Kirsty Woodward

I have been travelling and teaching private, corporate and group classes with my own little business Pura Aura Yoga.

Years teaching:

Years practicing:
About 10 years now.

Favourite yoga style:
A juicy slow flow vinyasa with time for restorative at the end.

Favourite asana at the moment?
Chakravakasana – Cat/Cow pose. I could do this for hours. I am loving the full range of movement you can experience. Mixing it up, moving super mindfully though each vertebrae and free flowing wherever my hips want to go.

Favourite time of day to practice?
Vinyasa as the sun comes up and yin in the evening. I always wish I could be teleported straight to bed …

What advice would you give someone new to yoga?
Yoga is for everyone. Give a few classes a go and keep persevering. There are so many styles of yoga and incredible teachers – it just may take a few classes to find your fit!

What impact has yoga made in your life?
A regular practice allows me to come back to myself. I have been living on yachts offshore where space is limited and you can’t always just go for a walk to clear your head. My mat became my sanctuary for my soul and body. I suffered a back injury and I was worried my practice would be over forever. Yoga taught me patience, to be gentle on myself mentally and physically. Good things take time.

Some days I will just lie on my mat and hold my own space. In contrast, I will engage in a sweaty flow and love feeling the physical and emotional strength that comes with yoga.

What drew you to teach in prisons?
I wanted to share my practice and volunteer within the community in some way. I was interested to see who may benefit attending classes but may be restricted to do so. I started researching online and getting statistics of yoga in prisons worldwide. The positive effects from yoga on prisoners’ mental health and integration into society are incredible and I wanted to get involved with this change. New Zealand has a fantastic programme called the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust if you want to read further!

How do you prepare for teaching your classes?
Usually I am surrounded by my dog and cat who also love to lay on my mat and brainstorm with me! I think of who may be attending the class first and the environment I am teaching in. I often have a muscle group or theme in mind and flow based on these concepts, pausing to write a few notes. For vinyasa, I think about a peak posture and work backwards – prepping the body for the asana at the beginning and then making my way to a well deserved savasnana. I find recording a time-lapse of my planning helps me have something to reference later if I’m in the zone and just want to keep going. You can often find me talking out loud to myself on the way to class going through my plan!

What is the most exciting thing about the yoga and wellness world right now?
There is so much to learn and share! Despite the problems we are facing globally, we are lucky to have access to so many resources online. You can never get bored with an interest in wellness as the industry is forever evolving and there is always room for conversation and education.

Is meditation a part of your day?
I like to weave mediation throughout my day, not necessarily in a traditional seated way. Moving consciously, connecting my breath and body resonates with me more at the moment. I enjoy absorbing in nature and being mindful when going for daily walks, watching the sun set and rise and tuning into the waves.

What did your lockdown practice look like?
I was over in the UK in a tiny apartment. Most of the time it was at the end of our bed where I could just squeeze a mat on the floor. I adapted my practice to use the walls and bed to get deeper into asana – it was a challenge! Upon returning to New Zealand and going into government quarantine I spent hours in the hotel trying new online classes and getting my body moving.

What do you love about your part of town?
I feel so fortunate to have come home to Narrow Neck on the North Shore. We are close to beautiful beaches and mountains. Every time I look out to Rangitoto my heart feels so full and my soul replenished. A lot of my special people live around here too.

Thank you so much, Kirsty!

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 2020