Physiotherapist and yoga teacher Berna Gungoren Can’s passion for yoga began in Turkey nearly two decades ago. However, it was while living in Australia in 2009-2012 as her husband studied for a Master’s degree that Berna gained her 200hr certification from Moksha Academy of Yoga in Melbourne. She also fell head over heels for our lifestyle, with the couple making the permanent move to Melbourne in 2014.
Now in charge of the yoga program at The Alignment Studio, Berna brings a uniquely evidence-based approach that ensures a safe and effective practice. Read on to learn all about our Turkish delight, and her tips for getting the most out of your time on the mat.
Why did you decide to be a yoga teacher?
I started practising yoga to battle my autoimmune disease almost 20 years ago. It helped me to heal my body and mind. I wanted to share my own experiences with other people, and I decided to become a yoga teacher.
What style of yoga do you teach?
I teach vinyasa yoga. My vinyasa classes are known to be challenging but playful, and I design each class to energise the body, give greater vitality and health.
What’s the best part of your job?
My ambition in life is to help people become the best version of themselves at any age. Yoga helps me achieve this. I strive to inspire my students to know themselves better by focusing on being present in each moment and being compassionate with their body. No matter how old you are or what you are going through, you can transform your life by regular practise of yoga!
What do you think is unique about your approach to teaching yoga?
As a physiotherapist and yoga teacher, my aim is always to provide an individualised approach for each client. Each person has a different health history and physical condition. My background in physiotherapy helps me understand that individual limitations related to musculoskeletal problems must be taken into consideration for a safe yoga practice.
What is your #1 tip for better musculoskeletal health?
Stay active! Regular weight-bearing or resistance exercises are important to maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system.
What’s your top tip for a successful yoga practice?
I always encourage my students to use their yoga mat like a mirror during their yoga practice and use this mirror as a reflection of their feelings and emotions without judging. I want them to ask themselves what they can let go of during their practice, such as ego, fear of certain poses or competitiveness.
Any advice for people who ‘can’t meditate’?
You do not need to sit in a crossed-leg position and close your eyes to meditate! Be in nature, watch trees and focus inwardly.
What do you love to do in your spare time?
I love spending my time in nature. My husband and I love exploring the hiking trails in Melbourne. I also love writing blogs about health and wellbeing on my social media accounts and my webpage.
What’s your favourite way to unplug, unwind and recharge?
In the evening, I switch my phone, laptop and tablet off at 8 pm. Then I have an epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender oil to help put my sympathetic nervous system into the rest and digest state.
What’s something about you that might surprise us?
I am the first Turkish physiotherapist to receive equivalence in Australia! The Australian Physiotherapy Council made a short video about my story on their website.