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Teacher Feature – Lynsay Hurd

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Have you had opportunity to practice yoga with Lynsay at Hemma? You can enjoy her flow classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays 7-8am, and Friday 9:00-10:30am.
1. Lynsay, when did you start practicing Yoga and why? Close to 10 years ago. Having played sports throughout my formative years and into university, I had put my body through the ringer; playing through pain and injury and consciously putting myself into harms way for the sake of a couple more points on the board. My idea of yoga back then was stretching up to grab a rebound 🙂  It wasn’t until I traveled around South East Asia in 2003 that I discovered Yoga.  There was definitely resistance from my body and mind for the first couple of years, but that’s exactly what kept me coming back…the joy that came from relinquishing this resistance.

2. How has Yoga helped you in your life? Physically I feel so much more freedom in my body, I’m still working through a lot of body karma, but I know that the work I do to open my body will positively affect my mind.  The biggest benefit I’ve experienced from yoga has been the change in my state of mind.  I used to be someone who would constantly worry about the future or lament about the past; through my meditation/pranayama practice I’ve been able to calm my mind and ground myself in the present.  My mind still wanders, but I am able to observe this happening and can make a conscious effort to check myself back into the now.

3. What style of Yoga do you teach? I teach what I like to call slow flow.  My style being influenced by that which I have immersed myself in; Ashtanga, Iyengar and Power Yoga.

4. What can students expect from your class?   It’s important to me to get to know all of my students whether it’s their 2nd or 22nd time in my class.  You can expect me to be committed to getting to know you and your practice as I support you along your yogic journey.  With this in mind you can expect an intelligently sequenced class designed to cultivate strength and build internal heat.  This prepares the body to move into longer, deeper holds.  Together we will discover optimal alignment for each pose (guided by inner awareness and some helping hands), creating a safe foundation for you to transcend the limitations of your body and your mind.  On top of that I’m also pretty keen on having students come away from class having learnt something whether it be; anatomical, physical, historical, or philosophical.

5. How do you support beginners in your class and emphasize their safety? I remember being a beginner myself and the biggest thing stopping me from getting into the studio was the intimidation factor…yogis can be a pretty focused bunch :).  With this in mind I always try and make my classes as welcoming as possible; trying to create an environment of lightness, where smiling is encouraged and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  I also always keep a keen eye on all students (especially those new to yoga), ensuring their safety by supporting them to find the proper alignment for their bodies.  This support may be through verbal adjustment, hands-on adjustment or with the use of props.

6. What advice can you offer students with a regular practice to take their practice further? I can only speak to how I have furthered my own practice, which is by continually trying to gain a deeper understanding of the eight limbs of yoga.  This can take many forms, for me it continues to be through a dedicated home practice, taking immersions/workshops with senior teachers (exploring beyond the physical practice) and reading/referencing a wide range of yoga books.  One book that I continue to refer back to is B.K.S Iyengar Light on Life, which is a fantastic guide for anyone interested in deepening their practice.

7. How do you take yoga off the mat? It is said that the depth of one’s practice can be measured by how one interacts with others as well as themselves.  Holding this in my heart I aim for my thoughts, words and actions to come from a place of loving kindness. At the same time cultivating an inner environment of gratitude, contentment and devotion. It can be as simple as smiling throughout the day, saying hello to a stranger, offering a helping hand or a kind gesture. Some days are always better than others, but then again, that’s why it’s called practice!