Yogi in the City

Being new to yoga, I find myself regularly experiencing the wonder of ‘discovery’ that might get lost on a more seasoned yoga lover. 

Discovery for example, of how my body moves (or more to the point – why it refuses to move like most other bodies).  

Discovery of how, after a little time and attention to my yoga practice, I can execute unbelievable, incredible and marvellous physical accomplishments such as touching my toes, or bending without pain (something I cannot seem to recall doing for more than 10 years). 

Discovery that yoga holds unquantifiable benefits for my mental state, more than I could have ever have imagined (the most obvious of which is relaxation, but the most surprising of which is the unleashing of a more creative mind). 

One of the yoga centres that has really impressed me on this journey has been Yoga Alchemy in Northbridge.  I caught up with Amanda Noga, the founder and resident yogi of Yoga Alchemy, to find out more about all things yoga.

Amanda, what is it about yoga that has made it such a central theme for your life?

The practice of yoga has really given me a framework through which to understand and navigate the world.  Not only has it affected the way I eat, sleep and feel about my body – it has influenced the way I interact and relate to the people in my life and the world in general. I now firmly believe in the interconnection of all beings.

You have opened a beautiful studio in Northbridge – a place many of us would consider an unlikely place to relax.  Why did you choose this space and what makes it so special?

For me, it felt very natural to be in Northbridge.  The area has changed so much and I love the dichotomy of being amongst busy city life and finding balance. It allows the practice of mindfulness, patience and presence, regardless of what is going on externally. That can be so valuable.

You have a number of yoga instructors at your studio.  Do they each offer something different for your clients?  What styles of yoga are on offer?

All of our instructors are very passionate and we relish having a designated yoga space where we can share what we love and be creative. There are several class styles, as we all have different specialties and interests. There is a Beginners Class (and courses), gentle, slow styles of yoga (such as Yin and Restorative) and dynamic Vinyasa Flow. We also love incorporating live music so we run a creative Vinyasa class on the last Friday of each month, where we practice as musician’s jam out some beautiful tunes for us.

The next Yoga-Jam Session (and last session for 2013), is at Yoga Alchemy on Sunday, 22 December. See the Yoga Alchemy website for more details.

What is the meaning behind the name ‘Yoga Alchemy’

I like the metaphor of your yoga practice being a place where you can experiment and explore, to see what unfolds, without expectation.  In science (and yoga is an ancient science) Alchemy is the process of transformation, and essentially so is yoga.

Amanda Noga, Yoga Alchemy's founder, at her studio in Northbridge

Amanda Noga, Yoga Alchemy’s founder, at her studio in Northbridge

Some of the benefits I have noticed (in addition to the physical) have been greater mental clarity and an enhanced ability to manage stress in my life.  What other benefits does yoga have in store for me (or Burn & Learn readers who might like to try yoga)? 

Yes, obviously there is the physical changes which is what we notice first, such as increased flexibility, strength and balance. This balance also extends into the way we can maintain our cool, even when things get stressful. Over time, we tend to make better lifestyle choices in diet and the other substances we put into (and onto) our bodies. You will find quality of sleep improved, increased energy and vitality and a greater sense of ‘who you are’, along with a connection to yourself and to others and a capacity to be more compassionate, loving and patient to others (and to ourselves!).

Tell me about the meaning of ‘mindfulness’ and how it can be applied in one’s life

The thing I love most about mindfullness is that its so intergrated and applicable to daily life. Mindfullness (in short) is moment to moment awareness, ‘being present’ (with whatever is going on) whether its good or bad, and holding it ALL with awareness. Experiencing the fullness of life. The wholeness.

We can apply it when we are communicating with loved ones (and not-so-loved ones), when we are eating, walking, sitting in mediation or in yoga – every moment is an opportunity to practice mindfulness!

Are there any misconceptions out there about yoga that you would like to clear up?

Probably just that yoga is much more than just a physical exercise routine (although the physical benefits are vast).  When done with intention and attention, yoga can be a powerful tool for changing our lives in every way conceivable!

Burn & Learn’s central themes are food, fitness and fulfilment.  Please give us three of your favourite tips for each of our themes

Food: Smoothies!!  get a super dense hit of nutrients in a quick, easy to digest, portable drink!!

Fitness: yoga, dance, walking,…whatever makes your heart sing!!

Fulfilment: daily gratitude and living what you LOVE!!

Thanks Amanda for your tips!  Note to our readers:  Classes are held in a beautiful studio with whitewashed walls, hardwood floors and windows that open, just a short walk from Perth CBD.  See more at www.yogaalchemy.com.au

Thanks to Suzy Lou Photography for the beautiful images.