By Stef Markidis

You’ve found a space between the fridge and dining table to unfurl your mat, you’ve rolled up an old beach towel as your makeshift yoga bolster – you’re ready to go! 

But how to stay aligned without your yoga teacher in your home with you to assist?

Follow this checklist – from head to toe – to develop your own body awareness. You can do it while standing in mountain pose, and check in with each part of your body throughout your practice.

Head and neck 

Relax your face. Unclench your jaw. Tuck your chin slightly to allow your neck to lengthen. 

Yogi tip: Think of your neck as an extension of your spine.

Check your neck in: Baby cobra pose. Keep your neck elongated so your gaze is slightly forward of your mat.

Shoulders 

Relax your shoulders, drawing them down away from your ears. Open your chest to ensure you’re not hunched forward. Imagine the tops of your shoulders in line with your ears. 

Yogi tip: Practice visualisation. Imagine your shoulder blades sliding down your spine. 

Check your shoulders in: Upward facing dog. Keep that space between your shoulders and ears. 

Core

Remember your teacher’s words: ‘core switched on!’. A stablised core helps with overall alignment. 

Yogi tip: Avoid ‘flaring’ your rib cage – draw in your lower ribs. 

Check your core in: every pose. 

Arms and hands

Whether bearing weight or creating a line of extension, don’t forget your arms and hands. 

Yogi tip: practice stacking your joints to avoid injury. 

Remember your arms in: Cat/cow pose. Shoulders, elbows and wrists are stacked in a line. 

Hips

Standing in mountain pose, tuck your tailbone slightly, but be careful not to round your lower back. 

Yogi tip: ‘Pelvis’ means ‘basin’ in Latin – keep a slight pelvic tilt to avoid spillage!

Check your hips in: Chair pose. Tuck, tuck, tuck your tail. 

Feet 

Distribute weight evenly between your feet. Allow your weight to bear downward, while actively pushing your feet into the mat.  

Yogi tip: it’s common to overestimate your ‘hip distance’ stance.

Check your feet in: Extended side angle pose. Your back heel is grounded and a line of energy extends along your side body into your raised fingertips. 

Every time you self-correct your alignment, take a mental picture of how it feels in your body. You’re developing proprioception, an awareness of your body in space that is sometimes known as a ‘sixth sense’!

With practice, your alignment will become muscle memory and you’ll be able to – quite literally – do it with your eyes closed! 


By Tamblyn Lord

Remember as a kid attempting handstands or cartwheels in the playground … for fun?

We held no fear, just enjoyment and excitement at the thrill of perhaps balancing for a moment with our feet above our head. Of course, we fell often but we somehow managed to find a way to land safely.

How is it that as adults we have lost that excitement and have become fearful of balancing on our hands? We hold ourselves back thinking the pain of doing it wrong will affect our physical health, and our ego will take a beating. We think our an inability to balance is a reflection of our lack of certainty or a steady character. 

What if we were more aware in our approach to balancing on our hands? What if we enjoyed the challenge of a mindful preparation and the shift of perspective that potentially ‘flying’ on our hands can bring? What if we focused on our breath as well? Why look for the result when the practice can be enough in itself? 

With a steady approach to arm and hand balances, our perceived fears can be shed and our brighter potential may be realised. We can feel more energised, more focused and perhaps even find more of a sense of ‘joie de vivre’. Arm balances can be inspiring, invigorating and insightful – whatever level of ability we may have at the time.

If we’re both mindful and willing to play…

Sometimes when we’re at the beach nowadays, we may venture back to exploring what it is to balance on our hands again. We might cartwheel and try handstands, with the promise of the soft sand to catch us.

In our yoga practice, if we strengthen our upper body and improve our balance on our hands, our confidence can soar. Our fear diminishes and our focus sharpens, as we connect to the powerful life-force within us. As we learn to breathe while holding this space, there is a shift in our conscious awareness. We don’t focus on being able to ‘fly’ anymore, but rather, we enjoy the opportunity to explore the moment. There’s a letting go of who we think we may be and a hearty embrace of who we simply are. Just like when we were kids, having fun cartwheeling and doing handstands in the playground and feeling like we almost flew for a brief moment: a milli-second of lightness and free abandon.

Almost… 

Almost can mean so much more.

Feeling inspired?

Join Tamblyn for Fly Without Fear, a 4-week arm balance series starting May 8. More info and bookings here.


Join Megan every Sunday for four weeks, starting May 9 (10.45am-12pm), to explore the foundations of Hatha yoga in a non-heated room.

Week-by-week we’ll break down elements of the practice, discuss basic yoga terms and establish an understanding of alignment and technique.

Small class numbers will ensure personal attention, and provide plenty of opportunity for questions and review.

This course is perfect if you want to:
Be introduced to yoga in a comfortable & friendly environment.
Gain confidence on the mat.
Build bodily strength & tone.
Better manage stress & anxiety.
Tune into your breath.

Why beginners yoga?
We remember what it’s like to be reluctant to jump into a Hot Yoga or Vinyasa Flow class – or to attend those classes but still feel like a fish out of water. Our beginners course offers a friendly, encouraging environment and is the ideal preparation for our more dynamic offerings. 

Can’t attend every week? No problem – either make-up the class with your choice from our timetable, or re-join a session on the next available course.

PLUS we offer a pricing option with TWO extra classes per week* to encourage you onto the mat to try out your new skills and establish a healthy new routine.

Already done a beginners course with us?
So you’ve already done our beginners course but want to jump in again? No worries, yoga is a practice after all, and we’d be thrilled to have you back. The $159 extra classes option is only available once, so if you’ve already taken that up that but want to visit more than once a week whilst on the course, please shoot us an email and we’ll detail a different discounted option.

When: Sunday May 9 – May 30, 10.45am – 12pm
Where: Yoga Spot Fairfield, 70 Station St, Fairfield
How much: $129 for 4 week course or $159 for 4 weeks + 2 extra classes per week
* Extra classes option must be used within course timeframe and is only available to those doing course for the first time.



• Are you looking to take your practice to the next level?
• Been craving more challenges in class?
• Want to balance on your hands but not sure where to start?

Let us introduce you to Tamblyn Lord, your guest teacher for a brand-new four week series focused on arm balancing: Fly Without Fear.

Over four Saturday mornings starting from May 8, Tamblyn will help you build strength and hone your technique towards arm balancing in your practice. This series is open to ALL, from the curious, experienced or any ‘flying’ enthusiast. You definitely don’t have to be an expert in these poses to attend and will be encouraged to practice at your own level.

With Tamblyn’s expert guidance (and 20 years of experience) you’ll learn the basics so you can prepare to take flight in poses such as:
Bakasana (crow/crane and variations) 
Lolasana (pendant pose)
Astavakrasana (8 angled pose)
Koundinyasana I and II (hurdler’s pose)
Galavasana (flying pigeon)
and more…

Too often, fear holds us back from even trying arm balances. This series will encourage you to embrace the challenge of balancing on your hands, and you’ll experience a new-found sense of energy and focus. It’ll be a fun, stimulating, mindful and safe experience for all.

THE DETAILS
When: Saturday May 8 – May 29, 11am-12.15pm
Where: Yoga Spot Fairfield, 70 Station St, Fairfield
How much: $129 for 4 week course, $104 for Yoga Spot Fairfield members

Keen to join but can’t make all 4 weeks? No problem. Those with previous experience can attend casually – email us here to book.


Join Megan every Thursday for four weeks, starting March 11 (7.30-8.45pm), to explore the foundations of Hatha yoga in a non-heated room.

Week-by-week we’ll break down elements of the practice, discuss basic yoga terms and establish an understanding of alignment and technique.

Small class numbers will ensure personal attention, and provide plenty of opportunity for questions and review.

This course is perfect if you want to:
Be introduced to yoga in a comfortable & friendly environment.
Gain confidence on the mat.
Build bodily strength & tone.
Better manage stress & anxiety.
Tune into your breath.

Why beginners yoga?
We remember what it’s like to be reluctant to jump into a Hot Yoga or Vinyasa Flow class – or to attend those classes but still feel like a fish out of water. Our beginners course offers a friendly, encouraging environment and is the ideal preparation for our more dynamic offerings. 

Can’t attend every week? No problem – either make-up the class with your choice from our timetable, or re-join a session on the next available course.

PLUS we offer a pricing option with TWO extra classes per week to encourage you onto the mat to try out your new skills and establish a healthy new routine.

When: Thursday Mar 11 – Apr 1, 7.30-8.45pm
Where: Yoga Spot Fairfield, 70 Station St, Fairfield
How much: $99 for 4 week course or $139 for 4 weeks + 2 extra classes per week
Note: Class will be capped at 12. Extra classes option must be used within course timeframe.



Can I use my existing 5/10 pass to book?

Yes. We have manually adjusted expiry dates on these to reflect the time we’ve been closed. If for some reason we’ve missed you, please drop us an email and we’ll get it sorted in a jiffy.

What about intro offers, memberships and unlimited passes (3/12mth etc)?

These will stay paused. As soon as the restrictions around class sizes are lifted (no more groups of 10), we’ll return to our intro, membership and unlimited offerings. Of course we’ll extend expiry dates to reflect the time we’ve been closed.

UPDATE: As of Mon Nov 23, these offerings have returned and are available to purchase

Will you continue Livestream classes?

At this stage no, unless demand warrants it. We’re keen to hear your views – let us know hereif you want Livestream to continue. We’re currently working to create an ‘on-demand’ platform so digital memberships and a library of classes that you can practice from home will be available in the near future.

Why does the class say ‘Call’ when I’m trying to book?

Bookings open seven days in advance of a scheduled class. If you see ‘Call’, it means bookings aren’t open for that class just yet. 

How do waitlists work?

If a class is full, you have the option to put your name on the waitlist. If a spot becomes available with more than 12 hours notice, the next person on the waitlist will automatically be added to the class. You will receive an email confirming your place. Cancellations inside of the 12-hour window will result in a forfeit of that class. 

What if I buy a new 5/10/20 pack but don’t use it all and want to become a member again (or use my old pass)?

We don’t know how long we’ll be operating under restricted numbers but if things should change quickly, we are happy to credit any unused value on class packs towards memberships or give you slightly longer to use them. We’ll be in touch if that’s the case. 

Where can I buy props?

We have a limited range of mats, straps, cork blocks and eye pillows for sale at the studio. Email us if you want to reserve an item. We highly recommend Calm Buddhi bolsters – enter the code ‘yogaspot’ at check out for FREE* delivery (*Melbourne metro addresses only).

OUR COVID SAFE PLAN

When you visit the studio, you can expect the following measures:

  • Limit of 10 students per class – bookings essential. UPDATE: As of Mon Nov 23 this is now 20 students per class
  • Hand sanitiser upon entry 
  • Social distancing floor markers
  • No mat hire. BYO and a clean, full length towel for sweat
  • No props. BYO
  • No mat wipe cloths. BYO
  • Until we advise otherwise, please wear a mask when visiting the studio. If you are out of breath during class, remove your mask as needed. Our teaching team will do the same. 
  • No hands-on adjustments by teachers
  • Showers and kitchen facilities closed, BYO water
  • Studio will open just 15 minutes before class and close 15 minutes after
  • If you are unwell, awaiting COVID-19 test results or have been in contact with someone with a positive test result, please stay at home


In this 90-minute workshop, Yoga Spot Fairfield teacher Lucy Galbraith will share her expertise in western mental health and eastern yoga philosophy to explore:

–   The link between our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations

–   How to move through difficult emotions such as anxiety, stress, sadness and anger

– How to build resilience for dealing with challenge and adversity

It’s the perfect session for better understanding our current situation – dealing with restrictions and a loss of freedoms, whilst experiencing a raft of emotions daily.

This workshop will incorporate a mix of: 

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Reflection
  • Breath work
  • Asana (yoga poses)

You’ll leave feeling more at ease with your emotions and with better tools for managing the challenges life throws at you.

THE DETAILS
When: Sunday October 18, 10am to 11.30am
Where: Online livestream, via Zoom
Investment: $15 Yoga Spot Fairfield members, $20 full



Are you ready to commit to practising yoga, meditation and mindful activity every day for 21 days, starting Monday August 17? If so, we’d love you to join our Yoga Challenge. It’s the ideal motivator to keep you moving through Melbourne’s latest round of restrictions, with the support and accountability of our wonderful community online. 

What does the 21 Day Challenge involve?

Yoga Challenges encourage you to deepen your practice, heighten your self-enquiry, and keep you moving and motivated. At Yoga Spot Fairfield, we also like to add some fun! So, every week we will ask you to complete seven practices in seven days – it’ll look something like this:

– 3 livestream yoga classes – Vinyasa, Slow Flow and Yin (option to catch up via recordings)

– 1 guided meditation, 1 guided pranayama session 

– 1 bonus movement class: think Bollywood dancing, HIIT Pilates and Myofascial Release

– On Sundays, 1 mindful activity of your choice, or bonus pre-recorded yoga class. Includes Mindful Mandala colouring workshop with Chloe from Hummingbird Ink, date TBC.

What you’ll get:

– Unlimited access to livestream yoga and movement classes for 21 days

– Unlimited access to members-only Facebook page for 21 days

– 1 x Mindful Mandala colouring workshop

– 21-day checklist for motivation and to help keep track

– Community support – we’re all in this together

Join us to discover the benefits of positive, daily practices or to establish new habits leading into Spring (and hopefully an end to hibernation!). Got questions? Shoot us an email.

THE DETAILS

When:  Monday August 17 – Sunday September 6

What: Yoga, meditation, pranayama, movement sessions and more

Investment: $79 or FREE for Livestream Weekly Members ($25 p/w)

 

Can you believe it’s been nearly two and a half months since we’ve been together in our beautiful studio? That’s a long time in your personal yoga practice. Some of us have been zooming our way through (pardon the pun), others have been trying new things and some have enjoyed a restful break. Whatever your choice in isolation, we hope it’s felt right for you. 

We’re excited that we now have a date in sight to reopen, June 22. This is in-line with Victorian government regulations around gyms and fitness centres and will come with a number of operational changes, but we know yogis are an adaptable bunch and mostly we’ll all just be grateful to be back in our warm, friendly space.

In order to adhere to all recommendations, you can expect the following changes at Yoga Spot Fairfield. Please note some of these are short-term measures, like limited class sizes and a reduced timetable, and others will remain. We’ll keep you posted of changes as we go. Upon reopening, our number one priority is to provide a safe space that you feel comfortable to enter, where we can get on with the business of moving and breathing together, where our community can connect and you can drop into your natural state of bliss, both on and off the mat.  

  • A reduced timetable
  • Limit of 10 students per class – bookings essential – no walk ins
  • Social distancing floor markers – 1.5m minimum gap between mats
  • No shows and late cancellations will be penalised
  • No mat hire. BYO and a clean, full length towel
  • No props. BYO
  • No mat wipe cloths. BYO
  • No hands-on adjustments by teachers
  • Showers and kitchen facilities closed
  • Studio will open just 15 minutes before class

We can’t wait to see you all back in the studio. Until then we’ll continue to livestream three classes per week. If you haven’t already, please join us for a session. Drop in rate is just $12. If you’re keen to re-establish your practice before we open, sign up to our $25 a week livestream membership which includes access to 3 live classes per week, plus an exclusive members-only Facebook group with the ability to catch up on classes at a time that suits, and a bonus, high-quality pre-recorded class every Sunday.

BUY A PASS OR SIGN UP HERE

In-studio bookings will open on Thursday June 18 and we’ll be in touch with a reminder before that date. Below is an extensive list of FAQs regarding our reopening and your membership/class pass status.

REOPENING FAQs

What happens with my membership?
All memberships will be reinstated automatically on June 22. An email will be sent shortly to all members with further details. If you do not wish to return to the studio the week starting Monday June 22, please contact us via email now or upon receipt of the members-only email and we will continue your suspension. You MUST contact us though or your membership/pass will be reinstated.

I’m currently a Yoga Spot Fairfield Livestream member, what happens to my membership?
If you’ve stuck with us throughout this livestreaming period you will be contacted directly. Our hearts are full of gratitude for your continued support.

I had a 5/10 class pass OR a 1 month/3 months/12 month unlimited pass. Will it be extended?
Yes. All passes mentioned above will be extended by 3 months, to reflect time the studio has been physically closed. If you’d like to be reminded of the original or revised expiry date on your pass, send us an email here or ask your teacher when signing into class.

I bought a 14/28-day intro offer before you closed and haven’t used it. Can I activate it now?
Yes. If your pass wasn’t activated it will still be sitting on your account. You can use your intro offer to book classes in-studio or livestream. However, whilst our class numbers are restricted, you can only book three in-studio sessions a week for reasons outlined below (see I’m a Yoga Spot Fairfield member. Why can I only book three in-studio classes per week?).

I was mid-way through an intro offer or one-month trial when you closed. What happens to my pass?
Of course we’ll honour the time you had remaining on your pass, whether it was days or weeks. But the three in-studio class rule will be imposed. If you’re not yet ready to return or would prefer to wait and use your pass when we’re back to a full timetable, just send us an email and we can organise. 

I bought a livestream 10-pass but haven’t used them all. I’d like to return to in-studio classes. What happens now?
As below, we’ll continue to offer a few livestream classes a week on the timetable. You can use your pass for these, or drop us an email and we’ll credit any unused livestream classes towards in-studio classes, on a 2:1 basis.

I love livestream classes, will they continue?
Yes. Once we reopen our focus will shift to mostly in-studio classes but we’ll keep two livestream Yin classes a week. Always check the timetable on our website or in MindBody to see if a class is in the studio or livestreamed.
We’re also working on a platform to house our collection of recorded classes, and in time these will be available as part of your full Yoga Spot Fairfield membership, as a separate online membership (think $29 a month), and possibly, as an on-demand single fee class.

Why do I now have to book to attend classes?
Government-imposed limits of 10 people per class means we can’t accommodate everyone. Booking through MindBody will secure your spot. If you can’t attend you MUST cancel yourself out and allow someone else to use the spot. Failure to do so will result in lost classes and financial penalty. More details to come on this. 

I’m a Yoga Spot Fairfield member. Why can I only book three in-studio classes per week?
Restricted class sizes mean not everyone can attend a class every day. By limiting the number of classes you can book/attend, we’re ensuring everyone in our community has the chance to practice in-studio with us. This is a temporary measure only and will be reviewed as soon as limitations on class sizes are lifted. 

Can I bring my own props?
Absolutely. But you MUST clean them before and after class (we will provide antibacterial wipes). If you have your own bolster please still bring a full length towel to use with it.

What extra measures are you taking to keep the studio clean and safe?
We’ve always had incredibly high cleaning standards. The onset of COVID-19 was an opportunity to raise this bar even higher. And now, as we return, we take it up another notch. 
All surfaces and high traffic areas will be wiped with antibacterial disinfectant before and after class, the studio will be deep-cleaned multiple times a week and we will continue to provide hand sanitizers and hand wash at entry and exit points, in toilets, etc.
We are also restricting access to things like props, shared towels, the kitchen and showers to ensure minimal transference. 
As has become the norm, if you are feeling unwell or showing any signs of COVID-19, please stay at home and isolate, and we will do the same. Teachers will have full permission to turn anyone away from the studio who they think shouldn’t be there.

Why can’t I stick around and talk with my yogi friends or the teacher after class?
Unfortunately our reception area isn’t very big so to keep in line with social distancing rules we need to limit the amount of people in the space at once. We love our community and can’t wait to sit down and have a cuppa and a chat on the couch. But for now, we’ll have to make use of our wonderful local cafes and restaurants to catch up in, and we thank you in advance for your co-operation.

How do waitlists work?
If a class is fully booked, there are three spots available on the waitlist. We suggest always putting your name on the waitlist, in the likely event someone will cancel. You will receive an email notification if a place becomes available, and your attendance will be assumed.

What are the penalties for late cancellations and no-shows?
You are able to cancel or change your booking up to three hours before class via your MindBody account. Late cancellations beyond that point will be charged at $10 per class, and no-shows $20 per class (members and those on unlimited passes). Yogis on a casual, 5 or 10-class pass will forfeit that class. Cancellations via phone or email will NOT be accepted.


Establishing a new routine is incredibly important when our lives have been turned upside down.

By Stefanie Markidis

With lockdown upon us, daily life has changed dramatically and many of our regular comforts – a hug from a friend, an aimless stroll through the city, sitting in your favourite café with a mug of steaming goodness – are unavailable to us. 

The regular routines of our lives are gone (for now), and this can be overwhelming. This is why it’s important to establish a ‘new normal’, a fresh routine for this strange period. 

Routine is a proven way of maintaining good mental health. Of course, a daily yoga practice is key. But here are some other ways to develop a new normal in the time of lockdown:

Establishing structure

Setting up a structure for your day can make large expanses of time more manageable, and psychologically prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

  • Make a list of tasks you’d like to complete during the day. 
  • Set up an enjoyable morning routine (meditation, stretching, coffee).
  • Venture outside for some fresh air at least once every day, if this is possible for you. Otherwise, open a window and breathe deeply. 
  • Establish a soothing sleep routine (devices off, listen to some calming music or play this guided yoga nidra meditation with Yoga Spot Fairfield teacher, Laura).

Develop self-care habits

Set up some small moments of self-care within your daily routine, so they are already in place to support you when you need. 

  • Journaling. Write your thoughts in free-flow or a diary entry. 
  • Humming and ‘om’-ing. This stimulates the vagus nerve, reduces stress and helps your sinuses. 
  • Consistent meal times. Bring on the snacks – but try to keep defined meal times, too. 
  • Move your body. Yoga Spot Fairfield has you covered with our new online timetable and livestream classes.

Connect to your community

Physical distance doesn’t have to mean social isolation – but remember to take time for yourself. 

  • Make time to call others. 
  • Schedule some daily ‘me time’, whether you’re living alone or in a busy household. Think of it as your precious few moments on the office toilet… at home. 
  • Have an offline moment every day. This means no news!
  • Delineate your ‘home life’ from ‘work life’ if possible (see this cute video of a father facing the realities of that challenge).  

Manage your expectations

Rules are for breaking, so remember to give yourself a break when you need it. Remain flexible and know that some days will be more routine-driven than others. That’s okay.  

Be kind to yourself. Yes, Shakespeare (probably) wrote King Lear while quarantined during the plague, but if your daily lockdown achievement is rolling out your mat and lying in savasana, that’s just as impressive.