Erin O’Hara (former professional triathlete), teaches Kundalini and other forms of yoga and meditation. Verve caught up with her at her beach side studio in Takapuna.
Erin, you are well known in the Auckland yoga scene, but for those of us who are new to yoga, please let us know a bit more about yourself, and how you ended up with your studio, Golden Yogi.
At 17-years-old I became chronically ill, which inspired me to open a wellness centre. I came across kundalini yoga while travelling and envisioned combining it with my naturopathic studies; I then made it my mission to make it happen by the age of 30, which I did. I created vision boards and business plans for this studio before returning to New Zealand and while some tried putting me off, it just made me more determined. I believe you must keep following what it is you’re meant to be doing and that is one of the foundations that helped my drive to create Golden Yogi.
Yoga and meditation seem to be growing in popularity. Why do you think this is?
It is mainly due to people having a lot of stress in their lives, while trying to cope with the demands of living in this fast paced world. People’s minds and bodies can’t cope with the pressure they have on and so many are starting to realise the importance of balance in order to prevent burn out. Mental illness has particularly sky rocketed within the last 10 years, so there is a real cry out for yoga and meditation as people’s lives only get busier.
Like most of us, I am sure that you are looking forward to a break over the Christmas/New Year period. How does Erin O’Hara like to celebrate this wonderful time of the year?
Besides Christmas day we stay open throughout, as not everyone will be going away and it can be quite a stressful time for a lot of people; which is when people need this space the most. I have already had my holidays, so I’m going to be in the studio teaching which I love to do as I find it really recharges me. We are even running a fun two-hour class on New Year’s day to set good intentions for the year ahead; which I will be looking forward to.
One of the things that makes Golden Yogi so different is the wide range of yoga styles you offer. Most our readers will be familiar with names like vinyasa, iyengar, and yin, but can you tell us more about the other styles you offer?
While vinyasa and iyengar give you a good workout and yin a good stretch; we then also provide kundalini yoga, a very inward practice where you use breath, movement, chanting, and meditation to rebalance the body and mind. We hold traditional aquarian sadhana; a deep meditative practice, practiced before sunrise. Kirtan which also uses sound to meditate. Yoga nidra, a beautiful meditation, visualisation practice. Kids yoga, a fun interactive class that also equips little ones with meditation skills. Pregnancy yoga which helps to prepare for a conscious childbirth, and a community class once a week for anyone wanting to try out yoga.
I’m a massive book lover but any outsider would think that I have a lot of issues, as I own a lot of self-help books. It’s not uncommon for me to have books out about goal setting or better bowel care. One of my favourites would be How to Heal your Life by Louise Hay as she suggests different ways to heal. Another would be the Winners Bible by Kerry Spackman; it’s an amazing goal setting book that not only gives tools but scientific background as to how goal setting actually works. Anything health, well-being, or yoga related is what I tend to gravitate towards.