Wallis Murphy

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When I was 13 and on a 'sick day' from school my mum took me to a yoga class when yoga in the West was only attended by middle aged women, it wasn't cool like it is today... but i fell in love. My teacher's name was Shanti with a shaved head, and she spoke with wisdom in a soft voice guiding us in and out of poses. Although I was a confident teenager every young girl feels insecure or judged or not enough (some older girls feel like this too I know), yet Shanti took all over that away for me in the two hour class. I remember feeling grounded, deeply relaxed, and peaceful, and well stretched out. I had to have more. Because Shanti's classes were only during school time I convinced her to take class on a Friday night for me and my friends, and so my yoga journey began.

My teaching style has gone through many phases (more about that below) but today I try to create an environment for you my student to feel secure and content, empowered to move, or invited to soften. A space where you can listen to your body, mind and heart. Modern life is so busy and noisy and distracted - we are disconnected from ourselves - this time on the mat is crucial to remember and tune in to your innate wisdom.

Teaching & Certification

  • My teaching journey began when Hot Yoga was all the rave, and I loved it. The Barkan Method gave me a solid foundation with critical alignment ques that took me into (not so hot) slow flow where I could really focus on keeping the body safe.
  • I found my way to the Yin Yoga mat and although my relationship with Yin was love-hate I felt the benefits deep within my body and mind. I undertook Yin Teacher Training with Jennifer Crescenzo and this teaching style has led me to develop Massoga ® (Restorative Yin with Massage).
  • From there I got the urge to flow more in my own practice but couldn't teach a vinyasa flow confidently, so my third training was with Laughing Lotus.
  • I have also undertaken advanced trainings with Jason Crandell, Ella Cojocaru, Edna Reinhardt (Kids Yoga) and Power and Posture. I now confidently teach many styles of yoga but my passion lies with Yin and of course Massoga®.

Teaching Style

  • Adjustments/Assists: Yes yes yes!

  • Theming: I speak mainly to mindfulness. I like to share readings from meditation teachers, philosophers and poets. I also like to draw on neuroscience and how yoga and meditation are being shown to have long lasting effects the brain.

  • Sequencing: I like to focus on a specific area of the body and work my way around the joint or muscle group. I don't write my sequences down so I'm never tied to it or restricted by it. I practice the sequence on my own mat to feel it in my body, and then watch how its evolve in my students bodies as the week progresses. I'm flexible (pardon the pun) and open to change depending on how my students receive the sequence.

  • Music: I love using music in class to create the environment to fully drop in. Although I love silence too, I think picking the moments for silence is more powerful than an entire silent class (for the modern yogi). The evolution of human kind has taken us into our headspace - we now live in our heads, music can help us step away from the constant thinking/stressing/planning/remembering - we need to practice coming into our bodies in the present moment, and i believe music is a powerful tool to facilitate this.

On & Off the Mat With: Wallis Murphy

As a yoga teacher, what inspires and motivates your teaching?

At the moment I am very inspired by meditation, and so finding the moments with in the asana practice for space and clarity, and focused intentional movement inspires me.

How has your own yoga practice evolved since becoming a teacher?

As a teacher I want to lead by example - so I practice. Being a teacher has ensured I get on the mat regularly. Simply by having a consistent practice I have seen my body, mind, heart connection evolve. My body is stronger, my mind is less distracted and my heart more open than ever before. I'm a better teacher (and human) when i practice, so I come back to the mat time and time again.

Do you have any yoga teachers that you admire and/or look up to? Who are they?

I am inspired by the work of Seane Corne - yoga to facilitate change within and in the community around us. She takes it off the mat and into the world. I love the specificity of Jason Crandell's teaching for alignment, and dive in deep yin with Melbourne's very own Tania Perry at Humble Warrior.

For those of us that haven't practiced with you before, what can we expect from your classes?

If you are coming to a Massoga® or a Yin class you can expect to relax deeply. Life is often noisy and busy so I try not to get in the way of your practice - I leave lots of space for you to reflect or meditate within the deep stretches, and invite you into a quiet restorative place.

My Vinyasa classes are strong, so expect to be physically challenged, and yet I always try to balance the strength with softness. There will generally be a long slow warm up, some faster movement followed by some cooling poses low to the ground to stretch out and rest.

What type of class could you teach all day, everyday and why?

Massoga® because I am seeing and hearing form my students how incredibly beneficial is is for them physically, mentally and emotionally. I've been bowled over by the feedback - so I'm very committed to developing the Massoga Method further. Watch this space.

A space where you can listen to your body, mind and heart.

Do you practice any other form of movement or fitness besides yoga? If so, what kind?

Yes. I value balance (must be the Libra in me). I take regular reformer pilates classes, I hike occasionally, I love to swim and I do some boxing as well.

What's your go-to spot in Melbourne to get inspired?

The beach!

Finish this sentence. "I feel the most like myself when..."

I am walking the beach barefoot, with the sunset ahead and a gentle breeze across my face. I feel incredibly present in these moments. I love to ponder my future dreams, and all that I have in my life right now to be incredibly grateful for. This keeps me connected to me.

And lastly because it's fun, what animal do you identify with?

The horse - to inspire my passion, drive and appetite for freedom! When a horse moves they are all in, I share this commitment and determination. As a child I was surrounded by horses and learned to intuit their mood and intention. It’s not about seeing with your eyes but feeling and listening with your body to understand the nature of a horse, I guess I also learned to tune in by working with horses.

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