Bruce SimonsBruce Simons

Halfway through my first class, it wasn’t just hot – it was hell. My brain was shutting down, it was all I could do to just breathe and stay upright. The half-naked bodies around me were doing this dance to a persistent mantra voiced by some North American beauty. I looked again at her, but she had become a blur – sweat was eating out my eyes. This was not easy, but I was a bloke and this was only yoga. “Take a deep breath and do it!” my mind grunted at me. But it didn’t get easier – it only got worse.

Finally the instruction came, lie on your back, the first ‘savasana’. Respite, well sort of, but not really – I had a heart that was still peaking from the strain, trying to break through the rib cage and seek shelter outside in the cold. The second half of the class became a haze of sweat, muscle strain and a voice that kept on demanding I do it again. Well I did survive, I walked out unsteadily, unsure about what the hell I had gone through – yet I was resolved to try it one more time. And as we walked to the car my friend told me she would never come back and she didn’t (well not for a few months anyway). But when she did she loved it just like me.

Several years on and now it is hard to imagine life without a staple diet of Bikram Yoga. Sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for brunch and then there is supper. Daily sometimes, and very rarely less than five times a week. After four years I got an eye for those more complex poses, and now my body is happily feeding on those extra stretches. And like so many of the 26 postures, I used to think they were impossible, but with practice and effort my body is slowly getting to approximate a likeness to those pictures on our wall poster.  My resolution has been to work much harder on those postures I thought were impossible for my battered body, and millimetre by millimetre they are getting better.

After a couple of years of practicing I had a question for myself. How can I make sure I keep doing yoga for the rest of my life? The answer was simple, “Teach it.” So in 2009 I went to teacher training and came back and stepped on the podium. I now observe students in the room making changes for themselves, a rich reward we see so frequently as teachers. The changes I see are far too numerous to even start describing, but that smile as people walk out with their taller and straighter frames is a good start.

Yes yoga does change your life, I have seen it so many times. But there is that nagging frustration as a teacher that I see so many people try it out yet never take it into their lives. I was lucky that just before I began my journey into yoga I read a little book that had this piece of wisdom: “Do yoga for one year. Do it without judgement, just do it regularly. After one year make your call.” Yoga is very powerful, there will be changes. It is simple. All you have to do is keep doing the postures. And being a bloke, I always thought yoga wasn’t for me, “I’m not flexible enough, I can’t even touch my toes.” I now realise that the less flexible you are the more you have to gain, and it is far easier for a less flexible person to see and feel the difference.

I do a lot of yoga and also teach it, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to spare, but there are some bits of Auckland that I love. The food – the variety, with traditional dishes from all over the world. All those different restaurants remind me of our studio’s classes – sometimes we can have as many as 20 different cultures in the room at one time, a rich place to be.  If I’m not eating or doing yoga, you will find me out and about around Auckland, camera in hand.  To see my work, check out www.brucesimonsphotography.com.

Well if you’re contemplating another class, come! The rewards will far outweigh your investment. And if you have a question at all about your yoga, ask and I will do my best to answer.

Bruce Simons (Studio Manager)
Bikram Yoga Teacher Training – Spring 2009
Centre for Contemporary Yoga Studies 200 hours – 2015

Gula KaraevaGula Karaeva

Inferno Hot Pilates has us hooked as it has hooked others in cities around the world. Introducing Gyulnara (Gula) Karaeva our senior Hot Pilates teacher.

Gula has an impressive background in Sports Acrobatics and as a performer for Cirque du Soleil for many years. Check out her website to see what a remarkable performer she is, www.gyulnarakaraeva.com

Gula trained as a teacher in Inferno Hot Pilates at the originating studio in Las Vegas in 2012.

Luckily for us, she has chosen New Zealand and Auckland as a place to live.

Come along. We call her the ‘Siberian Express’ and she is all packaged up and delivered to you for any of her exceptional classes.

So expect some pain, some love, and plenty of humour. Come stretch to music.

Hot Pilate’s appeals to non-yogis as well, so bring someone who swears by other routines, they will love it.

Raewyn ClarkRaewyn Clark

Bikram Yoga Teacher Training – Spring 2009

Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training – 200 hours – 2016

I have been practising yoga for nearly ten years.  Many moons ago now, I worked as a lawyer in a large corporate law firm.  I craved something to help me calm my busy, stressed mind – my life felt complicated, intense, pressured.  I needed something to counterbalance.  Going to the gym felt great physically but wasn’t giving me the mental stillness and space that I craved.

I started to attend Bikram Yoga classes (our studio’s Hot classes) every now and again, at first…but I soon found myself wanting to practice more and more, and shifting my schedule every way I could to make class!  After a few months, I gave up my gym membership and yoga was all I did.  I was in the best shape I had ever been in.   Mentally, I was changing too.  I began to recognise that I needed to embrace another side of myself and to break free from my job and the way of life it entailed.  Not an easy step, as my identity was closely wrapped up in being a lawyer.

In 2009, I trained as a Bikram Yoga teacher not quite knowing where it would lead.  Since that time, I have travelled and taught yoga in France the US, and NZ.  I have also had a family (3 kids later…).  Parenting is a major part of my life right now.  The holistic self-care that yoga provides is essential for giving me the inner resources to parent well.

The path of the teacher is one of self-discovery and continual learning.  As I have found my presence, my voice and my path as a teacher, I have simultaneously found these things in my life outside the room.  I think many yogis would recognise this pattern – what we experience inside the room is mirrored in our life outside the room.

Bikram Yoga has been for me the most wonderful doorway into the world of yoga.  I continue to love and benefit from a regular practice of this style.  More recently, I have trained with the Centre for Contemporary Yoga Studies and this has broadened my horizons still further.

My mission as a teacher of yoga is to be someone that supports and guides people on their yoga journey with skill, enthusiasm, presence, wisdom and humour.  In 2017, we opened the doors to Sweat Yoga, Newmarket.  It is an honour to serve you.

Onny Faleafa

Onny Faleafa

From soccer to sirsasana, Onny brings balance to his practice as a former representative New Zealand soccer player, who brings his trademark energy and enthusiasm for life and learning to the mats of Sweat Yoga. Onny began practising in 2010 and teaching in 2014. His passion for yoga has enabled him to unlock new opportunities in work, life and play. Onny is also Founder and Director of Nido – an insurance and home loans business based in Grey Lynn that incorporates mindfulness, health and wellness into client conversations to enable them to see the bigger pitch in living and leading a happy and healthy life. Nido’s work focuses on supporting young professionals, families and business owners.

Balancing his business commitments and family commitments with his three young kids, Onny is a firm believer that yoga has enabled him to discover the philosophies in motion that allow him to both succeed in these areas of life, while enjoying every moment encountered along the way.

A proud yoga practitioner, Onny loves being part of the Sweat Yoga community both as a student and a teacher and looks forward to hanging out or upside down soon!

Emily MaireEmily Maire

Emily’s classes are playful and powerful and she loves sharing with her students the endless amount of possibilities when you drop your limiting thoughts and step into your power!  Her classes are dynamic, fun and strong and will typically leave you floating on a cloud of bliss.

Emily took her first yoga class in 2005 and hasn’t looked back since then.  Initially her practice helped her navigate a highly stressful corporate career, however once she discovered how much health, happiness and vitality yoga could bring both on and off the mat, it slowly started spreading to more and more aspects of her life.

Emily now balances teaching yoga with running a business and of course being a mum to two beautiful young daughters.

Expect to smile, sweat and play in any of Emily’s classes as she challenges you to discover more freedom and possibility on your mat and in your life.

Seon Venville

‘By chance’ (if there is such a thing), 😉 I practised my first class back in 2004, in the original Eastwest Studio in Newmarket. A friend took me along as he worked at the place right next door the studio (and had been himself); He’d been saying for ages that he thought I’d like it.

He was right! I LOVED it, instantly.

Always up for a good challenge, I loved the combination of both the physical and mental that the Bikram classes provided. I practised on and off over the next few years, and then started working front desk (at Newmarket) in 2007. I found myself at Teacher Training that following year in the Spring intake, 2008; I couldn’t have been more surprised! I wasn’t exactly sure where it would lead, but it just felt like ‘the next right thing’ to do…So, I did it.

Since then I’ve taught all around NZ, in France and in Scotland (if you’re ever going to Glasgow, let me know – they have an awesome studio and community there, I will put you in touch!). Yoga (my practise & teaching), has been very much part of the journey, in learning more about myself, and life, and the interaction between the two.

If I’m not yoga-ing, I’ll likely be coaching, around health/body-image/self- love, and learning more about people and the(ir) human experience, which I love! The interaction between mind and body fascinates me; And how that affects the connection we feel with ourselves and with our greater surroundings. Yoga, along with many other mind-related learnings & other physical practises also, have all been pivotal to where I find myself now, in my life, my body and my mind; It’s all connected!

Tyrone SmithTyrone Smith

Born and raised in Durban, South Africa then immigrated to New Zealand in 2005 and now living in Auckland, New Zealand. I was introduced to Bikram yoga in 2006 and sure enough my first class kicked my ass. I remember coming out and asking my friend “what just happened there” I went back for my second class and was hooked. I decided to do the teacher training in 2008 and have been teaching all over the world ever since. I believe that the Bikram beginners series is a great introduction to yoga for people that have never tried yoga and  I think it’s really good for people that might be recovering from injuries and need to move little slower. Come try it and make up your own mind.