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Written by Sarah Kirton

Finding your Center with Amy

Finding your Center with Amy

MysticMag has the pleasure of chatting with Amy, a dedicated yoga instructor at Be Yoga Fresh. Be Fresh Yoga embraces the authentic essence of yoga, rooted in traditional philosophy and practice, making it accessible to everyone. Amy guides classes suitable for beginners yet challenging for advanced practitioners, acknowledging that each individual and body is unique. With a focus on cultivating a non-judgmental, non-competitive environment, Amy encourages students to explore their practice at their own pace, emphasizing safe practices, alignment, and internal awareness. She fosters a community that respects diverse yoga traditions, providing a supportive space for students to discover comfort within their own bodies, regardless of their yoga background or experience level.

Your approach emphasizes the essence of yoga for everyone, focusing on balance and individual exploration. How do you adapt classes to accommodate different experience levels and body types while maintaining the essence of traditional yoga?

Well, first one must understand the essence of what Yoga is. Yoga is a liberation from our contact with pain & sorrow. As Yoga Sutra 1.2 tells us, “Yoga is to reduce the disturbances of the mind” Today, so many people think Yoga is just the asana. Yoga is Heart. Yoga is Life. Yoga is the movement of life (prana) that is already inside of us. Yoga is to BE with our experiences, instead of reacting… Yoga MUST be adapted to the unique circumstances of each individual.. If not, then it is just exercise.
I encourage students to follow Sutra 2.1 – Tapas, Svadhyaya & Ishvara Pranidhana. I strongly encourage Svadhyaya. One must know & study themselves first. I guide them to feel where the tension is, to notice the sensations and to follow the breath.

Having an advanced level to me is not based on physical level, but on one’s attention. What is the individual’s level of attention to the practice and to themselves? I always teach at a Beginner’s level, as a more advanced student will know how to adapt the pose to accommodate their needs / level of attention. By this, I mean I give basic cues first. Then I observe and offer more cues – or not. The new student might be OK where they are. The advanced student will know what to do – or how to shift – to go deeper into the asana. I am continually observing & offering modifications and adjustments. If you understand & teach Yoga in its traditional form & philosophy, everyone has an experience that works for them on an individual level. However, we do offer Beginner Classes to help an individual get started on the Yoga journey.

Your practice fosters a non-judgmental and non-competitive atmosphere. How do you cultivate this environment, ensuring students feel supported and encouraged to explore their own yoga journey?

I begin with Svadhyaya/ Self Study. I encourage the students to drop the ego and to realize the heart of the practice is about the experience of the practice. Not the outcome. In the words of the masters, We begin yoga from where we are – and we all have had different journeys and different life experiences. We all have different stress and tension and we hold this in our bodies differently. We truly are unique, right down to our bone structure. So I remind my students of this, so that they don’t feel “less than” the person next to them. They may never look like the student next to them and that is OK.
Our Yoga practices are different every day too. We come to the mat with new stress/tension ( or not) so I lead the students to find their center / inner gaze via the breath / pranic sheath. We must have an intimate relationship with our breath and this “house” that we live in.
In addition, I love to introduce philosophy into my yoga classes. A yoga student must understand the philosophy as well as the asana. One cannot just strengthen the body without strengthening our minds & hearts. Therefore, I will introduce Yama/Niyamas and the Yoga Sutras.

You offer private yoga therapy as a holistic approach to wellness. Could you elaborate on how personalized yoga guidance integrates the total self, balancing body, spirit, and mind? What tools do you provide to support a healthier lifestyle?

Yoga was traditionally practiced one-on-one. I mentioned in prior response, we all are unique with our very own unique set of circumstances, tension, stress, bone structure & body types. In a weekly class, there are many students for the teacher to focus on. A teacher does their best with cues, but not all cues work for all people. Not all poses work for all people. Many people have limitations in body & mind. People take in information differently. So as great as a weekly class is, people really should be doing a few private practices with a competent teacher. Teachers should not “adapt the individual to yoga, yoga must be adapted to fit the individual” The Teacher and student should be in an equal relationship and a private class offers this. Yoga Therapy sessions offer people an opportunity to explore deeper life issues that are the root of their stress, anxiety, or deeper disease conditions. Every Human has the potential to be their own source of healing. And even two people with the same condition, will walk a different path to healing. For this approach to wellness, we create a personalized plan for lifestyle interventions, so to speak. We utilize movement (yoga poses) & breathing, visualization, meditation, stress management tools, nutrition, exercises for changes to our habitual thought processes, and healthier lifestyle choices. We will incorporate other medical / healing professionals in the area, as the need arises.

Your Yoga for Recovery sessions combine the philosophies of the 12-step program with yoga. How does this unique model address addiction and support individuals dealing with addictive behaviors or affected by others’ addictions?

These sessions address addiction as the physical, mental, spiritual disease it is. As humans we are all suffering. We might not realize it, but we are. We are completely separated from our True Nature, our Higher Self. If we throw in an addiction, well that creates a further divide from our True Self along with our loved ones, environment, etc… We all want/search for wholeness. We need to create a life that integrates all aspects of our being. Yoga philosophy and the 12 Steps have much in common both providing tools drawing on internal spiritual strength to help build strength in our minds & lives. Principles such as humility, honesty, surrender, are within the 12 step program, just as they are in Yoga Philosophy. The 12th step suggests service and all guide a person to live a life which goes beyond themselves. Same in Yoga. Also, 12 is a sacred number of Harmony / wholeness. So in our Yoga Recovery classes, we start with a 60 minute mindful Yoga practice to create movement /action and bring some harmony, maybe to feel a bit more present with ourselves. Afterwards, we hold a sharing circle. I introduce a topic based in yoga philosophy that resonates with the 12 steps. One can expand on that or one can just share what they need to share. We breathe, we move, we share. and hopefully we discover. We discover a part of ourselves that holds wisdom… These sessions are not a substitution for an addiction program. They are “in addition to” a program, hence why the individual and/or family member can come. No sign ups, no sign-in, all sessions are anonymous..

The essence of yoga is often described as the union of body, mind, and spirit. Could you share how yoga philosophy promotes this union and how regular practice benefits not just physical health but also mental and spiritual well-being?

Yoga is complete freedom. It is Self-Realization. It is liberation from our habitual way of thinking & doing, that causes so much restriction in our mind & bodies. I say bodies because we have a subtle body as well – our Breath Body. This is the one body that the Western world tends to forget – or just not have awareness of… and to me it is the most important one. Without our breath we would not be here. The difference between yoga and any other form of exercise is intention breathing. Yoga incorporates the spiritual body (breath body). We have some 90,000 thoughts / day with 80 % of thoughts repeated from yesterday. That’s a crazy high number! By just focusing on our breath, we learn to let go of all that mental chatter.
After a class, so many students tell me they just “feel better” – maybe their headache has gone away, maybe their hips feel a bit more open, maybe their breath is a bit deeper… but something has shifted.. and that’s Yoga. Dropping the emotion/mental baggage, bringing our mind to a single focus, allowing our breath to flow a bit deeper, so that we can “release” something or just feel more alive in the moment, that’s Union. That is Yoga.

To focus on releasing tension by breathing deeper, so that we can feel more freedom in body & mind – I always wonder why a person would NOT want to do that on a regular basis?

Yoga is: You. Opening to Greater. Awareness/ Awesome-ness!

As I always say, everyone should be doing yoga and the world needs more Yogi’s

If you would like to find out more about Amy, please visit https://beyogafresh.com/

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
MysticMag contains reviews that were written by our experts and follow the strict reviewing standards, including ethical standards, that we have adopted. Such standards require that each review will take into consideration independent, honest and professional examination of the reviewer. That being said, we may earn a commission when a user completes an action using our links, at no additional cost to them. On listicle pages, we rank vendors based on a system that prioritizes the reviewer’s examination of each service but also considers feedback received from our readers and our commercial agreements with providers.This site may not review all available service providers, and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
About the author
Sarah Kirton
Contributor
Contributor
Sarah is a keen and passionate advocate of the spiritual and healing components within the mystical realm of the world we live in. She resides in Cape Town, South Africa, where she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, kite surfing, and playing guitar.