Chicken soup for the soul

This chicken soup is based on a traditional Greek recipe – Avgolemono. It’s the perfect dish for when you are unwell, cold or just need some good old-fashioned comfort food!


  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 4 eggs
  • chicken stock
  • cracked pepper (optional)
  • juice of one lemon
  • lemon wedges, coriander and red chilli (as a garnish)
  • one cup of white rice



  • Finely chop the onion, slice the celery into small pieces and grate the carrot
  • Add 8 cups of water and chicken stock to a large pan and add the chopped veggies, rice and optional cracked pepper
  • Juice the lemon and add to the soup
  • While the soup is beginning to simmer cut the chicken into 1cm cube pieces and then add to the soup. Simmer for around 10-12 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
  • Then turn off the heat and wait a few minutes. When cooled a little, add the eggs one by one and stir into the soup – ideally the soup is not too hot so the eggs gradually blend in.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy 🙂


Yoga puzzle pieces from the past

The history of yoga is a vast subject and one which I personally find I need to dip into every now and again… eventually the pieces start to fit together like a 1000-piece jigsaw, but while it is fun to attempt this puzzle it can also be overwhelming – and you really do need guidance along the way!

Which is why the IYTA is so fortunate to have yoga teacher and mentor, David Burgess heading up our Yoga Philosophy Department on our Diploma of Yoga Teaching AND running regular workshops for members.

David has spent more years than he’d care to admit digesting yoga history, theory and philosophy.

He is incredibly humble (and no doubt will likely wince when he reads this) and is one of the most knowledgeable minds on the history of yoga in Australia today.

Which is why if you have any interest in discovering yoga beyond asana you MUST register for our workshop on the History of Yoga.

This is a three-hour workshop – so a bite-sized insight into the depth of yoga from how it first came about to how it has evolved, changed and morphed into the hugely popular pastime we know today.

So what piqued David’s interest in yoga history?

 David recalls a couple of decades ago he was sitting in a lecture entitled the History of Yoga, which was being given by a famous Swami.

He says: “She was an amazing storyteller, and I was enthralled. She came from that wonderful tradition of storytellers that didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story and we were regaled with tall tales and true! Given my temperament, the challenge though was, for me to separate out the fact from the fiction: the wheat from the chaff, the facts from the myths.”

David explains he wasn’t at ease with the hypothesis that Yoga was brought to the Indian subcontinent from the island of Lemuria many millions of years ago by large birdlike creatures as propounded by some founding members of the Theosophical Society. Equally he struggled with the thesis that the ancient Gods of India (Vishnu and Krishna) are aliens as propounded by some.*

He adds that it isn’t that wisdom cannot be found in mythology, but he didn’t personally subscribe to what appeared to be “magical thinking.”

He says: “This is not made easy due to the antiquity of the Indian story and hence the lack of supporting primary evidence. Today much is still open to conjecture, much is still being discovered and much is being debunked so an open inquisitive mind remains important.”

 A (very) short history of yoga!

Asked if he can pinpoint three main historic milestones, David says it depends on who is asking and what books he’s reading or podcasts he’s listening to!

Today, David says:

#1: Whenever the Vedic texts were first collated which is around the middle to end of the second millennium BCE, as this body of knowledge is the foundation of Sanatan Dharma.

#2: Next for me is the Sramana movement including the contributions of Buddha and Mahavira around the 5th BCE where ritual became more focussed on inner transformation rather than outer boons.

#3: The systemisation of Samkhya and Patanjala Yoga around the 4th to 2nd CE are shoo ins.

#4: Adi Shankaracharya 8th CE for so many things including his commentaries on Advaita Vedanta, his creation of the 4 Maths and particularly for establishing the Dasnami order of Sannyasa.

#5: The articulation of Hatha Yoga from the 13th CE onwards (Dattatreya, Gorakhnath, Matsyendra and Svatmarama.

#6: Introduction of Yoga to the west via Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th CE

#7: The teaching and prolific writings of Swami Sivananda and the subsequent spreading of his word by way of his disciples

#8: : The teaching of Krishnamacharya and the subsequent spreading of his word by way of his disciples!

The timely sprinkling  of relevant historic yoga gems into your class will help enhance and deepen not just your, but your student’s yoga experience.

As David says: “One of the most influential teachers in my life would most stridently say: Understanding yoga without practising it is patently next to meaningless, but so too is practising without understanding.”

  • If  you feel like you need to fill in the gaps and put more pieces of the puzzle together then sign up to David’s Yoga History Workshop which will be running on  Sunday, August 14 live and online via Zoom.
  • And don’t forget our Yoga Studies course which covers yoga history, philosophy and more in easy-to-follow and accessible online lectures which you can do at your own pace.

David’s favourite history quotes  

 History is philosophy teaching by examples


History may not repeat itself, but it does have a rhythm

Mark Twain

History repeats itself, firstly as tragedy and secondly as farce

Karl Marx

Don’t make me repeat myself


When Alice is confronted by the Cheshire cat, of whom she asks, “Which path shall I take?”

“That depends where you want to go” the cat answers. “If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take”

Lewis Carroll

We make our destinies through our choice of gods


The gate of history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. The choices we make determine our destiny

President Thomas S Monson.

* David advises doing a quick search on Google for “Krishna and aliens” …and you’ll see what he means…!


Managing Mental Health

As we navigate the changing course of the pandemic it’s time to prioritise our mental health and wellbeing. Marg Riley will be presenting at TWO upcoming IYTA events. Here she shares her advice and thoughts…

Marg Riley is well qualified to give advice on mental health. She’s worked as a school psychologist and senior psychologist.

But how has she coped personally with the challenges of Covid?

She says: “I keep reminding myself that we are still in the midst of the pandemic although most of us are behaving as though this is not the case!”

She adds that she, like many, have found it a bit of a roller coaster ride.

She says: “Originally it was like occupying an extended liminal space and I approached that with curiosity.”

At this point, Marg did daily Gayatri Mantra chanting with Deva Premal and Mitten, but then as more yoga and meditation invites landed in her inbox, she became overwhelmed and swapped the mat for the garden.

She says: “I needed some really grounding activities and went out into my huge garden and undertook several big projects (thank goodness for Bunnings deliveries) which were a moving meditation and so exhausting that I couldn’t think by the end of the day!”

But as grounding as this was, it was still a huge challenge for Marg to be disconnected from friends and my family (based in both Canberra and Queensland).

Eventually Marg found herself homeschooling two of her grandchildren aged five and eight in the first lockdown. Home schooling was Equally rewarding and challenging!

It wasn’t until the second lockdown that Marg found herself embracing Zoom, teaching online classes and reconnecting with her students.

She says: “Throughout the whole time one way I’ve managed the stresses and challenges is to focus on the Niyamas: particularly santosha, tapas and svadhyaya. This has enabled me to maintain my equanimity most of the time. I’ve kept journals, focussed on acceptance of what is, worked hard on big projects and kept studying.

Once I was ready, I did a couple of Online courses:  Befriending the nervous system- with Rachel Noakes, yoga teacher from Ray of Light and a course with Robbie Bosnak who is a Jungian psychotherapist. Robbie developed a technique called Embodied Imagination which I’ve studied previously and was a big feature of his teachings.

At the end of Robbie’s course, I was well and truly “ready to fall in love with the world again”

Marg’s SIX tips for healing and nourishing our mental health 

Marg emphasises the value in managing our own nervous system, being aware of how regulated we are feeling, and having practices in place that allow us to restore personal equilibrium so that we can co-regulate others around us. There are so many circumstances that impact on our own mental health, but Marg particularly recommends:

#1: Get Support: Ensure you have some appropriate support whether it’s from family or friends or a professional.

#2: Find a routine: As much as you can maintain a steady routine as this can provide a stable base when things feel wobbly.

#3 Get the Basics in place: Prioritise basic things like attending to diet, exercise and sleep although all these can be challenged by mental health struggles.

#4:  Soothing Practices: If you are a yogi reconnect with practices which you find soothing. Perhaps the Niyamas have some messages for you?

#5: Take time out:  Consider whether you need to quarantine some time out for yourself?

#6: Reignite your Passion: If you have a passion that has fallen by the wayside, reignite it if you can as this can be the key to re-establishing vitality. And do this slowly and steadily as restarting activities can be super hard when your resources feel depleted. 

Yoga practices to encourage thriving

Marg says: “For me that is slow mindful yoga that enables interoception (awareness of internal sensations) to allow you to get intimately acquainted with your nervous system. Be mindful of whether the system needs to be upregulated or down regulated.

“If you are feeling edgy or anxious and the system requires down regulating, start actively with things like bouncing and shaking it out, dynamic versions of asana, forward folds and twist. Moving gradually to stillness.

“If the system requires up regulating start with small gentle movements such as pawanmuktanasana, gentle limbering lying down and moving to gentle chest opening practices and then standing.”

If you are struggling to still a busy mind, then Marg recommends Mantra meditation, which she says can be helpful rather than focusing on thoughts.

She encourages rhythmic movement to help soothe the nervous system.

And adds that she generally incorporates practices where the movement will take care of the breath rather than focusing too much on the breath (which can be tricky).

Finally her go to practices for vagal toning (the Vagus nerve is the main part of the Parasympathetic nervous system) are chanting and humming.

Want to find out more!?  Marg will be part of our panel of presenters for our Yoga for Mental Health Event on Saturday, July 16. She is also presenting an in-person workshop: From Surviving to Thriving in Canberra on Sunday, August 14 from 9am – 5pm. To find out more click HERE