There are several myths that deter people from yoga – and instructor Susie Keratiotis is keen to dispel them.
The Sassy Yoga owner, who teaches Hatha and Ashtanga yoga at the Northern Wellbeing Centre in Epping, says people often believe they need to be “young and bendy” and able to stand on their head.
Others are put off because they think yoga is religious or spiritual, she says.
But Susie, 51, says yoga is whatever a participant wants it to be.
“There’s a saying that you never regret going to a yoga class, and I think the reason is because when you leave you are almost always nice and calm, settled energetically, you may have rebalanced yourself from the breathing – that calms down the mind,” she says.
“People think they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible, but you go to yoga to work on your flexibility.
“You’re working on basically all aspects of your physicality and you’re working all parts of your body – the spine, arms, upper body, the legs, the hips. It’s a complete program for the whole body.
“Yoga is not ageist, it’s not sexist, it’s not culturally inhibiting.”
Susie became a teacher a decade ago after enjoying yoga in her 20s, training in Byron Bay and at the Yoga and Meditation School of India in Caulfield.
She credits the practice with strengthening both physical and mental health, saying it helped her to overcome a messy divorce and navigate single parenthood as she just “kept hitting the mat”.
“For me, yoga ticks the three boxes, which are mind, body and spirit. Basically, yoga is the complete package for me,” she says.
“The spiritual part can be controversial. However, spirit can mean whatever you want it to.”
Susie says a class typically involves various body movements, breathing techniques to calm the mind, and finishes with a relaxation.
She says yoga is for every body type and different movement options are always given. She also runs children’s classes and chair yoga for people who are less mobile.
“Yoga will get your body moving in ways that it may not move in everyday life, so initially it may feel a little bit different,” she says.
“A total novice shouldn’t be afraid to give it a go – I will always encourage them to go at their own pace.”