Giving back with yoga

Jane Darling-Sloyan enjoys sharing her knowledge of yoga with the community and runs donation-based classes at the VRI. 
photograph hayley mills

Jane Darling-Sloyan enjoys sharing her knowledge of yoga with the community and runs donation-based classes at the VRI. photograph hayley mills

Jane Darling Sloyan began her journey with yoga because she found it a beautiful way to start the day.

"I began yoga 13 years ago ... the teacher would chant the peace mantra in the morning," she said.

"That was the thing that got me hooked – it was such a beautiful way to start the day, that simple thing."

Having spent nine weeks travelling in India and five of which spent in what is often referred to as the 'yoga capital of the world' studying yoga-teaching in Rishikesh, Ms Darling Sloyan is now qualified in the ancient practice, however, wants to keep the original spirit of yoga alive.

"Yoga in its original form was to be shared for free to whomever sought the practice from a teacher. It was for good karma," she said.

"As a new yoga teacher, I have decided to teach for free or by donation. I don't want money to stop people from experiencing the benefits that yoga brings."

On top of working full time, Ms Darling Sloyan runs two early-morning yoga classes a week at the VRI in Traralgon, which is what she enjoys the most about yoga.

"[I love] sharing what I know," she said.

"If I do yoga at home, I wouldn't go into it as deeply, maybe.

"Even though I've done the training, there is a lot of self-talk that goes on in your mind. I don't like letting that control me. I like to challenge myself."

Living with sciatica, Ms Darling Sloyan said yoga had been very beneficial to her.

"I am aware of working at my own pace and I encourage students to move into poses that they feel comfortable in and, importantly, to listen to their bodies," she said.

"Everyone's body is different and every day is different. I encourage students to focus on no-one else but themselves,

only this one moment and this movement.

"As my yoga teacher, Deepak said we want 'sweet pain', not pain that causes injury.

"Whether you're a beginner or may have been practicing for some time, you notice the benefits to your body, it is quite subtle. You don't always break out in a sweat when practicing yoga, but you have a really good workout."

Ms Darling Sloyan studied Hatha and Vinyasa forms of yoga in India, describing the experience as "quite intense" with long days.

"Classes began at six o'clock in the morning and we went through until 8.30 at night," she said.

"We would start off with three hours of Vinyasa in the morning, and Hatha yoga in the evening, a total of four hours a day, six days a week.

Now back in Australia, Ms Darling Sloyan's goal is to share what she learnt with donation-based or karma yoga.

For more information about Ms Darling Sloyan's journey with yoga or the yoga classes at the VRI, visit the Facebook page Karma Yoga with Jane.

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