How a book changed a young Coast woman’s life
Kaye Flounders was 19 when she was drawn to a book about yoga in a shop in Scotland.
She bought it, unsure of what the practice was really about.
Fast-forward several years and she has opened her own studio, Phoenix Yoga, in Maroochydore.
The book remains in the reception area to this day.
“As soon as I opened the door to yoga, yoga opened to me,” she said.
Flounders grew up in a small town in the UK, where the yoga scene was almost non-existent.
Her interest in yoga woke while travelling.
But the practice “went out the window” when she returned home working in hospitality.
“When I moved to Australia, when I was 28, with my husband at the time, that’s when I got back into it,” she said.
“There was a yoga studio down the street called Bikram yoga, I’d never done hot yoga in my life and I thought okay I’ll give it a go.
“Within five months I was at teacher training … I realised it was very helpful for my anxiety, all of a sudden I realised the thoughts slowed down, I was able to be more present and the anxiety that I was dealing with did not come up as much.”
Flounders ended up sharing and teaching yoga to students in studios in Noosa, Caloundra and Kawana.
She bought her own studio, Bikram Yoga Maroochydore, with her husband.
But Flounders was disheartened when she realised, while reading the fine print, that Bikram studios must only teach one style of yoga.
Her partner at the time, James, suggested to call her studio “Phoenix”, named after her ginger cat, instead.
“I wanted to practice different styles of yoga not just Bikram yoga and obviously teach it and hold a space that would facilitate numerous styles,” she said.
“People just want to try different things, they want that little bit of spice, they want to have a vinyasa class, a pilates class and the variety is definitely something that people want.”
Flounders teaches multiple Bikram yoga classes a day.
She walks graciously around the heated room, full of yogis, aiming to get the best out of each student.
She guides students through the 26 postures and two breathing exercises with a reassuring smile.
She welcomes new yogis into the friendly community she’s created and watches complete beginners grow and flourish in her studio, day after day.
“I just would like to see more people practising yoga, practising mindfulness, more people practising time with themselves and what they can gain from that is joy and happiness of being themselves,” she said.
Social isolation and lockdown measures during COVID-19 resulted in the forced closure of yoga studios across the country
As a result, industry revenue was expected to decline sharply, according to IBISWorld.
But Flounder’s feeling of uncertainty “washed away” thanks to the number of students, old and new, flocking to her studio after isolation.
“It gave a big tick to what we were about,” she said.
“We all have the little doubts, in the back of our mind like maybe I should be doing something else but they seemed to be weeded out after coming back after Covid and actually teaching again.”
Flounders is convinced she was destined to follow the path of yoga.
She smiles as she flicks through the book that she bought as a 19-year-old, knowing how unaware she was then where her yoga journey would take her.