Meet Narelle – our VIC rep

narelle portrait picture

Narelle Lockwood is our IYTA Victorian State Rep – she’s keen to create a state-wide community – so please get in touch!  Here she talks about how yoga has shaped her life. 

I’ve got childhood memories from the early 1970s of going to a friend’s house to do yoga, which I loved. But it wasn’t until my late 20s/early 30s that I was drawn back to the practise again.

It was a time in my life that was pretty hectic – I had a lot of responsibility – a  job and career in the building industry and was also a step mum to three primary school-aged children.

As I was working in the Brighton area I started to look for a local yoga teacher and was so fortunate to stumble across the amazing Norma Hay-Smith – who was part of the  IYTA community and a teacher trainer at the time.

I really enjoyed the stillness yoga brought to my life, time for reflection and the ability to just be able to ‘pause’ for a moment. I often recall saying in my early years of yoga that it kept me sane – balanced sanity! I am so thankful for the way Norma brought yoga into my life, and how over time, she slowly deepened my practice and knowledge with her subtle guidance.

Then five years later, I left the city and moved back home to West Gippsland in Regional Victoria so I could start my own building design business and raise my son close to the family farm. And there I attended classes with another amazing IYTA, teacher Maureen Ryan, in her purpose-built yoga studio, set in the beautiful gardens of her property.

Maureen suggested I do the IYTA yoga teacher training and become a yoga teacher – as I was one of her most regular students and had a strong practice.

At the time I wasn’t able to commit to the training as I was running my own building design business, lecturing part-time at TAFE and a sole parent to my son, Fletcher.

A few years later, when I had stopped lecturing and Fletcher was a bit older, life just seemed to open up a little and I found I had the space and time to do the training.

It turned out to be the perfect timing as Maureen was thinking of moving into retirement and so I was able to take over some of her classes. I finished the training in 2016 and have been teaching ever since.

I also love attending yoga classes wherever I travel and in pre-Covid times have practiced from New York city to Coober Pedy, from Mt Kosciuszko to the Murray river. I love experiencing yoga in different forms and from different teachers.

At the moment I teach five classes as week – including three at Maureen’s studio in Warragul and two in the salt therapy room at Buoyant Sea in Warragul.

I also teach a yoga nidra in the salt room, the floor is covered with salt, and the room is lit by Himalayan salt lamps – it’s incredibly relaxing and peaceful space. And an amazing environment for breathing and clearing the airways, and healing the skin.

I took on the Victorian State Rep role almost by accident – as the IYTA needed someone monitor the IYTA Vic emails – and somehow that has evolved into helping to organise events and attend the IYTA Committee meetings!

We had the Seniors Chair Yoga in November 2019, which was a great success, but of course the Covid restrictions has meant we’ve not been able to do much other than online workshops. We are planning to have the Restorative Yoga face-to-face at the end of January though!

I’m keen to connect with as many IYTA members in Victoria as possible. I’d love to hear from anyone – not just the Melbourne metropolitan area, but in the regions as well. I’d like to organise seasonal gatherings and workshops with like-minded people and to build a strong, supportive yoga community.


Connect with Narelle today at







Sour Cream Date Scones

sour cream date scones

When our ACT IYTA rep, Martha Luksza was in lockdown she decided to cook up a storm with some left over sour cream… the resulting scones didn’t last too long with her three teenage sons and husband in the house, which is why there are only two scones in the photo!




  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cup self-raising flour sifted
  • 2 tbs milk to coat


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Mix sour cream and cold water together.
  3. Sift flour (you could use whole meal) into a bowl and make a well in the flour.
  4. Add the sour cream mixture and gently stir mixture until combined. Then add chopped dates.
  5. Knead dough gently on a floured surface.
  6. Roll out dough until 2.5 cm thick.
  7. Cut out scones and put on a lightly greased oven tray
  8. Brush scones with milk and bake for 10-12 minutes.

If you have a household with hungry teenagers like Martha, then the advice is to make double the batch and freeze any leftovers (not that there are likely to be any!)

Feeling in the mood for more baking?  Why not try these tasty Chia, Banana and Date Muffins



How Yoga Changed My Life

Discovering yoga was the catalyst for a major life change for IYTA Committee member and lecturer, Alana Smith 

My first contact with yoga was when our high school drama teacher instructed us in a yoga nidra practice. I remember having that amazing heavy relaxed feeling permeate my whole body and I thought I was having some sort of unique divine experience! I loved it!

I dabbled in yoga over the years, but I didn’t really commit in a major way until I was having a sort of breakdown. At age 36 I had quit my job as a high school teacher because I was disenchanted by how we were filling kids with too much information and not teaching enough life coping skills. The HSC students were stressed to the eyeballs and anxiety was rife throughout the school, amongst teachers and students alike. I didn’t know what to do next. Meanwhile my love life was in tatters. I’d been engaged to Mr Wrong and then too quickly got involved with another Mr Wrong. I was deeply lost and heartbroken.

Luckily I began to take a few yoga classes at Manly Yoga. I felt instantly welcomed, nurtured and understood by the teachers. They went over and above to explain concepts, to help with technique and to ask how I was coping generally. The relaxation and meditation skills they taught were so systematic and effective. During that tough period, I found that the days I went to yoga were good days. The days I didn’t were not so good…

When I began to feel better, I realised that I had spent a lot of my life feeling anxious, like something was missing, and I was always grasping after external solutions to fill that hole – work, relationships, possessions. But the more yoga I did, especially yoga nidra and meditation, the more secure I began to feel, as if I was finally finding what I had always been seeking – inner peace.

I began to realise that these were the kind of coping skills most of us really need, and I wanted to share them with others. I started yoga teacher training at Mangrove Yogic Studies course in 2014. Funnily enough I met my beautiful husband Dom there and we were married within a year! Yoga was really delivering the goods!!!

I then switched to the IYTA Yoga Teacher Training program because I wanted to train under David Burgess, renowned master of pranayama and meditation, and I liked the integrated program of monthly study weekends and the excellent teaching faculty. That year was a highlight of my life and I eagerly began teaching as soon as I could. To get so many happy relaxed faces smiling at me by the end of the class is always a real buzz.

I must have shown exceptional enthusiasm for teaching because I was soon invited to lecture on Yoga Philosophy for the IYTA. It is such a thrill to share my passion with others who are equally as enthusiastic about the vast and deep wisdom of yoga.
I also went on to manage Manly Yoga centre in its final few years, which was a great honour as it was one of the oldest yoga schools in Sydney! It was also really tough trying to salvage a tiny not-for-profit traditional yoga centre that had been struggling for a long while. Sadly we eventually had to close after 42 years of operation, and the grief of the long-standing, loyal community was hard to bear. I certainly needed to draw on all my yoga techniques to get me through that difficult period but I still feel a great sense of belonging to that robust and caring yoga community that lives on.

Through all the ups and downs of the past ten years, I have seen and experienced how yoga can transform lives and the beauty of it is that everyone has the capacity to heal themselves. It just takes a good teacher and a willingness to stay still and breathe. I am so lucky to have found yoga teachers that strongly emphasise relaxation, pranayama and meditation. They never lose focus of what yoga is truly about: the stilling of the mind so we can be our best selves.