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Featured Yogi: Justine

Name: Justine Hamill
Studio: Co-owner Power Living New Zealand
Years teaching: 8
Years practicing: 14
Favourite yoga style: Depends on what I need. As I get older I tend to find Yin more nourishing, Kirtan and Mantra are my jam and Vinyasa when I need energising.

When do you prefer to practice?
In the morning.

Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?
I had started on my healing journey, was a mum of three young children and had just finished training as a psychotherapist. I was [also] in the fitness industry at the time and knew that I needed a more connected and holistic way to move my body and learn about myself. I’m deepy intuitive and spirituality is important to me too, so when I really found my love of Yoga the stars aligned and I did my first Teacher Training in 2010.

And then a studio owner! Biggest hurdle(s) to overcome?
I knew I wanted to bring transformational Yoga and teaching to New Zealand in a big way, to share what I had experienced while training and working for Power Living Australia based in Wellington. I wanted to put my whole heart into creating a community of support, connection and possibility for Wellington/New Zealand based yogis and people that was like nothing currently available: To impact mental health, to make Yoga accessible and the norm.

The biggest hurdles have been vast and varied; begging, borrowing (not quite stealing though) money to invest in buying into the business with my two co-owners Jase Te Patu and Duncan Peak, finding the confidence within myself to know that I could do this while mothering three children. Dedicating every waking hour and all of my energy over the past two years has been at times amazing, at times extremely difficult, at times a complete failure but overall deeply rewarding to see around 700 people a week walk through our doors and into what they call there sanctuary or ‘marae’. I would not have it any other way. Next to motherhood this has been the most challenging yet rewarding thing I have ever done.

What do you hope your students take away from your classes?
Wow, that’s a big question. I can only offer what and who I am when I teach. My hope is that my students are held in a way that they feel enough trust and connection to journey into themselves; their bodies at whatever pace works for them; to perhaps gain new insights that they weren’t aware of before; to evolve as the good human beings they already are and to ultimately live life in a more peaceful, powerful and purposeful way.

Who motivates and inspires you in the yoga world?
Sean Corne, for her no nonsense, grounded and real approach to impacting social change. I was lucky enough to attend her leadership and purpose training in Atlanta, U.S.A. last year. It was a really pivotal time for me in many ways and I’ll be forever greatful for her connection. On the same training I worked with Hala Khouri in Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Suzanne Sterling with sound and voice, both absolutely amazing women and teachers who I admire greatly.

Favourite quote or mantra?
This could change daily! Depending on what I’m going through I’m magnetized to different quotes/teachers. An old favourite from T.K.V. Desikachar: “The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”

How do you live your yoga off the mat?
In every way I can [because] for me off the mat is 99% of Yoga. It’s in how we relate to ourselves, to others, the awareness we are bringing in every moment, the ability to create space between the craziness of our mind and what is the actual truth. To take full responsibility for how we act or react and learn the art of space holding and responding. To notice when we are triggered, reacting and humbly remedy those reactions. One of the biggest ones in the current context of modern society is noticing judgements on ourselves and others and realising when the judgements are just a projection of what we are unwilling to see in ourselves. I haven’t mastered any of this, but I practice intentionally as much as I can and notice when I fail miserably. It’s why we call it a Yoga ‘practice’ not a Yoga ‘perfect’. Little by little honing our skills of self awareness so we can live in more harmony with the world around us.

Is meditation a part of your practice?
YES. Meditation is integral, it’s the opportunity to go deeper. Originally this was it, there were no Yoga postures or Asana, just the seat to meditate. Now we use the postures to move through what we need to so that we may come to a point of being able to be still enough to see and accept ourselves for who we truly are.

How would you describe the NZ yoga scene at present?
Varied and colourful! I love that there are so many different kinds of teachers and styles in the realm of mindful movement and conscious living. I’m coming together with an amazing group of varied Yogis in March to present LOVELAKE festival in lieu of Wanderlust not going ahead. I feel like this is an amazing opportunity for connection, community and collaboration.

YOGA = UNION.

What do you love about your part of town?
I live in Miramar, Wellington. I love that I’m far enough from the city to feel like I can refuel when I’m at home. I love that there are so many beaches in walking distance. I love our little micro climate, the amazing cafes and the fact that we live across the road from my boys’ school!


Thank you so much, Justine!

Would you like to be a Featured Yogi? We’d love to know more about you! Or is there someone you’d like to nominate … another teacher, a stupendous student? Getting to know our fellow yogis creates connection. We like that. Get in touch here.


© The Yoga Connection 2018

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