We are super excited to be hosting a yoga class at Bike Otago with our awesome friend and yoga teacher Jo McDonald on Monday August 27th at 6pm. Read on to find out more about Jo, the style of yoga she teaches and come along to her class at the shop. Beginners are totally welcome! Please bring your own mat.
What does yoga mean to you?
Yoga is about the connection between the mind, the body and the breath. We live in a busy, fast-paced world and a yoga practice can be a little sanctuary of self care.
What style of yoga do you teach? I teach vinyasa flow, hatha and yin.
What sorts of people come to your classes? A big variety of people! Public yoga classes are generally all levels classes, so you often get total beginners and very experienced yogis in the same class together. There’s always something you can get from the practice no matter your experience level. I always encourage people to modify the poses to suit their needs.
How do you think yoga benefits cyclists?
A consistent yoga practice can help relieve low back pain (a common complaint amongst mountain bikers!); it is also great for improving flexibility, balance and core strength. There are also mental benefits to the practice. Yoga is a great way to calm the nervous system, improve focus and reduce stress. I think yoga is beneficial to any athlete, regardless of their discipline, to make their sport sustainable long term.
What is your favourite yoga pose? It’s always changing, but I have been practicing a lot of yin yoga lately and my favourite pose right now is shoelace pose and all its variations. Shoelace pose is a hip opener, a stretch for the groin and inner thighs, and the forward folding variation decompresses the lower spine. It can be intense! But there are lots of variations to make it accessible to everyone. I like to add a side stretch and stay for 3 minutes in the side stretch and then spend 3 minutes in a forward fold, before switching to bring the other leg on top.
Joanna came to yoga to get out of her head and into her body and continues to be amazed by the transformative possibilities of the practice. In her classes, Joanna aims to create space for students to have their own yoga practice, while offering a class that is dynamic and creative, as well as grounding and safe.
After graduating from university in 2011, Joanna spent the summer doing karma yoga at the Salt Spring Island Yoga Centre in Canada. After a summer of practicing yoga every day and learning about yogic philosophy, Joanna wanted to continue deepening her practice. Six months later she was on her way to India to complete her first teacher training in Astanga yoga. Joanna has since completed advanced vinyasa teacher training with Christine Price Clark and yin yoga training with Danielle Hoogenboom. Her main teachers have been ex-Anusara teachers and this is reflected in her heart-centred, alignment-based classes