Meet Erica Davies of Studio Red Yoga

Studio Red Yoga is the newest contemporary hot yoga studio to grace Auckland central. This inner-city joint is a world-class hot yoga studio that combines the very best in yoga practice with beautiful design and spa-like comfort. Studio Red's open-level classes are perfect for beginner yogis or those who may consider themselves as experts. The warm room means you can really stretch your body and the heat intensifies the workout to challenge you both physically and mentally. I sat down with studio manager, Erica Davies to find out more about Studio Red and why we should all incorporate yoga into our lives.

1. In a class with plenty of different students, all with different motivations, how do you strive to keep everyone engaged and help them achieve and push beyond their yoga abilities? 

I love nothing more than seeing a diverse mix of yogis on the mat – to me, that’s the true face of yoga, when there’s no exclusivity, all are welcome and supported. It’s all about gauging the energy and mood of the people in the room at the time, and responding with a similar energy and approach. In saying that, yoga is fantastic, no matter your motivation, practicing will help you get there – if you want to relieve stress after a long day at work, become more in tune with your body, or do it for the fun of it, yoga will help you achieve that. 

2. What is the biggest yoga no-no? 

I would say coming to class with a judgemental attitude is the biggest thing you could do to hinder your progress! I hope everyone can come to the mat with an open mind so they can get the most out of their practice. 

3. Yoga can often receive a stigma as an ‘all vegan, religious fitness fad.’ What are your thoughts on this and what is the reality of yoga that many don’t know about? 

One of my biggest passions is breaking down this stigma! Yoga truly can benefit everyone – and the reality is that people from all walks of life practice and enjoy it. We have everyone from experienced yoga enthusiasts, to businessmen and CEOs, older and younger people at Studio Red. Yoga is for everyone.

4. What lead to you make the decision to dedicate your life to yoga both personally and on a profession level?

I initially discovered yoga during my photography studies in Santa Barbara, California. I immediately fell in love – I found it perfectly balanced an active, busy lifestyle, so went on to complete yoga teacher training alongside my photography degree. After moving to Perth, I decided to dedicate my career to yoga full time and walk away from photography.

5. People are often intimidated by hot yoga, what is your advice to those interested in trying it? 

It’s really not as scary as it sounds, but I’ll admit it’s not a walk in the park – it is challenging. The addition of heat is designed to allow your body to stretch, as well as challenge you physically and mentally. My advice: drink plenty of water before and after your class, wear breathable, comfortable clothing and come with an open mind.  Everyone at the studio is very welcoming and excited to have new yogis join our community. 

6. If you had to practice one yoga pose for the rest of your life what would it be? 

That’s a hard question…probably Downward Facing Dog.  It’s simple and feels so good to my body.

 

7. What are the lifestyle benefits of practicing yoga that go beyond the ‘relax’ and ‘workout’ aspects?

There are literally so many benefits when it comes to yoga! For one, it’s the physical benefits you get in association with modern day issues – with so many jobs bound to a desk these days, it’s easy to end up with minor issues associated with repetitive movements. Yoga can help with releasing these tensions and resetting your body.  And there are the mental benefits that do indeed go beyond just relaxing. When the mind has time to rest and reset from a yoga practice you will find yourself clearer, sharper and calmer the rest of the day. Energy can be felt both physically and mentally. 

8. I hate Bikram Yoga but I love hot yoga. What exactly is the difference? 

At Studio Red, we don’t just crank up the heat – we have sophisticated temperature control systems and the air is constantly ventilated to ensure it is fresh and clean. 

Bikram Yoga is often a lot more humid than our studio and uses a set sequence and a set teaching language for the instructors. We take a gentler approach and more detail in the verbal instructions, placing an emphasis on alignment for each student. Our Open Hatha classes are a somewhat set sequence focusing on strong simple postures while each teachers uses their own knowledge and style to lead the class uniquely. Our teachers incorporate props when needed and intelligent hands on adjustments for everyone. Studio Red is not bound to any one style or yoga dogma, rather we strive to create a modern and contemporary mix of what we find works best.

9. Can you explain the difference between Yin, Vincent Bolletta, Hatha, Vinyasa and their open forms? 

Our ‘Open’ classes mean they are open to all levels from beginner to advanced.  When the term Open is not in the class description it is implying you shouldn’t be a brand new student to attend. When just starting out the best class to try is our Open Hatha class. It is slow, thoughtful and gives each student the time and space to move into their best posture. Open Vinyasa moves a little bit quicker and incorporates a flowing and rhythmic breath. All of the Vinyasa style classes are more dynamic and we bear weight through the arms encouraging more core awareness and upper body toning. Yin yoga is a slow, meditative practice held in an un-heated room with postures as long as seven minutes. We use a lot of props and allow ourselves to relax completely and work deep into joints. Finally, Vincent Bolletta is our guest teacher offering a class specific to his style, which is very detailed, simple and strong. All of our classes are designed to focus specifically on yoga alignment and body awareness through breath and core emphasis.

10. What’s in your yoga bag? 

I pack pretty light and only bring the essentials for the particular class I am attending. I always need some patterned leggings and a top to get sweaty in. My favourites are from Liquido and the top is from Cotton On. I have a water bottle, my keys, wallet, watch, my sunnies, some lip balm and a little Pacifica perfume roller vase. When I am teaching I will have my notebooks and diary with me for class notes and scheduling. I just completed a Yoga Medicine training with Tiffany Cruickshank and have been bringing the manual from the course with me everywhere. And lastly my beloved blue spikey myofascial release ball.  Its so nice to rub on sore shoulders and achy feet.  Instant relief!

Alarice Stuart