Australian-born Fiona Links fell in love with a kiwi (that’s him there in the photo with her) and as a result has ended up living and teaching in Taupo.
Earlier this year, she and her partner Andrew spent an awesome two months living in Mysore, India, studying at the Astanga Yoga Research Institute with Sharath Jois.
Extra studies also included Sanskrit chanting and Yogic philosophy and meditation with Dr M. A. Jayashree and Professor Narasimha, and Yoga anatomy/physiology with Noah McKenna. She says she’s missing the masala chai and planning to go back soon…
1. What style of yoga do you practice and where do you teach?
At our studio in Taupo I teach group classes and private tuition in Astanga Vinyasa Yoga (Mysore Style) and general Hatha Yoga. We established Taupo Yoga in 2006, when I moved to New Zealand from Australia. Personally I mainly practice Astanga Yoga, although it’s always great to do a Hatha session for a change!
2. How did you come to yoga?
While at boarding school I first read about Yoga, and started to practice some basic poses and breathing techniques to help me get through the final year examinations.
It wasn’t until I started studying at uni in Sydney that I joined group classes.
3. When did the yoga bug really get you?
After my first retreat a year into group classes I realised that Yoga was going to be non-negotiable in my life. Just three days immersed in the 8 limbs gave me insight into the potential of a daily practice. I cranked up my class attendance from twice a week to 3-4 times and now even holidays include Yoga – so I’ve definitely got the Yoga bug.
4. How has yoga transformed your life?
It’s taught me patience, compassion, discipline and increased awareness of myself and others. From an outward view, it’s given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people such as my teacher Peter Sanson, and travel to some interesting locations.
5. What is your home practice like?
Home practice is in our studio, 5 days a week mostly in the mornings – moon days excepted. It includes asana, pranayama, meditation and some chanting – depending on how I feel and how much time is available. Right now I’m enjoying the chanting of Patanjali’s Yoga sutras, as it is grounding yet revitalising for different parts of my brain.
6. When people ask you, “What is Yoga?”, what do you say?
Yoga is awareness of our commonality with everything, both tangible and intangible, as cultivated through the 8 limbs. It’s experiential, subjective and qualitative. I mostly spend my time explaining to people what Yoga isn’t, as there are so many misconceptions of the practice.
7. What can people expect from one of your classes?
Simplicity, compassion and understanding. I try and offer a space for people to feel safe to explore their practice without feeling watched or judged. Students receive physical adjustments, verbal instruction, occasional demonstrations and quiet time.
8. What do you love most about teaching yoga?
The smile on someone’s face and sense of accomplishment after they find a way through a challenging pose.
9. What do you wish everybody knew about yoga?
That it’s not always about the physical practice, it’s a way of living that encourages daily contentment.
10. What role do you see yoga playing in our world?
Getting people moving, out of their habitual body and mind habits, to raise collective awareness of gentle living.
11. Anything else you’d like to say?
Keep it simple, take life one breath at a time and have fun!
12. And finally, how do people find you?
Taupo Yoga is located in Taupo central, at 23 – 25 Heu Heu St (upstairs). You can call us on 021 063 9249, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please drop in for a class if you’re visiting Taupo.