Main Feature – A personal perspective
If you had been to all my classes this week you might have seen a recurring face…. Christiane Steinward is a yoga teacher and physio student from Perth who has sat in with me this week.
“My name is Christiane. I have a special interest in low back pain having experienced it since a teenager. Initially it was something terrible, scary and disabling. Sometimes I couldn’t even walk the pain was so bad. When I began to practice Yoga to manage the pain I was experiencing, I couldn’t believe the powerful effect simple positions had on my body (not to mention the rest of my life!). Through Yoga and meditation practice though, I now view low back as one of my greatest gifts and teachers. It has shaped my life in ways I never could have imagined were possible for me and has ultimately led me here to Yogaphysio.
Having been so intrigued by yoga I enrolled in a two year teacher training program, in Sydney. The style I trained in is quite ‘gentle’ with a typical class including posture (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama) and the use of sound/chanting. Flowing movements linked precisely with the breath are emphasized with practices tailored towards the individual. Personal rather than group practice is considered to provide most therapeutic benefit.
I graduated from my teacher training in 2006 but still wanted to know more! My studies in Sydney and India had inspired in me a deep interest in Yoga as a therapy. Having some understanding of the classical ‘eastern’ model, I now wanted to understand the body from the western medical perspective and this eventually lead me to enroll in physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy introduced me to different ways of understanding and treating pain and chronic pain disorders which I found totally fascinating, especially considering my own experience. The ‘biopsychosocial’ approach (a holistic model considering the whole person as well as their life circumstances) advocated by Curtin is very similar to the Yogic view and is consistent with the most up to date knowledge of pain.
The week I have spent at Yogaphysio has been deeply inspiring, and an invaluable learning experience on many levels... as well as being the most enjoyable week of my university experience so far. I knew it was going to be good from the amount of hugs I received from the wonderful teacher trainees the first time I entered the centre!
Participating in classes this week has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a lot about Yoga, myself and my practice, in particular strength and alignment. It has been great to learn how to integrate a therapeutic focus into the group class setting and to see the healing and support accessed by working together as a community ... all accomplished with a generous dose of wisdom and humor.
I really look forward to keeping in touch with Tam and visiting Yogaphysio again before too long.
Namaste - Christiane