The Paradise Yoga Story
Paradise Yoga was conceived and created by me, Claire, an unlikely yoga teacher living on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Why unlikely? Well, ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you... I've never been sporty, and at school I was always the 'last picked girl' for netball and basketball, any kind of ball actually. Combine that with being fairly inflexible, not very strong and certainly less than graceful - and you can see why it took me a while to figure out that yoga is my true path in life.
And that's why I'm so passionate about it - because if I can do yoga, love yoga, live yoga - then anyone can. My goal is to open up the world of yoga to people who think they can't do it, to share with them that yoga is so much more than flexibility and strength.
My journey into yoga began slowly, in 2009, when I was working in the city and suffering from the aches and pains that come with sitting all day at a desk.
I started with one class a week and, despite my lack of flexibility and strength, I immediately noticed a physical improvement in my symptoms. Gradually, I started to take more classes, and over time, started to notice other benefits, both on and off the mat, particularly in my energy and stress levels and in my ability to manage stressful situations. So I kept going to class and learning more.
It was at this point that I discovered something remarkable: that the 'yoga' that most of us are familiar with (the poses or asana, the flexibility and movement, followed by some nice lying down and relaxing) is actually just a teeny-tiny part of what it's all about, and that being inflexible doesn't matter a jot. (Imagine that!)
Instead, I learned that yoga is an incredible body of ancient wisdom (backed up by contemporary science) that encompasses all areas of human life - anatomy and physiology, food and health, ethical questions, lifestyle choices, philosophy and more.
This discovery led me to make some small yet transformational life changes, and eventually I found myself studying to be a yoga teacher. I had no real intention of teaching; I was still fairly inflexible, and I just wanted to learn more.
But before long, I couldn't wait to start sharing this great knowledge with the world. I knew that if I could do yoga, love yoga, live yoga - me, with my tight hamstrings and tendency to be 'last picked girl' - then anyone could. I wanted to tell all those people who felt too stiff, too tired, too old, too embarrassed or too injured to do yoga that "you can do it too!".
But more than that, more than just getting people 'on the mat', I wanted to share the wisdom of the ancient yogis and the transformational life changes that had so impacted me.
At around the same time that this part of my life was unfolding, my husband and I were planning to build a house and so we were able to design in a space dedicated to yoga. That little seed of an idea grew and grew, and now the Paradise Yoga studio is a stunning little hideaway, set in an edible permaculture garden with unrivalled views of Pittwater, offering a retreat for those looking for rest and tranquility.
It's my absolute pleasure to be sharing the wisdom of yoga with you, direct from Paradise. I especially love helping my students learn how to reduce their levels of stress, restore balance to the body, and bring calm and quiet to the mind - not just through the practice of yoga, but by providing a tranquil haven for people to retreat to.