This is the 2nd interview with an ANZA WanderingYogi. Real people, doing real yoga…
“I no longer feel trapped and shrinking in my body, I am like a butterfly coming out of my cocoon.” Andrena
Andrena Gardiner (Andy to her friends) is an active member of the ANZA New Members Committee, participates in the knitting club and helps out the elderly in Singapore by delivering food parcels. Before coming to Singapore, she was a transplanted Kiwi in Australia, operating her own house cleaning business and child care work. I am interviewing Andy over a cup of coffee, and a raspberry swirl. Andy is the yogi, 3rd person away from the forefront of the photo. They are doing a lying half spinal twist, yin style.
WY: WHY DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN YOGA?
AG: Well, to be truthful, I wasn’t. I have seen yoga classes and have watched people distort their bodies. I was terrified I would hurt myself. Not for me. I have also done pilates, which I know is not yoga, but even there, I was made to feel inferior because I could not make my body fit the poses.
WY:(Amused): SO HOW COME YOU ARE NOW SUCH A COMMITTED YOGI?
AG: I was finally persuaded by Lyn (her friend who also practices with the ANZA mob). She said you may have these issues in your tissues, but I bet you can do Yin. And I thought, this might be a good community, which it is. And I stayed with the ANZA yogis, because I feel healthier, happier, more level and it is great exercise.
WY: WHAT ISSUES IN THE TISSUES?
AG: I have broken both my wrists, at different times. I have a skin shrinking condition – scleraderma. And lots of back issues from my previous work. Have had a stroke. You know, the usual stuff (laughs). And I think I may have been doing the completely wrong thing for my body all these years I perservered with aerobics, pilates, pushing weights. In my desire to get physical, I just got worse. I have real difficulty getting on and off the ground, and a fear of falling. Not so much now with yoga.
WY: WHAT OTHER CHANGES IN YOURSELF HAVE YOU NOTICED FROM PRACTICING YOGA?
AG: I am a Yin Yogi. The biggest benefit has been my flexibility. In one session, something totally unlocked in my hip area. I felt freer. I can now tie my shoes and shave my legs without groaning. And my body is changing shape. I have a strong mind, and while I learnt the fundamentals of TM (transcendental meditation), yin yoga continually reminds me how, by changing my breath, I can change my emotion state. I use the breath techniques a lot before I go to sleep. And on my husband sometimes, when he gets fired up.
WY: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PRACTICING YIN YOGA?
AG: While I am in the pose, hearing which parts of my body will be feeling what, how I might be feeling. Although when we do asanas for the gall bladder, I laugh because I don’t have one. And the teacher (smiling at WY) is great for adjusting asanas for ‘special needs’ people like me. Allowing me and others to try different ways of doing a pose to suit ourselves.
“Yin yoga continually me reminds how, by changing my breath, I can change my emotion state.” Andrena