Glide Yogi: Hannah & her Nanna

Where did your yoga journey begin?

Chris Mathews is living proof that it is never too late to start yoga! She began practicing with Annie’s Over 50’s group four years ago at the age of 68, and attends class 3 times a week. She feels a sense of belonging and enjoys being a part of a yoga community, often joining others for coffee after class. Chris’s grand-daughter, Hannah, spent some time living with her when she moved back to Perth from Melbourne. Her mum and nanna had been trying to get her to yoga for some time but she was reluctant to try and resisted their efforts. Seeing her nanna, who she is very close to, get up and go to yoga three times a week and the Christmas gift of a Glide Yoga Beginners’ Course from her mum, Vanessa, led her to give yoga a go.

At 19, Hannah was going through some life changing experiences which required her to make some big decisions. Relocating to Perth, working out what she wanted to study, all of these life changing events were unsettling and she was struggling with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. She says, if I had known the benefits associated with yoga, I would have started much sooner. Hannah practices a couple of times a week and is like a sponge, absorbing all of the benefits and philosophical teachings of yoga. Six months after practicing yoga she now feels calm and happy, she has stopped trying to control life, and is able to go with the flow, she is excited to see what happens in life.

Tell us a little about your experiences at Glide Yoga

Both Hannah and Chris see Glide Yoga as their own personal sanctuary. Chris lives with chronic back pain and has recently been scheduled for a hip replacement. Living with chronic pain can be debilitating and she finds yoga’s breath-work and a daily meditation provide her with some much needed pain relief. She remembers Annie saying to her, ‘If you get up and don’t feel well, just come to class, you will always feel better for it’ and she has found this to be true. She says, ‘the yoga studio is a place where you feel calm and peaceful. Even if I spend the whole class in a restorative pose, I am in a better frame of mind that if I had stayed at home.’

Hannah loves to lie down on her mat, with the doors open, the wind blowing in, the feeling of being in paradise. She feels as if a heavy weight has been taken off her shoulders and has never felt so relaxed. From her first class, she felt so welcome, she loves Glide’s personal approach where you are seen in your entirety as a whole person, and you’re not just a student. At the end of her first beginners’ course class with Annie, she remembers Annie saying to hug your knees in and give yourself a big cuddle, that you are perfect, just as you are. These words made Hannah realise that she can be kind to herself, that she can have compassion and be loving, not just for others, but for herself! Such a big life lesson!

In what way has yoga changed your life?

Yoga has changed my life, says Hannah. I used to hunch my shoulders and felt as though I was carrying a heavy weight on them. Yoga influences how you carry yourself and since coming to yoga, I have come out of my shell, I feel confident, positive and creative and this has led to some big changes in my life. I’m now staying in Perth to study fashion and following my creative dreams.

Yoga is simply the best thing I’ve ever done, it has helped me so much. I’m much kinder to myself and am enjoying life. I used to be really anxious, yoga has taught me that I can identify the feeling of anxiety as it arises and change my breathing to overcome it. I have learnt not to harbour negative thoughts and feelings and I have learnt that I can change my thoughts and my feelings towards myself and others. Hannah felt so strongly about her personal transformation, she had a lotus flower tattooed on her ankle to mark her rising above the mud, a blossoming of inner strength and an awareness of her own inner light and luminosity. Indeed, she is a radiant being!

Chris couldn’t be more proud of Hannah and talks of her own transformation in learning how to manage pain. Often when I’m having an MRI scan, I consciously relax my body and practice breathing techniques I have learnt at yoga. The doctors often comment on how calm I am during these scans which they say is unusual. The scans can last a long time and you have to stay very still. My meditation practice of 20 minutes a day often flies by, I have become used to being still and feeling peaceful.

What would you say to people who are curious but a little hesitant to begin?

Hannah says, allow yourself to be open to it, I had a negative view of yoga but the benefits so outweighed my negative perception. Give yourself a chance to get to know yourself, it will change your mind-set, your perceptions, your life! You won’t regret it.

Chris says, make sure you find the right teacher and the right class. I was put off by my first experience at a beginners’ yoga class. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing and it was not a good place for me to start. I found the over 50’s class suited my needs much better and Annie will always tell me when it’s time to go into a restorative pose, I don’t feel the need to be doing what everyone else is doing all of the time. She helps me make my practice my own.

Glide Yogi: Lynn Little

Lynn has been a student of Annie’s for many years and was a dedicated Glide Yogi before we moved into the Claremont studio. She hardly ever misses the over 50’s classes, attending three times a week. She enjoys being a part of the vibrant Glide Yoga community.

Where did your yoga journey begin?

Ten years ago I commenced a beginners course with an Ashtanga Yoga studio. I completed the course and then continued to attend classes at 6am most weekdays.The classes were a series of set poses, mostly self-led (Mysore style). I spent about 4 years doing Ashtanga yoga and although I became very flexible, I found I was looking for something with more variety. My daughter Jorelle had completed her teacher training in the same group as Annie and encouraged me to go to her classes. I finally turned up to one of Annie’s class about 6 years ago and never left.

Tell us a little about your experiences at Glide Yoga

I attend the over 50’s classes three mornings a week.I love the balance between the physical postures and the breathing and relaxation techniques I’ve learned. Each class is different and the postures are varied. The studio has been beautifully decorated by Annie and Carol. It has a very calm and cosy atmosphere and you instantly feel warm and at home. The mats, bolsters and props have all been carefully chosen to create the best possible experience for students. Everyone is welcomed when they come through the door and quickly become part of the Glide community. As a side benefit, there is always coffee after these classes and all are welcome. This provides a great opportunity for relaxing together and getting to know each other. These coffee gatherings have also proved to be a great resource and exchange of information.

In what way has yoga changed your life?

Although I have always been active in some form of sport, yoga is something I will be able to continue with at any age because it can be done at your own pace with what ever props are needed. Along with yoga, the meditation and breathing techniques I’ve learned will hopefully be a life-long practice. I think the support and friendships that have developed from my Glide journey have been a very special and unexpected outcome.

What would you say to people who are curious but a little hesitant to begin?

I would say take that first step through the door as many have done before you. If you are really nervous or self-conscious here is my tip: Head to the back row in the centre. You will have the wall behind you for support if needed and there will be an example of the pose all around if you are unsure.

Glide Yogi: Carmel Bob

 

Carmel works in the field of allied health. In her work she models well-being to her clients and yoga is an important part of her own wellness regime. She loves yin yoga and comes to class two or three times a week to refresh her energy after working long days where she dedicates herself to the well-being of others.

Where did your yoga journey begin?

My yoga journey began many years ago but it was difficult for me to find the right combination of teacher and space at that time in my life. My first memory of what it is like to experience ‘yoga’ in terms of feeling peaceful and calm was at a park in North Perth. I had been to class and while walking through the park after class, I saw my then teacher journaling. He looked so serene and present to what he was doing and that was the beginning of my Aha moment. I saw his serenity and just knew that I needed that in my life.

For me yoga is like an instrument that helps us connect with ourselves. The teacher uses their voice, knowledge and inner wisdom to guide and to provide support. They hold the space for students and the student determines how to use the instrument for their benefit. My serious yoga journey began with Carol who is my first long term yoga teacher. I had never committed long term to a studio or to a teacher before. Carol uses a therapeutic voice that is inquiring and inquisitive, open and inclusive and non-judgemental. The way Carol teaches is similar to the way I work with clients. Her teaching style is a good fit for me. She seems to be able to intuitively tune into students needs and adjusts classes accordingly. Doing multiple beginners classes with Carol, some years ago, helped me get more comfortable with what I’m doing in the physical practice of yoga. Now I don’t focus as much on what I’m on doing but more on my state of being. I often have my eyes closed in class to intensify my experience of the practice and as an aid to keeping me grounded.

Tell us a little about your experiences at Glide Yoga

I really enjoy the space that Annie and Carol have created. The space feels like a retreat. I’m sensitive to smell and love the way the mats are cleaned with essential oils after class. The studio smells healthy and clean. I find the grey and white colour palate very relaxing. The gauziness of the curtains and the beautiful dimmable lights create a welcoming environment. It feels as though Carol and Annie have intentionally created a welcoming and safe space especially designed to induce relaxation. I love the way the trees and plants are visible above and below the window frosting which gives the illusion of nature being connected to the space. My favourite feature is the Phalaenopsis orchids that are the focal point of the studio. I often select one of the yellow throats of the orchids as my drishti point. I just focus on the yellow colour, breathe and find that it helps me to ground myself.

I love the sense of community that has developed at Glide. It’s a healthy space for me to be in and I feel a real sense of connection to others in class. At Glide it feels as though there is room for whatever you need from your yoga practice. There are many reasons why people practice yoga; rehabilitation, injury management, relaxation, strength building, anxiety and stress management, as a complement to meditation and many more. At Glide Yoga the programme of classes and workshops accommodate various needs.

I have attended some of the workshops and have been to one coffee club. These are lovely additions to my yoga practice that help me get to know people better and remind me to mindfully abide in the good space.

In what way has yoga changed your life?

I couldn’t imagine life without yoga which now feels like a natural complement to my healthy eating, walking and mindfulness practice which combines to make my personal wellness practice. Yoga puts back what work and life take out. My work days are stressful and busy. I have incorporated small but powerful yoga practices into my work day that reduce fatigue and increase energy. I love the slow movement of yin yoga. Yin feels like a massage and a physical therapy session combined. I always feel aligned afterwards, not just stillness and connection but skeletally aligned. As I work long days where I am sitting all day, this is the perfect antidote to stiffness and discomfort for me.

What would you say to people who are curious but a little hesitant to begin?

Everything at yoga may be new to you. You may not know what to do or what to expect and this can be scary. Yoga will not be familiar to you. You are entering another world which can be confronting. For some, consciously slowing down will feel uncomfortable. I want to let people know that it will feel different, unusual and it will push you out of your comfort zone, but afterwards you will feel a new sort of ease in your body and mind, like coming home to yourself so it will be worth it.

 

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