‘Why I practice Yoga’
Find out about our Yoga students’ individual journeys. Why do they practice Yoga, and what it is that makes them passionate about it and keep coming back to North Sydney Yoga.
Why I practice Yoga at North Sydney Yoga.
Developing strength and confidence
My introduction to and practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at North Sydney Yoga School has been a life changing experience. It has enabled me to both physically and mentally grow, and to develop a strong sense of flexibility and an understanding of inner strength and confidence that has far extended beyond the yoga mat. Under the expertise and compassionate guidance of all the North Sydney Yoga teachers, I am supported and constantly encouraged to challenge myself, with rewards that continually exceed my expectations. The staff provide a warm, safe and inclusive environment that embraces all levels of ability and experience. I am grateful for the attention to detail and personal direction offered in each session. I always leave class with a lightness in my step and an eagerness to learn more. Through my experience at North Sydney Yoga, I have developed a passionate respect for the teachings and discipline this style of yoga has to offer.
I love coming to North Sydney Yoga, because Angelika has created such a beautiful space to practice. She allows for you to explore your practice to a deep level. It’s great for everybody wether you are a beginner or advanced. And specifically for myself, when I practice with Angelika I notice that she is quite conscious of the different body types, and how you move, and if you have got any pain or injury. She allows for modifications and supports you on your journey of healing.
I practise Ashtanga Yoga at North Sydney Yoga for many reasons:
– For the genuine, dedicated and honourable teaching of Angelika and her trained teachers who revere the traditions of Ashtanga in a way that would make both K. Pattahbi Jois and Patanjali smile from heaven
– For the encouragement and love I get for my practice no matter whether I come every day or whether I “lose the plot” and not show up for days/weeks at a time
– For the precise adjustments I receive on the mat that meet exactly what my body needs for its alignment at the time it needs it
– For the philosophy I am learning about the other seven limbs of Ashtanga including the breathing (pranayama), meditation, the chanting of the Yoga Sutra
– For the community of like-minded people dedicated to learning about the Self, getting beyond the ego and having a bit of fun doing it at the same time
– For the support I get from Angelika not just for my body but for how Ashtanga can help me approach my whole life
I practice Yoga, because it helps me not to rush, and that helps me to think more clearly. I have made friends here for life. It encourages a healthy life style.
.. for health, fitness, I love the challenge of learning new poses; the people i think, the people that come to the class”.
I am addicted to it! It’s a practice for your mind and your body. It makes me feel normal, physically and mentally. It’s such a lovely space (North Sydney Yoga), and personalised attention. I love coming here
“..it keeps me centred, and helps me to focus on my breathing. It makes me strong, it’s the best way to start the day”.
I have been coming here for over six years. I love how it makes me feel after Yoga; and I love the friends and the community”
A beautiful school with extremely skilled teachers. It is warm, welcoming and you feel part of a special community. I’ve been given wonderful assistance to help overcome some old injuries and limitations. Coming here has become such an important part of my life.
Flourishing in my Sanctuary
Prior to North Sydney Yoga, I used to practice yoga at local gyms. North Sydney Yoga has changed my perspective on yoga and I have seen fantastic results both physically as well as mentally and emotionally. Unlike gym classes, North Sydney Yoga teaches the practice of yoga in all it’s elements and really embody the philosophy of Ashtanga yoga. As a beginner I was guided from the start with encouragement and thoroughly enjoy my regular practice.
Developing Presence and Compassion
I found yoga and NorthSydney yoga 8 years ago. Since then yoga, at North Sydney Yoga, has been a critical and non negotiable constant in my life. Saturday mornings, unless I’m out of town, are me time and yoga time. Sometimes, when life doesn’t get in the way, I also manage to do a class during the week. Despite the fact that my practice is often only weekly, it is regular, and is an important part of my life and an important contributor to my good health and wellness – physical and mental.
Yoga, in all its facets as taught at Nth Sydney Yoga, has taught me to be present and has helped my ageing body to be flexible and strong. Through yoga I have become more compassionate, to myself and to others.
I’m sure there are many great yoga schools in Sydney, but I doubt there are many that offer the same life enhancing learning and development that North Sydney Yoga does. Angelika and her team are more than just wonderfully inspiring teachers of Ashtanga Yoga, they are wonderful people.
Connecting with parts of yourself you didn’t know existed
Living just around the corner, I found in North Sydney Yoga a place with a team of truly dedicated teachers and a welcoming yoga community in walking distance. Angelika and her team have a wonderful talent to teach you Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and its philosophy in a comprehensible way and will be there for you on your very own journey of yoga.
It is such a unique feeling to start your day with an early morning Mysore practice in the beautiful atmosphere of the North Sydney Yoga studio – enjoying the grounding and satisfying feeling in Savasana while the first sun rays float through the large window, dipping the studio in warm light.
Stillness, Breath and Awareness
I joined North Sydney Yoga with no prior experience to yoga and have progressed with my Ashtanga yoga journey with the help of the incredible teachers who have guided me along the way. It is a warm and inviting studio that focuses on both the physical practice of yoga and also the development of stillness, breathe and awareness. The practice is as much about the physical movement as it is about the lessons we can learn from yoga to take into our daily life – which makes this studio unique and inspiring.
Beautiful space, excellent teachers
North Sydney yoga school is a beautiful space, it has a calming, clean, ambience with its natural light beaming through the floor to ceiling windows, high ceilings, and the best quality manduka yoga mats.
Angelika is the principle and founder of the school. She is a very sincere, caring, dedicated teacher and practitioner. She walks her talk, living the true yogi lifestyle and is a wise and exemplarily teacher. Angelika has an uncanny ability to extend and challenge a student’s progress safely whilst respecting their individual limitations.
The team of teachers at the school are as willing, dedicated, determined to maintain a similar high standard of yoga teaching to support you as a student in their classes.
All of this has helped create a friendly, sociable interactive yoga community. We really love going there to practice and being a part of the school.
— Naomi and John
After only hearing great things about North Sydney Yoga I wasn’t disappointed on a recent visit to Sydney. I loved the intimate space and feeling Angelika and her teachers have created. I found it very welcoming and friendly, and Angelika’s years of experience came through in skillful adjustments that took me deeper in a safe gentle way. When I’m next back in Sydney I can’t wait to come for another practice!
I have tried many forms of yoga and many yoga centres. At North Sydney Yoga I have found the teaching to be personal, thorough and challenging. I always leave my session feeling invigorated and strong, both mentally and physically. North Sydney Yoga is a comfortable environment where one can challenge themselves at their own pace. I highly recommend North Sydney Yoga to anyone seeking a fabulous yoga school.
To Angelika and all the wonderful staff at NSY – I have been attending classes and courses at your school since 1998, and my Saturday morning class is often the highlight of my week. The care and calm that I experience from yoga is the perfect way to refresh after a hectic week and start my weekend. I could not function without it!
The teachers and the school are very nurturing. Yoga at North Sydney Yoga is so beneficial for my mind, breathing and physically. I feel so much better with yoga practice and recommend to anyone. You work at your own pace, and you develop in the best way for you. I really love coming.
I’ve been coming to these classes for more years than I remember. They’ve helped me regain strength after treatment for cancer, have fixed up minor aches, pains, and stiffnesses, and have helped me into the sixth decade of life still reasonably strong, flexible & healthy. And it’s fun! Many thanks to the wonderful teachers.
North Sydney Yoga School is my oasis of love, learning and stillness. My body and my mind constantly appreciate the presence of this school in my life. Long may it remain so.
— With gratitude and appreciation, Phillipa
I love my yoga, especially once I have finished a class. My body is flexible, my mind is clear, tranquil & serene, and my spirit feels free. I continue to be surprised by the natural resistance I encounter before committing to a class, but am never let down by the power of yoga. In my life I truly believe it’s power is well beyond anything I am fully aware of.
I came to Yoga by accident one Saturday, accompanying my sister to a beginner’s class. Angelika talked about the benefits of Yoga – to develop and maintain physical strength and flexibility – but I was interested to hear her say it may also develop an inner beauty. (What did she mean?) I was hooked from the moment she said it would not be competitive. All I needed to do was focus on my own breath. (Surely that was easy?)
Since then four years have passed, and my week feels incomplete without at least one yoga class.
Angelika is a wonderful teacher of the art of Yoga. She encourages in her teachers and students a compassionate awareness of others. It is a welcoming and supportive community. I have met other valued and respected teachers of Yoga through Angelika’s workshops.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga offers a sense of wellbeing and physical health – and, a host of physical challenges. However, it is surprising what else comes of it. For me, Yoga with Angelika has introduced a healing philosophy, the possibilities of which may be endless.
I came to Yoga by accident one Saturday and I stayed. I truly recommend you come to the North Sydney Yoga school.
North Sydney Yoga provides our community with strong spiritual navigation through the turbulence of modern life.
Tailored asana practice and a philosophy of love and wisdom offer a practical approach to living well, to all that embrace the school. Led classes, Mysore practice, Pranayama, visiting teachers, retreats and social events create a rich experience of yoga philosophy and practice.
The school anchors my life, makes me a better person and supports me to contribute more to the world. I am deeply grateful for the work and the people who make this beautiful place.
It took me a year of living around the corner to finally step foot into the studio and reacquaint myself with ashtanga. Why it took me a year, I don’t know – the beginners courses are a great introduction led by wonderful teachers. Now I’m slowly embracing Mysore – enjoying my own practice in the safe surrounds of the studio, and attending the general led classes – run with patience, individual attention and humour.
North Sydney Yoga is a little oasis of calm amid the mayhem of big city living.
There is a very strong and welcoming community spirit at North Sydney Yoga, and I particularly appreciate the fabulous workshops and courses that are regularly hosted by the school. The joy of practicing in such a beautiful and peaceful yoga space, with lovely people on the mat next to me, creates a very positive energy in my life.
Yoga has changed my life
As I step over the threshold of North Sydney Yoga the atmosphere shifts. Peace descends on me and there is a calming scent in the air. I take off my shoes and hear the floorboards overhead creaking softly to the rhythm of the other students already practising. I tread the stairs quietly, one by one to reduce the noise I make as I enter this sacred space. I never turn to look around me at this point. This moment is like a present I want to open slowly, so I head into the back room and place my bag down first. Now it is time.
The room glows amber at this time of day. The other students are silhouetted against the morning light, all performing different stages of the sequence. This scene alone is enough to instil calm in me for the remainder of the day. Angelika watches over all, wise and kind, gently correcting one student’s posture before warmly encouraging another to try a more advanced pose. Seemingly with eyes in the back of her head, she deftly guides each student through their practice, making them feel as though they are the only one in the room in a room full of people.
I have quickly made friends here after only two weeks of Mysore practice. I soundlessly greet my neighbours as I take my place on the floor. I close my eyes and begin my breathing practise, feeding off the energy in the room. I watch my body as it performs the sequence, forever amazed at what it can achieve. Every session there is something I have improved on, something my body can do better than before. Angelika adds a new posture or progression to my practise every time so I always feel I am challenging myself and improving.
At the end of every session I feel connected to my body, calm and at peace but also energised. It is a perfect start to the day and I find it irresistibly compelling. People ask me how I can get up at five every morning in order to fit yoga in before work and my answer is that I have no choice. My body needs it and I know that if I don’t go, it will grumble all day. Rather than feeling tired throughout the day I feel energised and more awake than if I had stayed in bed. I often catch myself wishing I could do another session in the day, I am never happier than when doing yoga.
It is a great surprise to me that I enjoy yoga at North Sydney Yoga as much as I do. I have tried yoga a number of times in my life and always hated it. I thought it was silly and too spiritual for me and found it difficult trying to force my body into awkward and unflattering poses. I can’t quite put my finger on what is different here from doing yoga in a gym or with another teacher except to say that Angelika’s spirit warms the place. I think a business is only as good as its leader and since Angelika starts from a place of generosity, setting an intention to gift her knowledge of yoga to her students, the studio is infused with love, respect and warmth. The quiet in the studio is punctuated with the odd giggle when someone struggles to achieve a pose or Angelika points out an error, so that a balance is struck between focus and seriousness and lightheartedness. I was very self- conscious at first because I thought everyone else would know what to do and do it well while I would look silly making mistakes and looking clumsy. My anxiety soon abated, as I noticed that there is a huge range of experience, knowledge and skill and that, regardless, everyone there is kind and doesn’t judge.
I encourage everyone, regardless of age, experience, flexibility or fitness level to try North Sydney Yoga for a couple of sessions. All the teachers are kind and welcoming. You are never made to feel bad if you can’t do something or you make a mistake. If, like me, you are very self- conscious at first, you can do a one-on-one session with Angelika before doing a class.
Yoga has far- reaching effects on physical fitness, mental focus and stress levels. It has changed my life.
Recovery from sport injuries and backpain
My initial exposure to North Sydney Yoga was through my attendance at meditation classes conducted by Angelika. I found this was a good exposure to learning to calm my thoughts and caused me to become interested in Ashtanga Yoga as a form of exercise.
So I began my regular attendance at the studio in McMahons Point (another good point for me —– it was nice and handy to my home).
The deeper my involvement, the more I discovered how broad an experience Yoga involvement is —– it is not just a form of effective exercise for outward physical advantage but, it has a more holistic mental as well as bodily effect.
My physical/exercise background
10 years playing senior rugby after leaving school —— leaving a trail of broken bones.
40-odd years of serious running including 26 City-to-surf in Sydney, some half marathons and runs in other cities plus thousands of kilometres of training —- at age 69 I was advised by doctor to give up running to save knees and hips.
I had been managing very successful companies for over thirty years which created some stress which I controlled with my running which was always as much a form of mental relaxation as well as physical fitness.
I’m old enough to be father or grandfather to other participants at the Yoga studio so joints don’t have a lot of give anymore.
A stroke in Nov 2012 and heart trouble have lead to installation of a pacemaker and necessity for some medication. Thankfully no problems with blood pressure, vascular blockage, bad cholesterol etc.
Results of Yoga
- Slowly becoming more agile/supple.
- Heartbeat is very regular, dependence on pacemaker has lessened (usually it is the other way around).
- Ability to calm/settle myself very quickly through breathing taught by yoga.
- Greatly improved posture and general carriage when walking etc.
- A drive from Melbourne to Sydney in one day does not give me any back problems or discomfort, which is common for my age.
- General fitness is excellent — in keeping with my attitude all my life.
- If I had known of Ashtanga Yoga 40 years ago I would have done it instead of running.
Firstly, the professionalism, knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to Yoga and the Yoga school shown by Angelika and, by default her other instructors, is truly inspiring and firms your belief in the effectiveness of Yoga.
There is a range of classes throughout each week and morning Mysore (where individual attention is at the forefront) to suit all experiences and can fit in with anyone’s available time for practice.
Attending a minimum of two classes per week allows me to immerse myself into the asanas without the attendant diversions that are at home. I find it hard to do the exercises at home as I can lose the desire to complete the course of exercises or hold breathing to optimum lengths as other items around me can take my mind from the yoga exercises.
Having a range of fellow yoga followers at each class is inspiring and the quiet enthusiasm in the room can take you deeper into the poses.
The classes are also a good outlet personally away from the normal associates either in business or personally and generally expand one’s life panorama.
Finally, there is no end to the improvement that you can achieve through Yoga which gives you a continual urge to keep the exercises going. My ability has improved over the period but I am probably too old and stiff to achieve some of the more complicated twists etc, but I can certainly try.
…. I was thinking further and realised that the unique part of Yoga is that it has no boundaries or limits. That is, you can never say that you have “arrived” as there is infinite advancement for everyone both physically and mentally.
” no boundaries”
My accident recovery and yoga
I had a very serious accident on 11/7/14 and came close to death. I have no memory of what happened, but I fell down 3 or 4 storeys from my apartment building to the ground. I landed feet first and fractured everything from the waist down – my feet, ankles, knees and pelvis. All the fractures were through joints, which meant lots of recovery and rehab to be able to walk again. I also badly shattered my wrist, had fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, facial fractures, a brain injury, and worst of all was something called internal decapitation where the head comes separated from the spine, which very few people have survived.
After spending 7 weeks in hospital and 4 months in rehab, I spent the next year getting around in a wheelchair, and although I made progress and eventually got around on crutches, I hadn’t really found any form of physical exercise I could do regularly.
Before the accident I had become very keen on yoga, and had been attending Mysore sessions at Angelika’s North Sydney Yoga as well as practicing at home. Although I had done “adaptive yoga” in rehab, which was mostly done in a chair, I was reluctant to return to doing yoga, mainly as I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I had limited movement in a lot of joints, and thought that this and pain would prevent me from doing just about any posture. I had limited bend in both knees, my left ankle joint had disintegrated and ended up being fused, so that didn’t move at all. I had limited movement in my right wrist, and my skull had been fused to my neck, which meant limited head movement too. I had visualisations of various postures just not being possible now: getting the heel to the ground in downward dog; anything that involved putting the hand on the floor as I couldn’t bend my hand flat; looking up and to the side in sun salutes and various standing postures; sitting postures that involved bending the knee; and with the knee bend I found it difficult to get up and down from the floor, even with a chair or something to hold on to. The thing is that I was only thinking of what wouldn’t be possible to do, not what would.
I eventually thought I should show my face at the yoga school and explain what had happened and saw that there was a pranayama course, which at least I would be able to do as it didn’t involve anything physical. After explaining everything to Angelika, she encouraged me to come for private lessons, saying that it would be possible to do more than I think.
After recovering from a couple more operations, I started taking lessons with Angelika. At first we did postures lying down on the floor. It was different to what I had done before, but allowed me to do various strengthening and stretching.
I then started doing some of the standing postures. My balance was quite bad after the head injury so I did these next to the bannister so I had something to hold onto if I needed. The left foot wasn’t grounded for some of these with the fused ankle, but it simply involved using a wedge to correct it. Wedges were used for other things too. It allowed me to put my hands on the floor and take weight even though I didn’t have movement in my wrist to put the hand flat. It meant I was able to do parts of the sun salute, and even though doing the full thing seemed like a real challenge, before I knew it, I was able to do it – with a couple of extra breaths to get into positions, and push ups added into it and with practice it was getting more smoother and flowing.
As it is now, I am currently able to do Surya Namaskara A and have just been able to get through Namaskara B (with extra breaths at the moment!) I do all of the standing postures, with little in the way of modifications. I feel so much better being able to do regular exercise, and although I still use crutches/walking stick to get around, it is enabling me to get back into shape and it is great to be able to do relatively strenuous exercise, with low impact.
Something important that I am realising again, is that in yoga, you do what you can. There is no point at which you can either do yoga or you can’t, and very few people would even be able to complete the ashtanga primary series, let alone all 6. Something important that I am working on that ties in with yoga a lot, is accepting the present moment – not comparing yourself to what you used to be able to do, or what you might be able to do in the future. This is how things are right now, and it reminds me that yoga is for everyone – no matter what you might be able to do at the moment.
I am really glad that I have returned to doing yoga and feel that I have made great progress with the help of Angelika. So to anyone reading this, give it a go, as Angelika says – you will be able to do more than you think!
The amazing changes through regular early morning practice
When I started practicing Ashtanga yoga some 19 years ago, I had been searching for a form of yoga that was both physical and spiritual. Back then, I had no understanding of this wonderful discipline and the positive impact it would have on my life. I also had no idea where to find a great school.
I called NSY and was immediately impressed with Angelika’s knowledge, integrity and commitment to a high standard of teaching, so I signed up.
Once I had completed a few rounds of the beginners and intermediate workshops, Angelika recommended I begin the early morning (Mysore) practice. Initially, I thought I would never make it through the first week and was nearly falling asleep at work at 10.30 in the morning! However, I stuck with it, and after a few months I could not believe the change in how I felt physically, emotionally and mentally.
Over the years, being exposed to the physical aspects of yoga has helped me to draw parallels to what happens on the yoga mat to other aspects of my life. Most noticeably, an increased awareness of the importance of patience and compassion, being more accepting of life’s events and outcomes, and embracing change.
It has taken a lot of discipline and hard work to get the most out of my practice over these past 12 years, and it has not always been easy. In all this time I have always been able to rely on unconditional support and guidance from Angelika, especially when my husband died suddenly two and a half years ago. I thank her most sincerely for all her hard work, although I thank her most for her friendship.
North Sydney Yoga is a very important part of my life and I have made some wonderful friends there. It is not just a school, it is a community, a place where you feel safe, welcomed and has a deep sense of calm.