An interview by Judy Vizarri in July 2018.
Amanda Owen is a citizen of both the United Kingdom and Australia. She has recently returned to Australia to settle down on a 12 acre property in Cottles Bridge. She says she loves Melbourne's outer-eastern quasi-bush living and is keen to make the most of her new space.
She has had some experience tutoring yoga for Northcote U3A students and, as she is eager to become involved in our community, joining Nillumbik U3A made sense to her. She's jumped into her membership 'at the deep end' by volunteering to tutor a yoga class in her own studio in Term 3.
Amanda is a slight woman with delicate features and a disarming English accent. She's a trained acrobat and actor who has travelled worldwide as an acrobat, performer and mask actor at many well-known venues including The Melbourne Comedy Festival and Sydney Opera House. When she tells me this I reflect that, although petite, she moves with an energy and strength which speak of confidence in herself and her body and, when I learn later (via Google) that she was also a bare-back horse rider, I'm not surprised.
But, she says, "I ended up with a bit of a bad back, so that's how I started yoga." That was 27 years ago. Once she discovered that it promoted an amazing "space in her body", she was hooked, so much so that she trained to become an instructor and then undertook further training to learn about medical conditions and their treatment through yoga. She has explored its history and philosophy as well as its practice. Now yoga's physical, mental and spiritual disciplines are a "very" important part of her life.
I asked Amanda how she will structure her classes. She says that she is planning small, intimate sessions which "focus on breath-centred postures and mindfulness, promoting ease of movement and comfort in the body by mobilising stiff joints, relaxing tight muscles and revitalising from the inside out." She likens each session to a meal – the main course coming with a sprinkling of yoga philosophy and followed by a dessert of relaxation. And she's keen to modify postures according to individual needs so that the sessions will be appropriate for experienced and beginners. She stresses that participants don't have to be strong or flexible – all they need to be able to do is breathe! Her dream is to utilise her beautiful bush setting to enable people to experience yoga in classes, one-to-one consultations and at workshops.
Amanda is currently learning Sanskrit (an ancient Indo-Aryan language in which many of the yogic texts were written), she loves cryptic crosswords, and she's a keen reader too.