We are so excited to have Bianca Machliss and the Synergy Vinyasa system join the Elixr Yoga stable.
Can you tell us about your style and how it started?
The Synergy method was developed by myself and Simon Borg OIivier over a 10 year period about 20 years ago! We both went back to university to study Physiotherapy to become better yoga teachers. Practicing the different styles of yoga around at the time - Iyengar and Ashtanga, we fused what we found to be the most beneficial aspects of the styles and physiotherapy knowledge to make a unique style that is based on a sound knowledge of Anatomy & Physiology. It evolved through practice and teaching many students over many years into what it is today.
The Synergy style is a dynamic flowing style that is taught progressively over a 9 week period ideally, teaching the practitioner how to link the postures with breath so that it's a moving meditative practice. Each posture has a simple version and a more complex version and the practitioner is encouraged to do what is appropriate for them. All poses can be modified if needed. The idea is to come out of the practice feeling energised and alert, yet calm and balanced in the nervous system. None of the poses are held very long in our sequences to keep it moving and fluid and reduce the risk of injury.
What are some of the health benefits of a Synergy practice?
The Synergy practice is designed to make you stronger, fitter and more flexible - although the flexibility is to be achieved slowly over time. The postures work through dynamic range of movement rather than just statically holding them at one point, so in this way the Synergy method is designed to be functional and in keeping with improving strength for functional activity through range of motion. The aim of moving continuously is to improve circulation which is important for cleansing and helping the body to stay healthy.
Who is it suited for?
Anyone can do the practice. It's for beginners and experienced practitioners to be doing the same practice together - each choosing what is the appropriate version of the pose for them in that moment. My greatest joy is having people from vastly different age groups, fitness and flexibility all doing the practice together and all doing their version of it!
Why do you think Elixr members should try a class?
It’s something different that I think complements all the other amazing things on offer at Elixr. The Synergy style takes a few go's to get it. Your first class is the hardest so I encourage Elixr members to come more than once. It doesn’t take long before you understand what to do, but the first time can feel a little bit challenging.
What would you tell a beginner about yoga?
To follow me!! As the teacher I will be with you doing the simple versions - so don’t look at the others, look only at me and try to just do the simple versions first. If you feel to try the harder versions then thats ok, but we don’t hold them long.
When did you start yoga? What drew you to it?
I started yoga when I was 19. Simon was my boyfriend and he did a LOT of yoga. Prior to this, I was into sports and had NO idea what yoga was. It didn't take long and I was practicing 7 days a week, twice a day….I loved it!
What benefits have you seen in your own life from nearly 40 years of practice?
It's such a gift I’ve been given to have yoga as part of my life. I didn’t seek it, nor did I seek to become a teacher. I owe my health and my life to this practice….I shudder to think where I would be physically and emotionally had I not encountered yoga and all that it has taught me, allowed me to experience and kept me in good health along the way.
Do you have a favourite yoga posture and if so, why?
No not really. I like to not really be attached to the postures, and never really expect that I can actually do any of them - so when I can its a nice surprise! A gift! I have found in the past having favourites only produces problems.
How do you keep up your enthusiasm for practice?
Sometimes I let the practice go a bit and do other things and that always brings renewed enthusiasm for the practice and gratitude. Teaching also keeps me enthusiastic as it's so rewarding when people benefit from the practice, and seeing and hearing about their joy is a wonderful gift.
Do you do any other activities beside yoga?
Yes I play tennis, walk and am dying to carve out some time to do the classes at Elixr - they look amazing.
What is your favourite yoga quote?
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga” Yogi Bhajan
If you could learn off any teacher in the world from any time, who would you pick and why?
I always love to spend time with my teacher Clive Sheridan. Just his presence brings joy into the world and reminds me to be present.