A teacher at BodyMindLife for more than three years, Sarah Routhier has a reputation in studio for her warm, sunny nature, intuitive hands-on assists and detailed alignment cues.
In June, this former sports massage therapist will team up with Joanne Gates for our Introduction to Yoga Therapeutics – a 50hr training that’s all about how to create safe and effective yoga practices to restore imbalances; from back and disc problems to scoliosis, headaches, anxiety, depression and stress.
We sat down with Sarah to find out a little more about this topical course, what inspires her and how she copes when life becomes a bit much.
Where did you grow up and when did you make the move to Sydney?
I grew outside of Toronto on a small farm and then spent a few years in Toronto itself before making the leap and traveling to Sydney almost four years ago. I ran my own massage clinic in a yoga studio I worked at and knew I had a couple options to stay, or making a big change and move. The scary option to dive into deepening my teaching and healing skills was the bigger pull in my gut and I had to trust it.
What do you do first thing in the morning?
Stretch out, give the dog a kiss and some butt scratches, and then head to Bondi Beach for a run or coffee. Or when I can… a combo of a run with the pup, coffee and stretching on the sand!
Can you tell us a little about how you discovered yoga?
I found yoga when I was in college for sports massage therapy. I’d go along with a couple of girlfriends between classes and it became a crucial part of how I managed stress during school. It was also an amazing time I shared with close friends.
What can students expect in a class with you?
I guess it depends which class you come to! I love to put together creative, intelligent sequences that build towards a pose and help students understand their bodies and breath a little better while getting out of their heads for a bit.
In an Essentials class at Bodymindlife, I try to make sure the classes are informative and each asana is really broken down. I won’t say these classes are easier as when you’re doing a posture correctly, it can feel really hard! In Yin, I try to incorporate breath, mindfulness and sometimes yoga Nidra – the ultimate relaxation technique for releasing stress and tension held in our bodies.
Tell us about ‘Yoga Therapeutics’ – what is it, how is it different from other yoga and what are some of the benefits you’ve seen from the practice?
Jo and I have come together with quite different backgrounds and knowledge of the body. Jo’s an ex-physio and has taught yoga for more than ten years, and I’m an ex-sports massage therapist, and have been teaching yoga for over six years.
We collaborate yoga teachings with health science to deliver information about yoga for spine health – such as managing scoliosis and disk injuries – as well as knee injuries and how to practice for anxiety and depression.
There is significant research out now that shows how yoga can improve physical and mental wellbeing, and help people find more fulfilling lives.
The 50hr training on Yoga Therapeutics is coming up, what will students learn over the course and why should people sign up?
In today’s modern world, we see so many students suffering from physical injuries and mental health issues. When practiced right, yoga can help address the root causes and symptoms of problems in the body and improve emotional wellbeing.
The course covers anatomy, pranayama – breath practices, basic energetics and how to build a treatment / yoga plan for students and clients. It’s ideal for teachers to bring another level of understanding to their classes and to support students.
Do you have any rituals you like to do to stay calm when life becomes a bit chaotic?
I breathe! There are a few favourite practices I have – such as bhramari, bhastrika and nadi shodhana. I also find journaling helps, along with creating space for myself to just sit solo on the beach. It can also make a world of difference to chat things over with a close friend or head to a yoga class.
Who inspires you?
I find so much inspiration in people around me. I see when friends and family go through a very hard time or challenging situation and still pull up and try again. These people still carry a smile and find ways to be there for the ones they love. That inspires me to want to be better and to help others more.
If you could change anything in this world, what would it be?
The feeling of hopelessness or feeling alone. If I could change anything I would really love to change that feeling of hopelessness in people I think it would help take away some of the violence towards oneself and others.