Yoga. Is it just us, or has it really taken a big jump into the spotlight over the past decade or so?
We are pretty sure social media has played a big part in this, and is breaking down the stereotypes yoga has perhaps come with in the past. Stereotypes like ‘you have to be super fit already to do yoga’, ‘yoga is only for hippies’, or ‘yoga is for women’, have been proven wrong time and time again and Salt Yoga is continuing this mission, one novice at a time.
A studio south of Adelaide in Christies Beach, Salt Yoga and is changing the way people see yoga through their large variety of different styles and super friendly and down-to-earth teachers. They’re serious about teaching great yoga but even more serious about making you feel welcome and getting what you need from your yoga experience.
We were invited to experience ‘5 Days of Yoga’ for ourselves, so we sent our Fleurieu guru Lisa along to see what all the fuss is about. Read on to hear about her experience.
Day 1: Vinyasa
I lobbed up to the studio in my best gym attire… including sneakers. I always forget that yoga is best performed barefoot (I blame my sports background)!
The class was full of much more experienced yogis, so I set myself up close to the front, but not too close for comfort. I felt at ease as I laid back on the mat, snuggled under a blanket, and looked up to the fairy lights strung across the ceiling. “I’ve got this yoga business” I said to myself.
Vinyasa is a dynamic style of yoga, with plenty of movement, using big muscle groups, and it really gets the blood pumping. You are quick to learn your strong and weak points, and getting uncomfortable is encouraged. As I was holding one of the more physically demanding poses, muscles shaking, our teacher gave a timely instruction. “Hold on through the wobbles, don’t just drop out of the pose. This is where you get stronger”
And so I did. Rather than falter, I focused on getting through, holding on that little bit longer, and feeling like a queen at the end.
Vinyasa synchronises a breath for each movement, and I found that simply by focusing on the breath and movement, it left very little room for any other thoughts or distractions to enter my usually busy mind. No thoughts of work, shopping lists, immunisations, or wondering what I had forgotten on that particular day!
I had to pop into the supermarket after the lesson; and as I walked through the aisles, I suddenly became conscious of a sense of lightness I was carrying with each step I took. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time, but I felt calm. content. still.
I liked it… Bring on more yoga!
Day 2: Ashtanga.
This one was an early morning class. It was cold, a little dark, and almost nobody was around the streets. The Salt Yoga studio, however, was giving off a warm glow from the inside out.
A much more intimate class size, we set up and got moving to warm up. We started with 10 salutations to the sun with Vinyasa sequences. All the purposeful breathing and movement warmed me up from the inside, and within minutes I was sweating and needing to remove layers!
When breathing in Ashtanga, our teacher described making your breath deep in your throat and sounding like the ocean…. beautiful!
Plenty of repetition meant having the opportunity to perfect poses, and to bend, stretch and hold on further and longer each time. I enjoyed having those little wins and the sense of achievement for this keen beginner.
Day 3: Yin
This evening class was something totally different again. I found this style so interesting.
In Yin yoga, the pace is slow, with the focus on holding poses that place stress on the body’s connective tissues. By holding poses for longer periods, (anywhere from 45 seconds for beginners, to 5 minutes for more experienced yogis) it reaches the tendons, ligaments and fascias, increasing circulation and flexibility. Whilst I consider myself to be stronger than your average she-bear, there were a few poses we were holding for 3- 5 minutes that had me shaking like a leaf! I’m a glutton for punishment and loved the burn.
Whilst holding such poses, there’s plenty of time for focus, allowing thoughts to come and go, and if you can manage it, a meditative state.
I found Yin challenging but relaxing at the same time, and am definitely keen to practice it again.
Day 4: Strong Vinyasa.
As the title would suggest; this class was a Vinyasa style, but stronger. Probably usually one for more experienced yogis, but don’t let that stop you. I didn’t! We held poses a little longer, a little deeper, and kept moving. I was dripping in sweat.
You have to leave your ego at the door in Yoga, and it’s a totally humbling experience.
In this class we practiced headstands. I had never done this before, so I received some close tuition from our funky teacher, using the wall as backup. Whilst I didn’t master a headstand (not even close) I got my butt up off the floor, and reached a tripod stature, testing my core strength. I was stoked, and practically raced home to practice!
Day 5: Dru
Well isn’t this a bit different?!
I was really interested to see what all the fuss was about with this unique style, and what a joy this class was.
We started off with some good old fashioned shaking-it-out to loosen up and warm up. With some music, and an enthusiastic and radiant teacher, the energy in the room instantly lifted. I felt simple no-nonsense happiness. It made me wonder why we adults don’t do this sort of thing more often. Kids do it all the time!
Dru utilises visualisation and meditation techniques within the movement. We also used positive affirmations as we moved. It was an uplifting and motivating practice.
For the last portion of the class, we were taken through a generous relaxation routine. Tensing and releasing muscles, one by one, and plenty of deep breaths. I’m pretty sure I heard some snoring within the room! By the end I felt like I had melted into a big oozy, relaxed puddle on the floor. It was so good.
At the end of my 5 days of yoga I have come to one pretty solid conclusion. Yoga is for every body, and everybody needs some yoga in their life.
In this busy world, with everything life throws at us, it is becoming more important than ever to practice a little self care and relaxation. I am extremely passionate about the importance of keeping active for a healthy body and mind, and whilst Yoga has that covered, it really does offer so much more.
After just 5 days, I felt stronger, looser, and more self aware.
Salt Yoga is fast becoming a true yoga hub in the south. There is a dedicated following, and what I really admire, is the connection with the local community, and beyond. Salt gets involved with charity events, fundraising, community events, and supports other local small businesses wherever possible. Legendary.
If you’re reading this, and you have been considering yoga for a while, let this be the little nudge from the universe you needed.
The teachers are open and supportive, and no matter what your sex, size, skill level, or background, you will feel at home at Salt Yoga.
You can find Salt Yoga at 41A Beach Road, Christies Beach, South Australia.