Sisters Gail Asbell and Charelle Coulohan opened their first Yoga Studio in 2009 and are now celebrating their 10th Birthday of offering Geelong, the Surf Coast and now Melbourne, the Upstate Yoga experience.
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I recently caught up with Gail co founder of Upstate Yoga to chat about her yoga journey and what makes Upstate Yoga one of our go to Yoga studios.
Having been one of their founding members back in the Bikram days and later a yoga teacher with them I can personal say that the studio is full of positive vibes; offers 300 classes a week across their 3 locations and has always remained a place of fun and connectivity where you can hit the mat, sweat and chill with like minded people.
ABOUT GAIL ASBELL
Gail’s passion for yoga started some time ago when she was suffering from continuous back issue, she tried a number of styles but unfortunately none of them held her interest until she discovered Bikram Yoga.
Gail expresses “ I found a real sense of peace and still achieved a strong physical practice which I hadn’t experience before”.
Gail not only fell in love with the physical aspect of the Bikram practice but also the mental clarity and space that it brought to her life.
Her sister Charelle also suffered back issues and went along to a class and equally fell in love with the practice and the benefits. After many years of practicing they wanted to share the advantages and enjoyment with others, they completed their teacher training and open their first studio in 2009 in Geelong.
Since then the studio has expanded to Torquay and Melbourne, and additionally offers a number of Yoga styles and Pilates classes including reformer pilates.
TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOURSELF….
What has teaching and practicing yoga given you?
A strong sense of self and greater self awareness. I’m much more confident in what my body can do and have a greater appreciation of what the practice can give me coming from someone with back pain.
How has your practice changed over the years?
Its shifted from a very disciplined style of yoga to a more open minded practice and is now inclusive of a number of styles. I listen to what my body needs and some days that’s a power class, others it’s a yin class or meditation. I suppose it’s a more balanced practice of the yin and yang.
You’ve just celebrated your 10th birthday as a studio what are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from your students over the 10 years?
Over the years I have seen and taught many different bodies and have learnt that everyone is different there is no right or wrong way; no one style is better than another and people practice for many different reasons. I have learnt that consistency matters whatever the style of practice as this is when you see the change and results when we are consistent.
Being in business within the wellness industry can be challenging.
What are your 3 wellness non-negotiable?
- My practice – I consistently practice 5 times per week;
- Time in nature getting outdoors;
- Eating healthy. I love my smoothies or juices and I do like a COFFEE everyday.
What is a motto that you live by each day?
”Dream Big and don’t sweat the small stuff, stay focus on the big picture” – Gail Asbell
Who do you look to as a role model and who inspired you?
There isn’t one person who I look to as a role model, but I am a podcast addict and are drawn to women who are pushing boundaries and who are empowering other women. I’m inspired by those who have faced adversity and used it to push through on their journey to achieve things.
What is your favourite post-yoga class meal?
After a strong practice I love a peanut butter smoothie
How do you want Upstate Yoga Studio to benefit students?
We have always had the vision to create a positive state of mind through yoga and now through movement. That was the direct benefit we got from the practice and we want our members to also have this benefit.
When students leave the studio, what kind of energy are you hoping they take with them?
We want our students to feel positive, energised and confident.
How would you describe the vibe at Upstate?
Welcoming, friendly, positive, empowering and of course not taking yourself to seriously.
If someone hasn’t tried yoga what advice would you give them for their first class and what class at Upstate would you recommend starting with?
The class depends on our personal goals.
If its flexibility or stress – A yin yoga class, fitness and strength – power flow, Pilates or Bikram are a great place to start. No matter what class you take we always remind our students to listen to their bodies and take any modification or rests as they feel necessary.
3 POWER HOUSE QUESTIONS
If you could only do one yoga pose a day, what would it?
A cobra pose which is a gentle backbend to keep the spine moving.
Favourite song/music at the moment?
Shallow from Star is Born and I loved that movie.
What is your go to everyday look?
Activewear off course. Leggings, singlet or tee. Keep it simple. Activewear makes me feel like I’m ready to achieve things.
Highly recommend trying some of the amazing classes at “Upstate Yoga”