Karen Bishton founder of Selah Yoga
A few years ago Karen Bishton, founder of Selah Yoga, wrote an article for the Australian Yoga Life Magazine in which she critiqued present day yoga;
"The image that we are presenting to the general public is doing a disservice to people everywhere. They see the pictures of thin, unattainable bodies twisted into pretzels and think “I can't do that” and they walk past an incredible opportunity for health and wellness because they feel they don't belong or they don't know where to start."
"I don’t have a yoga studio in each town, in fact I have numerous. I might be in a Golf Club or a Community Hall, perhaps a gym or outside in a park but that's how I view yoga and it helps me to keep it real: it's about yoga being right for people, not people being right for yoga. I was lucky enough in 2018 to open my first studio which is beautiful to teach in but it's the students that create the amazing energy so it doesn't matter where I teach."
With statements like that we could all hug Kaz in relief, and her yoga programs through Selah Yoga, are more of the same as her students testify; "We are very lucky to have Kaz as our Yoga teacher, she is a wonderful teacher and her attitude towards teaching is so caring... There is no judgement only encouragement and I feel so comfortable with her guidance," says one student. Another adds, "Kaz's yoga classes are amazing. She has a wonderful manner, vast knowledge and welcomes and caters for all shapes and ages..."
As Kaz explains, "Yoga is everywhere, it goes beyond the yoga mat, it is accessible, it might just be sitting down and breathing and being aware of yourself on all levels; it's about finding harmony in your life that makes your soul sing", and as she celebrates 20 years of teaching she has seen first hand the incredible impact that yoga can have on peoples lives.
When she arrived in the rural NSW areas of Manilla, Barraba and Bingara in 2003 and began teaching, one student realised how lucky they were to have someone of her calibre, qualifications and experience in that country area:
"I joined Kaz’s yoga classes when she began teaching in Barraba. It was soon apparent how lucky we were to have someone who could deliver physical and verbal instructions clearly, explain the benefits perfectly, and be supportive, attentive, kind and encouraging to everyone in the class, no matter what their experience.
'Kaz has the ability to be precise, technical and exacting on one hand, yet be warm, nurturing and compassionate on the other – and she can move between the two at ease. The classes have become like an extended family – fun, challenging, grounding, relaxing, and rewarding in ways you might never expect.”
It's vital to Kaz that people are able to access the health and wellness that yoga brings to not the physical body, which is important, but to the whole self and loves being able to extend that offer to those in the region. She sees yoga as about being the healthiest version of yourself that you can be. She expands on this idea, "Health and wellness isn't necessarily giving up drinking or smoking, losing ten kilos or trying to achieve difficult goals, rather its about working towards being the healthiest version of you, that you can be… for me that might mean drinking more water each day, or going for a walk… it's about us creating that picture that makes us the healthiest, fittest version of ourselves that is possible.
There's this thing with yoga that you have to be a certain size, super flexible or wear special clothes and some of the yoga industry has really pushed that unfortunately. But yoga is about health and wellness and being the healthiest you that you can be, physically and mentally!"
Among her offerings are Hatha Yoga, Sit and Stretch classes, and even Average Joe-Ga a men's only zone, and tailors them for beginners through to those more experienced. If you are wanting to become the healthiest version of you and have thought about taking up yoga to achieve this but have some concerns or health issues, talk to Kaz to see how yoga can work for you! As she says, "Real Yoga is for Real People!" If you want to dive right in and book a class, view the timetable for your area here!