Brisbane’s newest yoga studio is all about combining athleticism with play — Raw Power Yoga classes are challenging, yet fun, and their modern approach to the traditions and philosophies of yoga creates a space of acceptance and respect for all.

Created by yoga instructors Mandy Shearn and Simon Kerle, Raw Power Yoga embraces consciousness, connection and freedom. The classes integrate a physical and mental flow and aim to provide the tools you need to unleash your potential: mental, physical or spiritual. Their catch phrase? ‘Become your own guru.’

Former NBL star Simon Kerle, one half of this super fit yoga duo, chatted to us about the opening of the studio and how yoga has changed his life.

Why did you start Raw Yoga?
My good friend Mandy, who has been practicing yoga for over 15 years and is an incredible teacher, looked at me one day after she had done one of my classes and said we should start a yoga studio. I just looked at her and said, ‘Yep, sounds good. Let’s do it.’

What makes it different to other yoga studios?
We feel the space our yoga studio is in is one of the best spaces in Australia to practice in. It has 13 metre-high ceilings so we are surrounded by an abundance of natural light. This generates so much beautiful energy throughout the studio and these two things combined give you one of the most extraordinary energetic experiences one can get on the mat.

Like most teachers, Mandy and I love sharing all the wonderful qualities yoga brings into our lives. I think you get to a point where you want to give that same feeling back to other people. It’s very hard to try and explain to someone that has never done yoga what it does to you and what it can do for you but once they have experienced it they understand it.

Our students have been expressing to us that our studio feels more like a home than just a place to go and do yoga and we love that. We wanted to create an environment where people could come and feel relaxed and just hang out, somewhere to escape the stress of everyday life. And our students also love seeing all of our teachers practising in the different classes when they are not teaching and they think it’s wonderful to see Mandy and I in the classes. We love being in the class with all of our students, making mistakes too and falling over.

To top it all off, we run our world-renowned Under The Full Moon Yoga class once a month outdoors, and that’s been incredible.

Who should come along and why?
I’ll ask your readers a question first. Are you sporting an injury? Do you need to de-stress and unwind? Do you want to improve your body shape? Perhaps you need some introspection and time to yourself?

There is a good reason yoga has been practised for over 5000 years. Modern society can take its toll on us: isolation, stress, ailments and body issues. The practice of yoga allows us to be present, to develop strength, endurance, flexibility and poise. It teaches us to honour our body, accept our limitations and realise we are all more powerful than we could possibly imagine. Yoga offers a sense of belonging, creates an open heart and can even heal. You will learn to calm your mind, develop clarity of thought and decrease mental activity through breathing techniques. And hey, one day you may even levitate.

Biggest misconception about yoga?
Hmm… that yoga is easy and is for girls only and you need to be flexible. You see now that professional sporting teams are all doing yoga — South Sydney Rabbitohs, Gold Coast Titans, even the world’s greatest baskeballer, Lebron James, does it too.

Why did you call it Raw Power Yoga?
We called it Raw Power Yoga because it’s who we are as people and how we like to practice — strong, real natural, stripped back with no gimmicks. Just get sweaty on the mat, and we practice what we preach.

Your favourite thing about doing yoga?
I love how challenging it is mentally and physically as you are constantly being pushed to different levels. This helps you in every facet of your life. For me learning to breathe correctly and trying to stay completely present during my practice was a wonderful experience. For 75 minutes, I could slow down my mind and keep it quiet and isolated from the everyday chaos in the world.

The most amazing by-product from yoga is the beautiful friends and people we have met and we feel extremely fortunate to have come into contact with so many amazing people.

How does yoga make you feel?
There will be days when I walk out of yoga and cannot believe how euphoric my mind and body is feeling. As a professional basketballer in Europe and Australia for 18 years, I have done every form of exercise from weights, boxing, thai boxing, tae kwon do, zen do kai, running, riding, kettlebells, TRX, pilates, swimming, spin classes, basketball, cricket, AFL, soccer, tennis, netball — you name it, I have probably done it, and nothing gives me the same feeling as when I walk out of the yoga studio.

My mind is clear and focused, my body is feeling incredible and I’m so relaxed but energised at the same time. The best advice we can give to you is come down to our studio consistently for 30 days and then you will truly understand what we are talking about.

There are no words to describe how wonderful this thing we call yoga is and what it will do for you.

Raw Power Yoga is located at 8/194 Breakfast Creek Rd; you can find the class timetable here.