Yoga teacher bending over backwards for a good cause

Tiffany Fleetwood-Bird will run an ashtanga yoga workshop in Nelson, to raise funds for yoga programmes for recovering ...
Tiffany Fleetwood-Bird

Tiffany Fleetwood-Bird will run an ashtanga yoga workshop in Nelson, to raise funds for yoga programmes for recovering drug and alcohol addicts in the US.

Ashtanga yoga has been credited with helping a local Nelson yoga teacher stay off heroin.

Tiffany Fleetwood-Bird says she first took up the "dynamic form" of yoga in Australia about 18 years ago, after she stopped using the drug, and now aims to teach it to recovering drug and alcohol addicts in Nelson.

On Sunday, she will run a workshop in the CBD to raise money for an ashtanga yoga programme in the US that helps people who have given up a drug or alcohol addiction.

"Yoga, and particularly ashtanga yoga, has played a massive part in my recovery," Fleetwood-Bird said of the practice, that sees students carry out a set sequence at their own pace.

"Having that time and that space to connect to yourself, to bring yourself daily back onto your mat and into your body, and into your breath. It's a really transformational style of yoga. I always come back to it," Fleetwood-Bird said.

Sunday's workshop in Nelson aims to raise money for the US-based Trini Foundation, as part of the organisation's "national recovery month."

The Foundation is a non-profit organisation "dedicated to bringing the life-changing practice of Ashtanga yoga to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction."

Fleetwood-Bird hopes to train at the Foundation within the next few years, with a view to running classes alongside the ashtanga yoga collective Nelson to help former addicts here stay clean.

"I don't think an addiction ever goes," she said. "There always seems to be this edge of looking for something else ... and yoga is pretty much known as a universal healing tool.

"But ashtanga yoga seems to attract that kind of personality, that slightly more extreme personality, it's a really strong form of yoga."

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She describes it as a set of postures through which the combination of movement and breathing create heat in the body, encouraging flexibility and detoxification, "leading the practitioner towards a greater feeling of confidence and clarity."

"People who aren't recovering addicts will also talk about how transformational ashtanga yoga is, and you're part of a community, whether that's a little community ... but also part of a worldwide community."

The yoga fundraiser is sponsored by Nelson's newly-formed Wellness Movement, and will take place at the Wellness centre in the Anstice's building on the corner of Trafalgar and New street between 3-5pm on Sunday 24th September.

 - Stuff

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