Interview with Sarah Scott
Sarah, thanks for donating your time. Could you give us your background with Yoga and share some personal experiences which helped influence and shape your teachings?
I teach hatha yoga, which is the classical yoga postures from which many yoga styles are formed. Overall my classes tend to be based on a flow style, which is where the class has a flowing sequence and each movement is synchronised with the breath. I also like to use bolsters, blocks and straps which can help the body come into the postures.
Personally, throughout school I always played a lot of sport, and ran a lot. I would often have a sore lower back and neck. I didn’t think a lot of it, but just something that came with sport. I first went to yoga to stretch after run at a gym while at uni and was hooked! I was really inspired when I was in London, and went on a yoga retreat in Turkey, with Angus Ford-Robertson from Battersea Yoga. He is a true yogi and has a great sense of humour and doesn’t take life too seriously - this made sense to me in regards to what yoga is meant to be about. Light hearted, happy.
When I moved back to Sydney I started going to Rose Bay Yoga Room, where I really found my style of yoga. I then went on to do my teacher training course at Rose Bay with Amanda. It was one of the best things I’ve done.
What kind of clients do you work with and how are you incorporating yoga principles into their day-to-day lives?
The great thing about yoga is that it is for everybody! My clients vary greatly in experience. Some have been practicing for years, and many have only just started. The majority of people in the west start yoga for it’s physical benefits. However as we practice more we start to feel the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
It would be great if everyone could take some of the asanas (the yoga postures) into their day-to-day lives, however to begin with, people find this hard to fit in their busy schedule. So what I would hope is that after the class, people take that little bit of stillness, or sense of calm with them when they leave.
As a strength and conditioning coach, I often see athletes, weekend warriors and average joes in the gym living with back, hip, knee and shoulder problems. Can yoga be used for rehab and recovery to help with these issues?Yoga is a great way to deal with recovery of injuries. Firstly, it is more gentle and there is no impact on the joints. Secondly, yoga helps to realign and balance the body - a lot of sport strengthens one side, or area of the body. For example tennis players or golfers bodies are often stronger, or more tight on their right side due to the repetitive action that same side. As you know, one area may hold tension due to a tightness in another part of the body. In yoga we gently stretch, release and strengthen every part of the body.
Finally, the mind is also important when recovering from injury. With practice, we can learn to use the mind and the breath to focus on consciously releasing tension from the injured area. Yoga has many misconceptions surrounding it. I was told a story by an experienced yoga student that their mother thought yoga was meditating under a pyramid shaped frame because they saw it on an old TV show.
What myths are there about yoga which people may not be clear on or need to be enlightened about?
I guess there are people who still consider yoga to be for hippies! It is becoming more mainstream now, and more people are finding it the perfect way to cope with modern life. A lot of people say that if they’re going to go to a class they’d rather a ‘real work out’ - (and a lot of yoga classes are!) In response to this, I would say that other forms of exercise deplete the body of energy, while yoga creates energy. Also, a lot of people are intimidated by the spiritual, meditation side of yoga. I guess people just need to be open to it and to give it a few goes.
The first time you meditate you may not be sure what you’re meant to be doing, or you find your mind is working over time. However I try to tell people that they’re not meant to be doing anything- just simply be! Thoughts will come into your mind and it’s only with practice (like anything) that we start to find the stillness. And beginners classes won’t leap straight into chants or kirtan! - there are parts of yoga which do seem foreign to many people, but it’s best to ease into it, and move on to more interesting ways to meditate as we become used to, or more open to them.
Can yoga help people with weight loss or athletic development?
Yes for sure. Once again, a lot of people feel that it’s a waste of time as they’re not burning calories!
However, carrying extra weight can often mean other emotional or mental issues. Everyone knows to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more- but as many people will have found, the mind can be very strong when it comes to 3.30pm and there’s chocolate nearby! So many people have a constant battle with themselves and their weight. By addressing the health of the body and the mind, people can have a more healthy relationship to food.
On another level, the asanas (postures), such as twists, assist with digestion and detoxing the organs, and inversions also help to kick start the systems. Once the simple postures have been learnt, a vinyasa flow sequence can be quite a work out which will of course help with weight loss. Yoga is also beneficial for athletes. I know of football players who do yoga and say they find they can kick their legs more freely. The use of pranayama (breath control) is great for swimmers and runners. As mentioned earlier, the balancing of the body to minimise risk of injury, and finally, learning to focus and calm the mind is an ideal skill for elite athletes.
I know personally that your sessions can be quite a workout, is yoga something that can be practised daily?
When you first start yoga, it can be quite demanding, as we put our body in positions it hasn’t done often since childhood! Therefore, about twice a week is great. However in yoga you should never feel the body straining or working too hard. You can judge this by the breath, and if it becomes short and shallow, then it’s time to pull back.
I would suggest to do some basic stretches each day - even if it is twisting in your chair at work every hour or so. Another nice thing to do, is when you get home from work, or just before bed, lie with your legs up the wall with an eye bag covering your eyes. This is a simple restorative inversion which takes pressure of the legs and feet. It is calming for the body and perfect to let go of the day. As yoga isn’t all about being physical, we can practice it in some way every day. Simply sitting in silence for 5 minutes every day is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Pranayama, which are breathing exercises, can also be practiced when we feel a little tired physically.
Thanks for chatting with us Sarah, if anyone wants anymore information, how can they get in contact with you?
My pleasure Phil! Thanks for having me. You can reach me on my website at
or you can ring me on
0412 851 994
or by email at