Featuring Ingrid Roberg from South Africa

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga


Ingrid Roberg is a fitness instructor, qualified yoga instructor and registered mountain tourist guide at a luxury resort in Cape Town. Her earliest memory of practicing yoga goes back almost twenty years ago. She had started attending a few yoga classes, but it didn't really stick. Her first love of dance was more intriguing at the time. It was a decade later, when she moved to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that she began a daily yoga practise, with a few other expat women. None of them were qualified yogis to teach, but they all had a common goal of wanting to connect. Doing yoga together, connected them and so they started a regular practice every morning.
"Yoga was brought to the western world as a gift, it is now up to us to use it to our advantage, not abuse it, but respect the practise and adapt it to suit our needs."
At the time, no online resources existed for yoga and following a healthy yogic lifestyle. Ingrid was determined to have her diet suit her new exercise regime. She started to follow a vegetarian diet, then pescatarian, eating only fish as a protein source and finally settled on a ‘flexitarian’ diet. A flexitarian diet is one in which one eats consciously but allows small amounts of meat in one’s diet, always extending thanks to the animals for their generous offerings.

Yoga practice has brought awareness and mindfulness back into Ingrid's life. It has taught her to bring her self back to the present moment. She believes that it is about being aware of your thoughts, how it is affecting you, accepting this effect and gradually allowing your mind to come back to the present. Ingrid strongly upholds her belief that we all have the power to choose the way we want to live, consciously or unconsciously. 
"Yoga has taught me to live in the moment. My mind has always had the tendency to be busy, and I used to sometimes mindlessly and robotically go about my day"

Ingrid's favourite asana of all time is the Natarajasana (lord of the dance pose). She loves the back bend feeling and how graceful and aesthetically pleasing it looks. It reminds her of her first love, dancing, because of its almost ballerina shaped posture. The Natarajasana improves balance and postural awareness. Regular practice of this asana can strengthen your core and back muscles while stretching your chest and shoulders. 
"There is always an end goal or destination to anything you do in life. My goal is to be a good person. Your journey in life has many pit stops, bends and curveballs. Life is about learning throughout this journey and reaching your destination a better person."
Movement and keeping fit is something that started from a young age for Ingrid. She started with ballet at seven-years old, and then found her way to modern dancing. This taught her diligence and hard work. She has been used to that feeling of working towards a goal and allowing her mind to expand to reach the end goal. So starting yoga in her twenties, was not as arduous task. Her disciplined mind and muscle memory allowed her to easily accept the new asanas that she was learning. 

"Learning pigeon pose left me feeling quite vulnerable. I felt a surge of anger against the teacher when she introduced it in a sequence. I had to take that anger and look at it as a something inside of me that had to be turned inside out and released."
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose), which is considered to be one of the best hip and chest opener asanas, has always left Ingrid feeling the most vulnerable when doing this asana. She is continually working on improving her body's reaction to this asana, using adjustments and props. Another challenging pose which she has been trying to master is of Adho Mukha Vrksasana (hand stand pose). This time it’s more about the fear of falling. Each pose develops it’s own set of challenges and it is a different experience for each one of us. The best response is to adjust and slowly ease your body into the asana. No one was born doing hand stands and splits, there was a gradual learning curve for everyone. The key to achieving it, is not giving up after your first failure.


"I am so blessed to have support from my family and although they are not proclaimed yogis, they do understand and help me whenever they can."
Ingrid's family has always supported her yoga journey, whether it’s just being quiet while she is practising; aiding her with technology for online yoga classes; or even their small way of promoting her and her yoga teachings, to friends and online. It has meant the world to Ingrid and it is that support structure, that she has in them, that has also helped grow in her yoga journey.

Along Ingrid's yoga journey she has always been open to assist people with growing in their yoga practice to reap the many benefits of yoga. One particular occasion that stands out for her, is the first 21 days of hard lockdown in South Africa, when she offered free live classes on her social media page. One of her followers who did the daily yoga practice had a breakthrough in that time. It helped her health tremendously; she slimmed down; had a complete mindset change; and through her doctor's advice has gone off her chronic medication. This has been one of Ingrid's happiest moments to have had such an impact on someone's wellbeing. 
"We need yoga now more than ever. It helps give you perspective on life and many other aspects of yourself. It teaches you to be aware and more conscious of life; your stand in the world; and your role in this journey called life."
Yogi Ingrid's final message to anyone keen on trying yoga is to know that yoga is for everyone. She recommends finding the style of yoga you enjoy. There are so many different aspects of yoga from the asana and philosophy, to the meditation and pranayama. It is up you to choose which aspect of it you need in your life. Ingrid advises that you should try stick to a few classes to start off with. If you are able to get a private instructor to help you until you are comfortable, try to do it because it really helps you develop the correct posture through their adjustments. 



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