One of the best yoga teaching courses in the world

That’s the opinion of Queensland-based Robyn Jarram – a correspondence student on the IYTA’s International Diploma of Yoga Teaching. She’s so committed she travels to Sydney most months to attend lectures face-to-face.

Here she tells us what led her to yoga, why she loves the course and how her life is about to change!

Why did you decide to enroll on a yoga teaching course?

My yoga journey began 20 years ago in Williamstown, Melbourne under the tutelage of Fiona Hyde. It was a time of my life which was very traumatic. My father had died suddenly and unexpectedly and I found that yoga helped me relax and deal with my own trauma which enabled me to support my mum.

I loved the way I felt after a yoga class, so relaxed and balanced. I investigated becoming a teacher, but l didn’t have the confidence to pursue it. Life led me in different directions and I stopped practicing for a few years. I eventually relocated to far north Queensland and took up yoga again. The old familiar voice in my head kept telling me to become a yoga teacher and so, with some very valued advice from a yoga teacher friend, I finally enrolled with the IYTA.

I enrolled specifically to become a yoga teacher knowing that within that process I would learn more about myself as an individual and as a sharer of yoga. For me, the practice of yoga brings peace, happiness and a sense of wellbeing that I haven’t been able to achieve through other modalities.

Why did you choose the IYTA course?

I researched many yoga teaching courses and finally decided on the IYTA diploma because of its reputation as one of the best courses in the world. I wanted to obtain a well-rounded and in-depth education which adequately addressed anatomy, philosophy, pranayama and meditation.

Also, I live in a small country town and I wanted a course I could do online. The IYTA offered everything I was looking for.

What have you enjoyed about the course so far?

I have enjoyed learning and expanding my knowledge about how the body works holistically.

My Certificate IV in Fitness which I completed in 2006 gives me knowledge of the anatomy as it relates to exercise and I have enjoyed transferring and expanding that knowledge into this education.

I have especially enjoyed delving into yoga philosophy learning more about the yamas and niyamas and the various energy systems. I am really enjoying expanding my understanding of the therapeutic benefits of relaxation and meditation.

When you enrolled did you expect to do the entire course via correspondence?

Yes mostly. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to undertake the course over two years. I thought I might attend one or two study weekends in Sydney but intended to do the entire course by correspondence.

What made you change your mind to attend lectures face-to-face?

I undertook the first year (philosophy, pranayama, meditation) entirely by correspondence.

Prior to the current online learning platform being introduced we were not given any real access to other correspondence students except via the Residential which I didn’t attend in my first year. I found it quite isolating and while I thought I was a bit of a loner, I have learnt that I prefer to have a community of like-minded people around me.

I also work up to eight hours a day at home on the computer and as a result I have certain physical ailments which result in significant pain. While a daily yoga practice helps manage the pain; sitting in front of the computer to watch 16 hours of IYTA lecture videos each month wasn’t helping.

Are you attending all study weekends in Sydney?

I am trying to attend every study weekend in Sydney. I negotiated special rates with a nearby hotel and I try to get the most economical flights possible. My husband and I have made lots of sacrifices so I can attend the IYTA study weekends.

Attending the weekends and working directly with the lecturers and other students has improved my personal learning experience, and as a result my confidence has increased and my teaching ability has expanded exponentially. I also feel part of a real community and have made some life-long friends.

What has surprised you about the course and your yoga discoveries made via the course?

I was most surprised to discover how much I love Restorative Yoga. I had always found it quite difficult to practice because I had so much pain all of the time. My mind wasn’t switching off from the pain and the stillness of restorative yoga seemed to make it worse.

In a restorative yoga class during the IYTA Residential in May this year, I discovered that my mind never switches off, even when I’m looking inward, it’s always going a million miles an hour thinking about what’s next! I was never truly with myself. And so, my exploration into Restorative Yoga has taught me how to slow my mind down, how to look inward more gently and how to be a little more kind to myself. These days, I attend a restorative yoga class once a week and it’s my go-to-class when I am feeling tired, rundown or in need of some quiet time.

What are your plans after the course (in terms of your yoga journey?)

I am currently in the process of opening my own yoga studio in my home town of Mossman in far north Queensland. I believe it will be the very first dedicated yoga space in Mossman. It’s exciting to give the local community a dedicated space in which to practice. It will also provide a beautiful, fully equipped space for qualified yoga teachers to deliver creative yoga classes and workshops. I have already received a great deal of interest from local teachers who are interested in using the space and also from interstate yoga teachers offering to conduct workshops. The local community is being incredibly supportive and they are excited about the studio.

I am considering studying Yoga Therapy sometime in the future because I am very interested in how yoga can be used as a tool to treat and support people with various mental health conditions.

In the short term, I am planning to enrich my education by continuing with my regular personal practice, teaching yoga and continuing this never-ending journey of discovery.

Why would you recommend the IYTA Diploma yoga teaching course?

The lecturers’ knowledge and levels of experience are exemplary.

The course is structured and delivered in a logical manner and it promotes experiential learning through a good combination of theory, practical tasks and assignments.

In addition, each representative of the IYTA is supportive of each students’ individual journey through the course. They approach the teaching with understanding and compassion. This enables us (the students) to feel at ease and be willing to express our true selves in the classroom (as students) and ‘up the front’ as rookie teachers.

Robyn, 49, lives in Mossman, QLD with her husband (who also loves yoga) and their two West Highland White Terriers, aged 10 and 4, who enjoy relaxation practices!). Since 2003 Robyn has run her own business – Symbiotic Enterprising working as a technical writer/tender writer working directly for local businesses and remotely for clients located around Australia.

She is very proud to be opening Mossman Yoga Studio in the very near future.

Our next Open Day is currently FULL – Register your name for the waitlist at our next Open Day or Find out more & download Course outline to discover more about the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching

Register for waitlist

Sussing out Super (for yoga teachers)

Choosing between funds and working out super can be confusing at the best of times. So we sat down with Accountant, Amanda Rogers and Financial Advisor, Stephen Buhlman of WLM Financial Services to get the low down on what you need to know…

Q: Can yoga teachers charge studios and gyms super? (this is if they are contractors)

Contractors don’t normally charge their customers super. If there are any super obligations for the studios this should be reflected in the contract or employment arrangement you receive when you start working for the studio.  There will generally be no super in the following circumstances:

  • If you have completed a Statement by a Supplier not quoting an ABN stating your activity is a hobby.
  • You are under 18 or you earn less than $450 per month from the studio
  • You have set up a yoga business in a company structure and the company invoices the studio for your yoga classes.
  • The studio has engaged you through an agreement with a labour hire form.
  • You are paid under a Community Development Employment Program

If the studio has agreed or is obliged to pay you super, you will need to provide details of your superfund to the studio. The studio will provide you with a Standard Choice Form where you either nominate your choice of Superfund or elect to use the Employer nominated Default fund.

If you are a sole trader with an ABN you may be eligible to receive superannuation. Although you and the studio may perceive you as a Contractor the ATO may perceive you as an employee, especially if you are not allowed to get another yoga teacher to teach your class or you are covered by the studio’s public liability insurances, i.e. you are not personally liable in the event a patron injures themselves during a yoga class.

If you think you may be eligible for superannuation contact your studio or accountant first and then possibly the ATO Superannuation infoline on 13 10 20.

Q: Should super be paid monthly or quarterly?

With the adoption of Single Touch Payroll some employers have started paying superannuation monthly while others are still paying quarterly. By 2019/2020 all employees should expect to see super contributions being paid monthly to their superfunds.

Q: Are there funds which are better for yoga teachers?

The best superfund for you will depend on your age, your current balance in superannuation, your investment goals and appetite for risk. You can choose a Retail Superfund, an Industry Superfund or a Self Managed Superfund. If your super balance is quite low (less than $50,000) you may wish to choose a superfund with a lower cost structure (Industry superfunds and some Retail superfunds offer low cost MySuper accounts).  A self managed superfund may be suitable if you have a significant balance in your superfund (greater than $300,000 )  and you wish to personally manage your investments either partly or fully or perhaps you might want to purchase a Yoga Studio through your Self Managed superfund.

If you are just starting out the employer nominated default superfund should be suitable and must be a MySuper product which will be a low cost superfund. The Fitness Industry Award 2010 specifies what the employer nominated default superfund should be and specifies the following Funds –  AustralianSuper, CareSuper, Hesta and HostPlus.

Although Industry fund or MySuper products are low in cost, they normally invest in a passive manner to keep costs down versus an active investment style. Generally the more active fund manager should outperform their passive peers over an investment market cycle however this may come with more risk. So if your superfund balance is growing but not to the extent you think it should be, it may be worth contacting a Financial Advisor.  Also check out

Q: Any particular super must-do tips for yoga teachers?!

  • Your super balance won’t grow if you don’t make any super contributions.
  • Generally, only have one super fund. The more superfunds you have the more costs. However sometimes people maintain two superfunds because of the insurances that one superfund may offer. Check with your financial advisor before consolidating your superfunds.
  • Take advantage of the Government Co Contribution – If you earn less than $52,697 per year, the government can contribute up to $500 to your super account in a year.
  • Take advantage of a Spouse Super Contribution. If you or your spouse earns a low or no income, the higher earning spouse may be able to claim a tax offset of up to $540 if you make contributions to the lower earning spouse’s complying super fund. Check with your accountant if you are eligible.
  • Click here to visit the ATO website for more information

Amanda Rogers (Chartered Accountant) and Stephen Buhlman (Financial Advisor) are both based at WLM Financial Services.