Dedicated yoga and reformer pilates teacher and Whakatane Studio Director, Amy L. Green was named “Mind Body Instructor of the Year” at the 2017 New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards in Auckland. focus had a chat to Amy on her return from the awards.
Tell us a little more about that night. We bet, it was really special?
I was thrilled to be among some great teachers, including my personal role model, Nikki Ralston. Other finalists in my category were Kotte Aguilar from Christchurch, Larissa Tonya O’Brien and Lauren Tinker from Auckland.
How are winners chosen? Is it up to judges or public voting?
All together the process takes about half a year. At first, you’re nominated by people and I was picked in two categories: Mind Body Instructor of the Year and Small Studio of the Year. After several rounds of essay questions I made it to the finals and was notified that my classes would be mystery checked by the judges. And of course, I had no idea I won until the big night.
You were named “Mind Body Instructor of the Year”. The “Body” part is clear, but how about the “Mind”? What does this add to classes?
It means connecting body and mind in an intentional, awareness-oriented way. It’s about becoming more aware of the body’s messages and noticing the effect our thoughts have on our body. The class is usually themed around this idea – to get people out of their heads. We walk around with so much chatter going on up there…a lot of the time without even realising it. So, class participants are reminded to acknowledge those thoughts, accept them as they are and to let them go, detach and come back to the present moment. This process helps to bring them back to their natural relaxation response (stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system – the rest, digest, repair phase; what Dr. Libby calls, “The Green Zone”).
What are your main tips to maintaining mind-body balance?
1. Move daily (for at least 30 min). It doesn’t matter what you do, but our bodies were designed to move. Go for a walk, surf, do some yoga, or do some karate if that’s your thing, but you MUST get your body moving. EVERY DAY.
2. Meditate daily. If you’ve never meditated before, it’s a really simple practice. No Voodoo dolls required. Just find a quiet space, sit or lie down, and focus on your breath. Just a smooth, natural, deep breath. Anytime you notice a thought or a daydream, or something from your TO DO list pop into your brain, acknowledge, accept, and let go. Re-focus on your breath. That’s it! Congratulations! You are now a hippie. Go out and hug a tree and buy some Birkenstocks on your way home. (HA HA! Just joking). Start with 5 min a day and work up to 10, then 15, then 20 min if you find that it helps. You can even do it twice a day – once in the morning and once at night!
3. Cut yourself some slack. We are human. Wherever you are, that is where you begin. Don’t focus on how many years you haven’t exercised or been eating right. Just begin now. You have so much life left in you, so just start where you are and make a small change today.
What’s your favourite part about having a studio in Whakatane?
I love the lifestyle here. It’s so laid-back and it feels nice to have a sense of community – it’s such a blessing. I’ve lived in big cities, and whilst it’s fantastic to have entertainment, shopping and food delivery at 2 am at the tip of your fingers, I REALLY love being close to the ocean, being able to go for a walk on the beach during my lunch break and to connect with nature. So simple.
Where will we see you this summer? Any workshops planned outside Whakatane?
I am heading to Wanderlust in Taupo this March and, other than that, I’ll be starting some online programs. One of which I feel, is going to be one of my most important pieces of work as a creative, a yoga teacher and entrepreneur! It’s called the 12-Week Transformation Program, and I’m running it for the locals here in Term 1 of the new school year. I’ll then be recording it as an online program so that people can access materials to make some personal changes to their lives.