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How Yoga Changed My Life - Alana Smith

By Alana Smith

My first contact with yoga was when our high-school drama teacher instructed us in a yoga nidra practice. I remember having that amazing heavy, relaxed feeling permeate my whole body and I thought I was having a some sort of unique divine experience! I loved it!


I dabbled in yoga over the years, but I didn’t really commit in a major way until I was having a sort of breakdown. At age 36 I had quit my job as a high-school teacher because I was disenchanted with how we were filling kids with too much information and not teaching enough life-coping skills. The HSC students were stressed to the eyeballs and anxiety was rife throughout the school, among teachers and students alike. I didn’t know what to do next. Meanwhile my love life was in tatters. I’d been engaged to the wrong man then too quickly got involved with another wrong man but was too in love to disentangle myself. I was deeply lost and heartbroken.


Luckily I began to take a few classes at Manly Yoga. I felt instantly welcomed, nurtured and understood by the teachers. They went above and beyond to explain concepts, to help with technique and to ask how I was coping generally. The relaxation and meditation skills they taught were systematic and effective. During that tough period, I found that the days I went to yoga were good days. The days I didn’t were not so good...


When I began to feel better, I realised that I had spent a lot of my life feeling anxious, like something was missing, and I was always grasping after external solutions to fill that hole - work, relationships, possessions. But the more yoga I did, the more secure I began to feel, as if I was finally finding what I had always been seeking - inner peace.


I began to realise that these were the kind of coping skills most of us really need, and I wanted to share them with others. I set my sights on yoga teacher training and enrolled in the Mangrove Ashram Yogic Studies course. Funnily enough, I met my beautiful husband Dom there and we were married within a year! Yoga was really delivering the goods!!!


I’m aiming to be fully qualified as a yoga teacher by 2017. I have started prac teaching and am loving every minute! To get so many happy relaxed faces smiling at me by the end of the class is a real buzz. I have seen and experienced how yoga can transform lives, and the beauty of it is that everyone has the capacity to heal themselves. All it takes is a dedicated teacher and a willingness to be still and breathe. Then just keep on practising!


I am so lucky that my yoga journey began at Manly Yoga, because through their thorough teaching of relaxation and meditation, they never lose focus of what yoga is truly about: the stilling of the mind so we can be our best selves.

About Alana Smith

Alana is a local property manager and yoga teacher. Besides yoga, she enjoys ballet, Xtend Barre, skiing, gardening, baking, and spoiling her beloved pooches! Alana and her husband have a hobby farm in Jamberoo where they grow fruit and veg, milk their goats and keep bees! Alana also volunteers as a vegetable gardening “guru” at Pioneer House and is a passionate zero-waste advocate, writing her own blog on plastic-free living. Alana has been a regular at Manly Yoga since 2013.