Growing up around yogis in sunny California, you could imagine that becoming a yoga teacher was always Madeleine Bong’s plan. But it wasn’t until adulthood that Maddy really started to embrace the lifestyle, for its physical and—most importantly—spiritual benefits.
Before you meet Maddy on the mat, get to know a little more about our American all-star.
How long have you been practising yoga?
I’ve been practising various forms of yoga (meditation, asana, chanting, philosophy) since I was a child, but that’s mostly because my parents put me in classes. I didn’t develop an interest in the actual lifestyle till I was in university, and particularly after I suffered a spinal compression injury. Not only did yoga help in my rehabilitation, it helped me heal my relationship with myself and others.
I became increasingly passionate about my practice and decided to pursue my career as a Yoga Teacher when I was in my third year of university. I just went with my intuition.
When did you move to Australia?
I moved to Australia in May 2018. I could have done my training in the States, but Australia was calling me. I was hesitant and afraid at first but after a close family member passed away suddenly at a young age, I realised that fear cannot be a reason to not dream big and not take action. Plus, my partner was working in NZ at the time so making the decision to hop over just made more sense for the both of us.
I love the lifestyle here. There’s a good balance between work and play. The people are kind and welcoming. The food is healthy and the markets are endless. Our friends have been the #1 reason why we want to stay, not to mention the beautiful wildlife here!
What’s unique about your approach to teaching Yoga?
I teach from a more spiritual heart. I care less about the actual physical poses than how they make you feel. I’m interested in guiding people to listen and feel. We move in such a fast-paced world that we often forget to slow down…that’s where the healing and transformation takes place.
What’s the best part of your job?
Hands down, the people. I am so incredibly grateful to meet and be surrounded by like-minded, positive, humble and loving people.
Who is your typical student?
I don’t think I have just one typical student. I’ve worked with people aged 16-50 years old and it doesn’t make a difference.
What style of yoga class will you be teaching at The Alignment Studio?
I will be teaching Power Yoga and some Yin Yoga classes. However, like I said, there will always be a spiritual element integrated into my class. I like to teach and move slowly so there’s more time to process the movement rather than rushing through the class. Students can always expect a safe space to explore and embrace whatever emotions may come up.
What’s the most common misconception people have about Yoga?
Yoga is only about the asana or physical practice. In reality, the true practice happens when you step off the mat.
What is your top tip for people who struggle to meditate?
Try journaling before your meditation. It’ll help get everything out of your head and onto paper—that way you can meditate with a clearer mind. Remember that practice makes progress, so don’t be hard on yourself.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a Yoga teacher?
Hmmm…perhaps a nutritionist or neurologist! Who knows, it might still happen. 😉
What’s the best thing about working in Melbourne CBD?
I’m closer to more food!
Do you have a secret talent?
Not many people know that I’m an oil painter and golfer. It’s what helped paid for my degree.
Book a yoga class with Maddy.