Getting the most out of your yoga class

What is your intention when you join a yoga class?

There are many reasons why people join a yoga class, for some it is to pursue a spiritual quest, using the postures as a tool to explore and open the body and mind.  And for others it might be more of a physical attraction, using the postures as an end to achieve a goal: trying to get your head to your legs in a forward bend, no matter how rounded your back is.

Whatever your reason, it is always good to set a positive intention that will influence how and what you will get out of each practice session.  If you approach your practice with too much push, then this becomes the obstacle in moving forward.  Your body is tense and your mind is far from relaxed!  If you can learn to take a step back  and enjoy the journey, the end result will happen naturally and the process much more enjoyable 🙂

Yoga Class intentions

Setting your intention

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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