various yoga and pilates journals.

Kombucha + Charity = KombuchAID

KombuchAID makes fermented, bottled tea that is not only tasty, but also great for your guts AND your conscience. Kombucha is all the rage in health circles at the moment for its digestive system boosting probiotic effect. Like kimchi, it is the product of fermentation and timely bottling that creates this elixir of good bacteria.
A fellow yoga lover and entrepreneur, Geneva founded KombuchAID as a way to support refugees on the Thailand-Burma border. 10% of proceeds from the tea and workshops go towards this project.
In her own words, Geneva Pritchard explains.

How and when I founded KombuchAID
My husband and I moved to Melbourne two years ago from New Zealand with our life belongings consisting of two bicycles and two boxes.  He was recruited to a really great position here, and began working immediately upon arrival.  I sought out to create a like-minded community by finding the closest yoga studio (Power Living South Melbourne)and signing up for the 40-day yoga challenge.  During that time I began brewing my own kombucha as a way to kick-start my health and wellness lifestyle in my new setting.  Each Monday at the 40-day challenge meditation meet up I brought my booch, and my fellow yogis started asking about it, wanting to try it, then wanting to buy it.  Over the course of a couple months I quadrupled production and went from bottling in used Grolsch beer bottles to formalising a proper business and launching KombuchAID.  It was a beautifully organic process of business building. 
My background is deeply routed in development and humanitarian work.  I have a masters degree in public health, and have spent the majority of the last ten years working with health and education projects among refugee populations on the Thailand-Burma border, spending two and a half years living amidst very remote communities.  When I started KombuchAID, I knew there had to be a giving component woven into the fabric of the business.  It was my aim to create a product that made people feel good physically, produced from a business model that made consumers feel good about purchasing.  Thus KombuchAID was born, a fermented probiotic tea with the ability to promote optimal health, using a business model that makes all decisions based on core ethics and integrity.   Going back to my roots and passion, we donate 10% of proceeds to refugee populations on the Thailand-Burma border.  
Where is it available?
We are available at about 20 stores and yoga studios throughout Melbourne.  A couple of my favourite places to buy KombuchAID are at Smith and Deli in Fitzroy, at CERES Market in East Brunswick or CERES Fair Food boxes, and of course at my home studio where it all began, Power Living South Melbourne.  For a complete list of retailers check out our website

What is kombucha?Kombucha is a fermented tea with a rich anecdotal history that claims it detoxifies the body and energizes the mind. Ancient Chinese tradition has revered kombucha as the “immortal elixir” due to its role in aiding digestion, joint health and detoxification.  
Kombucha is packed full of vitamins, enzymes and acids including: B1 Thiamine, B2 Riboflavin, B3 Niacin, B6 Pyridoxine, B9 Folic Acid, B12 Cobalmin, Bromelain, Papain, Glucuronic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Chondroitin sulfate, Tannic Acid, Usnic Acid

Upcoming Workshops
An exciting element of KombuchAID are the home-brew workshops.  I absolutely love teaching these workshops.  It is a great space to educate people on the benefits of probiotics and how adding something like kombucha to an already healthy diet can create efficiencies in the body leading to optimal health.  Two stats I love to work with are that 80% of your immune system is in your digestive system, and 90% of serotonin is produced in your digestive system.  Wow!  Kombucha promotes a strong, well-balanced gut that leads to so many health benefits, both physical and mental.  The workshop includes a home-brew kit that enables each student to leave and get a brew going right away.

We have two upcoming workshops:at Bikram Yoga Yarraville, and at the Henley Club.  To stay up to date with available workshops, keep an eye on the Events page

Yoga Teacher Training Finally!

Now that my hip has healed enough that I am doing dancer's pose and getting through BodyPump and Power Yoga classes with zest, I can see more clearly what I want to be doing with my life.

I want to write, draw, create and share my discoveries and ideas with you and with curious people.

I also want to motivate and share the knowledge that our bodies can heal and recover and accomplish movements and sensations that are life changing, or at least, strengthening.

For me, having tried many fitness and lifestyle trends and styles over the past 16 years, I know what works for me right now. I love a strong, challenging vinyasa yoga class. Sometimes referred to as Power Yoga. I also love barre training. It feels like I'm using

but also opening between my bones and stretching muscles that have been twisting into knots overnight or at the office. It feels graceful, elegant, as if I'm connecting with my inner ballerina.

A man came up to me at the gym yesterday where I was going through some barre moves to use in class and asked if I was a gymnast or a ballerina. I told him no and he marvelled at how "strong" I was. This is true! He was holding a cane and had been struggling with knee problems for 10 years. He said the trainer at the gym had him doing squats. When he showed me, his technique was jarring, awkward and he looked pained. It felt wonderful to be able to tell him I'd had a hip replacement and squats were a major part of my rehabilitation but they have to be adapted for our bodies at the stage they're in. So we went through technique.

It was a small part of my day - maybe 10 minutes - but it felt fabulous for hours. I sometimes take for granted having a strong sense of body awareness and how to align and stretch and move in the safest, most effective way to train and strengthen. It matters in moments when I can heal myself or guide others to use their bodies in the most meaningful way.

My Yoga Teacher Training starts in Februrary and I can't wait. I read Christy Turlington's "Living Yoga" about 6 years ago and it was life altering for me. I started the book because of the pretty pictures, but was incredibly inspired and moved by Christy's story of discovering holistic health (becoming an anti-smoking advocate), setting up a charity for mothers, and studying religion and spirituality at university. She fully immersed herself in the history and philosophy of yoga and there is so much to learn and to experience on and off the mat. I hadn't realised until that point.

I'm most looking forward to becoming a yoga student for life. To accepting and embracing that I will never master it and know everything and be guru-like, but that my passion and love for yoga will motivate the yogis who do my class to investigate ideas and movements that are new and interesting to them. Or just to get into a pose they hadn't believed was possible!

Talking of being able to do that, I know that a 9 - 5 office job is not possible for me at this point, if ever. I love moving. I love instructing. I love the energy of being in a class and both instructing and learning so much about bodies, movement, rhythm and how to motivate and coach. Every class has its own rhythm and energy. I am thrilled to now have more classes at Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre, very close to where I grew up. I am also hoping to add to my schedule of barre classes this year while also (hopefully!) getting some writing and content editing work so that I can have the ideal mix of writing, editing, sculpting, toning and instructing.

If you're interested in doing yoga or barre classes, or you're already doing them and you have a place you'd recommend, come and tell me about it on Facebook!