INTERVIEW WITH YOGA INSTRUCTOR SARAH DUNNING

High Voltage is going back to it’s roots. That’s right; it’s another interview! Today we’re chatting with Sarah Dunning, a New Zealander turned Athenian, with wellness and yoga on her mind. She used to own a restaurant (don’t worry, her recipes will be showing up on the blog soon), and she’s a total power female, so of course, we picked her brain.

HV: Hi Sarah! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Tell us a little bit about how you ended up in Athens.

Sarah Dunning: I grew up in New Zealand, so you’ll notice when you come to my yoga classes that I have a British-type (or Flight of the Conchords-type) accent. I came to Athens, GA as a Rotary International Scholar and was only intending to be here for a year. During my year here, I applied for the graduate program in Physics and ended up completing a PhD in physics here. 

HV: What does wellness mean to you?

SD: More than anything, it means feeling at peace with things. 

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Did she mention she used to own a restaurant? Keep an eye out for her recipes on the blog!

HV: How did you get started practicing yoga?

SD: I was curious. It was something I’d heard about, but I didn’t really “get”. When I finally made it to a class, it was nice. In a “that was a nice thing to have done today” kind of way. It took a long time for me to be consistent with it, and when I did start going more often, things began to click more.

HV: Do you enjoy meditation?

SD: Yes, and if you’re new to it, my favorite infographic is here. What I’ve learnt is that there are many ways to meditate, and it pays off to write them all down, try each of them out over time, and see which ones really make you feel good. For me, it’s a chance to engage the relaxation response in my body, and practice doing just one thing. Practitioners find it helps manage stress, improve task efficiency, improves relationships, increases focus and self-control. Just by doing less. Nifty.

HV: For our readers who aren’t as well versed in the areas of yoga, meditation, and wellness, how can they get started?

SD: Knowing yourself and your tendencies helps. This goes for any habit-forming. If you find – like most people – that a group helps you stick with it and practice, then 

  1. Sign up to a class in town, and go with some regularity. (yoga) (meditation)
  2. Have yoga dates with friends. 
  3. Consider private group instruction (you, & up to 4 friends), which tailors the practice to your schedule and needs.  

Or, if you’re self motivated, you can-

  1. Develop a home practice, which can be done anytime, even without a mat (really!). 
  2. Download a yoga and a meditation app
  3. Teach yourself from GOOD books. I’m a big fan of books for learning.
  4. Stream yoga classes through yogavibes.com or yogaglo.com

HV: What’s the most important thing yoga has taught you?

SD: That everything you need is already with you. And I still have to remind myself of that. I’ve got a ways to go! So much of our self-soothing is with externals: food, drinks, shopping, a lotion, etc. Yoga teaches you how to slow yourself down with breath, with poses, with a soothing flow or an amped-up challenge. It’s always there.

HV: How can our Athens readers get involved with your classes?

SD: For December you can:

  1. Be taught privately (1-5 people)
  2. Give a gift certificate to a friend for private yoga. (email me)
  3. Attend my 9.15 am class on Thursday mornings at Studio, 675 Pulaski St #1600, Athens GA 30601 which is $12 cash, drop-in. This class will also happen on New Years Day.

In January, I’m teaching yoga in Hawaii and New Zealand, as well as training a little more myself. I’ll be back in Athens in February, and we’ll repeat the mindfulness and the ultimate hot chocolate workshop that’s currently in-session, as well as all of the above. 

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Isn’t she a total babe? Find Sarah here.

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Miranda Feneberger

Miranda Feneberger

In the middle of an existential crisis. If you have one of those super long phone chargers can you send it to me?