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Cheryle Rovere, October 2012
I started yoga in Griffith, NSW, many years ago in a local community centre. I went along once a week for about 2 years. My initial reason for doing yoga was that I wanted to do some exercise and get more bendy, and going to gyms has never appealed to me.
In 2004 I moved back to Melbourne and with lots of upheaval in my life I started yoga again. I came along to a beginner’s course with Claire in 2005 and attended regularly for a while. Then life changed, my family commitments changed, and for one reason or another yoga fell into the background.
In April 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer and as well as living with and looking after my ageing father (who is now 89) I was facing surgery, months of unpleasant treatment and lots of uncertainty. As you can imagine this is very stressful and it was easy to get overwhelmed by fear and stress and feeling sorry for myself. It is easy to get a bit down. I knew that I needed help to get through the coming months; to keep my spirits up, to do some exercise without straining my body and find practical ways to combat my anxieties. I needed to learn to relax! In all the cancer info yoga is suggested as being very helpful so back to SunYoga I came.
I really wasn’t sure how I would go, but I wanted to give it a go. And here I am, over a year later - I have finished my treatments & I have been coming to classes twice a week the whole time - right through chemo & radiation. I feel comfortable here at SunYoga, there’s no pressure to do anything that I don’t want to do. I do what feels OK.
When things were a bit tough I felt I could hide up the back and just do a little bit, but still always felt welcomed and included by the teachers and the other students. To do something is better than nothing and my regular yoga is very helpful – especially Belinda’s Yoga for the Mind class. I could even come to this relaxing meditation focused class straight after chemo. Working with my mind relaxes my body and even if I felt very tired it calmed me down, stopped me from getting panicky about my illness, and I would go home feeling relaxed and peaceful and sleep like a baby. When you are going through any kind of a personal crisis it’s great to give yourself a bit of a treat, to make the time to spoil yourself. Coming to yoga is my ME time, my time to spoil myself and focus on healing, not my illness.
I finished my treatment at the end of January and there is still a long way to go. It takes a long time to recover but I feel good. Looking back at what I’ve been through it doesn’t seem that bad. What has got me through is keeping positive, having a good laugh and yoga. Getting cancer is a warning, a wake up call, it has helped me to put things into perspective and to realise that my health is a top priority.
Coming along to yoga is my way of making sure that I look after myself. It’s not just about the external or about looking thin, its about looking after your inside - your heart, your lungs, your mind… your everything!
Jenni Parousis, August 2012
By the end of 2011 my health was in a terrible place, I was depleted and overloaded on all levels. I couldn’t sleep; I was stressed, anxious and had constant nausea. I was losing weight rapidly, even my breath was affected. I couldn’t sit still and every moment of every day was meticulously planned. My whole life felt like it was in fast forward. I never want to feel like that again!
My yoga journey started about 10 years ago with Yong from Grasshopper Yoga. I attended classes regularly with him in Keilor and when he moved to Sunshine I upped my attendance to 3 times a week and I loved it. When Claire took over the space, about 5 years ago, I stopped coming along to Sun Crescent as at that stage in my life it didn’t feel right to make the transition to SunYoga.
For the next 3 years or so I drifted, trying different classes, with different teachers and different styles but I didn’t find what I was looking for so I moved away from yoga. I took up squash and roller derby and threw myself into high impact, high energy, intense forms of physical exercise. I really wanted to be a roller derby girl, it’s so cool, but I quickly realised that I’m not the right body type!
I have ended up in a very busy, corporate job as a business analyst which had me working long hours, weekends and involved lots of travel. I love my job and I threw myself into it and didn’t realize that my life was getting so out of whack until I got quite unwell. I just thought it was normal. I pushed myself and kept going and pushed myself some more, all the time telling myself that I could do it, that I was alright and that I could manage.
I knew that to slow down and find balance I needed to get back to yoga and once again started the search, trying gyms and whatever I could find. The yoga I found was OK, but not the kind I knew I needed! Eventually I googled yoga in Sunshine and up came SunYoga so I decided to give it a go.
You can find yoga classes everywhere! The poses and content can be the same but you don’t necessarily feel any connection to the yoga, the class, or the teacher. To be able to let go and connect deeply you have to click with the teacher and feel safe and comfortable.
A lot of people focus on the physical benefits of yoga, but for me yoga is so much more than just the physical, it is a mental and emotional response…
What I get out of my yoga is peace. It’s like the feeling you get after a long, clean, hot, relaxing bath…absolute peace.
It is now 6 months down the track. I have a gold membership at SunYoga and come to classes 2 - 3 times a week. I’ve made a major commitment to changing my lifestyle, looking after my health and wellbeing, and finding some much needed balance. The change in 6 months has been amazing. Everything is better! I don’t get overwhelmed as easily, I sleep better and I now stop and listen truthfully to how I’m feeling. I’ve dropped all the high intensity sports activities and only do yoga. My health is improving all the time and I like to think of myself as my favourite work in progress! The nice thing is I am enjoying the process of slowing down… eating well, going to bed early…taking care of me…
I was terrified of slowing down. My biggest fear was that my brain would stop working. But it hasn’t, in fact I think it works better, and is just as sharp and efficient as it ever was. have a calmness that I haven’t experienced for a long time and my priorities have changed completely. I am even considering changing my career as I find myself questioning my corporate lifestyle. I still love my work but it no longer defines me, it is no longer my whole life.
I am very happy that I re-discovered 21a Sun Crescent and SunYoga. I completely trust Belinda & Claire. This is really important to me – no trust, no yoga. The personal connection is critical and I know that whatever happens in any class, I am safe, I will be looked after and all will be fine.
I have come home. I am at peace. I know that this (yoga) is what I need to be doing in this life… Every time I come back to class I feel I have come home…
Lee Thistlewaite - April, 2012
I started yoga about 3 years ago when yoga came to me as part of our workplace wellbeing program. One day instead of a meeting there was yoga! My immediate reaction was “gee, this is pretty good!” So I then began weekly classes with a local teacher. I’m an active person and love moving my body so at first my enjoyment of yoga was mostly about the movement.
I’m a maternal & child health nurse with the City of Moonee Valley and my work takes me to Wingate Ave Community Centre where I spied Claire’s Friday morning seniors’ yoga classes. I had to stretch the senior bit BUT the idea of going to a second weekly class was very appealing and I thought why not gate crash the seniors’ yoga party?
Pretty funny, but I have to say I loved the seniors classes and luckily I was accepted & tolerated…!
What a great way to start my Friday; an hour of gentle yoga… particularly after Thursdays, my weekly gardening day!
One class led to another, I found out about the SunYoga studio, started coming along to classes with Claire in Sunshine and am lucky to have enjoyed 2 tropical SunYoga holidays at Mission Beach…yoga is now a regular and treasured part of my life.
What do I love about doing yoga?
Life is busy; I am constantly on the go and always committed to doing things with little time for myself. Coming to yoga seems like an indulgence in the nicest possible way – I feel like I am spoiling myself by simply taking the time to attend classes.
For the duration of the class I focus purely on me! Nobody else, just me, my feelings, my breath, my body...
Through yoga I am learning that life is not about pushing all the time. Most of us spend our days trying hard to fit things in and do more. I enjoy that Claire reinforces listening to what is; how am I feeling today and what is the appropriate way to approach my yoga? It’s really good to have the place and freedom to do my yoga as it comes… and to be able to relax and discover exactly where I’m at!
Sylvia Matlach - November, 2011
4 months ago I found myself wondering about yoga. I work long hours in a busy customer service based role. The position is often challenging and stressful, trying to meet clients' requirements and deadlines. I was regularly suffering from stress and anxiety and looking for ways to learn to deal with it. I had heard and read that yoga was supposed to be good for stress so I did some research and found SunYoga. I wasn’t sure what to expect but right from the first class I loved it! I have been coming twice a week since July and I can really feel the benefits. I am more relaxed and happy and not nearly as stressed. I find that when the heat is on at work I just cope better. Being aware of my breathing helps me to stay calm and I am not getting so flustered or anxious. I love coming to yoga, the physical postures release any built up tension from my day. After class I feel calm & relaxed on the inside…mellow and at peace. It feels like I have been on a cruise ship holiday! I tell a lot of people about yoga. I keep saying, “Why don’t you get into yoga, it’s the best, the best thing ever! Not only does it improve your physical strength and tones your body, it also gives you mental replenishment…” I am very happy I have found yoga, it’s incredible. I think not many of my generation understand how good it is, have any idea of what it is about, or realise the benefits of yoga… So, I tell as many people as I can,
“Get into it, the results are amazing!”
Maree Lewis - September, 2011
Yoga is not for me a place to do amazing poses or push my body beyond its limits, but to be kind and caring to myself, which in my busy life often gets put aside for all the other things...
I really was in a bit of a state when I started yoga. It was 21 years ago & I was a very busy working mother of four in my forties. I was under a lot of pressure, (at that particular point more than the usual rough and tumble that life throws at you), and I was exhausted, stressed and scared. I knew something had to happen and decided it might be a good idea to find a yoga class that I could go along to with my sister.
Yoga session number one was at Footscray Pool with loud gym classes going on and screaming children in the pool, but in spite of all the noise I enjoyed it and I loved the relaxation. It felt so different to any other type of class and I took to it like a duck to water.
Finding yoga felt like a blessing, it gave me the time to stop and look inside myself. It helped me to see through the chaos of my life and get some new perspective. It made me realise that everything was in fact OK and that life was not impossible. I could stop, take a big breath and go back into the world feeling lighter… After class I felt like a different person and would always come home feeling refreshed and relaxed.
There were many times through those early years that it was a big effort to get to the classes. My teacher had moved to Williamstown and often it would have been easier to not make the effort to travel. I often had to really push myself to go. My sister & our daughters have attended with me off and on over the years, but I stuck with it and kept going regularly. It felt like something I had to do! I started going twice a week and got really good at it and loved it. I lost weight, the kids were by then starting to leave home and it felt like something really good, something for me...
Throughout all my years of yoga, (and it still regularly happens today), the yoga class finishes and as you are leaving you find yourself looking at another student and you both say,
I really didn’t feel like coming to yoga today, I was tired and wanted to stay at home, but I am so glad I did because I feel so much better!
There have been 3 wonderful yoga teachers in my life over the 21 years and Claire is one of them. We met when she came to take over my last teacher’s class in Newport about 8 years ago and I have been attending her yoga classes ever since. It is lucky for me that she lives around the corner & decided to open her studio within walking distance of my house.
I am now retired, moving into my late sixties and I go to yoga more than ever. I am still very busy with my children, 12 grandchildren, family, friends & neighbours. My love of yoga continues to grow and develop and I have noticed a big shift since I started attending retreats as well as classes about 3 years ago. Going to retreats has added to my yoga experience, it is lovely to have the time to slowly enjoy longer sessions twice a day or more, eat wonderful food, enjoy great company and have loads of fun.
My retreat experiences got me thinking why can’t I go to yoga this much all the time, I mean really why not? I have tried to do yoga at home but it just isn’t the same. It seems impossible to get the mental focus that you get in a class and there is always something going on to distract and interrupt me, the phone, someone comes to the door…
As I am heading into my late 60's I know yoga is very good for my health, even more so than when I was younger, it helps me to concentrate on myself for set times during the week and brings me back to me. A lot of the weight bearing and opening postures are very challenging and you use your body in a yoga class in ways that you just don’t do in everyday life. But if you don’t use all the bits then they stop working, and the older you get the more important this becomes.
Claire & Belinda’s eclectic approach to yoga means that classes are always different, I am never bored, and what adds to my pleasure is that it is fun! I never come into a class & think “Oh, here we go again”, this is what keeps me coming back. We laugh, it is social and I enjoy mixing with the other students, people of all ages, it keeps me young…
I am a lucky woman to have found yoga when I did and very lucky to have found 3 wonderful teachers… Thank you!
Natasha Cooper - August, 2011
I find yoga very beneficial, it is a great way to relax and I always feel better for it… In fact, I actually find it fantastic! Now that I am coming twice a week I can’t imagine not doing it, it has become a cherished part of my routine that I look forward to. It’s a regular part of my life, like brushing my teeth!
I started yoga in 1999 when I was a student in country Victoria and was living close to the Satyananda ashram in Rocklyn. I went to the ashram once a week and loved it. After uni I lived in Japan for 2 years and found myself in a great exchange with a Japanese Yoga teacher. She taught me yoga in her home, and I taught her what I knew about yoga in English.
After I came back to Australia (for many reasons) there was no yoga in my life for a while. My introduction to SunYoga came through my sister who started doing pre-natal yoga. I started going to SunYoga weekly, but a bit sporadically, on & off, life got in the way, you know how it is…? But gradually I started to notice that when I didn’t do my yoga I didn’t feel so good, and that when I did come regularly it made a big difference.
Doing regular yoga makes me more relaxed in general. The physical postures stretch and release any physical tension in my body. My mind is clearer and calmer; I find I can focus more at work, after yoga I am mentally relaxed!
I work in the community development field and spend my days working with adults and young people from diverse backgrounds. It can be emotionally taxing at times. I care deeply about the people that I work with and it’s easy to bring this concern home and into my personal life.
I am really noticing the benefits of my regular yoga. I have organised my life so that my 2 weekly sessions fit perfectly into my week. The mid week session relaxes and calms me and gives me the space to let go of any building stresses. It breaks up my week beautifully. I find myself talking about it at work the next day, what we did, how I feel…
My Saturday morning session is a strong asana class that I love, it gets me up and moving and I come out feeling good. It marks the transition from working week to weekend. Any left over work stuff is released and then I am free to enjoy my weekend in a positive frame of mind!
I am also enjoying the increasing social and community part of coming to SunYoga. It is fun to get to know the other students and share info; a couple of weeks ago I even got a great tip for a hairdresser! Gotta love that!
My twice weekly yoga is like my medicine, every 3 days I get my dose, my fix, and I really look forward to it…
Thanks SunYoga, Natasha xx
Leonie Grant - June 2011
Yoga keeps me sane. It keep me supple,it keeps me moving,it keeps me SANE!
10 years ago I turned up to the cold and dusty Community Centre in Maidstone for my first yoga class with Claire. She had been recommended by my daughter and I was hopeful that I might have found the right teacher. I had done yoga in the 80’s and loved it, then after a break I was unsuccessfully searching for a good local teacher; someone who understood where I was at and pitched the class at a level that I could manage.
After a prolapsed disc injury in 1987, I suffered from constant sciatica down my left leg. It was very painful, tiring and quite debilitating. My doctor and physiotherapist both told me that I would never fully recover, I would always have back problems and that I would have sciatica for the rest of my life! I didn’t imagine that yoga would cure my back but the classes felt good, I was very comfortable with Claire and my chronic back pain started to improve.
When Claire started teaching more and moved to Sunshine I upped my attendance to twice weekly. This change made a big difference to my flexibility and my back problems quietly improved some more. One morning I was lying in bed, contemplating life and it just dawned on me,
“My back pain is gone, I can’t remember the last time I had sciatica!"
I realised with great amazement that I hadn’t thought about having a bad back for ages! These yoga classes were really paying off! This year with the introduction of the SunYoga membership I upped my attendance to 4 times per week. I attend as much as I can; my weekly classes vary from yogercise to yoga for the mind. I attend retreats and workshops as well and my yoga just keeps getting better. I guess you could say I am now a yoga devotee.
This really regular practice supports me in so many ways. I am noticing incremental physical changes and improvements. At the beginning of this year I couldn’t sit in a meditation posture for any period of time without experiencing lots of pain and discomfort in my knees. 6 months later, I can now sit comfortably for 15 to 20 minutes. My knees are not perfect, but they no longer stop me from enjoying my meditation, a major improvement.
I can move a lot more than I could 10 years ago. I am so much more comfortable in my body, physically and emotionally.
I use the tools that I learn in yoga everyday in my working and home life. They help me deal with any stresses and problems. I appreciate what a valuable and practical resource my yoga is. I now have the ability to connect to my inner, stable centre…that calm, still place inside me where I find peace and tranquility.
The SunYoga unlimited membership is really working for me. Before this, I would try and practice at home but there was always something that got in the way. Now I attend yoga whenever I like. It is paid for, I can come almost any day of the week, and when I get to the studio I know there will be support, guidance and friendship. In fact, as soon as I start up the stairs I immediately relax…
So, that’s my yoga story so far, I am looking forward to the next unfolding… and the next one…and lots more yoga.
Leonie Grant - Thankyou Claire & Belinda, Love Leonie xx
Harvest Yoga & SunYoga present
Weekend Workshop with PAUL WOODEN
Opening to Feeling
Yoga is a process of opening ourselves to the creative edge of our life, where a very real taste of Being’s essence awaits... This workshop is an intimate inquiry into breath, energy, feeling and life through an integrated approach to yoga.
9.30 am - 4 pmSaturday & SundayAnglicare Community Hall41 Somerville RdYarraville
October 26 & 27, 2013
Single Workshop:$250 or $230 *Early BirdSunYoga Students $235 or $220 *Early Bird*Early Bird Rate is to paid in full by Saturday, October 5th.
To book contact Rick Harvest0431 163 130
It's on the house - First class FREE!
Our First Class FREE offer is a great way to find out if our classes are for you.We're passionate about SunYoga and are confident that if you attend regular classes you will get great results! The *intro offer is available for all new customers. Want to try? To take up this offer, select a suitable class and come along! Let us know when you plan to attend so we can have the welcoming party ready! Contact Us
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