Is Yoga Really The Key To Happiness? Jane Lowe Shares Her Thoughts

By  |  0 Comments

Welcome to the second post in our exciting six part Almond Breeze Summer Loving Series. Once again I’ve joined forces with Almond Breeze because not only do they make the yummiest almond milk but like me, they want to inspire you to be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself in 2018. To make that happen we’ve caught up with some of the best health and wellness experts in New Zealand who have kindly agreed to share their top tips and tricks. 

We kicked off  this exciting summer series with New Zealand’s very own celebrity nail stylist Leah Light and now we’re catching up with yoga guru Jane Lowe who runs The Yoga Connection – New Zealand’s leading online guide for all things yoga. Fifty-year-old Jane is a committed yoga student and believes yoga isn’t an exclusive club which is one of the many reasons we think she’s great. She also approaches yoga and life in general with a very healthy dose of humour. If you follow her Instagram stories you’ll know exactly what I mean.

So today I’m thrilled that Jane is sharing some of her thoughts on why yoga may just be the answer to all round health and happiness. 

Above: The Yoga Connection founder Jane Lowe.

 

5 MINS WITH YOGA GURU JANE LOWE

When did you first get into yoga? I was about 41-42 so VERY old!

How and why did you get into yoga? I’d love to say it was through a spiritual reawakening but my hairdresser’s wife told me about this thing called Bikram yoga where she’d lost 4 kgs in one week! Plus I had accidently entered a half marathon and thought some ‘gentle stretching’ would help with my recovery/no training whatsoever.

What are the biggest benefits of practicing yoga? Where do I start? There are the physical benefits of moving your body, your joints, muscles and fascia through regular movement. You learn to flow with your breath. You learn to breathe! And what comes with that is learning how to sit with your own thoughts and how to manage them, how to trust your intuition (something I’d been telling myself for years but it was only through yoga that I understood what that feels like) and, for me, meeting some truly beautiful people.

What does yoga do for you? All of the above. And according to my family, it keeps me sane. (It actually does.)

Is yoga something that works for everyone? It really is. There is no body size or age group that wouldn’t benefit from yoga. I plan on doing it forever.

What’s the biggest barrier for people wanting to get into yoga? The fallacy that you have to be bendy to practice. The less bendy you are the more you’ll get out of it, the most improvements you’ll see.

Where do you start if you want to try yoga and you’ve never done it before? You use The Yoga Connection! Find a studio near you because convenience plays a part in any form of commitment. Talk to them, ask questions, tell the teacher what your concerns are and don’t be afraid to shop around. Check out any Beginner Courses (we list those too) as that’s a great way to get familiar with the poses and the language used.  There are online courses as well (soon to be included on TYC) but be careful as the wrong alignment can cause injuries and having a teacher on hand to adjust or correct you is super beneficial.

Why did you start The Yoga Connection? I wanted to have all the yoga information (and wellness info of interest to yogis) gathered in one central hub. I wanted to create a sense of community that worked for people looking for yoga and a place for studios and teachers to share what they offer.

Can you briefly explain the different types of yoga and how do you know which one is right for you? A good way to check out what’s available is to click on Categories on the Studios page or the Events page. There are many different styles of yoga taught nowadays even though they all originate from the same place. People often say start with a Yin class, thinking it’s an ‘easy’ class but it’s not and I personally believe if you have a good teacher and they know you’re new then you should be able to practice any style of yoga with modifications offered so that you complete the class with no problems. But talk to your studio, your teacher and listen. Try different styles and you’ll find one that gels with you.

Above: Jane Lowe practicing what she preaches.

Above: Jane approaches everything she does with a healthy dose of humour.

Above: Jane always injects just the right amount of humour into her instagram posts: “This is called something in Sanskrit that I can’t remember. And it’s also the first time I’ve tried it! Although it looks like I’m face planted I promise my head is waaaaaay off the floor. [Well it felt like it!] Thanks for the pic [and many more unnecessary ones…] @jodiemitchell1505 and support, lovelies in the mirror! Who knew feeling like I’m a floating, graceful Yogini ACTUALLY looks like I’m not 😂😳🙄Did you flow today? I find when I’m feeling overwhelmed the more I know I HAVE to get on my mat. Keep sane people!

 

Yoga seems to have become more mainstream – any thoughts on why this may have happenedI think it’s been steadily growing in the west for decades. Recently though, with the booming wellness industry yoga’s gone through the roof! There are new studios opening up throughout NZ regularly. I think people want more personal growth and yoga ticks that box.

How often should anyone practice yoga? I asked a teacher I really respect early on in my practice and she said you should NEVER think about how often you ‘should’ practice. She advised to listen to your own body, your own mind and learn to understand what you need. When I first started practicing I got quite obsessive and went almost daily (and this was Bikram which is 90 minutes in a hot room, once 62 days in a row…) but it was a struggle. Now I easily practice a mix of styles most days because I know how balanced I feel when I do and I include other limbs of yoga including meditation and opening myself up to learning much more than the physical side of it.

Has your body changed since starting yoga and if yes how? I think it’s found the shape it’s meant to be. And by that, I mean I’ve found peace (mostly) with my body. I appreciate it like I never did before. Age comes into that revelation also, of course!

Do you have any personal yoga goals? If you mean to I want to achieve a one-handed handstand, then no. (That takes a lot of work and I’m inherently lazy so…) I guess my goal would be to keep growing, keep learning and have my yoga be more than just 60-90 minutes on a mat. I think yoga makes the world a better place.

Your proudest yoga moment and why? I don’t know if proud is the word but at the end of each class I’m incredibly grateful for practicing. If it’s been an effort to fit a class into my day I thank myself for making it. I’ve never, not once, regretted getting on the mat.

 

VEGAN ZUCCHINI ALMOND BREAD

Jane, a committed vegan, understands how important it is to fuel her body with the healthiest ingredients possible and she also appreciates the importance of enjoying a treat from time to time too. With this in mind I thought I’d share one of my favourite treat recipes using Almond Breeze Almond Milk. And in case you didn’t know, Almond Breeze Almond Milk is owned by Blue Diamond Growers – the almond experts in California and is a dairy alternative made from almonds and it’s also my go-to for all of my cooking, on my breakfast, in smoothies and it even makes a delicious latte – winning! Almond Breeze contains no eggs, lactose, casein, peanuts or gluten – making it a perfect dairy-free alternative. So it’s safe to say the guys are Almond Breeze know a thing or two about health which is why I’m sure you’ll enjoy this delicious Vegan Zucchini Almond Bread as much as I do.

Above: This Vegan Zucchini Almond Bread also freezes well. Just wrap it in individual slices and take a slice to work for a delicious mid-morning treat.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Almond Breeze Original
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced almonds plus a bit more for the top of each loaf

Directions

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Almond Milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and sugars. Shred the zucchini using a grater and squeeze it over a strainer to release some of the liquid. Whisk thoroughly, then add the shredded zucchini and almonds.

  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula. Make sure all of the flour is thoroughly incorporated into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared pan, sprinkle the top with sliced almonds and place in the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

  5. Allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Bread will last, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

 

WIN! WIN! WIN!

 To help you get a little healthier this we’re giving away a month’s supply of Almond Breeze Almond Milk.  
 
To enter to win simply tell us in the comments how you’d like to enjoy your Almond Breeze if you won and click HERE to subscribe to our free Insider newsletter. By the way you can unsubscribe at any time if you change your mind – it just makes it easy for us to contact you if you win. If you’re already a subscriber then great – you only need to comment below.

Everyone who has commented and subscribed Wednesday 7 February.

Good luck!