Farewell and thank you, Mary-Louise Parkinson

On behalf of the Committee of Management and the members of IYTA, I would like to honour the amazing and tireless work of Mary-Louise Parkinson as IYTA President from 2013 to 2017.

Mary-Louise, as Vice President, moved into the position of President when Mary Shellens moved to the UK before the AGM. Over the past 4 years you will have noticed that IYTA has moved into the modern world to have a much larger online presence.

We have a facebook account, twitter, instagram and a brand new website. Our backend databases were moved from excel spreadsheets to a more sophisticated platform along with our accounting records. IYTA transitioned to online banking and more efficient on line payments with credit card and paypal.

All of these improvements were due to the vision of Mary-Louise and with full support of the COM. Without her drive and energy much of this would not have happened and I for one am most grateful to have worked so closely with a yoga teacher of such great business acumen yet being humble in her manner.

Mary-Louise to some would seem a formidable force, however, she has always been willing to listen to everyone’s views and change direction if needed. Mary- Louise was exactly what IYTA needed to grow and consolidate our Teacher Training courses and has been a key developer in our Post Graduate Courses. Although Mary-Louise is stepping down from the COM to have a well deserved break, I will be looking forward to her advice over the next few years.

Astrid Pickup

President, IYTA

Pictured: Astrid Pickup (left) and Mary-Louise Parkinson (right)
Image credit: Ali Shambrook

A beautiful experience – with Toni Childs

Having grown up listening to Toni Childs, I was so excited to get a chance to hear her sing live at the IYTA Conference (50 Year Anniversary Celebration).

I always knew she had a strong voice, but when she first took the microphone her presence was immediately felt.

She began by talking about her inspiration for becoming a yoga teacher and then invited us to practice some poses with her. She had us in fun postures and encouraged us to yell and shout as if we were five-years-old!

Then we were lying on our side and she asked us to recall a time in childhood when we were comfortable and snug. Ahhhh…!

But there wasn’t much time to relax, as next thing we were up on our feet dancing around the hall to the crazy rhythm of the 80s and 90s. But just dancing, under Toni’s guidance it really felt as if we were putting ourselves out there and setting ourselves free – really free!

There was flowing sequences, sexy moves, joining in a circle, running in and out yelling and giving each other high fives to say thank you – thank you for being who you are and all that you give.

The hall was full to the brim with energy and love. It was amazing.

Then we came in close together, very close together, so we were touching the person next to us. She explained we all needed to touch, to connect. Toni was in the middle of the circle and she spoke openly and honestly about her health issues and how she found it hard to love her body.

Over time, she learnt the art of self love and how we should all love who we are. She began singing: ‘you are, you are, you are, you are, you are… …you are beau- ti-ful’, we all joined in and then she changed it to ‘we are, we are, we are, we are, we are… …we are beau-ti-ful’, ‘and so we are’, ‘and so it is’. The song finished and we all hugged each other.

We were connected and it is a connection that will be everlasting in my heart and I am sure within the hearts of the other 250 yoga teachers in the room that day.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Were you there? We’d love to hear your view on Toni’s session… please add your comments below.

What Makes Yoga, Yoga?

Direct from the IYTA 2017 Conference, Donna Farhi shares her thoughts on what is yoga and sends a significant message at this point of time in the evolution and revolution of yoga in the West at present.

Thanks to our fantastic IYTA cameraman, Ian Stewart for editing Donna’s keynote address at the recent IYTA 50th conference.