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Branch Yoga & Wellness opens tomorrow! #bigmoves #yogaeverydamnday #arialyoga #inversions #trees (at Branch Yoga & Wellness)

Do what makes your soul shine! Graduated from foundational pole today and starting beginner pole next week (16 weeks). And Belly Dancing classes @risinggoddess fitness #risinggoddess I’m so glad I found these ladies. I’ve met some incredibly dynamic and strong women. #yoga #arialyoga #polefitness #pole #hammockyoga #bellydancing #fitness #sexy #inversions #training #calisthenics

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I have a confession to make. I’ve never really enjoyed yoga. 

Hold your gasps zen-friends and o-stretchy-ones, let me explain.

I come from a background of high intensity, high impact exercise - with a  love for boot camp, basketball, running, squash and the odd pump class thrown in for good measure. Basically anything that gets me hot and sweaty, thighs burning and puffing like a maniac - sign me up! I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a hard session, the trembly legs and and aching abs. 

Enter yoga. Chanting. Eyes closed. 90minutes. Chatarunga? No colourful runners? It’s a whole new world that I admit I’ve never been 100% comfortable with. Despite this, the physical and mental rewards of yoga are ones I can’t ignore and lately I’ve become determined to embrace my inner yogi and give it another crack.  Plus, the old calves are need of a decent stretch.

Doing a bit of research, I came across Tara Stiles, a “rebel” yoga instructor who has carved out her own controversial niche and yoga style in New York . She believes yoga is not an elite club, and focusses on the physical benefits of practising. Which means no chanting, a chataranga is called a pushup, and her classes are $10. Sold! Inspired to find something similar in my hometime, I spoke to a friend who recommended Yoga Pavilion in Artarmon.

So after work that day, I pulled on my brand spanking new yoga singlet and wandered into the beautifully designed space that was Yoga Pavilion. Our instructor Alanna was young, funny and relaxed. I started with a Hatha Vinyassa class that ran for 1 hour, we got to play around with headstands and attempt the crow pose (success!). There was bit of “ommmming” at the end of class  that wasn’t too bad, and I found myself absorbed throughout the poses. Class one - done! Alanna also runs Anti Gravity yoga classes (see pic above), which seems to combine yoga poses with flying around like a vampire and swinging from the roof. Fun right?

Stay tuned for class two.

Namaste High five!