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August 1, 2021

The freeing and Flo of breath

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Flo Fenton. Photo supplied

Mandy Nolan

It’s not every day you meet a yoga teacher called Flo.

Ironically Flo Fenton’s name reflects her philosophy, and this yoga teacher, trained by masters of Iyengar, Astanga, Satyanda and Viniyoga traditions, is all about deepening the awareness between the body, the breath and the mind.

The style of yoga that Flo teaches is therapeutic Vinyassa Yoga.

She says, ‘It generally means we have a focus on connecting movements and breath and make sure the practice is safe and beneficial for whoever is doing it.’

‘We make sure there is no strain on the body. One of the main principles is moving energy through the body.

‘A lot of people think that yoga should be like you are at the gym, but doing yoga like that only gives you a small number of benefits. It’s not actually how yoga was intended. Classical yoga is for the mind.’

It’s hard to convince me about yoga. I’ve always felt resistance. Not just in the body, but in my mind. But Flo may have just inadvertently convinced me to give it another go. Yoga that feels like some sort of headstand comp has always left me a bit cold. Well, I’ll be honest: intimidated and frightened. This 95-kilo woman is used to standing on toes, not on her own head.

But mind-freeing yoga? Who doesn’t want some of that!

‘The reason we practise yoga is to free the mind from distraction so we can meditate. It‘s about being able to do our life. If we are upset and distressed we don’t make good decisions,’ says Flo. ‘Yoga means union, and it’s about combining awareness within the body.’

Flo believes the stresses of modern life really impact on this union.

‘We have such scheduled lives,’ she says.

‘We tend to live by lists and ticking things off and every day we have tasks we think of doing. The most important thing we do on our list is to take time out and replenish, otherwise we run on empty and nothing we do comes from a place where we can make good decisions or interact in an harmonious way. We see things through a screen of our stuff.’

Flo believes that in just an hour and a half a week you can change that.

‘If you give yourself that time you can let go of responsibility and let go.

‘We often don’t know where the pain is in the body and we don’t listen – how to stop and be still. When we move the body and use the breath we are switching off the stress chemicals and switching on the happy chemicals and the endorphins.’

At the upcoming Spirit Festival Flo will be running workshops that focus on the awareness of the breath entitled The Power of the Breath.

To find out more about Byron Spirit Festival, running April 20 till 22, visit www.spiritfestival.com.au.

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