What is your connection with Williamstown?
Efrem – my husband – and I love green areas and wanted to live close to the ocean. Moreover, being a yoga teacher I was searching for a spot with a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. After the first walk in the botanic gardens and on the beach, I felt this was the place to be.
What do you love most about the area?
Green areas. Plenty of space to get around with Irwin – my Seeing Eye Dog – walk with my friends, do yoga outdoors and meditation in front of the ocean. I just love it. And the people are so friendly. I have felt welcomed since my very first day here.
What are your favourite local places to spend time?
I love organic food, Novel Kitchen is a natural stop for me – and Steve and the staff love dogs. Replenish has great organic produce, as does the Farmers’ market. My husband often brings me to Altro Pizza, while Irwin’s favourite shop is the Dog Town Pet Shop. I teach and practice yoga at the Williamstown Yoga and Meditation centre, a very special space full of peace, tranquillity, and positive energy. When it comes to being outdoors, the Cyril Curtain Reserve is a fantastic place to walk dogs and meet with dog lovers.
How did you become involved in yoga and why is it important to you?
I started practicing yoga in 2001 as a rehabilitation practice after an accident while skiing on the Dolomites. To me, yoga is a fascinating and joyful journey of discovery. This journey has enabled me to move toward a deeper understanding of my body, my breath, my thoughts, my emotions and my actions.
What made you decide to be a puppy carer and what do you find most rewarding about it?
I have a vision impaired friend – Cecilia – back in Italy. Spending time with her and her dog Loren made me realise that a Seeing Eye Dog can truly change a blind person’s life. Hence, after arriving to Melbourne, I decided to get in touch with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA) and enter their puppy caring program. Being a member of the SEDA family is simply fantastic. Raising the pup is quite a commitment, but also a lot of fun, the love and affection that the pup gives you will always stay with you and warm up your heart forever.
What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
When I was a baby, I learnt how to walk thanks to Harold, my parents’ big dog. I would grab his fur and he would gently move a few steps forward. A very funny way to learn… and a very patient dog!
Blandina is running a free yoga workshop 2.30-5pm Saturday October 29 at the Williamstown Yoga and Meditation Centre in collaboration with SEDA to promote their puppy caring program. Register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information on SEDA contact email@example.com or call 9381 6438.