I have practised various styles, including Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga and a little Iyengar Yoga for over 20 years and have been teaching for 11 years. My first yoga class was at a gym, and I loved it! I completed my yoga teacher training with Marina Contardo at the Ishta School of Yoga in 2008. The reason why I chose to study with Ishta, is that I believe it allows its member to practice the best of all schools of yoga. This means that one can modify one’s yoga practise to include the best elements of each style, and the asana’s and components that work best with you personally.
I am addicted to yoga, and practised yoga throughout both of my pregnancies. My passion for yoga grows every time I get on the mat! I do believe it is a great learning experience and it allows one to get more in touch with oneself. In this busy, material world, we often forget that the most important thing in our lives is ourselves, and this includes our body. For me it is the best way to connect body and mind.
I started studying pilates a few years ago, in order to increase my knowledge and capabilities as a yoga teacher. I hope to utilise my studies of Stott Pilates principles, combined with an Injuries & Special populations course, to be able to deal with many different types of students and different bodies. I also hope to offer Pilates classes as well as yoga classes.
Recently I started teaching students of different ages and body types, as well as students with previous injuries and medical conditions (what I like to call Yoga for All Bodies). I find it really rewarding to take a beginner and teach them to either fit into a mainstream yoga class, or just to make them comfortable in their own body, or improve their health and body strength.
I feel that I am still close to the beginning of my journey with yoga, and that there are many more years (and lifetimes even) to grow in my yoga practise.
But there is nothing like getting on your mat and just doing it!
Tanya is a hatha yoga teacher who has been teaching for almost 20 years. She studied through YYI, which has an Iyengar Yoga influence. She is an experienced instructor and is very sympathetic to her students. Her classes are great for all levels. She goes out of her way to create inspirational and interesting classes.
My own yoga practice started in 2012, finding Yoga felt like coming home! A year later I started my Kundalini teachers training and soon after I was introduced to children’s yoga. I was inspired to see how these lessons were teaching the children essential life skills through a fun yoga practice. That’s when I decided I wanted to get involved and make it a part of my life.
I enrolled in one of South Africa’s leading children’s yoga companies, Yoga4kids with Suzie Manson and completed my children’s yoga teacher certification at the end of 2014. I knew my souls purpose – to share these tools and teachings with toddlers, children and teens.
Through my passion and heart song of teaching yoga to kids, I have seen the benefits that yoga brings and how this practice is working towards the holistic healing of the next generation. I currently teach yoga at 11 schools and I am involved in 3 Yoga outreach projects at Salvazione Christian School in Brixton, St Matthews in Soweto and Mayfair Convent Primary School.
My yogic journey first began in Belgium when I was 7 years old and did yoga classes for a year. I quickly realised that I was able to achieve incredible things with my body and I loved it! I was 9 when my family and I moved to South Africa. That’s when I discovered Equestrian Vaulting. This was the sport for me! It combines my love for horses with the fun of acrobatics. I really found my passion in vaulting and competed for 8 years, reaching the highest level. My appreciation and awareness of my body grew immensely throughout this time and at the end of 2013 when my Vaulting career was cut short due to injuries I sustained in a serious car accident, I felt frustrated to have lost that part of myself.
That’s when I found yoga again!
It was the first time in a while that I felt truly connected to my myself and my body since the accident. My love for yoga grew and I knew I wanted to share this feeling with others. I did my Hatha teachers training through The Yoga Alliance International South Africa. I started teaching in 2016 and have loved every second! I feel very privileged to be able to help and guide people on their own personal yogic journey.
For me the most beautiful thing about Yoga is that it’s often exactly what you need it to be. Whether it’s to physically challenge yourself, prevent or rehabilitate injuries, relieve stress, let go of personal trauma, aid you on your spiritual journey… You can take from it what you need and anybody, young or old can grow through their practice.
“Yoga is the journey of the self,through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
From a young age I trained in Karate, but after a few years my passion for martial arts moved towards exploring and learning about many of the world’s religions and expressions of spirituality. Spending countless hours playing soccer at University, I stumbled upon a hot yoga class in Cape Town, and was blown away by this incredible mind body practice.
After I left University I moved to South Korea for two years, where I began training in martial arts again. When I returned to South Africa in 2013 I decided to start taking yoga classes regularly and quickly my understanding of eastern traditions and philosophies fueled a passion for understanding yoga.
In February 2018 I traveled to Rishikesh in India to complete my 200 hour Ashtanga and Hatha yoga teacher training. Since starting my journey deepening my understanding of yoga, I cannot overestimate the benefits this has brought into my life, from mental focus and physical strength, to emotional resilience and compassion. I aim to share the insights that I have gained from reading up on and practising yoga, philosophy and psychology with the students in my class and aim to cultivate a sense of presence that students can infuse into their practice and into their yoga journey. I believe that becoming centered, peaceful and in harmony with life is the true purpose of yoga. I hope to energise and be part of this shift in awareness of others.
Yoga has taught me to love myself, be gentle with myself and with others, and has helped me to start to set goals in my life. After doing yoga, I have started to believe that I have some real purpose in life. Yoga has taught me to listen to my body and to become more relaxed and calm, and has helped me to become a much more peaceful person. I am beginning to trust the journey.
My yogic goal is to learn and grow with my students. I want them to experience yoga in the way that they too can feel accepted, and feel loved, they can learn to feel compassion. I want them to start to feel comfortable in their bodies and themselves. I would love my students to gain a confidence from yoga, that allows them to let go of their negative emotions, so that they can allow themselves the space to heal their bodies, their minds and their souls. Ultimately, I would like yoga to give them the confidence never to give up.
“Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance” Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
SLOW DOWN AND FIND YOUR BREATH
Riana is a qualified Yin, Hatha and Yoga Nidra teacher.