Yoga: For the mind, body and spirit

Rebeckh Burns is the owner and operator of Hot Yoga Works, a bikram yoga studio in Auckland which sees more than 150 yogis through its doors every day. Good’s Natalie Cyra talked to her about the benefits of yoga for achieving a better balance in life, as well as how she found her recent visit to the One Fire yoga festival in Joshua Tree National Park, USA. 

How did you get into practising yoga and why do you love it?

I started being interested in yoga and meditation as a teenager and studied naturopathy in my early 20s. I noticed this pattern that a lot of people would start a regime of taking herbs and supplements and being healthy but they’d fall back into their old patterns six weeks later, which made me come to the conclusion that you really need to change your mind to change your life. I went on to study metaphysics and started applying what I was learning to my own life as well. I took up the practice of birkam yoga almost ten years ago, and I realised pretty much straight away that the practice was very good at bringing everybody very present. You don’t really have to understand yoga, you could just come into a class and because of the heat and everything, you have to really have to concentrate on yourself and what you’re doing which really creates a lot of self awareness. You’re like your own teacher, so it’s really your own personal journey, you’re looking at your own alignments.  

Rebeckh (second from right) and other yogis practicing at Hot Yoga Works 

Why you think your bikram yoga studio in Britomart is doing so well?

It brings a lot of good energy to the city, I think people are feeling better sitting at their desks after they’ve taken a good break and feel good when they leave. It becomes a really regular thing– like brushing your teeth, bikram yoga flushes out the toxins of the body with the heat and sweat.

You’ve just recently attended and led a semiar at the One Fire yoga festival in Joshua Tree, USA. How was that?

It was incredible, Joshua tree is a very inspiring place. It’s a global festival and one of the event organisers has been to our studio, so he invited me to go and speak about the best practices for running a studio in the business of yoga. There was about 350 people there for the week with heaps of different events and speakers talking about all different types of yoga and meditation.

Did you learn any personal insights from your trip?

It was an eye opener, because in the USA they look at yoga and business from a different perspective. It broadened my horizons, because here I focus on lifestyle and having a great balance with my kids and the studio and practice. Hanging out with my children is much more important than anything else. Their focus is all about leveraging and opening up 10 studios and so on – it opened my mind a little bit to how business operates over there. From a personal perspective its always great to reflect and have a bit of a break. It was a vortex of energy there, they have a lot of retreats at this particular place and a lot of people go there to camp in the desert and find themselves, so it definitely has special qualities out there.

What advice do you have for the everyday woman trying to achieve an overall more balanced life?

You’ve got to start with yourself, it’s like putting on the oxygen mask on the plane –  it’s very important to feel good about yourself. Just incorporating a simple practice like yoga, or the gym or a walk just to give youself a little something so you can be a better friend, wife, mother, employee is essential.

Why do you think yoga is such a great practice for achieving the sort of overall wellness people hope to gain?

Yoga looks after the mind, body and spirit in one package. It’s a one stop shop. With bikram, you get the detoxification benefits as well as the meditation aspect through having to concentrate more, but all yoga is good. It’s always a journey, it’s a life long devotion to the practice but also to looking after yourself. You can go to the gym and hammer yourself with weights endlessly but you have to look after yourself inside too: your soul and your spirit, and through practising yoga you just become stronger and more centered on the inside as well as more peaceful on the outside.

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