Louise Heathcote – Yoga


Written in June 2023.

Nillumbik U3A membership

I moved to Cottles Bridge with my partner and three children in 1998.

I joined Nillumbik U3A because I was recently retired and wanted to connect with community, teach and learn.

A little about yourself

We moved here to work in the wine industry on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley. Around 2002, I commenced work at Eltham High School as a casual relief teacher – my background is teaching Art and Technology (formerly – Art & Craft). Bringing my family up in a rural environment and being close to nature are important to me. There is a good sense of community here and a positive attitude towards caring for the environment.

What skills have enabled you to volunteer to tutor your course?

I have practiced yoga since 1992, I found it helpful in preparing for the birth of my first child. I have continued regular practice ever since and, over time, my ability to move has improved greatly. I have found it beneficial to keep my body moving and to stay balanced. I find it calms the mind. Yoga is grounding and healing.

I have had various teachers and mentors over the years and practiced many different styles of yoga, as well as staying in an ashram just out of Melbourne and attending an ashram for several weeks in Rishikesh, India.

I have completed 200 hours teacher training at Byron Yoga Centre and completed courses in teaching yoga to teens and yin yoga. In 2010, I completed a Masters of Counselling and began working with adults living with mental illness. I have also worked at Eltham High School as a Counsellor and Wellbeing Leader. This background has taught me that it is important to be mindful/meditate/breathe or just be in the present moment every day, as much as possible. In teaching yoga, I hope to share some of this with the people who practice with me. Yoga can help us move freely, simply and easily through our lives.

Your class structure

We are inside. We begin with acknowledgement of Country.

We centre ourselves with a calming breath/prana practice, usually seated or lying down. 10 minutes of gentle, slow, warm-up moving all joints, activating muscle groups, 30-35 minutes asana (yoga poses) practice, focusing on positioning, technique, always including at least one round of Sun Salutation, 10 minute cool down and finally 5-10 minute shavasana (relaxation, meditation, breathing practice). We move through various, simple and accessible seated and standing poses. Participants are encouraged to move and work at their own pace, taking into consideration the limitations of their bodies and adapting as needed so as not to cause injury. Modifications are offered. Clear verbal cues are offered as well as demonstration.

What do you hope your students achieve through attending your course?

Balance, peace and a feeling of equilibrium. To pause and take stock. I hope they learn to listen to and understand their bodies. Perhaps they might begin their own yoga practice at home as part of their every-day routine, simply because they feel rewarded by the benefit of that.

Why did you volunteer to run this class?

I enjoy sharing the benefits of yoga with others.