Meet Michelle… A Kiwi, pharmacist and cat mother of Toby and Archie. Super passionate about sharing Yoga, Michelle is our Admin superstar, born on International Yoga Day and an all round beautiful person. We are so lucky to have her as part of our Fusion crew. Here we get a little insight into Michelle’s yoga journey.

Tell us about your first Yoga experience…

I intermittently tried Yoga throughout my uni years but student life got a bit hectic, my mind was in different places and it just wasn’t the right time.

I rekindled with Yoga when I was living in Queenstown about four years later and it really resonated with me when I found it the second time, I was in the right mind space to start tuning into the practice as well as seeing the application of Yoga off the mat. I started off practicing Bikram Yoga but I soon became curious about Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga.

As much as I was attached to my home studio in Queenstown, end of winter season meant I had to leave town. I relocated to a rural part of New Zealand which didn’t have a local studio so I got right into exploring a home practice.

Do you have a favourite Yoga book? Tell us why you love it…

I have a few books that I’m currently devouring. Yoga books are kind of special, you come back to them time and time again and your perspective and understanding shifts, a book that you once found boring could be the best book three years later, so with that said I can’t name a favourite book ..

Currently I am reading ‘The Essential Yoga Sutra, ‘The Heart of Yoga’ and ‘The Myths of the Asana’.

The Yoga Sutras is that golden thread, it links what we do right now to what people have been doing for thousands of years – that to me is something special.

‘The Heart of Yoga’ is written by Desikachar, the son of the modern day Yoga guru – Krishnamacharya and this book distils down the elements of the Yoga practice into bite size pieces with a great focus on the Yoga Sutras. Great read for those looking at furthering their understanding on the sutras and Yoga philosophy.

‘The Myths of Asana’ is a magical book. It brings the asana to life and by knowing the tales behind these poses you start to truly embody them for what they are.

What motivates you to keep coming back on your mat?

What motivates me is realising how much I have changed since beginning this journey and how much more I will change with the more I practice on the mat and beyond the mat.

When I am on my mat I feel a deep sense of connection to myself on different levels (physical, energetic and mental) and also that I am being myself. Every time I step on the mat, it’s like going under a sander, I’m constantly refining myself, shaping myself to be the best version of me.

I enjoy challenging asana as through this I learn to find calmness amongst adversity, being aware of the nature of my own reactions in these situations and shifting the reaction by turning down the volume of this mental chatter.

So much of what I learn when I am on the mat is transposed to off the mat situations.

If you were a Yoga pose, which pose would you be?

My pre Yoga cookie cutter type A personality has been diluted down by the Yoga. I’d say I’m currently a Warrior Two – Grounded and steady, determined yet show love and compassion to those around me.

If you had one line of advice for someone beginning their Yoga journey, what would it be?

Be yourself, come as you are, ultimately this practice is about the connection to the deeper layers of you and not the fancy poses and Yoga clothes!

Thanks Michelle! You can follow Michelle’s Yoga journey on instagram @michellealisayoga or michellealisayoga.com.