This week's Yoga Pic of the Week comes from Sally Mustang, a spirited Australian yogini, passionate about living an authentic yogic lifestyle. Along with featuring her artful pics, we wanted to share this article about Sally that was recently published in MINC Magazine. Yoga, art, nature and a journey towards self-discovery is what the article is all about. Check it out below....words by Alexandra Goodwin, pictures by Sally Mustang (Botham).
Yoga is a practice that is enjoyed by many for its physical, mental and spiritual benefits. It is a practice that is grounded in heightening one's emotional and metaphysical understanding of themselves and the world around them, rather than simply bettering one's physique.
One person you understands this better than most is Sally Botham, who after discovering yoga at 17 years old has immersed herself in the practice and now gifts others with the all encompassing benefits of it.
"Yoga for me is about being the best possible person I can be, living in the moment and treating my body with respect,: says Sally. "I have a happy, healthy lifestyle and encourage this to my students. Eat colours, be creative, smile and live outdoors."
It seems that it takes a journey of self-discovery to reach a point where you can really recognize and appreciate the value in yourself and the beauty that surrounds you. It is a journey that perhaps seems unfathomable and unreachable until you being it and it is a journey that Sally has experienced and continues to experience everyday and strives to show others.
"Yoga encourages us to live in the moment, presently, not before or later. Creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment," says Sally. "Yoga helps remind me to choose a positive thought, breathe deeply, appreciate the moment and cherish the simple things, the sunrise and sunset."
"I hope to inspire people to live a colourful, vibrant lifestyle, gaze at the stars, travel, create good energy and look after the planet. In general just be happy."
Sally became a yoga teacher after incorporating it into her life while travelling. "When I travelled Australia, yoga became part of my day to day life and I took up a regular practice," she recalls.
"Then I moved to Margaret River and my yoga teacher and mentor there, Hayley Maynard, had a huge impact and influence in the style I teach and in the way I now view the world," says Sally. "She encouraged me to do my yoga training, so after a year of working with her, I went to Bali to complete my certificate and training."
The style Sally practices and teaches at her yoga studio, Lunar Yoga Studio, is Vinyasa Flow in which movement is synchronized to the breath with the poses and movements flowing smoothly and becoming almost like a graceful dance.
Her personal style, however, breaks away from convention offering more energy and pizazz. "My style of teaching is sometimes a little different to other teachers, my classes have a lot of energy and are strong, challenging and playful, which I guess just reflects my energy," she says with a laugh. "I couldn't teach a serious, calm, zen style class because it's just not me...Imagine me bouncing around trying to get people to chill when I can hardly contain my excitement."
Her alternative outlook and style sees Sally incorporate several unorthodox but inspired elements into her teaching and practice. Art, food and nature are all fundamental to her personal school of thought.
"I own and run a studio in Forster. I showcase others and my own artwork, I run workshops, and teach yoga daily. After class we sometimes do tea, raw treats or curry nights. I also offer destination yoga some weekends, which is a hike and yoga outdoors somewhere."
Music also plays a vital and creative role in her teaching philosophy. "I play music when I teach, sometimes traditional chanting and sometimes rock and roll, whatever I'm feeling the energy in the room needs," she says. "Lately I have also been teaming live music with yoga. Having someone sing and play to you during yoga can't really be explained, only felt. It's incredibly intimate mixing meditation, asanas and music to create this beautiful experience."
It is these beautiful experiences of emotional and spiritual invigoration that Sally ultimately wants to share with her students.
"Yoga has changed my life...I guess now I'm more in touch with my body, I know what makes it feel good and what doesn't, I have more energy and in general just want to do good and feel good," she says. "The practice itself is not necessarily about being the best or looking the best, it's about feeling the best."
Sally's advice for anyone considering trying yoga is simple: "do it now, do it now, do it now".
"Yoga is good for you, actually its effects are almost instant, a regular yoga practice will see changes in your health and attitude immediately," she says. "Your energy levels will increase, your will sleep better, improve balance, eyesight, posture, flexibility, memory and focus."
"Yoga releases stress, strengthens the immune system, provides self-confidence and stimulates creativity. We practice yoga to calm the mind, to find balance with the mind and body within our everyday lives."
Sally's enthusiasm and positive outlook on all aspects of life is the perfect example of why yoga should be a healthy part of everyone's routine. Taking the journey to knowing yourself and better understanding life is a journey that you will not regret.
As Sally points out "yoga for me is about being the best possible person I can be. It's not only the time on the mat but off the mat in day to day life."