Power House Yoga Berwick - Articles
Modern Yoga for the Modern Yogi
This is a guest post by Gail Bean
Dee Taueki and Power House Yoga are a key influence
on my views and practice of modern yoga.
~ Gail Bean ~
As a dedicated yoga studio in Berwick - a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Power House Yoga (affectionately known as PHY) delivers a unique mix of modern and traditional practices blended to suit the needs of the community that practice within its walls. Dee, as the creator of this space and style, is well versed in the traditional practices and theory of yoga while approaching her own practice with an open mind to new and creative ways in which yoga can bring joy and balance to the wider PHY community. Given the continued growth of this community, it can easily be seen that this approach has been successful in introducing a passion for yoga to many new yogis, including myself.
I believe that at the heart of this success is the understanding that many newcomers to the studio are initially interested in the physical benefits of yoga. They are looking to improve fitness, health, flexibility or strength and see yoga as an alternative to traditionally mainstream fitness activities such as team sports, gym or running. Even seeking a practice to aid in some sort of recovery, perhaps from previous sporting injuries. These newcomers often admit to having a low level of understanding of what yoga is and may have fears or uncertainty about the deeper spiritual and mental sides to the practice. Because of this, there are many aspects to Dee’s approach that make Power House Yoga a great place to start the yoga journey.
The first is a welcoming, fun and carefree environment that is non-judgemental and does not take itself too seriously. Unlike many more traditional studios that have a long list of rules, such as being quiet or achieving a certain level of practice, Power House Yoga focuses more on ensuring all yogis have a sense of belonging and acceptance. There is often laughter to be heard in the studio (most likely coming from me and the carefree community) before, during and after the classes, which can put a newcomer at ease if they are feeling out of their depth.
Another factor is a teaching style that ensures yogis of all experience levels are catered to in each and every class. All classes follow a clear structure created by Dee with the teachers having full creative input into the planning of their classes. This structure includes progressions for all elements so that people can choose to challenge or take care of themselves in any given class. No judgements are made and everyone is encouraged to have a fun, carefree attitude. It also includes a focus on teachers giving clear cues and plenty of positive encouragement to anyone who may need a little help to go harder or be ok with where they are at on that day. Importantly, this help does not come in the form of judgement or criticism in regards to anyone’s practice. It is regularly acknowledged that all yogis have different bodies, different strengths and different experiences. It is possible for any person, of any age, fitness, strength or flexibility to spend an hour on their mats at Power House Yoga and leave with a sweat up and a smile on their face (possibly red faced too if coming from a Yoga HEAT or Yoga POWER class which PHY likes to call “the yoga glow”).
Whilst the consistent structure is important, the many different classes at Power House Yoga offer a variety that is also important to the modern yoga practice. This can be the variance in temperature, with heated yoga being important to the modern yogi who is looking to maximise the impact of the short period of time they can dedicate to their mat. At the other end of the scale, a class like Yoga BALANCE, is an opportunity to escape the busy modern lifestyle and stretch out the body in a way that our lifestyle does not normally allow. It can also come from a practice like Yoga POWER, which is designed to suit the health conscious and athletic nature of many modern yogi’s. What I believe is the most modern aspect though, are the classes like Yoga BEATS, where music is played and people get to explore the playful side of yoga and the PHY community. BEATS is one of my favourite classes and a great way to end the week and start the weekend. Yoga BLOKES, which encourages men to explore Yoga in a safe environment before joining a more traditional class is also taking a traditional practice to the modern stage. These variances in class types, helps many new yogis find their own particular passion for yoga whilst being confident they could turn up to any class and still be comfortable in their practice.
All of these factors allow for any yogi, of any level or experience, to join and learn the Power House style of Yoga. It allows all yogis to find comfort whilst learning all of the asana’s, pranayama (breathing techniques), patterns and elements. It achieves the original goal of building strength, fitness or flexibility, with the option to continue challenging those goals with harder progressions or classes. It also offers enough flexibility and variety in classes to keep the students engaged over a long period of time. In a time when Yoga is broadening in its appeal and regularly being introduced to new pockets of the community (such as outer suburban Melbourne), the Power House style is a great way to fan the flames of many potential yogi’s who previously found the practice inaccessible.
The flip side to this is for those more experienced yogi’s or those that wish to sink themselves further into the more traditional/spiritual aspects of the practice. It would be easy to assume that a yoga practice full of laughter or music or blokes doesn’t cater to this more in depth yoga experience. However, Dee has also catered for this in the Power House Yoga style.
Whilst the teaching style and the structure is designed to be accessible and consistent, it is also very much based on the ancient philosophy and teachings of traditional yoga. The core elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Space and Water are all covered and available to be explored in every class. Every flow is aligned to the practice of pranayama and allows for more advanced practices such as ujjayi breathing for the more advanced yogi. There are even particular asana’s that are not taught during a general class, but space and time is available to those that have the experience and knowledge to incorporate them. Many of these advanced practices and elements are taught during special classes or workshops that drill into the subject with more depth than time allows in a general class. Therefore, those that wish to dedicate more time to expanding their practice can do so, whilst other yogis can come to any class without feeling out of their depth or left behind.
It is the combination of all of these elements that make Dee and her Power House Yoga style of practice so successful in the modern yoga landscape. The ability to be accessible and welcoming to all levels of yogis without sacrificing the traditional teachings and structure of yoga and still allowing for constant advancement in practice, means it ticks all boxes. The ability of modern practices to evolve and cater to the world we all live in, will be key to the more traditional elements of yoga continuing to flourish long into the future. Dee and her modern approach, her open mind, studies and 15 plus years of experience, are a great example of this being achieved in a very successful fashion. If you haven’t experience the Power House Yoga effect… do yourself a favour and just give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain.