Nourish and connect  

Enrich your understanding of culture and connection at our upcoming IYTA retreat

We’re delighted to be hosting Jem Stone and Eve White as well as our own Ros Fogg at our annual retreat this October.

The highlight of our Retreat will be the Cultural Awareness training run by Jem and Eve, and there are also a host of other activities including a yoga movie night, yoga nidra session, daily yoga classes, nature walks and swimming and spa time.

The retreat – set amid 60 acres of pristine bushland – includes delicious freshly cooked vegetarian meals and accommodation.

Embracing the Indigenous heritage of our wonderful country and fostering a connection with the earth and nature are ways you can deepen and enhance your and your students yoga experience.

All about Jem and Eve

Jem Stone is First Nations woman, who has been gratefully living on Wurundjeri Country since 2011. She has worked in the wellness industry for more than two decades.  Jem is a Yoga teacher, Wayapa Wuurrk Practitioner and Trainer, Rebirthing Breathwork Therapist and Educator, We-Al-Li facilitator, Dadirri and Meditation Teacher, Sound Healer and Cultural Consultant.

She is currently a director of Ngungwulah Aboriginal Corporation and Yaan Circle member.

She says she began the trainings, “To create reciprocity between the wellness industry and first Nations Culture.”

And she stresses the importance of learning directly from First Nations people. She says: “Learn from us not about us.”

Eve White began teaching culture through art at schools whilst also teaching yoga in yoga studios.

She would begin every yoga class with an acknowledgment and share insight into First Nations ways, which she says, “felt like a wonderful connection.”

She is part of the Yaan Circle Family and was keen to offer more in this sacred space of yoga, adding: “It felt only right to connect and honour the sacred land that we practise on.”

Eve founds her work understandably rewarding. expecialliy: “Encouraging others to dig deep and connect with the First Nations ways and witness others finding synchronicity in both these cultures and rediscovering their own unique culture.”

She advises we all embrace cultural awareness in our practice and classes, take time to connect with the land we practise on, slow down to witness nature’s symbols and allow the wisdom to flow through you passing it on to others.

Learn how and delve deeper into this profound teaching by booking into our Annual Retreat



Align online

Somatic Yoga lends itself perfectly to online classes – you can be in your own space, yet connected with the teacher – and even wear your Pjs!

There are very few Somatics classes being offered face-to-face in Australia, so having a workshop online is a rare opportunity to experience what it’s all about.

IYTA ACT rep, Katrina Hinton is an expert in Somatic Yoga and will be running two half-day online immersions drawing from Hanna Somatics and the latest work of the brilliant Australian rehabilitation therapist and lecturer, Joanne Elphinstone. The two sessions will be held over two weekends in September. 

Katrina says: “Somatics is essentially an internal experience. The practice is all about turning our awareness inwards to our sensations: intéroception as opposed to proprioception; how we experience ourselves in space.  We are guided through movements with suggestions and visualisations to help explore and sense, the spaces inside us.”

Katrina adds that the style is perfectly suited to online learning because you are mostly lying down and translating the cues into very subtle movements.

She says: “The movements are performed very slowly in unison with your breath. Everyone moves at their own pace. Unlike a typical yoga class the energy is quite contained with the focus on connecting mind to subtle sensations; so doing it in the comfort and privacy at home is ideal; no distractions and you can even do it in the dark in your pjs if you wish!”

Accessing classes and workshops online has become the new normal since Covid. It keeps us safe and connected and for practices like Somatics it works very well. 

Katrina says: “It was a great way to reach out to my students during lockdowns and I’ve retained a hybrid class since in case people are travelling or have a sniffle they don’t want to share.

“Personally, I love the luxury of choosing fabulous learnings online! Ones that I may not have been able to travel to, access or squeezed into schedule are so much more possible when all I have to do is login.

“The beauty of an online workshop is having the recording so you can stop, go back, replay a bit that you need to hear again to fully digest.” 

Katrina’s IYTA online workshop is punctuated by opportunities to experience the sensations in your body so you won’t be sitting for hours on end not moving.

She says: “We will embody each concept throughout the two three hour sessions so you will need to be in a space large enough so you can walk around, maybe even dance around and spread out on the floor.

“We will use the technology to breakout into small groups and bounce ideas of each other much as we would face to face. You will need someone to take full length photos of you or master your ability to take a time-delayed shot of yourself. We will be then using these in our own postural assessment.”

 Participants will also:

  •  Learn about the work of Thomas Hanna and Joanne Elphinston
  • Understand how three postural archetypes might relate to your own posture
  • Look at key postural reflexes and the importance of head position
  • Learn a new vocabulary for cueing in your teaching to promote ease and grace
  • Discover a new technique for the functional and easeful head position 
  • Explore the importance of reflexes in the feet
  • Experience greater sensor input and sensation in the feet
  • Learn about fascia, promoting postural tone and boosting sensory input and interoception.

To book in click HERE


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  





Why you SHOULD wear fluffy socks during Winter Yin classes!

One of the best things about winter is wearing fluffy socks and doing some Yin Yoga… and you can enjoy both (and more) in Sarah Manning’s Winter Yin IYTA Workshop.

When I caught up with Sarah to chat about her upcoming three-hour workshop In July, she had just begun a four-week adventure on her new boat in Europe.

We chatted as she sat in an internet café in Maastricht. It’s a welcome trip for Sarah, who normally resides in Singapore and has (like the rest of us) been holed up for the past couple of years.

And she’ll be back just in time to teach Winter Yin on Sunday, July 10 – live and online for the IYTA.

As I sit shivering in Sydney and Sarah swelters in Holland, she explains that warm socks are an essential part of staying healthy and balanced through the winter.

“The kidney meridian starts at the base of the foot, with the Kidney 1 acupressure point (also called Bubbling Spring), if you are walking around with bare feet on a concrete floor, you are inviting cold into your system. So you should be keeping kidney 1 warm – and wearing those warm, fluffy socks!”

Sarah’s class is all about creating balance through the elements. Because in Singapore there are no distinct seasons, Sarah tends to focus her classes on the five elements.

She also likes to incorporate the Vayus – the movement of energy through the body – water (winter element) is a descending and cooling energy, Wood (spring) is expansive, fire (summer) is ascending, earth (late summer) is stability and metal (autumn) is inward and condensing.

Sarah adds: “The Chinese meridians are sensitive to seasons, so the Daoist believe the universe around us is a complete story of something in nature that is constantly changing and moving towards (in)balance and take that same concept into the body.

“The body too is constantly in flux and stimulated by outside influences particularly vibrations and seasons and if you imagine the weather comes in and creates flood – we have an excess of something or sometimes a deficit and drought.”

The element for winter is water, which is sensitive to cold – and Winter Yin works with the kidney and urinary bladder meridians.

“Cold creates stagnation and pain,” says Sarah.

“And when we are looking at winter, we are looking at fear as the driving emotion. For example, if a trauma happens to you, that creates fear and it will affect the flow of the energy in kidney and urinary bladder.”

This coldness results in stagnation and stagnation often causes pain. This could manifest as menstrual or back pain – and Sarah says the way to counteract this is to create movement and warmth.

Sarah’s Winter Yin workshop will follow the format of her previous IYTA seasonal workshops – with around 45 minutes of Power Point presentation, followed by a practice with discussion and feedback time – an opportunity to reinforce the eight pre-existing conditions that make being a yin teacher challenging, such as: stimulating the connective tissue of the joints, how to accommodate people with bad knees, neck, back,  shoulder problems, hypermobility and pre and post-natal students.

As we finish our chat, Sarah heads back to the boat – to teach a Zoom class! Covid has meant that she now has a regular Zoom schedule of classes – and she’s still teaching two a week while on holiday.

She adds: “I was lucky working with a small studio that pushed immediately into online classes and it pushed me to use technology that I wasn’t so comfortable with. It a gift as I now teach a lot of classes online.” Sarah has even created an online fertility yoga program called Be Natural  – a 30-day fertility yoga program tailored to help women focus on their stage of ovulation and Ayurvedic dosha.

Sign up to Sarah’s Yin Yoga Teacher Training!

And Sarah’s running a live Yin Yoga online training program which is being run with IYTA. For more information on this please click here.


 Restorative Yoga – a massage for the soul

 Restorative Yoga – it’s like chicken soup, watching a favourite movie or stroking your pet dog. It’s calming, soothing and comforting. For me it’s like coming back to myself. Giving myself time to simply be, time to observe my mind and body unravelling from the many strands of life.

In everyday life we are moving through a constant barrage of situations and experiences. Some good, some not so good, some challenging and others rewarding. The continual maze of life. And if we don’t stop every so often and press pause, then we don’t see the full picture with a clear perspective.

More and more people are experiencing the benefits of Restorative Yoga – out of all the different sessions I teach it’s the one more people are gravitating towards. And that includes the classes I teach at my local gym.

It gives us permission to hold ourselves in a collective space – and when teaching in a room full of people that energy is palpable – it’s as if the entire room is having a long, slow and luxurious yawn.

Which is why the IYTA Restorative Yoga training is such a joy to teach.

Can you imagine – two full days of exploring these shapes, using props and delving into the benefits of this slow-moving and mindful practice. Not only are you experiencing it first hand but you are learning how to share this with others.

I first came across Restorative Yoga while teaching Pre-natal Yoga. I used to set up the students in Reclining Goddess pose – a little like a five star version of Supta Baddha Konasana – it was totally dreamy and you knew it was good for you just by witnessing worry lines melting away like thawing snow.

Post-natally it was even more indulgent – a way to realign the body from hours of breastfeeding and rocking a fractious baby. And it made me wonder why we all couldn’t experience the joy of these poses – to coax our weary, tense bodies out of their malaise and help empty our over-full minds.

And so I began my practice. I loved exploring these poses, either in pure, unadulterated silence or with a Guided Relaxation to focus upon.

Judith Hanson Lasater has written some wonderful books which detail the most gorgeously supported poses. I’ve tried them all! I also developed my own book with around 25 poses – divided into foundation poses (with minimal props) to advanced (with additional props). This forms the basis for our two-day training.

I now tend to sprinkle a restorative yoga pose into my yoga classes – other times I will do a pure Restorative Yoga experience. It’s like a massage for the soul – and also helps us to tune into the soft flow of the breath and tranquilising pranayama techniques.

These days I have a stack of props on hand for when I need to step off the treadmill of life and come into a quiet, nurturing space. I’ll stay for a while – however long I can and then step back into the rhythm of the day renewed and refreshed.

If you would like to experience Restorative Yoga with Katie  Brown (author of Guided Relaxation),  then come along to our face-to-face training in Melbourne on May 14 and May 15. Details and bookings HERE. 



Move with ease and grace

Helping people to move freely within their bodies – and life – is our new ACT State Rep, Katrina Hinton’s mission, as she explains… 

Do you find the older you get the more the ‘meaning of life’ questions become more regular popups in your consciousness? I believe they are often prompted by the big milestones like large number birthdays, older family members passing or perhaps just getting to a point where we look back and wonder what’s it all about.

This has certainly been the case for me losing both my parents in the last three years. The finiteness of life has landed and prompted an urgency to fulfil my purpose on this earth. The answers aren’t all there yet and may never be but one thing is now clear: I want to help people feel free to move in both their bodies and minds and with this, find an ease and grace that permeates throughout their lives.

I believe in trusting the wisdom of our own soft animal body (thanks Mary Oliver!) and our body-mind-system. I believe we are ultimately responsible for our own wellbeing. We’re the ones who inhabit our unique Soma and the only ones who know how it feels. If we can learn to truly listen in, we can learn how to discern what we need. At times it can be confusing especially if we’ve been living in our heads, or with chronic pain and dysfunction which make it harder for us to find clarity. It can help to receive coaching from a specialist to help us get out of our own way and find the path perhaps a little more directly to our recovery or comfortable place.

All of my trainings have been aimed at unpacking the mysteries of why and how we move the way we do, why we get injuries or pain and how to relieve it. I’ve reached a place where I know what to do to support my own health and the most easeful movement for my body at this point in my life. I’m now ready to help other’s make their way to more ease and function so they can enjoy doing what they love.

Katrina will be running a Somatic Yoga Workshop in Canberra on May 7 & 8 

Katrina’s Yoga journey

It’s been illuminating to look back and see the countless events and choices that led me to this path. A defining moment was rupturing my ACL playing soccer and fearing that my career as a yoga teacher would be over before it started. I’d just begun my 500-hour Advanced Diploma in Yoga Teacher Training at Nature Care College in Sydney the year before. But rather than hold me back, that injury set me on a path of seeking balance and unravelling how one’s body compensates for injuries.

Nature Care College provided an amazing foundation and I trained with some of the luminaries of the Australian yoga scene. I was exposed to Donna Farhi’s teachings and a few years later was lucky enough to spend three weeks in Christchurch in a transformative advanced teacher training. My appetite for learning was kindled as Donna introduced us to many wonderful movement modalities and teachers including Thomas Hanna’s Somatic movement education and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s Body-Mind-Centreing.

I set off down a path of training in Hanna Somatics with several teachers and have used the principles everyday in my own healing of postural issues incurred by 30 years in computers and management consulting not to mention the impact of the ACL long ago.

I have also explored healing through the Feldenkrais Method and Alexander Technique and more recently, I trained in a brilliant movement education method called JEMS, named after Joanne Elphinstone; a gifted wholistic rehabilitative physiotherapist, coach and teacher based in Wales.

This year I am very excited to be embarking on a Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy which can only broaden my delivery framework and be a great way to connect with other yoga therapists and allied health professionals in the Canberra and wider community.

I have been teaching yoga since 2008 after my initial 500-hour training and started a corporate class at my day job in a software development organisation.

On moving to Canberra from Sydney, I started teaching relief classes at different studios, teaching public servants in their lunch hours, and eventually inheriting my own class from a legendary Canberra teacher Ursula Huber. Some of those original students remain to this day 11 years on.

Over the last ten years, I have taught at women’s gyms, presented at local yoga conferences and festivals, hosted sold-out workshops and continued to teach my intimate functional yoga and somatic classes out of my home studio.

I take delight in hosting women’s retreats at beautiful locations including Heartspace at Yass and at venues near the beach on the far south coast. I have a dream to run retreats using the healing connection to country and practicing in nature and one day, lead a squad of like-minded women to play, explore and immerse in the magical culture of Bali.

I have been coaching clients for five years in postural assessments and providing follow up programs to reach my client’s goals. I love helping clients restore their freedom of movement through re-connecting their brains with their bodies. When you can truly tune in to your sensations and quality of your movement and breath, you can become aware of habituated physical (and emotional) responses to stress.

I am delighted to step into the role as the ACT representative for IYTA. I think it’s so important that the association is founded on the basis of excellent standards of yoga teacher training. I am a living example of passionate life-long learning but our foundation training is a critical launching pad for the rest of our yoga path whether that be teaching or for our own wellbeing. I aim to support this continued learning through community events in the ACT and broaden the reach with the help of social media platforms and through my own networks.

Book into Katrina’s workshop HERE  

Discover the Prana Vayus with Patricia

 We sat down with Patricia Wigley to chat about this upcoming IYTA workshop. Patricia is the Vice President of the Australasian Association of Yoga Therapists and an Ayurvedic Consultant. She is also a past president of the IYTA.

The prana vayus are the five pranas (prana vayu, apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu and vyana vayu), that govern the body. Together they form the pranamaya (also known as pranamaya kosha). It is the breath itself, as well as energy, vitality, or life force.

 In this two-hour workshop you will discover how to balance these five movement/prana flows to create a heightened function of the physiological systems of the body and the more subtle levels of mind and awareness.

Patricia says: “It is so important that we move prana or heighten the movement of prana in a soft and flowing way – think Sthiram and Sukham of the Yoga Sutras  (steadiness and ease) – so we are moving without effort.”

She adds: “Prana is central in the teachings of Yoga and so in this session we will be visiting how we can work with all our Yogic tools to support the soft flow and intelligence of Prana through our body/mind. How we work with our awareness and the breath is key.”

This online workshop is a combination of theory and practical and Patricia will be guiding participants through yoga flows with the breath incorporating the Ayurvedic elements, chakras and mantras as you experience the movement of the Prana Vayus through the physical body.

It’s something that, as yoga teachers, we tend to incorporate naturally, but, as Patricia says: “It can be beneficial to revisit what we already know and look at it as if it is new. Imagine this is the first time in the pose/practice. Notice what sensations you are aware of, what is happening with the breath and prana.”

For example, in Tadasana if you come up to the toes in a balance and raise both arms in the Breath of Life, then you stimulate the prana in the upper body and the udana flow (upward flow from the throat to the head connection between the brain and the body).

Then with the exhalation as you lower, you are balancing the apana vayu and that important connection with the lower abdomen and apana – helping the body let go of waste. So the inhale is energising and lightening and the exhale releasing letting go.

Patricia says: “The breath is the the tool by which we know that we are working in a way that is beneficial to the body. So if the breath becomes jerky or strained then we are creating the stress response and not balancing the important response of the Parasympathetic Nervous System.”

During the pandemic, Patricia has been teaching most of her classes online. She says: “I don’t mind online, I do prefer face to face for the immediate feedback that you don’t get on camera, but online classes are very convenient, a lot of my students have been coming a while, so they are comfortable within the poses and I think they are happy don’t have to sit in traffic to get to the class!”


Book now for this workshop to ensure you don’t miss out!



Meet Peta!

From running a gym, to being a mum and coordinating our IYTA events and workshops – meet our new Post Graduate Courses and Events Manager – Peta Jolley  

 Q: How did you first find yoga?

I discovered yoga at the age of five in my prep year at Aireys Inlet Primary school with my teacher. He would weave asanas into the days learning and make it fun, and then take us through a Yoga Nidra at least once a week – it’s stayed with me ever since.

Q: Why did you decide to become a yoga teacher?

Before having my daughter, Eva Rose, I worked in a variety of roles including a career as a youth worker. But after becoming a mother, I wanted to do something different.

My mum was a wonderful seamstress and as I’d been practising yoga, I had the idea of us going into business making yoga pants. I asked my friend Lorraine Bell, who ran a local yoga & reiki centre, if she would stock yoga pants, (the era before designer leggings!) if I made them.

After a long discussion about all things yoga, she asked me: “What are you really looking to step into, Peta?”

My immediate response was: “I want to be a yoga teacher!”, quickly followed by dropping to my knees and asking: “Will you be my teacher?”

Thankfully, Lorrie said Yes!

(And yes, we did make a few yoga pants as well!).

Q: How did you first discover the IYTA?

Again, from my friend and mentor, Lorrie Bell, she loved IYTA and was always recommending it to me.

Q: How much of an impact does yoga have in your daily life?

Even though yoga has been with me for most of my life, it’s been a slow process of integrating it so that it is more of a way of life rather than a practice.

I had carried that heavy feeling of failure if I wasn’t up at 4am and practicing every day, as I thought this had to be the way to be “committed” to Yoga. Then I met David Burgess, and he reminded me that I’m not living on an ashram and therefore have a lot of competing priorities.  This was so enlightening for me! Now my Sadhana is four or five days per week and consists of pranayama, meditation, asana, and a daily yoga nidra.

I’ve always had a calling to the modality of Yoga and teaching was another step on this infinite pathway, the learning never ends, and I always remember that I’m a student first, then a teacher. I went on to study with Simon Borg-Olivier, John Weddepohl and Swami Premajyoti Saraswati.

I currently teach five classes per week at our gym MVMNT365, in Warrnambool. I work one-to-one with people in respite at Retreat South, Yambuk and I lead a Yoga Nidra session a couple of times a week in the Salt Therapy room at The Deep Blue resort in Warrnambool.

I’ve also joined forces with my wife Dionne, a chef (see this month’s recipe for one of Dionne’s delicious creations!) to run retreats.

Q: Why did you decide to take on the role of events manager?

I love Yoga, I love events and I love bringing those two things together!

Q: What events/highlights are you excited about for the IYTA this year!? 

I’m really excited by both the Yin 1 & 2 in March, which will be open soon for registration and I’m super excited for the new course Yoga Studies Online, Philosophy, Pranayama & Meditation to go live in April!

There’s also the Restorative Yoga which we are running in Melbourne this May,  and our Seniors Yoga Training.

To find out about our IYTA events click HERE 

And to find out about the retreats Peta runs click here






From Physics to Psychology and Pranayama!

Sarah Tetlow (Surya) has many talents, not only is she our wonderful IYTA Treasurer, but after completing a degree in Physics, working in banking and travelling, she went on to study Yoga Psychology in India.

 Surya is teaching the workshop:  Pranayama for Enhanced States with Gyan Morrison on February 19

Click here to book and find out more 

We sat down for a chai and a chat…

Q: Tell me about your early life

I grew up on a farm in the Essex countryside with two brothers and one sister. I was born in the farmhouse where my parents still live – and the four of us would roam around the countryside in our spare time!

After finishing school, I went to Nottingham University to do Applied Physics, which I loved. Once I’d graduated I wanted to go into business so I worked in Nottingham and became a chartered accountant.

Three years later I started to get restless and moved to London where I worked in Risk Management in Banking. My first introduction to the philosophy of yoga came via a spiritual teacher based in the Cotswolds – my sister introduced me to her and I attended some of her workshops.

Q: Why did you go to India to study Yoga Psychology?

​Like many people around the age of 30, I was at a bit of a crossroads (more like multi roads) in my life and was ‘seeking something more’. My job just wasn’t fulfilling me, so I gave it up and went travelling through South East Asia and Australia. I knew this wasn’t the answer but I have often found that travelling changes your energy and perspective and gives you the opportunity to see things from other angles.

When I returned about nine months later, I went to see my spiritual teacher and told her I was thinking of studying something holistic/complementary.

She showed me one of the magazines from a yoga school in India, which was set in an ashram, and it had a picture of the guru or master teacher on the front. I took one look and had a moment of absolute clarity, thinking: I want what he’s got!

So I took a look at the back page of this magazine and they had a list of courses – I thought I’d better go for as long as possible because I’m bound to be a hard nut to crack.

The longest courses were for two years and there was a choice of three. I chose Yoga Psychology over Yoga Philosophy or Applied Yogic Science because it sounded interesting and esoteric and I’d always had a lay person’s interest in psychology.

Everyone was quite accepting of this choice – I think my father was a bit bemused as to why I’d give up a good job to go to India, but my mum was totally on board!

Q: What were the main lessons you learnt from this experience and being in the ashram?

​I’d never been to India before (a Sri Lankan work colleague in London put me in touch with a divine family in Kolkata and they met me at the airport, took me back to their house for the day somewhere in the back streets of the city, fed me and took me to Howrah train station in the evening to catch the train out to the countryside where the ashram was located – that was my first experience of the magic of India and it’s never left me – I am not entirely convinced that I would have found the right train if the father hadn’t been with me).

I discovered the first and main challenge is that you come up against yourself – time and again.

I fought this for a while – all my normal ways of being, my defence mechanisms and so on, fell away until I was left with a raw version of myself.

For a while, I didn’t know how to be or how to act, it was extremely uncomfortable but ultimately it was very revealing about myself. That was the most important thing for me – yes, I learnt a lot about psychology (especially Eastern) and about yoga (asana, pranayama and meditation) and about ashram life in general, (I learnt how to read Sanskrit, took part in the rituals etc) but the most rewarding thing for me was getting to know myself a whole lot more.

It was a very fruitful two years and it’s a work in progress.

Q: I find it fascinating that you are weaving the psychology with the pranayama in your workshop – how can this help us with focus and concentration if we haven’t studied this for years like you!?

Sometimes one little thing can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Take the practice of gratitude for example – just a few minutes spent feeling grateful for the things in your life (the good and the bad) can make a big difference in your attitude and therefore how your day goes. Obviously, it’s not foolproof, and there are days when it works better than others but cumulatively it has a positive effect on your life.

I think that teaching often involves reminding people what they already know, sharing ideas, having insights together, and perhaps putting a new or different perspective on practices that they may be already familiar with.

We are going to discuss the neurological and psychological effects of some key pranayama practices, as well as the important practical aspects so that anyone attending has a clear idea what they need right now and how to practise them so that they get the most out of it (and discover if they are currently doing it incorrectly). And of course, we will also tailor our approach to whoever is in front of us.

Q: How can this benefit people in their day-to-day lives?

Everyone has a kind of stress in their life to some degree or another, and so everyone can benefit from doing pranayama, whether that be for moments in the day or as a formal sadhana or practice in the morning or evening.

Breath is life and we can use it wisely or we can use it unwisely! But if we have the knowledge we have the ability to make better decisions that work for us.

On a very practical level, we’re going to get really specific about what you can do for different circumstances or conditions or states that may make you feel better.

And everyone wants to live the best life they can, don’t they? Under whatever circumstances life throws at them.

Q: How does yoga make a difference to your life? And what is your daily yoga routine now?

In 2016, at the age of 45, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which was a bit of a curveball and no mistake. Yoga has helped me come to terms with that, especially the witness aspect of yoga. And on a practice level I do both pranayama and some simple asana, as well as meditate daily and that has been a lifesaver. And I really love doing Qigong because I find that very helpful in managing all aspects of this condition, especially the symptoms.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

​Gyan and I were discussing the workshop yesterday and I realised it’s been 15 years since we met on the teacher training course at Mangrove. We’ve never taught together before but I’m really looking forward to it – he has so much knowledge and experience – I think it will be a treat for me and for anyone else who is there.

To book in please visit 

It’s simply the BEST (yoga course!)

Gary Drummond
If you are keen to study yoga, then check out the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching. Here’s one graduate’s story…
Yoga teacher, Gary Drummond is constantly recommending the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga teaching course. He says: “I would say it is the best teacher training course available and everyone I know who has done the course raves about it.”
The internationally recognised diploma is taught by more than 20 expert lecturers. And Gary says he also loved the great vibe on the course – between students and with the lecturers. He says: “I knew right away I’d made the right choice.” 
Gary discovered yoga ten years ago when he was struggling with anxiety. He says: “My wife Lorraine suggested I do something to get out of my head. At the time we lived opposite Manly Yoga Studio, so I went along to a class.”
Gary was immediately hooked – and found the yoga practices such as asanas, pranayama and meditation helped him cope with the crippling anxiety he was experiencing. Eventually his anxiety became so challenging that he left his corporate job.  Now for the first time in many years he found himself with time during the day and so he began to attending more yoga classes.
After about three months of regular yoga classes, he observed a shift in his mental and physical health – he was noticeably calmer, more content, his sleep had improved and relationships with his wife and kids very much improved as well
Then one evening in class Gary remembers hearing a voice in his head saying that he needed to become a yoga teacher, so he could help other people who had experienced anxiety. 
At first he didn’t have the confidence in his ability but the teachers at the studio believed in him. A few of the teachers were lecturers on the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga teaching. 
Gary attended one of the IYTA’s Open Days where he learnt about the Foundation Course – a 70-hour course which is taken as an online course or face-to-face for three months starting with the Diploma Of Yoga Teaching (if you do this you also have the option to continue on the full course).
As soon as Gary attended the Open Day he resolved to join the Foundation Course immediately. And within the first couple of lectures knew that he wanted to sign up to the full internationally recognised Diploma.
Once Gary began the Diploma he enjoyed the pace of the course, which is run over the year. This gave him time to digest the information and enjoy the regular monthly study weekends. “We’d all meet early and have breakfast together,” he says. And the group are still in close contact and have regular reunions.
Gary’s been teaching regular yoga classes since graduating in 2018 and has in the process of created specialist workshops for men and people with anxiety and also empty nesters.
If you would like to find out more about the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching and the Foundation Course – then please call us on: 1800 449 195

Power through pranayama and bandhas

IYTA teachers Alana Smith and Gyan Morrison are sharing their knowledge in our online yoga workshop. Here Alana explains why it is important to combine both practices…

Q: What benefits can you gain from combining pranayama with the bandhas?

A: When you add the bandhas to pranayama practices it compounds the effects of pranayama, making it more potent which can enhance your state of calmness and clarity. Combining the two will also make your practice more efficient.

In addition, It also creates psychic and energetic environment whereby suspension of breath can develop naturally and effortlessly, leading to enhanced meditative states. This can also help with  enhancement and containment of subtle energies, shifting stuck energies.


Q: What do you need to be aware of as a teacher when working with both bandhas and pranayama?

You need to know how to do bandhas proficiently before combining them together otherwise it becomes very confusing and potentially damaging.

You need to be able to do them fairly effortlessly as distinct practices before combining them.

We need to learn the signs that students aren’t doing them correctly, such as getting light-headed, hot or more angry or hyperactive, and then how to amend them.

A lot of abdominal awareness, activation and co-ordination needed to perform the vitalising practices in particular.


Q: Will this workshop incorporate postures as well?   

Minimal asana, we might do a few warm up practices just to prepare the body.

This workshop is recommended for people with a little bit of experience with pranayama.

You’ll explore a simple 3-step framework for practising Pranayama incorporating Bandhas. You’ll experience a set of vitalising, balancing and cooling tranquillising techniques and have the opportunity to get some feedback on your practice.

You’ll also receive notes of these techniques for your reference.

It will be structured so that participants are able to perform the various practices and given the time to experience the effects of the individual practices both as discrete practices and in combination with pranayama and it will be as interactive as possible.

This workshop has ended – stay tuned for more pranayama workshops in the future – visit our events page

Learn more about our ongoing Pranayama and Meditation online course HERE

Visit Alana Smith’s Stag Hill Yoga Classes and Yoga Resources

Make 2022 – THE year you become a yoga teacher

Enrolments are now open for our world renowned IYTA Diploma of Yoga Teaching – starting early 2022

Here some of our current 2021 students offer their experience of the course:

“I did research yoga teaching courses and I liked that the IYTA had a wide range of instructors to learn from, whereas in a lot of other trainings you learn from one person and you have to subscribe to one tradition.

“The IYTA training course keeps you busy, but is at a slow enough pace that you can absorb everything. The instructors give you regular reassurance and help support us – it’s been an amazing experience.”

Megan Moore, 30, Coogee, NSW

“I’ve done yoga since my early teens when my parents introduced me to the practise. Yoga has helped me deal with life and my stressful job as a general newspaper reporter.

My favourite yoga teacher is IYTA trained, so when I got to the point when I wanted to explore yoga in more depth, she recommended this course.

“The course has exceeded my expectations – especially the online component as I’m doing it via Distance Education. There is endless support and this five-day residential has been one of the best experiences of my life.

“I chose this course (460 hours) as it goes into so much more depth than other 200-hour yoga courses available. There is so much support and the opportunity to experience lots of different styles and paths so you can find the path that fits you best. It’s also good to have a year to digest all the information.”

Hannah Turner, 22, Albany, WA


“I do yoga as it’s a good physical outlet from my work as an arborist. I did the IYTA Diploma of Yoga teaching as I wanted to learn more about yoga for my own practice but as I’ve continued I’ve started to feel like I would like to teach yoga.

“I chose IYTA because I was looking for a school that had an extensive amount of information but also gave me enough time to learn.  This is a really good mix of online, with study weekends and the residential is really beneficial. You really get to work with your teachers and the other students.

I’ve already started recommending this course to people – if you are going to do a yoga course then you should do the IYTA – it will give you the best education and value.

Jordan Peat, 26,  Central Coast, NSW


“The IYTA has been a good learning experience for me. As a senior person I thought the online learning would be a challenge but it has been relatively easy to navigate.

“I’ve enjoyed the emphasis on meditation and pranayama as well as the in-depth approach and instruction with the postures. It also attracts an interesting and diverse group of people. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone.”

Anthony Estorffe, 66, Paddington, NSW

(Anthony (L) and Hide (R)


I’m really enjoying doing the course because it is something different. I’ve been hairdresser for 21 years and this course is encouraging me to get more knowledge. One of my clients told me about the course as she did it last year and said if I was going to do a yoga course it had to be the IYTA yoga course!

It’s been great. I’ve really enjoyed the pranayama and meditation and learning about the anatomy. It is a challenge as English is my second language, but everyone has been really supportive and helpful.”

Hide Shimakawa, 41, Chatswood, NSW


I looked at several yoga teaching courses in Perth, but most of the courses required you to attend a weekly class at their studio. I live in an outer suburb and work full-time so that didn’t suit my lifestyle.

I was looking for a course that was flexible. I attended a Zoom information session about the IYTA and had a really good feel from Astrid and Amy who were presenting the course information. I also liked the fact that I could attend any yoga class.

“I’m loving the IYTA course content – there’s a lot to learn. It’s great you get so many different lecturers presenting with different perspectives and a wealth of knowledge to draw upon. There’s a lovely community and the online learning platform is a breeze.

Linda Hartwig, 48,  Perth, WA


Stay tuned for our next Free Open Day! Visit our events page for details



Warm up with Winter Solstice Yoga

Julie Atkinson spent the first International Yoga Day at the UN headquarters – this year she’ll be leading our IYTA Winter Solstice Class.  Here she shares some thoughts about Japanese yoga and warming winter practices..

Q: How do you normally celebrate the International Day of Yoga?

For the very first  International Day of Yoga I was living in Geneva and there was a big celebration at the Palais de Nation  –  United Nations Headquarters hosted by the Indian mission. It was held outdoors with a big attendance with the beautiful Lake Geneva and The Alps as the backdrop.

I’ve been lucky enough to attend similar celebrations at the UN on subsequent years. Last year whilst in lockdown, Rich (another yoga teacher) and I organised a day of yoga (on Zoom) as a fundraiser for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre here in Melbourne. Lots of people supported us and we raised around $1100. This year I’ll be leading this yoga class for the IYTA to celebrate  and also mark the Winter Solstice.

Q: Will you do anything to mark the International Day of Yoga in the class? 

Yes I’m working on ways to bring us together as a group, to feel our inter-connectedness and acknowledge the important role that Yoga has in all our lives.

Q: How easy is Japanese yoga for people who have never done the practice before?

Japanese yoga is very accessible. There are so many aspects to the practice as well as Yoga postures and exercises including, Do-In, self-massage, corrective exercises, chanting, meridian based exercises and meditation. Many of these can be practiced whilst seated in a chair. I offer many options and encourage participants to listen to their bodies and to work in a comfortable and steady way using the Yoga principles of Sukha and sthira.

Q: What can they expect from this class?

The class will include chanting, Okido exercises to help us feel grounded and centered, acupressure & tapping or rubbing on meridians with a particular emphasis for the water element and Kidney and Bladder meridians which are related to Winter. There will also be an emphasis of letting go of unnecessary thoughts, feelings and making way for new possibilities as we begin to move back into the light.

Q: What is your daily practice? And is there anything you will be doing that you do daily in this winter solstice class?

My daily practice is in line with the seasons, the current weather conditions and the time of day that I choose to practice. Since Melbourne’s first lockdown I have offered an online practice virtually daily. Often my own practice is playing around with ideas and themes for the zoom session. Okido Yoga would normally include some partner work which of course hasn’t been possible since Covid – whether online or in face-to-face classes. And so I’ve found different ways that we can give ourselves shiatsu or apply acupressure. In daily practice I include self-awareness, chanting Aum and do-in or self-massage including using a foam roller.

Q: How is winter celebrated in Japanese yoga and do you have any tips for nurturing bladder and kidney meridians?

In Okido yoga we mirror the seasons in our practices. Winter is the most yin time and the winter solstice is like the yin within yin. It’s seen as a time to consolidate, slow down, rest more and spend more time in meditation. Practices to improve our circulation – stimulate kidney and bladder meridians such as supported or restorative forward bends and rubbing ears and kidneys.

Wearing a hara maki – a traditional Japanese under garment  around our lower back kidneys is recommended to support our kidney energy and keep us warm. We can improvise by wrapping a scarf or similar around our waist (I will demonstrate in the IYTA class).

On winter Okido Yoga retreats ginger foot baths were recommended for their warming qualities and if possible we would have a gathering around a wood fire, with time for sharing stories, performances songs etc. we might choose to write down three things we were ready to let go of in our lives and then burn the papers in the fire.

Q: Any final thoughts?

The class will acknowledge that although we are in this most yin time we are beginning to move into the light. We will very gradually over the remainder of winter see the days lengthening and begin to prepare for the more upward and out wood energy of spring. Now is a good time to plant the seed of what we would like to manifest or invite into our lives in the months to follow 🙏

To book into Julie’s Winter Solstice Class, please click HERE

Seeking out the meaning of Samkhya 

It’s a bright sunny afternoon in Collaroy on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and I’m at the IYTA’s annual residential on the Diploma of Yoga Teaching course where David Burgess has just stepped out of an afternoon of lectures on Pranayama and Meditation.

I’ve taken the opportunity to have a chat with him about his upcoming two-hour online workshop: The Place of Samkhya in Yogic Philosophy on Saturday, June 12.

Samkhya is a vast and multi-layered topic and I’m wondering how we will manage to do it justice in the sliver of time we have to chat.

With his trademark honesty and humility, David explains that preparing for this lecture has been all-consuming and daunting. He says: “There’s levels of knowing about Samkhya of course. Some call it the knowledge paradox: When you become somewhat conversant in any subject you begin to  realise the vastness of what you don’t know.  I’ve actually been doing a tertiary level course  with Philipp Maas on the Samkhya Karika to help me prepare for this. Now there is a guy who knows his Samkhya!”

“I think it’s important for Samkhya to be understood as a darshana of its time – it’s not saying that it is the ultimate description of reality as we understand it to be in the 21st century.  It was conceptualised, give or take a few centuries, around  two thousand years ago and when we judge it with modern eyes, we can say well that doesn’t perhaps quite stack up. You see it is on one level  just an ontological map as seen by ancient thinkers trying to describe their understanding of the nature of reality well before possessing the technology and insights we have today. Still, it is I believe, profoundly informative and a must for yoga teachers who are wanting to understand the philosophy that underpins the classical yoga of Patanjali in particular. While we may not choose to become authorities in this area, we should I believe have some level of literacy in that which is the foundation of what we propound. ”

“And another thing, it is so wide reaching – it covers it all: arguably it is our first theory of everything without recourse to myth and tradition – it is talking about self, the nature of mind and it’s talking about cosmological truths. It’s talking about creation. It’s talking about the unmanifest and the manifest. It obliges you to look at your own beliefs surrounding an explanation for the creation of the material universe, and inevitably to decide where one stands on the hard problem of consciousness.”

He adds:  “Even today with all our technology we encounter a huge variation intellectually and linguistically in what we define consciousness to be. I can think of many definitions of what consciousness is – from simply being awake  as opposed to being unconscious. Is it to be able to think to be “conscious”? What about sentience and what about “self-awareness” and what about “pure consciousness”? Is mind a product of consciousness or of the brain or both or the other way around? Do only humans possess consciousness, why not animals, why not all life forms and how about inanimate objects?  the list is long and challenging and that is before we even ask is consciousness an evolute of material reality or is it an eternal autonomous entity? Samkhya has an opinion on all of this!

David adds that in the workshop he will be looking at the historical origins of Samkhya and how it is (and isn’t) applicable today. And to be seen in the context of all the other darshanas that collectively underpin what we describe as yogic philosophy.

He explains the reason why it is so helpful for yoga teachers to consider these matters is because: “there are a good deal of unsubstantiated or incomplete propositions and conclusions regarding what yoga is out there.” He says: “There are so many different understandings of what yoga is and isn’t and that is not to say that this workshop will totally clarify what it is and what it isn’t, but it is certainly a consideration of what it is and what it isn’t! 🙃

David refers to a quote from Mark Twain which he feels sums up the importance of the topic for yoga teachers: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

To book into this workshop and discover more on this wonderful journey through yogic history and philosophy then click HERE.




Ease into Winter with Japanese yoga

Sarah Kearney is drawing upon her knowledge as a Shiatsu Therapist and Chi Yoga Teacher to help us transition into Winter.  Here she shares her yoga journey plus what’s in store in her May workshop…

Why did you become a yoga teacher?

I first attended yoga classes in my twenties during university, and practiced yoga on and off for ten or so years. After working for NSW TAFE in Health and Recreation Curriculum Development for some time, I decided in 1996 that I wanted to have my own business in the world of natural health. I studied Shiatsu Therapy and started a clinic in Dee Why, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with a fellow student. Study in Shiatsu Therapy requires a lot of body movement and yoga studies as well as learning to provide Shiatsu massage. One of my Shiatsu teachers started a school in Bondi Junction called the ZEN Renaissance Centre just after I finished my course, where he wanted to teach the principles of Oki Do Yoga, applying meridian studies to yogic theory. I decided to further my studies there and by the year 2000, when I completed the yoga instruction course, I had begun to teach classes in both Bondi and Dee Why.

What’s your personal practice?

My personal practice involves constant mindfulness (I emphasise the word practice here!), attention to the environment around us as the seasons change, as well as regular asana, breathing and meditation practices. I try to put each practice into my day wherever there is a chance to do so.

How is Japanese Yoga different to Hatha Yoga?

Firstly it is based on the meridian system (the same system as acupuncture) and not on the Chakra system.  It has its roots in ancient Chinese theory but was also practised in Japan.

The style I teach was inspired by the late Japanese zen yoga master, Masahiro Oki who blended Traditional Chinese Medicine with Hatha Yoga. Oki Do Yoga includes tapping and massaging with a lot of floorwork , but in my particular teaching I also incorporate many standing postures as well as flowing styles.

How can this practice help you connect with nature and the seasons?

It’s mostly about us being in touch with the changes of the seasons. We might not notice that in the winter a lot of us feel a bit lonely or things are too quiet or we have gone inside ourselves. You can use the energy of the kidney and bladder meridians in the Winter to help you feel grounded and present during this change.

What will the workshop focus on?

I’d like to let others know about the benefits of Japanese/Oki Do yoga perspectives. The practices support us in feeling more connected with the world around us as we are working with the same transforming energies in our bodies.

We’ll cover simple yoga practices that make a big difference to energy flow and state of mind. We’ll focus on balancing energies and the nervous system so the body can come back to its natural healing state and will work through a yoga practice that is felt on energetic as well as physical, emotional and spiritual levels.

What is your yoga teaching schedule like at the moment?

I teach nine classes per week (when I don’t have a broken foot – Sarah freakily broke her forefoot in February after a falling over the kids’ toys!) I teach both community and private classes. My classes are in Port Macquarie and Wauchope mainly, though I have taught in other nearby communities – Byabarra and Comboyne.

Winter Transition Japanese Yoga is on 1.30pm – 4.30pm AEST on Saturday, May 29 online and live via Zoom.

To book, click HERE

pic credit Tim Gouw at Unsplash

Sarah’s Singapore Yin

We had a chat with IYTA lecturer Sarah Manning on her upcoming Yin Autumn workshop, how the pandemic has affected yoga in Singapore and her exciting new projects…

Q: How is life?

I am busier than ever and I’m trying lots of new things. With any change we have to make the best of it and move forward. You can sit in a big hole and say I can’t do it, that you’re too old or you can throw yourself in there and be embarrassing and willing to be a bit of a fool. As you get older you get willing to wear that purple hat and ask for help.  So I’m busy and I’m learning and it’s good. 

 Q: What’s next with the IYTA?

I’m running a three-hour online Autumn Yin Yoga workshop for the IYTA on April 24.

Yin is an opportunity to slow down, to go inward and develop awareness of your body, your energy and your state of mind. When you are in a country that has seasons it gives you an opportunity to just pause and reflect on what you will store in the memory banks.

This workshop will include discussion about the meridians and anecdotal stories relating to the lungs and large intestines meridians. And the emotions of grief and letting go. In  Qi Gong they call it the energy of drawing inward and is used for storing energy in the lower dantian.

Q: Tell us a bit more about your yoga projects

I’ve chummed up with a techie, an Ayurveda practitioner and a fertility coach and the four of us are creating a 30-day fertility program which is on an App.

It’s tailored by women’s doshas and menstrual cycles and I’ve created around thirty minute yoga sequences!

I’m also heIping a friend who practises Arvigo massage and she and I are also working on promoting creating holistic health for fertility. The  other project is offering Yin teacher trainings here in Singapore which is both face-to-face and online – so teaching both together has been another steep learning curve!

Q: How has the pandemic affected yoga in Singapore?

We are in a tiny place that has better control of its compliant population and we have a lot more freedoms than most people, but we are being traced. Every building you enter has a QR code and your temperature is taken constantly. For a while the studios were closed but they’ve now opened back up with strict mat distances and 1 person getting bolsters at any one time. Everyone has to wear masks until they are sitting on their mat. As a teacher if I move around the class I have to put my mask on – even if it’s to switch on or off the light!

The experienced teachers who have followers have moved online – you don’t have to travel with online classes. People who really want to work with you will do so in private and pay a premium. The studio where I’ve worked is now closing and renovating so they can transform the space for more private yoga classes and therapy rooms.    

Q: How has Covid affected people’s mental health in Singapore? 

We don’t have social security, so people don’t have the luxury of wallowing so they have to seek out other ways of making an income as they have no choice. So they just get up and move on.

I think over the next five years there will be a big shake up of the small studios that haven’t been able to sustain themselves.

Q: And what now for you personally?

Well my son Conrad has had to postpone his wedding twice, so they have set the date again for October in the UK – and I’m going to that wedding come what may!

I’m also missing my trips and all my friends in Australia – so hopefully I’ll make it there too sooner rather than later!

To book into Sarah’s workshop please click HERE


Boost your immune system with Ayurveda and Yoga


 Discover daily practices to help nourish your body and protect against disease

 Andrea Freeman’s day begins with a walk in nature, a special Ayurvedic tea (the recipe will be revealed in her latest IYTA workshop) and oil pulling.

These are just three of the ways Andrea integrates Ayurveda into her day. And those lucky enough to attend her workshop in Perth, WA on Sunday, March 21, will discover many more tips and ways they can stay strong and healthy this Autumn and beyond.

Andrea, a mum of one, developed a close connection with nature while growing up in the English countryside.  Her family emigrated to South Africa in the early 70’s where she was educated.  Finding out about the “spice route” around the Cape to India and the Spice Islands captured her imagination.  Historically black pepper was more valuable than gold!  Andrea’s interest in Ayurveda was sparked when she first travelled to India in her 20s.

After completing her Diploma of Yoga Teaching with the IYTA in 2001, she began reading more about Ayurveda (Wisdom of Life) – Yoga’s sister science and decided to undertake a Diploma in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselling with the College of Mind, Body and Soul in Adelaide.

During her two years of part-time study, Andrea explored the concept of staying in balance and disease prevention. She is particularly fascinated by the doshas and dravyagunavijnana (the qualities of substances in the natural world and how they affect us physically, mentally and emotionally). Also of special interest; the healing power of herbs and spices.

Applying this essential knowledge now gives Andrea tools on a day to day basis to stay in balance through the seasons and her life cycle.

So what’s Andrea’s morning schedule like?

6am – I start the day with time in the garden connecting with nature and practicing Mindfulness

6.15am– I then brew a cup of Ayurvedic Tea (recipe to be revealed at the workshop)

6.30am – while the tea is brewing I enjoy an Ayurvedic self massage (Abhyanga), using warmed black sesame oil and focus on the joints.

I leave the oil to be absorbed whilst at

7am – sip tea while contemplating the day and cultivating gratitude.

Before showering and ready for yoga.

 Andrea adds: “My dominant dosha is Pitta and my secondary dosha is Kapha, so I am very mindful of the foods I eat and combine. I eat seasonally and in summer enjoy foods and acitivities that are cooling.   Being in my 60’s now, I am in the vata phase of life.  Vata is responsible for anxiety and overwhelm and I understand and help my students manage stress.

I make and blend a variety of herbal and spice mixes, to relieve stress, aid inflammation and help the digestive system through sparking Agni (digestive fire).

I also enjoy a daily dose of golden paste (a combination of turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil) for inflammation and a cognitive boost, either in black coffee in the morning or milk in the evening.”

Andrea teaches seven yoga classes a week and offers Abhyanga massages (Ayurvedic full body massages), Indian Head Massage, Ayurvedic Lifestyle consultations and makes many herbal formulations as well as running monthly workshops at her home studio, The Santosha Room.

The 2.5 hour IYTA workshop on Sunday, March 21 will feature: 

 The seven steps to boost immunity as suggested by the AYUSH Ministry of India which was issued at the onset of the Corona Virus.

  • Daily practices (for all doshas) to bolster the immune system.
  • An asana practice and a specific visualisation for immunity.
  • Plus a presentation and opportunity to taste all of the herbal and spice recommendations, and goodies to take home.

Book on to the workshop HERE 

Pic credit: Calum Lewish at Unsplash


Discover a secret yoga practice – at our IYTA workshop

Stop for a moment and notice your breath. Not just the rhythm, the temperature or even the pauses, but the predominant nostril and direction of exhaled air.

Did you know this forms the basis for a particular style of yogic practice known as Swara Yoga? 

And regular practice and self-observation can help you discover your biorhythms and give you greater self-awareness.

Swami Muktibodhananda (Mukti) discovered Swara Yoga while studying in India in the 70s – she’s even authored a book on the practice: Swara Yoga – The Tantric Science of Brain Breathing. And now she’s about to reveal this practice at an IYTA online yoga workshop in March. 

Mukti says: “Swara Yoga is the practice of recognising which nostril you are predominantly breathing through and what this indicates about your capacities in your current situation and in your current environment.”

Swara Yoga requires you to be observant of the specific nostril through which you are breathing as well as the direction of the breath while exhaling.

For example, Mukti says when you exhale and you put your fingers close to the nostrils – the breath can flow up, down, sideways and central. It’s not always flowing the same way. This indicates a specific energy flow in the body, which relates to a particular element (Tattwa)– air (vayu), water (apas), ether (akasha), fire (agni) and earth (prithvi).

Mukti adds: “For example, if the air is flowing up towards the top of the nose, the fire element is predominating.”

“This can be observed any time, but it is particularly observed at sunrise. And ideally you need to know the specific moon date and which nostril should be flowing to be in harmony with your environment.

“There is a natural biorhythm to which everyone’s swara flows and if your swara is out of sync with this rhythm then you know that there is a disturbance in the body or mind or emotions which needs to be addressed. Swara Yoga does not teach you how to breath as this is addressed in Hatha Yoga.”

Of course, a three-hour workshop will just be an introduction to these concepts, but you will still come away with tools to understand yourself, others and your relationship to your natural environment on a deeper level.

So why isn’t more known about this fascinating practice? Mukti says there are few teachers teaching Swara Yoga worldwide, because traditionally this particular Tantric practice of Swara Yoga was kept secret.

Mukti adds: “In the history of Tantra, many practices have been kept secret because people were not ready for the practices. Today we are well and truly ready to understand our biorhythms. “

Mukti discovered Swara Yoga in 1978 when she was living in a small Yogashram in the middle of India, Rajnandgaon, Madhya Pradesh. She had taught herself to read the Deva Nagari script in which Sanskrit and Hindi are written. Here in the yogashram, she read about the connection of the moon phases and which nostril should be functioning at sunrise.

She says: “I would check every morning and found it was true. It fascinates me that everyone’s breathing and brain hemisphere activities are linked to the specific moon date cycles. And to know that by discerning which nostril you are breathing through, you can understand the outcome of specific actions is invaluable in the process of being more in charge of yourself, to be ‘self-controlling, rather than ‘other’ controlling. I am always interested in yogic methods that increase my awareness of myself and others.

Mukti says that by understanding her own swara, she is able to make more informed decisions.

Mukti explains it can help you to shift out of negative emotions and behaviours such as being judgmental, blaming or being critical or feeling victimised or having a desire to “rescue”.

This is quite a complex subject but Mukti still manages to incorporate it into her general yoga classes by bringing students’ awareness to the fact that they breathe through individual nostrils, as well as through both nostrils evenly from time to time.

And that this cycle of breathing needs to change throughout 24 hours in order to maintain physical and psychological balance. She also explains about sleeping on your side in relation to having a deep sleep (all these aspects will be covered in the IYTA workshop).

 To book on click HERE

Pic credit: thanks to Unsplash and Ale Romo photographer



Head over Heels

Turning upside down shifts your perspective, which is so good for us mentally and physically. We caught up with IYTA lecturer, Alex Cogley to chat about headstands!

Q: When did you first start doing headstands and incorporating them into your yoga practice?

First one when I was a kid, but from around 12 onwards I didn’t spend much time on my head again until I was in my mid-twenties when I started doing yoga.

I was taught them as part of the Yoga Synergy courses that were offered in Bondi, and Newtown. Yoga Synergy has a foundation in physiotherapy (both the Directors are physiotherapist), so there was a strong emphasis on safety and the stages to getting into a headstand safely AND coming out properly.

Q: Why you love headstands? And why you do them? 

I love the stillness that they bring (but it didn’t initially feel like that, it took practice and patience!). Headstands have many benefits but when I first started doing them I enjoyed the challenge and overcoming my fear of falling out/balancing my body weight on my head… by learning how to get into them properly, and being patience fears are overcome. 

Q: Why do you think so many yoga teachers and students don’t do headstands?

Firstly, the neck/head is such a delicate structure there are concerns regarding injuries… you don’t ever fully know your students’ full medical history, they may tell you about their obviously physical conditions, but it is often the emotional and mental tension that causes tension and stress, especially in the head, neck and shoulders… especially in our sedentary society where we are required to sit for prolonged periods and therefore putting additional tension and wear/tear in the neck and shoulders and spine. There are many inversion alternatives that offer the same benefits but are more accessible to students.

Q: What are the key safety points?

This is a long answer and will be addressed in the workshop (Alex is running her headstand workshop for the IYTA in March). It’s more than just not being suitable for students who are pregnant, unmedicated blood pressure, neck injuries, eye issues (detached retina, glaucoma) and some heart conditions…. it’s an individual’s physical, emotion and mental state too…

Q: When do you do your headstand practice? How long do you hold your headstand? 

When – well I suggest once you have completed the standing poses, or at the end of the practice… body warmed up, not tired, core engaged. How long – as long as you feel comfortable when starting… and then build to 1min, 2min, 5min, 10min for more… to a point that feels like you’re in Tadasana but on your head!

I only teach headstands as part of a course, or when I know the whole group or individual well – never to new students in my class (or if I’m doing a cover class), as I need to know their bodies, lifestyle / background etc. However, if you are confident with teaching a headstand, and it is suitable for the group or individual then do it, as the benefits are so worthwhile.

Q: Is there any time you don’t do your headstand practice?

Traditionally inversions aren’t practiced in the first three days of a menstrual cycle, due to affecting the flow of blood plus some women’s core are not so strong in this phase, and therefore not so supportive in the inversion. I think due to our lifestyles we need to look at a lot of other issues – prolonged desk work, tension, stress – headstands can help BUT only when a student is able to go into them without tensing all the wrong muscles and potentially putting themselves at risk of injury.  Headstands are suitable for all levels of practitioners (apart from complete beginners) however, it is advised that students have some yoga experience of a least 2-3 months. I would recommend that students have body awareness, an open mind, desire to try something new and approach them with a sense of fun. Students should be able to hold Downward DogWide­-Legged Forward BendForearm Plank, and Dolphin for a minute each.

Q: Anything else to add?

Headstands are challenging so the ego needs to be left behind and an acceptance of where each individual’s body is at, on that day, in that moment is essential.

Book NOW for Alex’s workshop: The Fundamental Stages To and From Headstand, on March 6th, 2021.








Stay Young with Yoga


What are the five main conditions of the ageing body – and how can you stay youthful with yoga? 

At first the signs of ageing can be subtle – feeling a little stiff when we get out of bed in the morning, finding our jeans are a little more snug and perhaps noticing an extra line or two when we scrutinise our reflection in the mirror.

These changes tend to happen from our mid-40s and affect everyone in different ways. How we look and feel is unique to us and in part due to our lifestyle, environment, genetics, mindset and work conditions.

Ageing is a fact of life, but yoga can help us to stay youthful in mind, body and spirit. Which is why Seniors Yoga is becoming increasingly popular.

The IYTA’s Beryl Broadbent has written and presents a hugely popular two-day training to help yoga teachers focus on the needs of students aged 50+

She has been teaching yoga for Seniors for the past 25 years and presenting the IYTA’s Senior Yoga Training for the past two years.

Beryl says: “Yoga can bring focus to the mind by helping people get back in touch with their breath. In the past 25 years, yoga has been widely accepted as a health regime and a lot of people start yoga because it is accessible, gentle and simple. It is beneficial in many ways – from improving posture to encouraging deeper sleep, awareness of the breath and helps people connect with others and their communities.”


FIVE main conditions of ageing


#1 – Arthritis and getting stiffer – arthritis can occur at any age, but it tends to be more prevalent as we age. We can also find our joints can become stiffer and we find it harder to climb stairs and get up off our yoga mats.

Beryl says: “I have a lot of students who were athletes or runners and as they age, they find their body can’t handle ballistic impact movements. Yoga helps to keep joints mobile and active in a safe and controlled way while reducing the severity and pain of arthritic conditions.”


#2 – Weight gain – as you age you lose muscle mass and typically become less active which means you’ll burn less calories.  Our hormonal balance also changes as we go through menopause – and don’t forget men have their equivalent of menopause too.  Beryl adds that as our children become more independent, our workload around the home shifts (of course this is a benefit, but the downside is that we aren’t running around as much and as such our activity levels drop.)

In Seniors Yoga classes, depending on the ability and age range of the students, Beryl will often bring in some aerobics movements such as marching, heel taps, easy walks and even grapevines.


#3 – Posture – as we get older there is a tendency for us to hunch forwards and for the back to round resulting in a stooped posture or even a kyphosis. We can also suffer bone loss.

Yoga encourages us to stand tall and to release neck and shoulder tension, open the heart and breathe deeply into the lungs and feeling the entire rib cage expand and release with the breath.

Beryl believes in focusing on postural awareness. She says: “I find that shoulder rolls help to loosen up the chest and release into the shoulders. I encourage students to feel the shoulder blades slide down into the hip pockets and think of having angel wings fold across your back, to encourage the chest to open and the shoulders to soften.


#4 Cardiovascular health and high blood pressure –  as we age our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke all increase. Many people aren’t aware they even have high blood pressure, so it’s important they have regular health checks. Yoga helps keep people active, can reduce stress and helps to keep body weight regular. Some of the breathing techniques such as Nadi Sodhana may have a direct impact on our cardiovascular health.


#5 Stress of midlife – the stress of ageing is a different kind of stress than in our earlier years. We are unlikely to have the responsibility of children, we may lose our independence, have to readjust to retirement and cope with grief and loss. There are also the physical symptoms of ageing to deal with such as loss of hearing, sight and  mobility. As we know, yoga helps us cope with the changing landscape of our life and gives us tools to ease stress, tension and anxiety.


These are just some of the ways ageing can impact us – and some of the ways yoga can help. To discover more about this wonderful practice sign up to our two-day training NOW 



The IYTA course is available online and face-to-face and Beryl will be delivering the course face-to-face in Brisbane on March 13 – 14, 2021


Find out more HERE




How to Clear your Chakras


By Katie Brown

We all know about the chakras – but how can we feel them, let alone clear them if we can’t even see them?

The word chakra means wheel – in yoga, there are seven main chakras – each one like an energy vortex sending and receiving vital energy (or prana).

Now think about your energy. What’s it like right now? Is it scattered, depleted or does it feel strong and vibrant?

There are days we feel light – it can feel as if our energy is flowing at a higher vibration. In this state it’s easier to feel positive about life and situations, we tend to move a little easier and our smile naturally stretches a little wider. We feel in the flow of life – more resilient and able to cope with the fluctuations of our day.

Then there are the days when we feel heavy, apathetic – it’s more difficult to motivate ourselves and if we’re not careful we can slip into a negative thought spiral… which only serves to draw that energy downard – now we’re at a lower vibration of energy.

Put very simply the first scenario is when the energy or prana in our body is likely to be flowing more freely and the second is when there is a blockage of energy which creates a stagnation and can then impacts each of the other chakras.

Even if we can’t see our chakras – if we focus our mind and energy on them we can begin to feel them and over time continue to deepen and refine that connection.

As the old saying goes: where our attention goes, our energy flows. By regularly paying attention to each of the seven main chakras:  Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and the Crown Centre Sahasrara – we can begin to tune into each of these energy centres.

I’ve always loved the Chakras and in my twenty years of instructing yoga, I often refer to them within the classes that I teach.

Mini Chakra Cleanse

In my personal practice, if I start to feel my energy lagging or feeling unbalanced, then I do a short Chakra Breathing Practice. I simply spend ten minutes breathing into each of the chakras in turn.

Begin at the base chakra. Take at least three deep breaths into the Muladhara Chakra.

Then move up to the Svadhisthana Chakra and repeat three breaths, continue to move your awareness and focus upwards through each chakra. We always move from the lowest to highest chakra – this ensures you remain grounded, safe and secure. The three base chakras are connected with the gross body, the Anahata is the bridge between gross and the subtle body and the three higher chakras are connected with the subtle body. You can visualise the colours associated with each of the chakras and if possible, chant the Bija Seed Mantras (the sounds associated with each of the chakras) to amplify your experience.

Then sit for a moment feeling the breath flow up from the base of the spine to just above the crown centre and feel the exhalation flow from the crown to the tailbone.

Finish by place the hands in Anjali Mudra at the heart centre. Namaste


Restorative Yoga for the Chakras with Katie Brown


  • New Year is the perfect time to start your Chakra Journey – and I’m running a 90-minute online Restorative Yoga class on Sunday, January 31, 2021 where we will be focusing on each chakra in turn with yoga pose, pranayama or centring practice which will culminate in a guided relaxation through all of the chakras.

This will be a nurturing experience for you whether you are extremely familiar with the seven main chakras or if you’re yet to explore them.

Click here for details on the class and to book

Ten reasons to LOVE the IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching

The IYTA’s Diploma of Yoga Teaching can change your life – here ten of our 2020 students share their experiences…

Start the New Year with a new direction and do something poistive, challenging and rewarding by becoming a Yoga Teacher. You never know it could change your life. Here TEN of our 2020 students share their story.

#1 Kana Nobuhara – 37, Dee Why, NSW

Initially I was doing Bikram’s yoga for about ten years – I thought about doing that training, but I didn’t want to be restricted to one style of yoga or study overseas.

I was about to commit to doing a yoga course and then I fell pregnant, I thought I’d have to put it on the back burner, but I miscarried.

As devastating as it was and my husband in February (2020) said: Well why don’t you use this opportunity to do the yoga course. I had started doing pre-natal classes – that introduced me to other forms of yoga which I started to appreciate again

That led to me to be more confident and open minded about exploring other forms of yoga and so I searched online. I wanted to find the most established school in Australia – and I found the IYTA.

I liked that there was no one form of style and it provided a really good grounding holistic view of yoga.

At that point I’d missed the first weekend, but it wasn’t a problem as I was sent the recorded lectures, so I caught up. Then I fell pregnant again!

It’s been my best decision I’ve made in my life.

At this point in my life – it’s come together in regards to my dharma. There are so many knowledgeable teachers who are familiar with pre-natal yoga that I wasn’t concerned.

Being pregnant on the course has been really nourishing in so many ways – it really has helped me gradually prepare myself for childbirth and being more connected to my mind and body and with the asanas and chanting and mantras and how that all comes together and how I can utilise all those tools to benefit my whole pregnancy journey.

I would love to teach! I want to focus on motherhood initially and devote myself to that, but I think yoga is absolutely essential in terms of helping people become more in touch with their bodies – I’ve been teaching my friends and it’s encouraging this course is already impacting my group of friends.”


#2 Rachel Smith, 30, Balmain, NSW 

“I’ve always wanted to learn more about yoga. I did a lot of research and the IYTA DYT course seemed like a good choice.

I like the gentle and holisitic approach and you learn to listen to your body.

It’s been intense –  I think it has helped doing this course during lockdown… it has given me a focus and encouraged me to give myself time to do the meditation and pranayama and practice each week.

The residential has been good – it’s been great to meet all the online students and get to know each other a bit more.

The course has definitely helped to improve my daily practice and given me a great foundation in yoga and for teaching.”


#3 Rachel Sands, 47,  Fish Creek Victoria, South Gippsland 

“I wanted to diversify my income moving into older age… I work in public health four days a week and I see being a yoga teacher maintains yoga in my life. It also forces me to stay engaged with yoga and to own it a bit more and thus to also shift away from a day job if I so choose.

The course has been profound and it wasn’t at all what I expected. I don’t think I did it for the reasons for which I am now grateful of – I went into it in a pragmatic way, but what I’ve got from it is so much more and I wouldn’t have thought I would have experienced that.

I will be so sad when it finishes. It is a framework in my life that keeps me engaged in learning and progressing and it gives me an emotional support .

Absolutely I would recommend this course.  I have appreciated the inclusive philosophy and that it’s ok to be where you are at and ok if your body doesn’t do what the picture says and I love that we are given these tools to allow everyone to participate. And I have enjoyed the diversity of teaching styles I have been exposed to.

I’m really grateful with the standard of pranayama and meditation instruction.”


#4 Amanda Mealing, 40, Moree, NSW 

“I just wanted to know more about yoga – I went online and searched. There were lots of different courses and I like the approach that IYTA had welcoming in lots of different teachers and different aspects of yoga. It didn’t seem like it was going to be a rigid set of beliefs – and the correspondence was huge knowing that I wouldn’t get to Sydney a lot of weekends. I liked the way it was over a year so I would incorporate it into my life…

I love it – it’s been so good – the teachers have been amazing, the other students have been amazing – it is so well set up and timed as far as every step that comes next in the program you are ready for it… an integrated way of learning and also the correspondence has been helpful – during Covid the guys put in extra effort to do the classes via Zoom.

I’ve been very grateful to have this course to help keep me grounded during the madness of the year – I think I’m a lot calmer than if I hadn’t been doing the course

Sometimes I don’t realise the effect it is having on me..

I absolutely recommend it.”


#5 Stanja Buvac – 43, Dulwich Hill 

I decided to do the course to improve my personal practice and overall wellbeing and learn pranayama and meditation.

Why IYTA? I’ve done a lot of research and found this course is comprehensive and covers not only asana and philosophy but pranayama and meditation in comparison to the majority of others.

It is quite challenging but good challenging – it makes me learn and it is quite harder than I thought it would be. There is so much to learn – definitely more hours than in any other course.

Because you do it over the year it gives you more time and space for all this knowledge to settle so it isn’t that intense training which you don’t have time to absorb.

And in pranayama and meditation you can’t do that in a short course.

I absolutely recommend it, because it challenges you – and changes your life if you are open to a change… and expands and deepens your knowledge and understanding about life.

I feel like it has changed my life – it has shifted my perception in many ways – learning about different bodies and anatomy and Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. You do this course and you start to really dig deeper – and you understand yourself better. Professionally I fell in love with pranayama and edition so I would like to teach meditation and pranayama, I think I would find  it more enjoyable than teaching asanas…

I can embody that more. Physical part is not as important as those deeper levels… “


#6 Junko Wong, 45, Ultimo, NSW 

“I decided to do this as I had been practicing yoga for 6-7 years and I wanted to learn more especially about pranayama, meditation and philosophy. I’d been doing a lot of asana work but not much else.

Pranayama, meditation and philosophy was included in this course in particular. And I was also aware of the good reputation of the IYTA and that is was a well-balanced and good course.

I really like the course it covers so much and the teachers are all very different. I’ve learnt a lot. The study weekends are quite intense and it can be overwhelming but there is a lot of support from all the teachers and students.

I think in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach but now I am more keen to teach – starting with friends and perhaps hiring a community centre. I work as a  support worker in a preschool, so I might do yoga for children.”


#7 Audrey D’Souza – age 60, Pymble 

“I go to the Kuringai Yoga School and have been going for many years.  I enquired about this course about two years ago but in Sept 2019 my mum passed away and I was very involved in caring for her, when that happened I started to think about now it’s time for me.

I didn’t know what I was going to do and then I got the reminder email about this course and the moment I saw that, I thought: this is it, I am doing this… 

I did check out a few others courses, but I came back and spoke to Lynne and Margaret – they couldn’t speak more highly about the IYTA course. I asked them am I ready? Audrey I know you and I think you are absolutely ready, I was told, but they warned me I would have to work hard!

So I enrolled and I haven’t looked back since. The course is great – it is so comprehensive. It is covering the whole yogic lifestyle as opposed to just asanas. Doing the yoga philosophy part of it has sparked a great interest in me and I am waiting to jump in and learn more. I need to go and learn more.

My reason for doing the course…  the first reason was myself and my husband – we are both 60 – as we grow older we need to be even kinder to ourselves and to me yoga is the way to go. I also want to encourage older people and help them move in a gentle and mindful way – I want to take my skills to the retirement homes – I want to just do it for the love of doing it.

People say the IYTA is the best course there is around and yes, it is the best course because of everything that it encompasses.”


#8 Andrea Gotham, aged 54, Seaforth, NSW 

“My first yoga teacher, Lydia Dyhin was an IYTA teacher and I really liked her style and I was always trying to find a teacher with the same style. Also one weekend a month was really good for me, as I have children and it didn’t  interfere with family activities – and I liked the idea of having lots of different teachers who specialised in their individual areas.

I’ve loved the course. Absolutely loved the course. I’m not 100 per cent sure I will teach but the journey has been the most enjoyable experience.

It’s the group of people I’ve been learning with have been so likeminded and the lecturers have been very knowledgeable and supportive.

I would definitely recommend it – for me the journey has been so enjoyable especially this year with Covid. As much as it is rigorous the lecturers all seem to understand you have other lives and it’s not a big deal if you need an extension on something.”

#9 Helen Johnson, age 34, Young, NSW 

“I’ve had two incredible teachers who are both IYTA trained and had different approaches, but the same values. And living regionally the ability to be able to do it by distance and the third reason it is long and comprehensive.

I’ve found it amazing, both the teachers and the other students are all so supportive. And the curriculum has been comprehensive, but there is a lot of space to go into self enquiry and insight..

I did it because I wanted to be a yoga teacher, that was my main driver was to become a yoga teacher because of the big gap we have in our community. But through doing it I’ve found how advantageous it has been in deepening my own personal practice.

You guys are all really experts and I view it as an honour to be able to be able to graduate and teach.”


#10 Marcus Reynolds, 61, Newtown 

“This course I liked being spread out over 12 months – I didn’t like the idea of a boot camp intensity I thought at my age if I had an injury it would be hard to stick with it. I also know with my learning processes I would need time to internalise and assimilate it.

The course has been great. A really lovely balance between the breathing, asana and philosophy – I knew there was going to be that philosophical approach – the surprising element is how much it has resonated with me.

Understanding about being gentle to yourself, the process accepting of where you are at..

The course has supported that you accept what you can accept – move in that direction and allow yourself to build.

Yoga is such an internal process and one in which there is all this growing awareness of self and the connectedness of yourself as a whole – with mind and breath but to externalise that in terms of the articulation in a succinct way is challenging.

My journey of understanding of my body – the strengths and vulnerabilities. As I’ve started to teach friends I’ve realised what a gift this is to share. And my friends have said they feel inspired so this course has had a ripple effect to my friends… it has positively touched the lives of those I care about.”

We have just TEN spots left at our discounted rate – to find out more and take advantage of this deal, please click HERE







Yoga Nidra Is A Lifesaver

Yoga Nidra helped yoga teacher, Alison Mactaggart (Mantradharma) cope with chronic insomnia during menopause and now she is teaching others how to experience the benefits of this ancient practice

 Alison or Mantradharma (as she is known by her Sanskrit name), discovered yoga more than 20 years ago while living in London. She says: ‘I started with Iyengar and continued when I moved to Australia.” But it was when she attended a friend’s Satyananda Yoga teaching class that she experienced deeper benefits.

 She says: “I felt so balanced and calm afterwards and I realised that that’s how you are supposed to feel after yoga – not activated as I had been after other styles of yoga and unable to get to sleep when I got home.”

And so Alison enrolled in the Academy of Yoga Science at Mangrove and completed her two year Diploma in 2010.

One practice which Alison always found powerful – regardless of yoga styles – was Yoga Nidra. And the Satyananda training dedicated several hours to teaching and exploring this aspect of yoga.

Alison says: “Yoga Nidra is accessible to anyone – irrespective of age, fitness, health condition, race, culture, spiritual inclinations (or not!).  It can be practiced in lots of ways and in various settings.”

And it became Alison’s saviour when she was suffering with chronic insomnia during peri and post menopause. She says: “I had the classic pattern of sleeping solidly for five hours and then waking up at 1am and not being able to get back to sleep for three or four hours.”

At the time Alison was living in an ashram and had to get up often around 5 am – and she became chronically sleep deprived. She says: “I would just do back-to-back Yoga Nidra at this time – and  you can guarantee that it was the only time I didn’t fall asleep during the practice!”

She believes it nourished her and enabled her to have enough energy to manage demanding days in the ashram. She adds: “I still mainly practice in this way now.  Though when I teach Yoga NIdra, I often slip into a practice space that nourishes me as much as those I am instructing.”

She also uses her Yoga Nidra practice when she is travelling and on those pre-COVID days when she would be on a 24 hour flight back home to Europe.

She says: “Apart from the challenge of staying awake – it is an effortless way to connect with who we are.  I feel passionate about sharing this practice with anyone, and in recent years I have been training health professionals in Sydney hospitals.”


Alison Mactaggart (Mantradharma) is leading a half day online workshop and a full-day face-to-face session in Yoga Nidra for the IYTA – to find out more or book in please click HERE.



Yoga Nidra – Foundations of Transformation

Online – Zoom

Sunday, August 2, 2020

1.30pm – 4.30pm

IYTA Members $55 non-members: $65


This three-hour online session will be an introduction to what yoga nidra is and how the key benefits and effects are achieved through the stages and the practice as a whole.


Unlock the Mystery of Yoga Nidra

Sunday, October 4, 2020

9am – 4pm

Crows Nest Community Centre

Members $197, non-members: $225 


The one-day workshop will enable participants to delve a little deeper into the practice and each of the stages.  The focus is on understanding how Yoga Nidra supports us to learn the skills to regulate our nervous system so that we can respond more positively to life’s challenges and in the long term evolve into who we are meant to be.


Sign up now to both or either of these workshops.

Trauma informed yoga teaching

This was a short session to encourage teachers to think about how yoga practices may impact on their students who have experienced trauma.

Some background was provided to form a context for the practical approaches:

Why teach yoga through a trauma informed lens?

Research indicates around 90% of the population experiences trauma at some point in their lifetime; between 8-20% develop PTSD as a result. (Bessel van der Kolk and David Emerson)

“Trauma refers to any threatening, overwhelming experiences that we cannot integrate…  after such experiences we are often left with a diminished sense of security with others and in the world and a sense of feeling unsafe within our own skin.” (Pat Ogden)

Experiences that are commonly associated with trauma – developmental (through child abuse/neglect, living with domestic violence), war zones/conflicts as military personnel or civilians, domestic violence, first responders, refugee experiences, natural disasters, accidents and through working with people who have experienced trauma.

Trauma may impact on many levels: physiological, energetic, emotional, behavioural, mental, physical and interpersonal. Across all koshas in fact.

Specific impacts may include hypervigilance, disconnection from bodily sensations, loss of rhythms, loss of trust, past is often present and an exaggerated startle response. Loss of bodily autonomy, loss of choice, boundaries have been disrespected. Suppression of breath, abdominal inhibition, diminished core strength, locked jaw- all of which inhibit breath. There can be a sense of shame about selves/bodies.

Yoga- asana/pranayama/mindfulness/meditation have been hailed as solutions for all that ails us and have been adopted joyously, wholeheartedly and uncritically by many well-meaning people, but they can be very tricky for people who have experienced trauma.

“It is naive at best, harmful/dangerous at worst to assume that any and all yoga practices including breath work are inherently healing for and helpful for trauma survivors.” (Caitlin Lanier)

During the session Marg very briefly addressed the overall goals and general principles of Trauma Informed Yoga classes.

Some practical approaches which can be implemented in general classes as well a specific trauma specific groups were suggested:

  • Offer choice in all practices. Use invitational language and language of inquiry such “when you are ready”, “notice, feel, be curious” to encourage making effective choices and develop interoception.
  • Use slow, mindful movement to foster present moment awareness and a sense of safety.
  • Focus on function rather than alignment for movement and asana to assist in reclaiming/befriending the body. Choose asana/sequencing carefully to support students to move towards safety and comfort.
  • Respect boundaries, avoid walking behind or lingering. Stay in view and let students continually assess for safety.
  • Suggest stabilizing anchors in the environment eg: open eyes, pay attention to surrounds to shift attention towards something external if a student is feeling dysregulated.

We practised seated mountain, sun breath, standing mountain and tree pose through a TIY lens. The session was completed with a grounding exercise which might be useful if someone was dissociated at the end of class.

Whilst this experience did not prepare us to become dedicated teachers of TIY, it did encourage us to understand that we can have an impact as yoga teachers and that it is important to stay within our scope of practice for everyone’s safety.

A full day session is planned for 2020 to enable IYTA members to understand the nature and impacts of trauma, provide an opportunity for more experiential work and a chance for further discussion.