Sandra graduated from the Yoga West Teacher Training in 2020.
How did you get into yoga?
I went to a class with a friend and found it extremely hard – the postures were difficult and my entire body was SO unbendy! After a bad back injury a few years before I’d made a lot of progress in recovering my strength, but I had no flexibility. Despite that I really enjoyed the class. I realised that while physically challenging, it was mentally very soothing. So I started going regularly.
Was there a moment when you realised you wanted to pursue yoga seriously?
After eight years of doing various types of yoga - Bikram, yin and vinyasa - four times or five a week, I began doing ashtanga, from which vinyasa yoga derives, at Yoga West and my practice really took off. It was truly transformative, not just physically – although the difference it has made to my back and shoulders has been radical - but mentally and emotionally too. I decided I wanted to deepen my knowledge so that I could share it with others.
How has yoga changed you?
It has helped me accept myself and to stop trying to be perfect, in all areas of life, not just yoga. It has made not just my body more flexible but also my mind. It has allowed me to be kinder to myself which in turn has made me kinder to, and more accepting of, others. It is not about attaining a perfect posture or indeed a perfect anything.
What’s your advice to people considering starting yoga?
To try to put any anxieties about not being good enough, or worries that you are the wrong shape, age, size or disposition, to one side and just give it a go. Yoga really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you can’t touch your toes or think you’ll never be able to stand on your head. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. But what’s certain is if you continue, change will happen. So just breathe and enjoy!
What is your approach to teaching?
To be as helpful and encouraging as possible to each person in the class. Because of my own experience with my back I’m very keen to pass on the healing benefits of yoga. I spend time making sure people understand exactly how to do each asana - what’s important is doing a posture in the right way for you. I focus on the breath throughout the practice, and I like to begin and end each class with some breathwork too. My hope and ambition is for people to leave feeling less achy, less stressed, more energised and more empowered!