Sunday, July 27, 2008

Review: Bala Yoga and Interview: Jodi Boyd

Bala was one of the first studios I visited when I arrived in Melbourne. Despite the fact that it took me a hour and a half to get there, I just kept going back, until work got in the way! Jodi Boyd's classes, although vigorous, helped me start to rehabilitate from my sacro-iliac injury, and were completely safe, even for the likes of me. Also, the studio is beautiful and smells nice. I am always keen on the sweet-scented spots!

Jodi practising bakasana in the studio at Bala

Glamour shots of the studio...

And. Did I mention that there is a boutique? Prana yoga gear, mat bags, eye bags in delicious silks, and assorted natural goodies and books. A great way to pass the time before or after class!

They have an online store, for those of you who can't make it down to Beaumaris.

So, without further ado, read on to find out more about Jodi...

1. How long have you been practicing yoga, and how did you start?

My first class was about 18 years ago in high school, I was told it would help my asthma and my performance in the different sports I was competing in at the time (Surf Life Saving and Triathlons). I was pretty random in my practice - once a month, before or after an event - more stretching than the true sense of 'Yoga'.
Yoga became an essential part of my life a little over 10 years ago when I found two Yoga videos by Louisa Sear & Rachel Zinman. I practiced those videos morning and night until I knew them of by heart and that's when my journey really began.

2. How has yoga changed your life?

I am not sure how much of my changes have come from having Yoga in my life or have just come with age ('older and wiser') I know I put a lot down to yoga but I have 4 sisters who don't have yoga in their lives and they have had similar experiences - so a lot of my changes are inevitable - yoga or not. I know I am much kinder to myself and my body than I was in my teens/early twenties mostly due to yoga. I am very conscious and in tune with my surroundings, and my feelings, as well as what I want and what I actually need in/from life.
I know I was pretty sad and empty for some time and now I am the opposite. I lead a very happy and full life but my husband has a lot to do with that so it's not all Yoga.
And of course, it aided in changing my career path from Television Editor (which was not a bad job either!) to yoga teacher and studio/boutique owner.

3. You have been a triathlete, beauty queen, surf lifesaver, and TV editor. How did you come to add yoga teacher to the list?

My husband's job took us to Taiwan, and editing TV was not an option (I don't speak Mandarin). I had a pretty strong personal
practice then and one of the friends I made over there asked if I would teach some to her. I was nervous about teaching her things wrong so with my husbands encouragement (and my teacher at the time - Joy Armstrong) I did a teachers training course and I then started with teaching her at my house. 1 friend grew to 2, 2 friends grew to 4 then 8 and before long I was teaching 2 -3 classes a day all over Taipei some private some with 20+ students attending. People were telling me how I was changing their lives. I know it's the yoga not me, I am not disillusioned, I know I am not some kind of yoga Guru, it is just a great feeling to know you are helping to bring some happiness to other peoples lives, so there - a Yoga Teacher was born!

4. What kind of teacher do you strive to be?

Compassionate, approachable and understanding of my student's needs.

5. Lastly, tell us about the studio that you and your husband, Roger, own.

Hard at work behind the reception desk

It is a wonderful place for me to spend my days and hopefully an environment my students look forward to coming to, not just for the yoga but also for the comfort and calm they feel in being here.
My husband and I put it together, painted, scrubbed and assembled with a bit of help from a few friends and some tradesmen.My husband came up with the initial design, focused on a resort feeling with a Zen flow. We tried to create a spacious feeling with fresh flowing air, as well as being a quiet, calm and clean oasis with an Asian influence. Because the style of yoga I teach is very modern and not so traditional it was important to me that the studio reflected this.
The ambiance was very important to us also, dimmable lights, candles and oil burners with our unique bala scented oil. We are both into the minimalist style featuring large open spaces with the occasional piece (e.g - the Buddha's head) to add to the feel. Plus, I am an artist and I wanted my oil paintings surrounding me, they inject some colour along with our colourful students. I think your state of mind and the quality of your practice is effected by your environment, this is why I wanted to create something calming, open and uncluttered.

We called it 'BALA', it's a Sanskrit word associated with the meanings 'Strength, Energy and Power' reflecting the style of yoga I teach (a blend of the various different types of yoga practices I have tried over the years). I also like how the word 'BALA' implies balance.
With all the smiles on faces after a class and the lovely illustrated notes I receive from my Bambini (4-7yrs) and Nava(8 - 12yrs) students - 'I Love Jodi' and 'I Love Yoga', life can't be more rewarding! The Bala studio is a beautiful place to be.


Everyday Yogini said...

What a gorgeous place to practice and what a lovely teacher!! Nadine, I am so deeply happy that you are settling in and finding your way in your new home...

shinyyoga said...

wowser, what a GORGEOUS studio! When I open my own studio (we all have to have a dream, don't we?!) I want it to be so warm and welcoming like this.

Thanks for sharing and what a blissful find you have discovered xxx

Pink Heels said...

I love the beauty within the studio.

Kat said...

Wow. I got a dose of bliss just looking at the pictures. Cool studio. Wonderful teacher.

Linda Sama said...

namaste, nadine!

good to see you on my blog....I used your last comment as the basis for my latest post about yoga and money....a conundrum, isn't it?

peace, girlfriend!