Welcome to our new Yogi of the Month feature.
Over the coming months we will be featuring different students from Yoga on Tay and asking them to talk about their Yoga practice.
For our first Yogi of the Month article, one of our newly qualified teachers, Jo Mitchell talks with a regular Yoga on Tay attendee, Lynsey and how Iyengar Yoga fits into her life.
The interview was recorded in January 2021 during lockdown over Zoom.
Yogi of the Month January 2021 Lynsey
Here is a transcription of the interview below:
Jo: Welcome to our first Yogi of the month interview. We are here with one of our long standing students at Yoga on Tay; Lynsey. So we have a couple of questions for you that I’ll just run through.
So Lynsey when did you start yoga?
Lynsey: Well I started yoga properly with Julie back in either March or April 2015 so it’s been nearly 6 years that I have been going to classes with Julie (Anderson). I had attended classes before that but it was fairly informal, odd classes at Eden Court but nothing consistent or no weekly practice before that.
Jo: Can you remember much about your first class?
Lynsey: Sure so Julie was teaching in the White Rooms in Dundee at the time. I think there was maybe 5 of us in the class so it was quite a small class. It was quite a small room. I had gone along with a couple of my friends who had started going because I had always wanted to get into yoga properly. It has always been on the periphery of my life and I knew it was something I really wanted to do so I had gone along with a couple of friends to try it out. I still remember the atmosphere of the room and just came out of the first class going “this is great, this is what I needed, this is what I wanted!”
Jo: So you had done yoga in the past but that was your first Iyengar Yoga class?
Lynsey: Yes that was the first time I had come across Iyengar and I’m so glad I did as it’s definitely the type of yoga I needed and was looking for.
Jo: So what is it that you think sets it apart from other types of yoga?
Lynsey: I think the good thing about Iyengar or the thing that I am forever trying to talk people into try Yoga and extolling the virtues of Iyengar. I explain it as it’s about precision in the poses and if you can’t do the pose, there’s props to help. So it doesn’t matter where you are on your yoga journey you can do Iyengar Yoga because all the support is there. This is becoming increasingly important to me as time has moved on.
Jo: Why do you practice yoga Lynsey and what does it do for you?
Lynsey: When I started out, I really just wanted to do yoga, I knew it was something I really wanted in my life. I had some DVDs that I used to do but it was nothing like what we get in class with Julie. So I started out just wanting to do yoga as part of my exercise regime but later in that same year, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. Part of that auto-immune disease is muscle wastage, problems with balance, problems with strength. Iyengar as definitely helped slow down those effects in me. My strength goes up and down, depending on where my levels are at. And the good thing about Iyengar is that if you are having a rubbish month, rubbish week or a bad day, there is stuff that you can do that isn’t going to put too much strain on you. Or if I’m feeling really fit and strong then there’s loads that I can do, all in the same class. If I’m feeling good, I can do it all without props and be full on with every pose but if I’m having a tough time, then I’ll use more props, use more support, more help. The fact that you can do that I think is what sets it apart from other yoga. Because it’s about precision and that’s more important, it helps builds muscles. I think I would be in a much much worse than I am if I had not been doing Iyengar Yoga the past 6 years.
Jo: I know you are saying how you practice on a given day, changes on how you feel but do you have a favourite pose that you do often or use as a fall back?
Lynsey: The one that I do the most is Uttanasana. I come from a family that all have back issues. Just historically ever since I was 8 years old, I have had back pain. I think it’s something genetic in our family as we are all the same. So I do uttanasana all the time. In the kitchen if I am feeling sore, I’ll use the worktop or the floor, or chair or a wall even. You don’t need much. It’s the pose I turn to if my back is twinging or I’ll use it as a warmup. It’s my go to pose if you like.
Jo: Yep I hear you on that one. Are there any contenders for your least favourite pose?
Lynsey: Yes there’s one or two! I struggle with virasana poses. Anything where my feet are under my legs, because of my condition, I get really sore, painful feet. I have over the last year, been trying to kneel more, to get my feet more used to being in that position and stop them from cramping up. Those are probably my least favourite.
Jo: I don’t think you’ll be the only one on that. Now have you got any hints or tips on home practice for anyone listening or watching. Is there anything that you do that helps you get on the mat, even when you don’t feel like it?
Lynsey: Yes I have been thinking about this. When I don’t feel like it, I’ll maybe just do an uttanasana and downward dog in the middle of the kitchen floor. If I know I really need to go and do some practice, and I’m really not feeling like it, I’ll go and lie on my mat for 10 minutes. I get bored and start doing yoga, so I sneak my way into it that way. Once you’ve done some, you feel a hundred times better. Even if I go and lie on my mat with my legs in the air for 5 minutes. From that I then get ‘oh I need a stretch here’ so I’ll do this pose or I need a bit of a stretch there so I’ll try that. So if you just don’t feel like it, just go lie on your mat until inspiration moves your butt!
Jo: Lynsey I love that. That is excellent advice and massively useful! ‘Just go lie on your mat!’ That’s all you need to do. Because then after that, your body will take over and you’ll then start doing yoga. All you need to do is get on the mat. Great advice! I like that! How are you feeling about Zoom classes? We’ve previously had classes at Yoga on Tay in the studio but how do find yoga on Zoom?
Lynsey: I’m just glad there is yoga on Zoom. We are now heading into almost a year now of lockdown, so a year without yoga would have been a bit of a disaster. I’m really thankful Julie was able to classes onto Zoom. It does have it’s benefits. You’re already at home. I travel quite a distance for my class at Yoga on Tay in Newport on Tay so I’m 40 minutes in the car there and 40 minutes home. It cuts that out. I’m no longer getting home at 10.15pm. I’m finished by 9.15pm and can get a shower and a relax on the sofa for half an hour. I quite like classes on Zoom. There are obviously benefits to being in the studio as it’s better if Julie is there in person and she is able to adjust you ‘this goes here and that goes there’ which she’s not been able to do right now, even when we were in the studio. It’s also nice to have a bit of chat with fellow yogis. I also would usually go to class with one of my sisters so I miss the catch up. As far as the yoga is concerned, I think I was in quite a good position because I had been going to class for so long. There’s always more to learn but I think I had a really good base to build from. When Julie says ‘do this’ I’m not peering at the screen because I know what she is talking about as we’ve covered it before. It has made the transition easier for me. I know not everyone has had the same positive experience but for me, its been fantastic.
Jo: Great Lynsey! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our Yogi of the Month questions for January 2021. We look forward to seeing you back in the studio at Yoga on Tay hopefully sometime soon.
Lynsey: That would be nice to get back to the studio but thankfully in the meantime we’ve got Zoom classes to keep us going. I’ve got my next class in 5 hours! I’m looking forward to tonight.
Thank you Lynsey for your time. We really appreciate hearing more about your Yoga. We'll be in touch about sending you a free drop class to say thank you.
We will have another Yogi of the Month interview next month. In the meantime, if you have yet to try yoga, the time to start is now! As an Iyengar Yoga School we have several super teachers at Yoga on Tay, just contact us and we can book you into a suitable class if there is space. Or try out a Home Practice. Most of the Level 1 sequences are suitable for beginners. Each sequence of poses or asanas are accompanied with audio instruction from our Senior Teacher Julie Anderson. All you will need is enough space for your mat. We suggest printing off the sequence to have it for easy reference and play the audio via your phone. All we ask is you let us know how you get on!