Sometimes the journey to find out what you want to do with your life can come about in an unexpected way. Everyone’s journey is different and some people are lucky enough to find out what their passion is and what they love. I recently sat down with the owners of KX Yoga Malvern, Sarah and Ian Cresswell, and was amazed at their enthusiasm for life and their passion for yoga. Having met on a cruise ship as they traversed the world in their respective jobs, they have worked hard to save and build their dream here in Melbourne. I was inspired and intrigued by their story, having realised their dream in a sort of roundabout way! I was really drawn to their enthusiasm about their studio and the sense of community they revel in at KX Yoga. I sat down for a coffee Sarah to talk about all things yoga, travel and life!
Congratulations on KX Yoga. It’s a beautiful and peaceful space for yoga! It seems like it’s been a bit of a journey for you both in setting this up. How do you feel now that your dream of owning a yoga studio has transpired?
Thank you! We feel really lucky to have found such an incredible space in a great community. It still feels a bit surreal that just a few years ago we set out to find our own space in the Melbourne yoga community and now it’s real. When we were on our training in Costa Rica, I remember sitting out on the jungle yoga platform saying that one day we would create our own place to share yoga and grow a community, and I just can’t believe that everything fell into place so quickly! It literally is a manifestation of our dream.
Where did your love of yoga start?
For me, I always thought about doing yoga, and when I started working on cruise ships I started practising and found that it gave me a sense of grounding and calm that I hadn’t found anywhere else. Then one day, one of the personal trainers asked me to run a class for crew members since I was always practising yoga in the gym. So I actually started teaching just to share my own experience and love of yoga. For Ian, he always loved exercise but like most men, he thought yoga was just stretching and pretty girly. When we were back in the States visiting my family, he reluctantly came along to a sweaty, intense hot yoga flow at a local studio and instantly fell in love with the combination of strength, focus, and a real challenge balanced with relaxation and stress-relief.
You’ve travelled the world and even taught yoga in the Costa Rican jungle! What are some of the things you’ve seen of yoga across the world?
When we were in America, we saw how huge the yoga scene was, with yoga studios popping up everywhere. It used to be all about a hot and fast fitness-style flow, but it seems that fitness-style power yoga is receding in favour of more mindful movement. This links back to places like Bali with a Hindu society, where the practice is focused on the energy of the practice rather than fitness. Luckily, in Australia the focus is a blend of both traditional mindfulness and physical exercise, which brings us the traditional teachings in a modern way. For a while now here and abroad, more community-based, boutique studios have been succeeding much more than large gyms. People are seeking more than just fitness, with a focus on connecting to something more, which is why the yoga community is growing internationally. With yoga, people can get not only fitness, but also mindfulness, stress-relief, and community all in one go!
The sense of community is at the heart of KX Yoga in Malvern. Why is it so important to you to have that community?
When I moved from Michigan in the USA to Australia, I found it difficult to find my sense of home and belonging here. I felt most at home when I was on my yoga mat, and instantly felt the connection to the KX Malvern yoga community. When you’re having a great yoga class, sharing energy, breath, and a space with other people, you feel like you share something special. Because we have gotten so many amazing benefits from our practice, we wanted to create a safe, friendly, welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to get into their flow and feel the joy of the practice.
How is KX Yoga different from any other yoga across Melbourne?
Our biggest asset is the spacious, beautiful yoga room with incredible natural light where you feel like you can fully enjoy your practice without bumping into your neighbour. In addition, we really pride ourselves on our friendly community of amazing teachers. We truly believe that our teachers are some of the best in Melbourne, not just because they’re highly qualified, but also because they’re amazing, kind, lovely people who are here to share their love of yoga and help improve people’s lives. Our wall in the entry room says “Achieving goals and reaching dreams. We will help you get there,” and I think our teachers really embody that sense of caring for their students. On a similar note, we also aim to personalize the experience through high-quality hands-on adjustments during the practice. Receiving an intuitive adjustment helps you feel supported in your practice and connected to your teacher, so we include a second teacher in the room as an Adjustor during our peak times.
For those that are uninitiated with yoga, what are some of the key benefits that yoga can bring to your life?
Physically, yoga creates more strength and flexibility, which always makes you feel good! Beyond the physical, I have found that yoga gives me space to explore what’s going on in my mind and in my life. Before yoga, I was never aware of why I was reacting how I was and had no idea that there was an alternative. Now, each class I have the opportunity to practice observing my thoughts and reactions, so during the day I can try to catch myself before I burn out, freak out, or stress out. It really gives you the chance to understand where you’re at and come back to more balance and calm. Our KX students have said it gives them time to process grief, pain, or loss, repairs their body after exercise or injury, helps them sleep better and stress-less, and it’s the only time they truly relax during the day.
KX Yoga Malvern owners, Sarah and Ian Cresswell
In your previous life on the cruise ship, you must have travelled to many countries across the world. What are some of the highlights and where are your favourite places?
The best part of working on the cruise ships was always living in summer! We’ve been so lucky to have visited so many beautiful destinations and incredible cultures. My very first contract I visited glaciers in Alaska with whales and seals swimming past, tanned on the beaches of Caribbean Islands, and then circumnavigated the colourful coast of South America. My favourite destination is always the Mediterranean, though. Nothing beats hot sun, beautiful people, ancient sights, and the bold cuisine of Italy, Turkey and Greece. Ian, on the other hand, really loved Russia and Scandinavia for is amazing aesthetic and culture. He loved the history and breathtaking landmarks in Russia, not to mention the incredible, soaring heights of the Norweigian fjords and the colourful buildings along the canal in Copenhagen. After so many years on ships, we have lots of crazy stories from hurricane rescues and stowaways to wild crew parties and international romances. It would take days to rehash it all, but in the end, it was easy to trade in the travel knowing that we’ve found our firm footing in the KX community.
KX Yoga is hosting an Open Day on 26 September and they will be running complimentary classes with promotions, giveaways and more. Head to http://kxyoga.com.au/studio/malvern-yoga-studio
to book your complimentary class and find out more about KX Yoga.
KX Yoga Malvern
1A Winter Street, Malvern (opposite Coles) 3144