Living Smart Festival starts with free yoga session

ALL WELCOME: Whole Living (whole-living.com.au) will kick off Lake Macquarie's Living Smart Festival on Saturday at Speers Point with a free yoga session.

ALL WELCOME: Whole Living (whole-living.com.au) will kick off Lake Macquarie's Living Smart Festival on Saturday at Speers Point with a free yoga session.

I have never got into the yoga craze. 

I have tried it a few times but I have always felt like I couldn't keep up with what was happening. 

In some of the classes instructors have assumed I knew what I was doing but I did not. One actually made me feel like I shouldn't be there because I did not have the lingo and I did not know the poses.

As a result, I have not gone back. I have thought, it’s just not for me. 

I would like to like it because I know how many health benefits yoga has but until talking to Anamari Becker from Whole Living last week I felt as though I had closed a door on it.

Anamari is co-creator of Whole Living (whole-living.com.au), a holistic approach to health and well-being, and a yoga practitioner.

She will be running a free yoga session by the lake at 8am on Saturday and said her goal was to make it accessible to everyone and talking to her made me feel as though maybe I could give it one more go.

The yoga session will kick off Lake Macquarie’s Living Smart Festival at Speers Point and is for anyone to join.

“One of the things I wanted to do was just break it down and make it simple,” Anamari said.

“We will do a lot of breath and movement but it won’t necessarily involve holding your own bodyweight.

“For any beginner, it is going to be completely accessible.

“My goal is to make it so that even if you are 70 or 80 years old you can participate in what we are doing.”

Anamari said yoga had many benefits for both the mind and body and hoped everyone would “leave feeling refreshed or at least with a clear head”.

“One of the great things about science these days is that we are starting to look at some of the ancient practices that have been around for a long time and figuring out that there’s a lot of scientific studies that are backing these practices and why they work,” Anamari said.

“Yoga is a great way to bring oxygen and blood flow to all areas of the body and it doesn’t just help recover muscle tissue as in getting fit and helping the spine to be more mobile. It also releases so many chemicals in the brain that help us to function at maybe a fuller potential.”

Anamari said one of the beautiful things about the ancient spiritual practice is that there are many hidden benefits as well.

“People always talk about leaving with that blissed out feeling and that’s actually because of the hormones that are being released through the body through the breath work, through breathing and moving, and that’s why they feel so good,” she said.

Whole Living will also be running a free kids’ yoga session at 11am on Saturday at Speers Point.

The class will be aimed for kids aged four and up but all ages can join in.

I have noticed yoga is becoming increasingly popular with kids and Anamari has found younger ones love the playful approaches. 

“Some of the things you notice right away are motor skills,” she said.

“It is teaching large motor skills, small motor skills; you’re teaching concentration, focus, you’re teaching techniques that are coping mechanisms for stress or even creating energy for when needed.

“I think it’s just a really great way for them to express themselves.

“They always get such a kick out of it. The younger we bring these wellness techniques and mindfulness techniques into their lives the more they become a part of their lives as they grow and you build this foundation of support that they can turn to through life.

“I always grew up with group sports and I love group sports but I think there is something about having your own personal practice that you can always turn to no matter what is happening in your life.”

Anamari has been practising yoga in schools for several years and said she was noticing plenty of benefits for teenagers as well.

To me it sounds like a great chance for newcomers to give yoga a go or for seasoned yoga enthusiasts to get along and enjoy an outdoor session with the amazing back drop of Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie’s Smart Living Festival offers ideas and practices for sustainable living.

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