Words by Ali Fleming
Photography by Vassi Dyulgerova
Yoga is one of those practices we return to every couple of months or so in a bid to lengthen our limbs, increase our flexibility and of course, calm our busy minds. Upon meeting Ananda Trettin – a devout yogi – we felt that familiar urge resurface, but with added enthusiasm. Our Adho Mukha Svanasana (or for the uninitiated, our downward-facing dog pose ) took shape instinctively. We’d agree that Ananda’s own understanding of why she undertakes the practice, also guides others toward her studios, “It has helped me emotionally find stability, physically find strength and spiritually rediscover and establish faith”.
For Ananda, yoga isn’t a once a week endeavour. It is a lifestyle and one she has embraced wholeheartedly, “I have my dogs and a hubby, and they all do yoga too, so it gives us the opportunity to play together with a shared interest. Mostly our puppies just do down/up dog, but still it’s a fairly consistent practice…”. It has also seen Ananda open the doors of her successful Preshana Hatha yoga studios, one in Sydney’s east and the other in the inner-west. Ananda explains her business and lifestyle go hand in hand, with yoga a prominent aspect of her everyday, “I was fortunate enough to recently go to the Galapagos on a yoga retreat with my husband, which was a wonderful experience on many levels. So my life outside of Preshana is still intimately connected to yoga practice”.
While Ananda’s poise and grace may have you believe this former-model is dripping in confidence, she explains it is only in recent years she has ‘come into her own’, so to speak. Her time spent modeling, through her teens and twenties, was a period she describes as being, “traumatic, confusing and confronting”. While her creative surroundings were an inspiration in and of themselves, “I loved being a part of such a creative powerful industry. Having the gift of working with leading design houses and photographers gave me wonderful insights into the world of artistic and philosophical creation”, she acknowledges pain connected to the modeling industry was “simply because I was growing up” and that, “For better or worse my way of learning seems to be the school of hard knocks”.
In discovering what she did and didn’t like about a very consuming industry, Ananda sought comfort in the practice of yoga, “I had hit rock bottom – probably even dropped below rock bottom to a place where I had followed this belief and way of living that was based on the idea that I was not good enough… I knew that if I continued to move in that direction that life would cease to be. One day, I had an epiphany and I realized that the way that I would be able to shift my life and turn things around would be through the practice of yoga – by pouring myself deeply into its teachings”.
Ananda’s first studio opened in Glebe – a shop front with her home at the back. Beginning as something of a co-op structure – “The studio started as a donation-based studio… It started with some new teachers who all wanted a space to teach and share”, Preshana has continued evolving into a successful small business venture. When the need for more room presented itself, Ananda found the light-filled space of her Oxford Street, Darlinghurst premises, “After five years of being open and having experienced moderate success, I felt a tremendous yearning to expand the space with a location that would be accessible to people in the eastern suburbs in Sydney. Stepping into the larger space, I had no idea what was going to be asked of me, or the degree I would need to grow in every way in order to develop that space. Darlinghurst has now been open for almost two years and within those two years I have absolutely been pushed to my full capacity”.
Every aspect of the Darlinghurst studio resounds Ananda’s personal values of strength and respect: the openness of the space, Ananda’s staff and fellow teachers, as well as the woman behind it all. Within the world of Preshana, one feels completely at home and in good hands, “People can come to Preshana with confidence that they will receive knowledgeable instruction and that they will receive more personalized attention to alignment in the poses… Growing a strong and vibrant community is important to me, and I would love to see our student body expand as our culture becomes stronger and more stable on these roots”.