In The Spotlight - Ana Chidzoy Yoga
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Ana Chidzoy Yoga
Ana Chidzoy delivers yoga workshops and teacher training in studios across South Wales, and runs yoga retreats to some of the most beautiful, exotic locations around the world.
I am lucky enough to practice yoga with Ana herself at HotPod Yoga in Swansea. I cannot begin to tell you the difference it has made to me and the way I live my life.
Let me introduce you to the wonderful lady herself:
“I had never practised yoga before. It was while I was working for the YMCA in Swansea, teaching fitness, Zumba and learn to dance classes to children, that I was asked if I would like to do teacher training in yoga and to provide yoga classes.
Initially, it wasn’t something which appealed to me, nevertheless, I went on the course and a light switched on! I was like “wow! why am I feeling like this?” It struck me that very first day of the course that this was something I wanted to do.
Once I completed the course, I was so keen to share everything I had already learnt from doing the teacher training, that I booked myself straight onto another teaching course, to build upon the first course. Also it showed me just what yoga could do and how better I could share that.
I’ve been teaching yoga ever since. The way that I teach, I am also learning at the same time. So when we’re in a class together, I’m learning from you while you’re learning from me - that is how I’ve developed my teaching style. Everything I learn about yoga, I share it straight away.
The obvious benefits of yoga are increased flexibility, increased strength and core strength - the muscles deep down inside us strengthen, as well as the outside muscles.
Another benefit is the calm and clearer thinking; the ability to make better choices, and some people’s eating habits start to improve as they become more aware.
After six years of training and teaching, there seems to be the same pattern. People love the physical results but very soon they realise that it’s not just the physical. They realise “I’m much calmer and I’m a much nicer person.”
Imagine we’re in a tough pose and really turn on that breath and you really do the deep breathing; then you are sending messages to the brain and the muscles to relax. You can achieve the same benefit and effects off your yoga mat during the day when you’re in a stressful situation - if you turn the breath on you can bring that stressful situation into balance.
And that is the secret, which isn’t a secret at all! It’s the breath. And we can all do that.
A year into teaching, I was in a steam room, thinking it would be lovely if I could do some stretches now that my body was relaxed and warm. There was no one else in the steam room so I did some stretches which made me think how great it would be if we could do this as a class.
I had never tried a hot yoga class before and as there wasn’t one in the area, I started looking for studios that I could convert into a hot yoga studio. Unfortunately it would be expensive to kit out with the insulation and heaters.
A colleague of mine came across an article about HotPod Yoga. I wrote to the founders explaining why they should consider letting me franchise from them - they hadn’t yet had any franchisees and I soon became their first HotPod franchise.
I went to visit them and to take part in my first HotPod Yoga class. I felt amazing afterwards, and was so inspired and keen to bring it to the local area, that I set up my first HotPod Yoga class at the YMCA in Swansea.
I started out with five classes a week; within a couple of weeks that had doubled to ten classes a week. And it kept on building and growing.
After six months, it became apparent that I needed my own designated space and so I moved to Madison House, Orchard Street, Swansea where I run 34 classes a week.
People say that going into the pod is like going into the womb. You are nurtured and cared for, and it’s dark so you don’t feel that anyone is looking at you. You go into your own little world where you don’t worry about comparing yourself to others. That’s when you can really drop back into yourself and be happy with where and who you are.
You can’t be bad at yoga. Yoga is about being in the moment, being present and connecting your mind and the body together. We can all do that, regardless of whether you can do the ‘perfect pose’.
People get hooked by yoga from HotPod but there is so much more to yoga than just a class. I’ve started doing workshops where I hold retreats, travelling to places like India, Mexico, St Lucia, where we explore lots of different aspects of yoga and meditation.
For the last four years I’ve also co-hosted with my friend Jamie Blowers, Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training, training almost 40 teachers in the surrounding areas. Some of which I have now spread into HotPod as I like to use the teachers I have trained, and we now have another two pods opened in Carmarthen and Haverfordwest.
It’s taken a while trying to find the right rhythm and the right place, but we are building steadily and are able to offer people more classes and flexibility, so they can come to classes at 7am, lunchtime, evening, as many classes as day as they want.
There are three different classes on the schedule:
Slow and steady, very focused on the breath, where we stay in poses for longer. I think it’s the more challenging of the classes because you don’t have the distraction of moving to keep your mind on where you’re at; so you just have to be ‘mind, breath and body’. From a yogic point of view, the challenge of the class is that it’s the easiest place for your mind to wander.
Our signature flow that HotPod created. This is much more movement, with more switching between poses. Maybe only staying in a pose for two or three breaths before moving on to the next one. It’s all about flow.
Focus on being able to flow even more, from pose to pose, so the pace is quicker, and we are also trying to find the muscles which help us to float into that handstand. This is much more dynamic and good fun too.
I am so happy with how everything is going and we receive such good, positive feedback. My passion is teaching and being here day to day, seeing the people and making sure they get what they need.
My dream is to continue doing that.”
Ana has an introductory offer which is £12 for seven days of yoga. This is an offer you do not want to miss. So to change your life and start your yoga journey, you need to get in touch with Ana at:
www.anachidzoy.com - Classes, retreats, workshops and more with Ana
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