Who’s On The Mat? Meet Christine

 Allow us to introduce you! 

My name is Christine and I am a 40 year old copywriter from Stellenbosch. 

My favourite asana is the ‘half lord of the fish pose’, specifically when you can grab your toes with your opposite hand. I feel so powerful, when twisted 😉

Your least fave asana?

This must be the downward dog or as I call it the dying dog. I can’t say why, but definitely my struggle pose. I try to do a downward dog once a day at home.

How did you get into yoga? 

I am inquisitive by nature and I was driving down die Laan when I saw Nicci’s notice.

What does your practice mean to you?

Yoga has taught me so much about myself, but mainly it taught me to accept and love myself.

What floats your boat about our studio? 

I love the studio, it is everything I imagined a yoga studio to be, or rather what I wanted it to be. Apart from her wonderful classes, Nicci is not only a yoga instructor to me, but a friend. I love her sense of humour and the honesty that she brings to her classes.

So, between friends, something that not many people know about you? 

I can’t sing. I can guarantee world peace by singing a few lines from a song. Also the reason behind my silent ohms!

Any final thoughts? 

If you haven’t started with yoga yet, my advice is get a mat and join us!

Thanks for these words, Christine. It’s really wonderful to see how committed you are to your practice, how it works for you, and how you embrace it – even the dying dog 😂. Here’s a little picture just for you:  

Who’s On The Mat? Meet Floriane


Who are you, lovely lady? 

My name is Floriane (Flo), I’m 43 and I come from Paris.

What do you do when you’re not on the mat?

I’m a strategic growth consultant, Africa.

Do you have a favourite asana?

If only I could be in Savasana for my ultimate breath on this planet.. feeling like I don’t fear anything when I’m in savasana, not even death.

Any asana that you particularly dislike? 

I can’t think of any off the top of my head – there is always a positive side, sometimes just the relief to be out of it.. or the balances for instance, I often struggle but I like the “power on my body” feeling they sometimes give. I used to be very uncomfortable in pigeon but I’ve caught myself hoping for it in a recent session.

We’d love to hear a bit more about your yoga journey – how you got into it, how it has evolved and the benefits of having it in your life. 

I discovered yoga shortly after I moved to ZA, particularly when the doctor said I had blood pressure issues and needed to start taking care of myself.

Less than 2 months after I started yoga, I was badly injured in a terrible dog attack. The surgeon said I might never walk normally again. Yoga was the first activity I was allowed to resume after I was out of hospital (when still healing after a muscle and skin graft).

I went back to yoga before I went back to work and started a minimum twice a week routine, and when I was ready for physio, I chose to instead continue with yoga.

What role did your practice play in your recovery? 

It did help me a lot mentally and physically: I remember thinking  “at least I will always have yoga now..”. I felt blessed that I had started practising yoga before the accident.

A few months later I could do everything I used to do before the ordeal, including getting up on a surf board (whereas the surgeon had said I should forget about sports like skiing or surfing). I walked the whale trail with a group of friends. I went back to my life, or the life I was intending to live. I had never ever been as active as I was in this period of my life. I practise less nowadays but will never forget the benefits yoga can bring.

What does your practice mean to you now?

A breath in my busy life, in my busy mind; a feel good exercise; a way to stay fit, supple and comfortable in my body, with my body.

Do you notice any changes when you’ve not been on the mat for a while?

My body misses it when I don’t practise (and my mind as well I’m sure but it is less obvious – to me at least 😉

When I don’t exercise for a while, my leg reminds me that a muscle is missing and needs constant stimulation, so I’m in for a while I think 😉

I have developed this habit of stretching for a minute in my bed before getting up now that I don’t go to yoga as often as I used to.

Are there any things in particular that you like about practicing at our studio?

The sound of the birds; the ease to connect with the weather and the outside world. I also love the explanations given by the teachers and the importance given to slow / meditative aspects of the practice.

Anything you’ve learned about yourself?

I’m a day dreamer, which I now see as an ability to pause.

Namaste, Flo. It was an incredible thing to see how you tackled your recovery and your reintegration into your body and your sense of safety in the world after your ordeal. Your commitment to the practice and the incredible quiet determination that you displayed in taking responsibility for your healing was, and continues to be, truly inspirational. I salute you, warrior princess that you are. Namaste.

Quick Bedtime Sequence for Chakra Balancing

Please note: I am experiencing problems uploading the time lapse video to this post so if you want to see it, please pop over to my Instagram feed or Facebook page (both Yoga With Nicci). 

Here’s my little sleepy time yoga sequence that checks in on each of the seven main chakras in sequence before ending in a headstand to bring it all together before I snuggle up. 
I am such a sucker for these time lapse videos because it always looks so comical – especially the Sufi grind that I start with (Muladhara) – utterly daft looking – and then (after baddha konasana/Svadhistana, twist/Manipura and ustrasana/Anahata) my simhasana (Vishuddhi) in which I resemble a cat trying to vomit up a hair ball. I couldn’t do the eye bulging thing – too sleepy already after doing my actual practice before this fun vid.

 Garudasana with thumbs on 3rd eye for Ajna and of course headstand for crown chakra. A bit of slow smooth breathing and a quick journal post, literally listing the things I’m grateful for today, and then off to the land of nod. 

Sleep tight! 

Who’s On The Mat? Meet Laura

Hi, I’m Laura 😊 I’m 26 and originally hail from Durbanville, but have been living in Stellenbosch for 9 years. At the moment, I’m busy working towards my PhD in Chemistry. 

Any asana you ❤️? 

My fave asana changes constantly but at the moment I am loving heart-openers like ustrasana (camel pose 🐪). With every breath I take in this pose, I can feel my anxiety melting away. (Note: big props to those who regularly take yoga selfies, this is a lot harder than it looks!) 

Least fave pose? 

Probably arm balances – the fear of falling on my face is too high! 

What first got you onto the mat? 

I first started yoga in 2013, at the beginning of my PhD. I’d been diagnosed with major depressive disorder together with anxiety. My doctor and therapist both recommended taking up yoga so I did – and after my first class, that was it, I never looked back! Yoga has been a very important tool in helping me cope both with depression and with the stress of the PhD. I love the calm that comes with meditation. I love how following my breathing helps me take control when anxiety tries to overpower. I love how being in touch with my body’s movements helps me feel at peace with it, instead of trapped in it. I love how yoga makes me feel powerful instead of powerless. 

Where do you practice mostly and why? 

While I mostly do home practice these days, I love getting the chance to attend a class. The teachers at Yoga With Nicci are so friendly and helpful, especially when it comes to adjustments or modifications of poses. Plus, there is something special about lying in savasana and just listening to the wind and the trees outside the small studio.

Namaste 😊

Thanks for sharing with us, Laura. I always think it’s cool to have a chemist in the class! Hope we see you soon x 

To keep up with what Laura is up to: Instagram: @whimsyisforever 

Blog: whimsyisforever.com