Are you a yogi? Embarrassingly, neither am I. But by all accounts, I so should be. And nowhere have I come closer to becoming a devotee than when the fresh ocean spray cajoles me out of my stagnation at a group yoga class smack bang at Bondi Icebergs.
This is Yoga By The Sea – a magical place that has a ‘whale watching’ special (spot one and get your next class free!).
Tailored perfectly to both the busy and zen souls that inhabit Bondi (the classes are both Yin, Yang & a bonus fusion of pilates & yoga known as CoreAsana), these now span as far as Bondi Icebergs, Tamarama and Bronte Surfclubs to give all goers a sense of both the local and iconic.
With a 5000 year-strong track record in relieving stress, expelling negative energy, detoxifying organs, building inner core strength, improving the nervous system and enhancing wisdom, fitness and flexibility (phew!), yoga is renowned for both its physical and esoteric qualities. Stretching and breathing combinations are designed to both challenge and relax, while stimulating focus, balance and positive life force.
Would the world not be a better place if more people did more yoga? (Ok, I’m starting…!)
I speak to iconic Yoga By The Sea founder Sasha Hawley (all the way from Bali) as she demystifies this ancient art some further (like we need any more selling) and tells us of an upcoming weekend adventure that makes a strong case for non-pretzels like me to get into it.
Reviewed By Alina B: Why yoga? How did you get into it?
Sasha Hawley: I was working in advertising and they arranged yoga for everyone in the office once a week… And I began to enjoy it more than my job. That said, I don’t regret my stint in corporate – it taught me the skills I needed to start my own business and allowed me to save for a round-the-world holiday! Between adventures, I gravitated towards yoga, meditation and writing on the road. When left to the stillness of my own company, I figured out who I was and what made me happy.
Yoga by the sea – how did you launch + grow the brand…. plus secure that iconic space at Icebergs!?
I walked into Icebergs one day and just asked if I could teach yoga there. They gave me a shot – and the rest is history. I launched in September 2006 with a few friends handing out some flyers on Campbell Parade. Local media jumped onboard because a portion of the money made via classes went towards Project Aware (oceanic conservation), a cause embedded in a seaside community. As social media exploded, so did Yoga by the Sea, with locals and tourists sharing photos of their experiences – whale spotting, being splashed by the odd wave in savasana, or simply harmonizing with nature in an oceanic setting. This connection with nature is what makes people feel good and sets us apart at Yoga by the Sea, Yoga from the Sky and Yoga Under the Sea.
What’s the biggest misconception you hear about yoga? What should we be concentrating on to get the most of our practice?
…That yoga always makes you feel great. Sometimes it draws suppressed issues to the surface for our consideration – a necessary step to healing, however uncomfortable. For this reason, it’s important to observe your thoughts without judgment throughout your practice, as if you were counselling an old friend.
Whats the difference between the three classes you offer?
Yin is a combination of restorative yoga styles – traditional Hatha, Satyananda and meditation. Ideal for beginners, pre/post-natal ladies, and those who do yoga to relax. Yang is a westernized power flow, based on Ashtanga Vinyasa, it’s a yoga workout. CoreAsana is a fusion of yoga and pilates improving strength and flexibility.
What’s happening this weekend that people HAVE to know about?
On Saturday 14th, we have an amazing partner workshop led by Acro yoga legend, Jules Ashby. Expect an easygoing, fun workshop dedicated to exploring yoga in a unique new way. You’ll start with a warm-up yin yoga practice, then move to working with partners and the simple joy of connection and touch. The partner practice includes poses that help induce a healing state within, unification and trust, plus an elevated/happy state through counterbalances and the odd Acro yoga posture. We will explore and morph ourselves into different shapes to find new possibilities for growth, expansion and awareness within. A fantastic experience, whether you’re bringing family, friends or lovers!
You run a few different workshops – who are they for and how do they differ?
We have a smorgasboard of indoors/heated Winter Workshops to suit every palette, with more info on our website: www.yogabythesea.com.au
*Partner/Acro Yoga for the more adventurous
*Pre-Natal bliss for those expecting
*Sensory Yoga & Meditation for the more experimental
*Transformational Qi Gong for something new
*Yin & Yang Masterclass for the more experienced
*Winter Ayurveda and Yoga for ancient wisdom
*Yoga Groove to shake your Asana
What distinction will people get going to a workshop vs attending a class?
Workshops are 2 hour intensives, versus a 1 hour general class. Intensives give you the opportunity to get out of a yoga rut (feeling stagnant or bored with your practice), and try something new, allowing more opportunities for personal growth.
What can people expect from attending this weekend’s Winter workshop? Why should a Sydneysider make time?
Peeps can expect a fun experience with a twist (pun intended), and a chance to deepen their practice in a beautiful location.
What philosophy do you live life by? Give us your weirdest one, if you have it!
Gin and Yang (everything in moderation).
What’s a perfect day for you?
Underwater somewhere, even if it’s just the bath.
Top 3 fave things to do in Sydney?
Waterfront restaurants with the fam. See a show at the Opera House. Surf the northern beaches.
Dream travel destination and why?
African safari because it makes me happy to see animals roaming free.
*If you want to twist, explore and unwind this weekend (as well as make somebody special your new best friend), check out Yoga By The Sea.
Image via Vogue.com.