Act of Love | Yoga at Home with Ali Browning
Alice is a yogi and a writer. We have been following Ali on Instagram for a little while, and when we reached out to her to contribute to our Acts of Love series, turns out Ali is a fan of ours too, treasuring a few NMJ pieces of her own. With many people moving (or starting!) their practice at home, we asked Ali to share with us her favourite morning and evening yoga poses, and chat about her yoga journey.
Ali's three favourite morning poses:
1. To energise, Crescent Lunge. Hold for around 8 deep, slow breaths.
2. Twisted Thigh Stretch Lunge, to open tight quadriceps and add in a twist and rinse for the spine, abdominals and chest. Take 8 intentional breaths here.
3. Garudasana, again 8 breaths in and out of the nose here. This pose increases focus and balance while stretching the thighs, hips, shoulders and upper back.
Ali's three favourite evening poses:
These unwinding poses are all to drop into rest and digest, to ground energy and prepare us for sleep after a long day, and they can all be held for between 2 and 10 minutes as they are passive and very often supported by props.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I live a stone's throw from Manly beach, 1 minute stroll from my favourite coffee spot and I share with my boyfriend, my dog Frankie and a considerable amount of plants.
Yoga, I took my first class at 16 years old and hated it. After a huge hiatus, I returned to the mat at about 28 years old and I fell in love, I fell hard.
What started you on your path to yoga?
A willingness to evolve.
I was in my mid-to-late twenties and desperately searching for a lifeline. Less devoted to the physical developments and more so to the emotional and mental. Yoga challenged me to be less reactive and more responsive, which, at that point in my life was a non-negotiable for my growth.
What's one important life lesson you try to share as a yoga teacher?
Truth ~ Satya
A neverending check in with myself:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it useful?
Is it kind?
With many people moving (or starting!) their practice at home, what is your advice for becoming both mentally and physically prepared for yoga at home?
Set up a space that you adore. Sure, most days you need to nudge a big pile of clean washing to the side and possibly lock a curious pet or partner in the other room to set up a physical space. It only needs to be a space for you.
I pick a handful of frangipanis from my back garden and place them in my grandmother's china teacup on the sideboard, near my mat. It doesn’t need to be fancy, nor insta-worthy, just a simple acknowledgment that this is a time that you have carved out and devoted to yourself. Your breath, your body, the presence pulsing through.
Can you tell us more about your online yoga classes and how you motivate your clients through these tough times?
My online yoga classes are a sanctuary, they are found on my website, side by side my writing. Classes range from 20 minutes, upwards to 60 minutes, from Yin and Restorative when your physical and subtle bodies crave extra TLC, stillness and space, through to dynamic Vinyasa to develop physical strength, flexibility and focus.
The practise of Yoga, whichever lineage, is to uncover steadiness. In turbulent times, our work is simply to show up to our mat and allow our practice to lower our anxiety levels and ground our energy.
What is the best part of your day at the moment?
The best part of my day at the moment is being woken by the sun streaming into my bedroom, my love on my left side and my pooch (fluffy love) at my feet, knowing that I have the time to slow down. Some days I snuggle under the covers and get some extra Zzz’s, others I sneak into my little home studio still pyjama-clad and sip on tea as I yawn my body awake.
How do you believe is the best way to act in love, either for yourself or others?
Radical acts of love include and are not limited to: Making a cup of tea for someone you love, cuddles, listening with an open heart and holding every other being with loving kindness.
Radical acts of SELF love include: Holding yourself with relentless tenderness and compassion, understanding that often rolling out your mat is the most difficult part and sometimes just letting the tears flow without needing to mop them up with justification and apology.
To learn more about Alice, or join her for online yoga, click here.