Who’s On The Mat? Meet Vanessa

Over the next few weeks and months, we will be profiling some of the fabulous folk that frequent our beloved yoga studio. 

Take a minute to find out a bit more about the person on the mat next to you. This is the kind of studio that we share – with intimate classes and even though we (mostly) honour noble silence in the space, there is always a real friendliness about the yogis that come to practice here. 

First up: Vanessa (cool dreadlocks, funky pants, fabulous lace-up boots and a growing love affair with arm balances)…

Vanessa flying in Bali on a recent trip. Thanks to surgical intervention, doctor were able to remove the speedboat from her Svadhistana chakra and her arm balances are now much lighter

Who are you? 

My name is Vanessa Von Der Heyde,  and I’m 29. 

What’s your favourite asana? 

I love arm balances! The hurdler was one of the first arm balances I learned and is just one of those poses that came quite naturally to me. It does feel a bit like flying which is why it’s one of my favorites 💚

Least favourite? 

Definitely Dolphin 🐬 no question about it! From the start it’s just felt awkward and although I consider my shoulders to be relatively strong and my hamstrings are not crazy tight this asana just kills me! My quads also often cramp in his pose. Like Victoria likes to say, “it’s my nemesis” 😅

How did you get into yoga? 

I used to swim competitively when I was younger and was first exposed to yoga during those days. I loved it from the start but never had any time for it as swimming took over my life. When I quit swimming and moved to Stellenbosch I went through a bit of a rough patch and just needed something that could help me calm my inner turbulence. So I googled yoga in Stellenbosch and it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I’ve now been doing yoga at Nicci’s studio for almost 4 years and I am loving my practice more and more each day. 
What do you most enjoy about your practice? 

Yoga is the only time I take just for me. When I get onto my mat it is the only time I manage to switch my brain off and just be in the present. One thing I love about yoga is that it’s a quiet practice and there’s no talking to others. So I am able to forget about everything around me. I have also really enjoyed learning controlled strength. The human body is capable of amazing things and it’s an awesome feeling to move into postures you never thought were possible. I think my body has become addicted to this feeling because when I don’t practice for a few days I get these urges to do an arm balance or inversion. So that #stopdropandyoga hash tag makes a lot of sense 😜

Anything you like about our studio specifically?

What I love about Yoga With Nicci is that it’s a small and intimate studio. The yogis that are attracted to Nicci’s studio are such lovely people and it feels like a community. Nicci is also the most friendly, open and happy teacher and she’s got a knack for making you feel welcome and comfortable no matter what level your practice is at. She’s just one of those people you just want to hug when you see her. 

Anything else? 

I’ve started doing Instagram yoga challenges recently which have been a really fun way to connect to the larger yoga community and I love looking for beautiful spots to take my daily yoga photo. It’s been a lot of fun. So connect with me on Instagram @missvn3ss 😊

Thanks for the insight into you and your practice, Vanessa. It’s a joy to see your love for yoga blossoming in front of our eyes. When you’ve done your teacher’s training, come and teach with us! 

Who’s next? Inbox me or message me your answers to these same questions along with a picture of your practice. 

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