The Many Benefits of Yoga

There are many benefits of yoga and as a teacher I am blessed to be constantly reminded of them.

After teaching my mums and bubs yoga class today, I walked away with a renewed appreciation of  the many benefits of yoga there are and how it can help us to break through our conditioning on a physical, mental and emotional level.

mums and bubs yoga class

When we see babies, their bodies are so flexible as they are too young to start to accumulate any sort of conditioning, yet over time as they are shaped and conditioned by life experiences, their bodies become tight, protective and rigid making them function less efficiently; energy wanes as systems slow down and become blocked.  The body becomes less sensitive and less connected to itself, moving into a state of dis  ease.

The process of yoga keeps the physical systems strong and healthy which allows Prana (life force) to flow more freely throughout our bodies.  We become more energised and inspired by what life has to offer, everyday and every yoga class becomes an adventure!

Yoga is an opportunity to take our own health into our own hands and to alert us when the balance is lost, which is when the preventative power of yoga steps in.

When we attend a yoga class we will hear the teacher say over and over again “focus on the breath and be mindful of what is happening in your body”, hearing this is constantly reinforcing the body’s cellular feedback mechanism so that when our bodies becomes out of balance and diseased we will have a much earlier detection of this and be able to use our yoga practice to help us long before breakdown occurs.

 

About Julie Stephens

I started my yoga journey approximately 30 years ago and after many years of travelling around the world I decided I was ready to commit myself to becoming a yoga teacher.The draw card for me was/is more of the spiritual aspect as I have always been curious about the bigger picture, meditating and finding contentment. The physical side was an added bonus.In the late 90s, I was living on the Gold Coast in Australia and practising regularly at the Gold Coast Yoga Centre. In 2000, I started my yoga teacher training apprenticeship – at that time it didn’t have an end to it. I was basically told that I would be finished my training when they saw that I was ready. This took 18 months of practising six days a week, 30 hours a week. There were no excuses for missing the training and if I didn’t turn up, I would have been expelled from the program. With hindsight, this was one of the most important lessons I learnt, as it gave me the dedication to continue my six-day-a-week practice no matter what the circumstances were and I can tell you, there were many interesting situations where I would be practising amongst the local people in Mongolia, China, The Tibetan plateau, Nepal, India etc, on trains, planes, airport disabled toilets because they were big… anyway, my point being, is that I had to maintain this combination of devotional practice and study which has allowed me to gain a much deeper knowledge and understanding of the amazing art and science of yoga.Since I qualified I have owned a yoga studio on the Gold Coast, taught in Korea, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Bali and of course New Zealand, which is where I am now based. For me this has been the perfect balance of doing what I love, teaching yoga and travelling.I am blessed to have trained with a lot of great inspirational teachers along this journey, such as Erich Schiffman, Donna Farhi, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, Ana Forest, David and Sharon, the founders of Jivamukti, Andrey Lappa from Universal Yoga, Nicky Knoff (Iyengar), John Friend (Anusara), David Soul Ray, Lance Schuler, Clive Sheridan and of course my teachers: Kameron Story, Mark Togni and Suzanne Grey from whom I learnt the Ashtanga Primary and Second series, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga, meditation and pranayama.The style of yoga I predominantly teach is Vinyasa Flow, which leads you through a flowing series of postures with an emphasis on the breath. Options are given and the yoga class is structured so that each pose prepares the student for the next. Everybody can do my yoga from a beginner level, pre-natal, general through to advanced. In the beginner and pre-natal yoga classes the emphasis is on the foundations of yoga with the correct use of props ie; blankets, blocks, straps and bolsters, to enable the student to practise safely.I also teach Hatha, Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga. I offer beginners’ classes and yoga therapy.The class environment is positive and fun, so you can feel at ease and comfortable to practice at your own level, after all it is ultimately about your own self exploration.As a yoga teacher I feel truly honoured and privileged to be able to share such an ancient practice – one that offers not only great physical benefits, but ultimately allows us to be mindful, happy and content.

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