Teacher Feature: Spotlight on Sally
Our go to Pilates gal, Manager of The Mala, ambassador for yoga at all ages.
Let’s get to know her a little better…
You’re the Manager of The Mala in Gosforth. Tell us a little about your journey to this role... What background have you come from?
S: Until the summer of 2018 I worked at Newcastle University on pharmacogenetics; the way in which our bodies respond to drugs, specialising in cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. After completing my yoga teacher training I taught at a local church hall and then was offered the opportunity to work with YogaTherapies where I have been since the opening of The Mala.
You’re a source of inspiration for people looking to stay fit at retirement age... What else do you do besides yoga to stay fit and healthy?
S: My favourite fitness classes after yoga are Barre and dance. I also do strength and conditioning exercise with a trainer once a week.
What age did you begin your yoga practice, and how did you get into it?
S: I was nearly 50 when I started yoga. A couple of friends asked me to join them on yoga holiday. They knew I was a bit of a fitness fanatic so thought I’d be a good bet to join them at short notice. Once I started I was hooked.
What would you say then, to people who believe they’re “too old” or “not fit enough” or “not flexible enough” to start yoga?
S: Nobody is too old for yoga. You don’t need to be fit or flexible. I’m not particularly flexible. I say all you need is an open mind to come to class. There are always options available so it is most certainly accessible to all.
You teach Pilates at The Mala as well as yoga, could you tell us briefly what differences students can expect between a Pilates class and a Yoga class?
S: Pilates is a form of exercise whereas yoga, although it moves the body is much more than that. It is a whole body and life experience. My Pilates classes are core focussed and less flowing than my yoga classes. There is no specific pranayama, breath work, or savasana in Pilates either and some of the exercises are quite different, however, I do believe that they can compliment each other to some degree.
What Aspect of your yoga practice do you connect to the most, and why?
S: I feel that for me the unison of breath, movement and mind through Vinyasa Flow is what allows me to really feel the benefit of yoga. I like to practice with my eyes shut as much a possible too!
Favourite posture, and why?
S: It must be warrior II, for me it’s the strongest pose and often I find myself just holding the pose and have to “wake” myself up to move to the next pose.
When you’re not teaching you are...?
S: I love to spend time with my boys when they are home, read and travel.
How important do you think it is to encourage younger children / teenagers / families to practice yoga? Do you get your own family involved?
S: I feel it is so important to bring yoga to children of all ages. Both my boys have tried yoga, though they are at university now so they can’t come to my classes. I also teach at Newcastle University to both staff and students which I know from feedback helps the students during stressful times. With respect to younger children we are currently working with local schools to teach both students and staff which I am sincerely hoping will take off in as many schools as possible. I am a great believer in family yoga as well and have run classes in aid of uSactive charity, which is very close to my heart. This charity aims to empower young people to transform their lives through physical activity. We are working with them providing yoga instructors to teach them in small group settings.
Hopes and dreams for the future? Yoga / Non-Yoga!
S: I hope to see my sons successful and happy, continue improving my yoga teaching, travel more and generally keep fit and happy.