Manda first came to yoga as a training dancer, looking to build strength and flexibility… that was nearly 5 years ago, and she’s never looked back! It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with all of the benefits of a yoga practice beyond the physical; that her breath, mind and heart have all found a greater depth and peace. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Manda took a leap of faith and completed her Yoga Teacher Training. She loves teaching an energizing Flowing Stretch and a soothing Deep Stretch, but her favorite style to teach is Flow ‘n’ Deep – the best of both worlds! When she’s not on the mat, you’ll find Manda singing and dancing up a storm as she rounds out her final year of her Bachelor of Musical Theatre at the Queensland Conservatorium.
I got into yoga just after I left high school, when I started my full-time dancing training – at first it was all about the physical side, building the strength and flexibility I felt I lacked in my dancing.
What was the reason you stuck with it?
I’ve stuck with it because I discovered how much more there is to it than asana! It has honestly changed me so much as a person – I am, innately, a massive worrier and stress head, but when I began to practice regularly and more deeply, I’ve been able to find a level of inner calm and self love that I’d never known before.
Which pose is your favourite and why?
Right now it’s downward facing dog – you can never, never, never stop learning in that one, and it just wakes everything up and makes you feel so good!
What lesson stands out in yoga?
Compassion, compassion, compassion – not only to others (that’s the easy part!) but to yourself.
Has it moved you into a different direction?
I think it has, in an odd way. I think it has opened me up to living in the present rather aiming and hoping for the life I want to live in the future. It took the blinkers off, so to speak. So, as for a different direction, I now have many new directions I am happy and open to pursue.
What is your favourite part about teaching at Stretch?
Seeing people come in with their external, busy ‘real-life’ energy, and then see their transition to the stillness and peace when they’re all in savasana. It’s magical. And also you’re just all really lovely people!
What 3 poses would you recommend a beginner to do daily?
- First thing when you wake up – uttananasa (standing forward bend). Lengthen that spine, find space in that neck, and open up those hammies.
- Something that opens up through the arms, for example anahatasana (heart-melting pose). This is my other favourite pose! I just think it gives such a beautiful stretch along the arms and into the thoracic spine, which are places that don’t get a lot of love and attention in our daily lives – and just feels amazing!
- One that YOU love! Everyone has different poses that speak to them in different ways, and I think it’s really important to cultivate your own practice, even when you’re just starting. So if a pose stands out to you in one of your classes, keep practicing it, exploring it, loving it!