Drawing on an almost spiritual connection with the river has helped Chloe Sheldon become someone working at the cutting edge of the holistic, using yoga as a teaching tool to help people better balance their lives and their outlook. KIMBERLEY PRICE reports
MINDFULNESS SEEMS TO be the latest bandwagon everyone is jumping on.
The art of awareness, particularly self-awareness, is incredibly detrimental to overall calmness and health and wellbeing.
While there are a number of ways to achieve this — with no-one having identical needs means, for Echuca born and bred Chloe Sheldon, the river is hers.
“The river is home,” she beamed.
“I've always travelled a lot, but there's something calming about the natural flow of the river.
“It has this innate ability to consistently make me feel at home.”
Chloe is passionate about people discovering their own Zen. For her it's anything on the Murray, whether it's skiing, boarding or simply stretching along the banks.
“Everyone has their own thing that feels like a moment of bliss.
“The key for practicing mindfulness is to take a second, wherever you are, and stop whatever you're doing, to truly appreciate the moment and its bliss.”
Having grown up skiing alongside her two younger brothers and father, Chloe discovered a love and a talent for slalom.
The intense water sport requires whole body strength to pull yourself into an almost horizontal plane, parallel with the water — and then comes the hard part, manoeuvring the ski around the track of six buoys at speeds of 55 km/h for women and 58 km/h for men.
Without a course in Echuca, Chloe travelled nationally and internationally to take up her sport competitively.
“I went to Bridgewater where I really fell in love with it,” she said.
“My training started at the Bridgewater Ski Club and led me to be coached by world champions such as Nick Adams, April Cobler and Ryan Dodd.
“I began competing for the Victorian squad and then I was presented with the opportunity to coach, train and compete in the US, at North Carolina.
“I went on to represent Australia and I came back and did tournaments for a few years as part of the national team.”
After suffering chronic back pain from competitive skiing, Chloe turned to yoga for therapy and to maintain her fitness. Soon, the bubbly 26-year-old discovered a whole new passion in life.
“I started with Vinyasa + Yin in Melbourne,” she said.
“I simply fell in love with it.
“With yoga, there's a physical side and a mindfulness side.
“I could just chill out with it.”
The self-confessed hyper spirit found yoga provided her with a sense of tranquillity. It wasn't long before she made her yoga practice one of her main forms of exercise. After three years of consistent practice she made the transition from student to teacher.
“I feel like yoga needs to be a part of my everyday life for balance,” she said.
“When we stretch deeply into our body, a shift occurs not only physically, but mentally and spiritually.
“I love that through yoga people get the opportunity to find time and space for themselves.
“People can forget or dive deeper into what's going on in their lives.”
The Yogi prefers to take her classes outside on her parent's Wharparilla Drive property for a truly serene experience, next to the river.
Filling her classes with her positive vibes and radiance, Chloe thrives on helping others find their Zen through yoga and seeing them reap the incredible benefits the spiritual discipline teaches you.
This summer, on top of her personal workload with her business Yoga with Chloe, Chloe joined forces with the Stand Up Paddle Boarding team and delivered yoga, not next to the river, but on it.
If yoga wasn't physically challenging already, the added contest of keeping balance on a paddle board is certainly demanding for the entire body. Surprisingly, once you're out on the boards, the flow of the river which Chloe avidly raves about and the constant encouragement from the instructor, are enough to keep your concern about an unplanned dip at bay.
“It's been amazing to see the community gravitate towards it and a lot of people just love it,” she said.
“I practice yoga outdoors because I love the natural energy that brings.
“It's a way to unwind, be in the moment and be present.”
Chloe's lively aura allows yoga students, new and experienced, young and old to find the perfect balance in strengthening their body and mind.
Having accepted a position as a yoga instructor in Burleigh Heads, Chloe left her hometown in February for her next venture. But the Murray lover will always call the twin towns home.