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YOGA POSE OF THE WEEK

Melanie Swan

The yogini: Melanie from Desert Swan
The pose: Feathered Peacock (aka Pinca Mayurasana)
The location: Urban Yoga, Dubai
The benefits: This posture builds strength and balance and it has the benefits of an inversion, sending fresh blood around the body, cleansing the body’s internal organs and acting like a natural facelift as we send new blood to the head in the opposite way to gravity. This pose also requires an internal fight to overcome fear, requiring a quietening of the mind, something which is useful both on and off the mat.

About the yogini

Where’s home for you?
Home is where the heart is so for me that is both Dubai and London. I live and work in Dubai but am from London – that is where my roots are; my family and oldest friends, the roots of my tree which no matter what, always keep me grounded.

When did your yoga journey begin?
I first did yoga around 15 years ago but it really touched my heart on a trip to Thailand nearly 7 years ago and since then, changed my life. I found a physical activity that somehow touched my heart in a way it’s hard to put into words. The feeling I had after that was that I wanted it in my life forever and it never left.

What kind of yoga do you teach?
I teach a vinyasa flow style of yoga, which combines strength and free flowing movement which I see as a kind of meditative dance. I had first thought about doing my yoga teaching qualification around 5 years ago but finally did it in 2013 in Dubai with YogaWorks from the US so I am now a 200 hour certified teacher.

Yoga transforms, but what is the biggest change you have seen in yourself due to practising yoga?
For me yoga is more than asana practice, it’s the philosophy which goes along with it which has been most transformative. Physical practice of yoga is like a moving meditation which I find very mentally therapeutic, but the philosophy has had a profound impact, most notably concepts like unconditional love, non harm and non attachment. Once you can grasp these concepts, life becomes a much easier journey and you stop focusing on the big things but see all the tiny, wonderful things along the way too.

Besides yoga, what are your passions in life?
My friends, my family, writing (I have a blog which has become like my baby) physical fitness and healthy eating and cooking.

What’s your (healthy) go-to snack?
My favourite meal is porridge with berries and vegan protein, but I also love baked kale chips right now so both are on my top five list.

What gets you upset?
Ignorance as it breeds hatred and harm. In today’s world of social media, it’s very easy to be influenced by careless, baseless information and far too easy for people to hide behind their computers spreading hatred, being nasty to others and generally bringing people or putting people down.

What makes you happiest?
Sunshine and love.

What’s your mantra in life?
To have faith: Every dark night is followed by a dawn (even when it feels like the night will never end).

What are your future dreams?
To have a family, to grow in my yoga practice both on and off the mat, to become a better person, to help others. I hope my blog will grow too as I aim to bring more yoga light to people’s lives.

To read Melanie’s blog go to www.desertswan.blogspot.ae

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