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Devra King Port Douglas Yoga
I have been practising Hatha Yoga, traditional Yoga, for nearly 20 years, firstly as a student and then as a teacher for the last 6 years. My very first yoga class was with Shirley Lloyds in the old Community Hall on Macrossan Street before Coles was built. It was a really wonderful awakening for me and set me on my personal Yoga journey. I became part of Port Douglas Yoga when Shirley asked me if I would like to become a Yoga teacher. Her confidence in me inspired me to realise that this was a wonderful opportunity to immerse myself more fully in something I absolutely loved and found so personally rewarding. The benefits of Yoga are immeasurable, and while all aspects of yoga work to improve our health, improved flexibility, balance and co-ordination are some of the first and most obvious benefits that you discover. Then after a while you begin to notice a gradual loosening and opening of joints, along with increased strength and stamina. A well-balanced practice gets your blood flowing, improves posture, helps keep your disks supple, and has the potential for lowering high blood pressure, while weightbearing exercises strengthen bones and can help ward off osteoporosis. The best things about Yoga for me are that it has created for me a place in a community that shares and supports, with people that laugh and are true to themselves and it gives me the tools to develop and balance all the different aspects of my life. The hardest time for me was when I began my teacher training with IYTA, the International Yoga Teacher Training which is an extremely demanding, indepth course over 12 months. At the time I was also working full-time and the work load of assignments and research was quite daunting. However this training has been a fantastic grounding not only in the physical practice but many other varied practices, and in particular the Philosophy of Yoga. Even in this beautiful part of the world, many of us live fast-paced, often stressful lives. As our breathing is intimately connected to our state of wellbeing, by learning to become conscious of the flow of our breath, Yoga encourages us to relax and focus on the present and to create more balance by calming and quieting the mind. As well as all the physical benefits, now widely acknowledged, a regular yoga practice also helps develop harmony, compassion and greater equanimity. My favourite pose is Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) On the physical level it strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles, chest, lungs and shoulders. It stimulates abdominal organs, increases stamina and helps prevent osteoporosis, and sciatica. On the mental and emotional levels we stand centred, aware of our breath, quiet and confident, strong and still, and fully in the present moment, while stretching back to the past and forward into the future. For me it encompasses everything I love about Yoga.