Shunryu Suzuki said that, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.“ Inspiring words yes, but in my first few yoga classes (at BodyMindLife eight years ago) the only possibilities going through my mind was my potential to tear a hamstring, while looking incredibly stupid and uncoordinated in a room full of bendy, beautiful things.

I didn’t hurt myself or fall over or do anything terribly embarrassing in those first few months of practice – except the occasional savasana snore which still happens from time to time – but I did experience fear. Fear that in the big, busy classes everyone would know what they were doing except me. Fear that I didn’t look like the young women on social media who display incredible feats of flexibility and strength.

As my practice grew and developed I realised that the increased focus on the physical aspects of yoga can make the practice feel less accessible to those who – like me pre-yoga – could barely imagine even touching their toes. I also came to passionately believe that yoga is for every body. Regardless of age, flexibility, body shape or injuries it has a powerful and positive impact on all aspects of your life.

For this reason I’m excited to share our Yoga for Beginners series, a four week course created specifically for people who have never stepped into a yoga room or who did but, for whatever reason, haven’t been back. The course starts at BodyMindLife Surry Hills on June 30, and will roll out to each of our studios during the year.

We’ll explore the elements of yoga from a foundation level including:

  • Why we practice yoga and the ritual of class
  • Basic yoga postures and transitions
  • How to find safe alignment
  • Modifying postures to suit your body
  • Feeling comfortable in the studio
  • Getting ready for regular classes

I will personally be teaching the first series and I can’t wait! The practice has transformed my life in so many ways. I’m stronger, calmer, kinder, happier and more relaxed. Physically, mentally and in the more subtle areas of yoga I have a long way to go. I have bad days and road rage and throw my toys out of the pram but I have an awareness that wasn’t there before. I’ve conquered my fear and I look forward to helping others do the same.

Mandy Scotney Yoga Teacher

With more than eight years' teaching experience, Mandy teaches intelligent and well balanced sequences. She is passionate about assisting beginners at the start of their yoga journey, and newer or more experienced students alike, will find her classes both accessible and challenging. Her intention is always to make sure you leave feeling nurtured, restored and rejuvenated - mind, body and spirit.

Mandy is a perpetual student and has completed more than 1000 hrs of teacher training incorporating a 500 Hour Level 1 and 2 Training with Byron Yoga, 100 hours "Heart of a Teacher" with Maty Ezraty, numerous 50 hour trainings with BodyMindLife, and 300 hours of Yin training from a variety of different teachers. She has had the privilege to learn from master teachers such as Maty Ezraty, Sarah Owens, Judy Krapp, John Ogilvie, Bryan Kest, Les Leventhal, Chanel Luck, Simon Park, and our very own Noelle Connolly. Mandy loves music and has studied kirtan and chanting with Dave Stringer ... so you'll experience some of that magic weaved into your physical practice in her classes from time to time.

She believes that relationships are at the heart of everything we do and, when she's not in yoga pants, Mandy is a counsellor and psychotherapist and the founder of Chirp, an organisation that exists to "hatch a community of connected humans" through workshops, events and private sessions (go to her website for more info).