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Adho Mukha Vrksasana – Handstand
Tulandandasana – Balancing Stick


New Zealand Yoga Champions

What a journey the last month has been! Before then I had no idea you could compete in yoga. Fast forward four weeks and I place 2nd in New Zealand. It’s wild. A truly incredible journey. A journey of self discovery and acceptance

We sat down at Bikram Birtomart and listened to what it involved. I wasn’t really sure if this was going to be something I could even imamgine doing. Standing in front of a room of people. All eyes on. Nothing to hide behind like usual. Just me, my body and my mind. 

The training was intense to say the least. Practicing everyday with Monday/Wednesday set aside for champion classes. Friday night intermediate class followed by advanced on Saturdays. There were days were I could hardly move but forced myself into the studio. As soon as you hit the mat, life worries seem to dissaper and it’s simply just you! Although the class is full off other students I have finally learnt to switch the mind off and just be in the moment. Yoga has been an gift to me in so many ways. I have gained so much confident over the past two years, fought inner demons, accepted what I can’t change and learnt to love my flaws and talents. 

I’ve learnt to clear my mind of the chatter, the anexity, the fear and just get on with it. A friend messaged me a few days ago saying “I had changed”. It got me thinking- was I horrible before? In what way had I changed? Then it clicked. I have changed. I’m connected. My mind and body have decided to stop fighting each other and work as a team. My mind no longer fears the unknown rather questioning if it is right or wrong! The anexity has gone! The demons that I caught with have been accepted as  the things that have made me stronger. The people I’ve surrounded my self are truly special. The love I have been given has been insane. I can feel it with all my being. Yoga has truly been one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. 

This weekend we headed off to Dunedin to compete in the New Zealand Yoga Champions. A weekend I will never forget. There were so many laughs shared, hugs, glasses of wine raised, praise, support. The list goes on. I went with (a finally) opened mind. The training had been done, the hard work put in. Sweat, blood and tears (all literal)!! 

It was the most insane thing I’d ever done in my life. Being a competeive swimmer for 11 years felt like a walk in the park compared to the longest three minutes of my life of a yoga routine.. All eyes on me. The poses, the focus, the drive and finally peace! It’s crazy to think that I came 2nd in New Zealand in yoga. Never did I think when I started my yoga path 2 years ago that I would be sitting here writing this! 2nd. Crazy! Nuts! Insane! 

It’s a journey for life and a life of journeys! 


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Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand with splits)
Location: Catherdal Cove, Coromandel, New ZealandUrdhva Dhanurasna (Wheel Pose)

Location: Westhaven Marina, Auckland, New Zealand

Janusirsasana (Head to Knee Pose)

Location: Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand

Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)Anuvittasana (Standing Backbend)

Location: Mission Bay, Auckland, New Zealand

Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

Location: Heron Park, Waterview, Auckland

Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee Pose)

Location: Waterview, Auckland, New Zealand

Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose)

Location: Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Location: Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand

Viparita Virabhadrasana (Reverse Warrior)

Location: Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Location: Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand

Yogas Natural high

I remember my first yoga class and walking away on such a natural high. I hadn’t experienced a feeling like it before. This happened again when I finished by first Bikram class. They feeling of total euphoria and knowing that the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders if for only the moment. 

That high has not been able to be replicated much in my day to day life but returning to the mat, no matter the mood from the day or what’s going on in my mind, I knew that at the end of a class that this feeling will reveal iteslf at some point. No amount of drugs or alcohol can mimick this kind of “high”. It comes to you in a flood and may last a moment or continue for hours. Yoga teaches students to empty the mind and it becomes just you and the mat. No sneaky thoughts of what you have to do, replaying the day etc those feelings and thoughts simply dissapper. Of course we all have good and bad days where sometimes that little voice that most of us listen to too often rears its ugly head, but you take the good with the bad and continuing with your practice is a great way to teach yourself these lessons. 

We run around all day thinking we must get everything done , impress people with tales of our riches wether it be fincial, emotional etc. As human we need to “one up” one another. We pass judgement on others based on the colour of their skin, how much money they have, where they live, who they associate themselves with. We are all guilty of passing judgement on those we deem below us. Yoga teaches you to understand others and listen rather than judge. 

You can be having the most amazing day or even the worst and yet the practice of yoga has the ability to teach your mind and body to connect and realaise that the the moment you are truly at one with your self. I guess it’s the combination of stretching, pulling and clearing the mind that does it. 

Bringing yoga into your life can only make it better. Have you every heard anyone say that yoga makes you feel worse or can’t change your thought process. I have been able to calm myself in situations where previously I would have had some sort of break down. It makes you appreacite the smallest and largest things that many take for granted. The sun rise, the sound of rain, I find myself walking down the street and smiling because im listening to music and getting lost in the moment or a certain thought. Yoga does the same thing. 

Bikes and Bends (Yoga Delivery) 

Situated down in the trendy Wynyard Quarter in Aucklands Viaduct, Bikes and Bends owners Danica and Nick offer you a point of difference. Yoga Outdoors. Surrounded by the concrete jungle that is Auckland CBD, Bikes and Bends offers you a tranquil flow with the sun warming you up in the cool mornings or the beauty of a sunset over the stunning Auckland harbour.

Bikes and Bends is the brain child of a yogi and a bike enthusiast and the combo just works. Danica’s simple yoga suits all levels wether your just starting out your yoga journey or you’ve been practicing for years. The concept is easy, just you, a mat and a open mind. Danica leads a well tailored and thought out flow that focuses on a either different muscles of movement. Nick is right by Danica’s side and happy to talk you you about anything two wheel related and share some fascinating stories about life, bikes and yoga.

As their popularity has grown, Bikes and Bends have added additional teachers with different styles of teaching, which allows students to practice a wide range of styles. Bikes and Bends have teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation with special classes proceeds going towards the amazing clause. Along with MHFNZ they have collaborated with other great businesses around Auckland and have many more wonderful ideas in the pipelines.


Wether your new to your yoga journey or a seasoned yogi its worth checking them out. Bikes and Bends offer morning classes to set you up for your day and ready to tackle what lies ahead of you, lunchtime classes to get you out of the office for an hour and recoup or evening classes to let unwind from the days pressures. What better way to start or finish your day then yoga with this amazing group of people.

Get your mat and head on down to Wynyard Quarter. Keep an eye out the bikes parked at the top of the ramp of the ANZ Event Centre and you’re there. Take a friend or go alone and meet a variety of people from different walks of life. Danica’s and Nicks welcoming style of yoga and chilled attitudes make everyone feel welcome.



Price – $15 a class (passes available)

What to wear – light clothing you can move around in (wrap up warm for the winter)

What to bring – mat (can hire there at a small charge) water, open mind

Location – ANZ Event Centre Viewing Deck (Wynyard Quarter by the passenger bridge)

Times – Monday/Wednesday Evenings (6pm-7pm) Tuesday/Friday Mornings (7am-8m) Wednesday Lunchtime (12.30pm-1.15pm) Subject to weather conditions.

Check them out @ http://www.bikeandbends.com or instagram.com/yoga.delivery

Headstands (My Progress)

After six months of practicing yoga it was time to move onto headstands. This was a poses that I wasn’t confident in doing for fear of falling over and hurting myself. I avoided getting both legs up (just raising one leg at a time and not kicking off and would rely on walls to catch myself and not being able to stay in the pose for long. So after a few months of practicing them I wasn’t progressing any further. 

When on holiday last year in January I went down to he beach to try them free standing. After numerous attempts of kicking one leg up and then trying two legs I started to understand what parts of the body had to work with others. I fall numerous times but the sand seemed so feel safer than concrete. 

6 months of practicing

I started to understand that’s it’s all about where you place your hands and head. The neck has to be supported as it is going to hold your entire body weight once you are up in the air. Placement of your foremans and hands is critical if you’re going to be resting all the weight on neck. 

I had to remind myself that yoga isn’t about getting into the posture or how long you can stay in it or how good it looks; it’s about the process of getting into it. Understanding what muscles you are using and connecting the breathe, body and mind.

After many weeks trying them I started to get the hold on getting my legs up and staying up with the support of a wall behind me. When we attempted headstands in class I edged my feet and legs off the wall a little each time to try and balance. It’s progress over perfection that reminded me not to rush as I could end up hurting myself. 

Fast forward a year down the track and am happy to say I can get into a headstand unsupported by a wall and hold the pose for a considerable  amout of time. Always trying out different legs variations and kick offs to get legs up. This pose releases a lot of blood to the head and the “rush” from them is a great high. It’s pays when you come out of them tonrest in child’s poses to allow the blood to return to normal flow. 

Headstands are fun and offer a different perspective of the world. We should spend more time upside down. 

A few months later. Free standing and accompanied by Monique
Almost a year after first trying headstands
Variation where head isn’t not supported my hands.
Progress going well
Variation of headstand with splits

Key things to remember:

  • Placement of foremans and hands 
  • Support neck and head
  • Engage core muscles 
  • Try one leg at a time until confident.
  • Use a wall for support when first starting out. 
  • You are bound to fall out at some point. Learn safe ways to come down
  • Be aware of what’s around you. 
  • Return to child’s poses after to allow blood flow to return to normal. 
  • It’s not a race or getting into the pose the fastest. This can cause damage to your body.