Martine Allars started yoga back in the 90s, when hyper coloured t-shirts and baggy pants were all the rage. Now a yoga veteran of 22 years – she's been a teacher for 18 of them – Martine has trained in Iyengar, Hatha and Ashtanga and completed several teaching courses. We recently chatted to this dynamic dynamo about her yoga journey and the evolution of her practice. Here's what she had to say…
What drew you to yoga?
I loved the idea of doing exercise that cleared the mind.
What is your yoga philosophy?
I relate sthira (steadiness) and sukham (ease) to everything in my practice – and in my life. The principles of staying consistent and gentle in everything I do help me keep my life balanced.
When and why did you decide to become a teacher?
It was accidental really. I had started yoga and was attending lots of classes. Knowing that I was slightly addicted, a few people I worked with at the time asked me to start teaching them at lunch. Before I knew it, I had 20 people coming to each session, so I decided it was time to do some teacher training.
What is the most valuable insight you gained from your Yoga Teacher Training?
That you are always a student first. And that learning never stops, not anywhere on your journey.
What do you feel is the most important skill a yoga instructor should possess?
The ability to listen. You can't assume anything about anyone. It's always important to take the time to listen to what your students and teachers tell you.
What has helped you improve your classes since you first started teaching?
Practice. Constantly paying attention to what you're doing and to developing yourself always carries over into your classes. I was also given the greatest tip last year: Record your class once a year to see where you're repeating yourself or not explaining things clearly.
What are some of the reasons Elixr members are choosing to try yoga?
There are a number of reasons. Some are looking for a restful exercise activity to balance out their cardio. Others want to destress. On the whole though, most students try yoga because they've heard about its health benefits.
How do you build relationships with your students?
I think of them as people just like me. We are all simply trying to do our best. Sometimes we hit the mark, sometimes we don't. It's all part of being human.
What does a successful class look like to you?
One where my students look relaxed and happy when they leave practice.
What is your greatest achievement as a yoga teacher?
That's a tough one. I still consider myself a junior teacher after 18 years of teaching and feel that I have a long way to go before I can identify one thing I would consider a great achievement.
Yoga Teacher Training at Elixr
Thinking about making the transition from student to teacher? The Elixr School of Yoga Teacher Training is an internationally recognised course for anyone keen to take their practice to the next level. Find all the details and booking information here.