Blog

What makes a Yoga Teacher great

Thank you everyone - I got a lot of great responses to my last Blog, Is Yoga just another Commodity. Some of that feedback related to the power abuses that have happened in the Guru world and also the apparent materialization of Spiritual India - Asetics in India being seen to ditch their Orange robes for western clothes and espousing teachings that are perhaps a little less traditional, perhaps a little substandard and that maybe allowing students to keep perspectives that are too confronting to be challenged. You can have your cake and eat it too, kind of thing. These things contribute to the undermining of the perceived value of yoga.
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Is Yoga just another Commodity

Traditionally in India it is a great blessing to find a teacher that will share the deep teachings of yoga. These teachings are considered priceless and yet access is considered our birth rite. Sincere students finds generous teachers, maybe after a period of trial and testing.
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The Habit of Consciousness All experienced yogis will have encountered or be confronted by inconsistencies in their mind at some point. It is a great experience to have, as it reveals to us how conditioned we are. Conditioning cannot be avoided and is very helpful with automatic function. We cant be thinking of everything all the time, that would be exhausting.
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Beliefs and Benefits of Psychological Flexibility

In the depths of our last retreats I lead an interesting meditation that some students found very useful. After spending a few days softening our Ego with breath and sensation based meditation I invited folk to to observe their beliefs AND then to observe the opposite of that belief. The ultimate experience of I am not my thoughts.
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Advanced Retreat 1 month with Mum

Before I went overseas for the adventures you have already been informed of, I had decided to plan time with my Maa and Paa when I got back. Never enough time to hang with these ageing dear first Gurus of mine.. and I thought I would have time to catch up with friends in Brisbane too. The universe works in mysterious ways and the day before my flight from Barcelona, I get a message from dad, saying call home.. Yikes, my dads succinct communications are sometimes I little disconcerting.
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Equanimity in Injury management not Boom Bust

After many years in a body and working with many bodies including many ailing bodies Ive come to understand most people fall into two unhealthy patterns. These become very apparent when we are managing injury or limitation and sometimes we begin to alternate between the two unhealthy patterns in what is called Boom and bust behaviour. To recognise these patterns is fab though as sooner or later it may enable us to achieve some equilibrium and it's one the most beneficial outcomes of yoga. The combination of breath awareness, mindfulness and embodiment leads to a very healthy relationship with our body which aids us greatly when injured and in ageing.
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European Adventures

People come to Byron for holidays and I guess beach holidays are something that are nice for kids; I remember them with my parents when I was a child. Or perhaps they are a relaxing break from city living. So to some my life in Byron Bay might seem like an endless holiday, but I've never found such a holiday a relaxing break. To me it is a balanced lifestyle afforded only as I've never had children or other costly responsibilities. Through my adult life I've opted for rough and cheap travel – backpacking in Europe and much time spent in India. Again interesting travel, but not so relaxing. My true breaks have always been yoga and/ or meditation retreats and I've been blessed with lots of opportunity to spend many weeks of every year in retreats – teaching, assisting or attending.
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Chanting the Tantra Devi Suktam

For maybe the last year now, in our online classes, we have been chanting parts of the Tantra Devi Suktam, along with some explanation. Some of you have expressed enjoyment and wish to understand the translation and meaning behind it more deeply. You can click on the chant in this blog to Access the full mantra and with translation and I will talk about the understanding I have of it, based on years of chanting it as a practice. Perhaps we will move on to learning the more complicated beginning and close.
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Tips for Yogi Shoulders

It seems my theme for a few months now has been shoulders. We've been exploring range of movement exercises and rotator cuff strengthening. Sore shoulders seems to be a common area of issue for yogi's. Why is this. Maybe these tips help, otherwise contact me for more personal guidance.
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the gift of anxiety

There is a lovely story in Hindu spirituality about the God Brahma who at the beginning of the universe, rose upon a lotus from the navel of God Vishnu. Perched out on this lotus in the middle of the cosmos, he felt lonely and out of his loneliness OTHER was created AND with other, he felt fear. This is a beautiful metaphor of the manifestation of the dual from the non-dual and it can be understood at a variety of levels relevant to how human existence.
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Tips to Prevent Long Covid

So Long Covid is not the first post viral illness and there is much we can draw on the management and further, ideally the prevention of it from our understanding of the development of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So having seen over a thousand clients in my CFS career I would say the most outstanding feature common to most was a tendency to push on and not give the body the time it needed. Sometimes from the outside the body was grounded, but the minds were still in a state of grasping to do more, to get back to work, to care for the family, to regain their fitness and so the Immune and Endocrine system was still at the mercy of an activation system, the Sympathetic Nervous System. This is the opposite of where we want to be to heal, that is, the Parasympathetic Nervous System.
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Pelvic Floor

I thought I would start the year with a blog, I've wanted to write for sometime. It's about something a little bit embarrassing, something we don't usually talk about. But like most embarrassing, non talked about things, it's actually better that we deal with it directly. So switch off now if you don't want to talk about Pelvic floor and incontinence in Yoga. Let me qualify immediately that I'm not an expert on this topic and there are physio's who do specialise in this area. Let me know if you need one. But I do want to bring the discussion to the table as something we need to be aware of in our yoga classes.
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Hamstrings

We've talked about pains in the butt before, right? The one I'm going to talk about today is the pain situated around the sitting bones. You might talk of this pain as being a hamstring strain and in fact it's right in the insertion of one of the hamstring muscles. A physiotherapist might diagnosis it as hamstring tendonitis or tendinopathy, particularly if it's been there for a while.
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Do away with Lazy in our World

I made the comment is class last week, that I don't think I've ever met a lazy person and afterwards I thought about it more. Though my judging mind loves the concept of Lazy, my calm centered being doesn't understand it. It's such a really un useful reference in the social context that we use it. We in our righteous stance, accuse people of being lazy, implying laziness is bad, and it's somewhat revealing about what is unhelpful in our world.
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Love not Fear

This is my commitment to ongoing focus to not stress out: Meditation with a focus on Relaxation. I've just uploaded one to yogaphysio You Tube Firm resolution to ignore my mind and spend time resting in my heart. This doesn't mean you don't think and make decisions about what you do, but it means being willing to put it down and rest the mind for some good periods of time. The mind makes better decisions anyway by resting in the heart (alot!); Limit viewing of news and social media – turn the TV/ radio/ computer off as much as possible; Not talking about Covid; Get into nature – get your hands in dirt (thanks Mary); Play a musical instrument or listen to music (again thanks Mary)
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Post Surgery Healing

It is a long time since I wrote about my thyroid surgery. I had planned to follow up sooner to share more of what I learnt.. how I practiced what I preached for all these years. Having helped thousands of people manage to improve their function and support their healing with movement, post surgery and injury here was my opportunity to experience first hand my own advice.
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My Surgery Experience

If you didn't already know, I had my right thyroid removed before Christmas. It was a very interesting experience to walk the talk. Surgery is really like an elective injury. It's not everyday you agree to be knocked out and have your throat cut, I joked before hand. It surprised me however how quickly the body can heal, and I thought I would share the knowledge that supported me in this healing process. As now I can speak based on first hand experience of the process.
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I can't say how many times I have seen 'Breathe' written in association with yoga. Thousands, no doubt! So, as a yoga teacher and a yoga and meditation practitioner of many, many years, I’m really embarrassed to admit I don't always breathe well. As I sit to write this newsletter I am prompted to check that I am breathing in a relaxed and gentle way.
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So I have just returned for the most idyllic time in Europe. The heatwave was glorious and at a cooler 920m, the Pyrennes retreat was delightful. Perfect weather for forest walks and relaxing poolside in the free time the retreat allowed. And so great to have so much time to dedicate in yoga to refresh my body and mind. So rested, nourished and BACK to sharing. Timetable is back to normal and iRest Yoga Nidra will also recommence next Tues 1150 and Meditation and philosophy study on Wed at 1110. Yoga Nidra is a lead meditation practice and deep relaxation, where you get to lay down, for that reason it has been very popular last term. The meditation class is a more open forum with seated meditation and study of the philosophies that inform yoga practice. Both are fantastic opportunities to deepen your knowledge of yoga.
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Aging with Yoga

I know some of you think I'm not old enough to be qualified to speak on this topic, but I have actually started to notice signs of the body aging. I am also reminded occasionally that despite the amazing fitness I see in class, that my students also are starting to age... I forget because you are all so capable. I wanted to link you to someone that at more than twice my age is qualified. At 100, Tao Porchon Lynch still teaches around 6 yoga classes a week, drives around New York, competitively ballroom dances and travels internationally.
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Practice and Detachment

Abhasya and Vairagya. Patanjali yoga sutra 1.12. In our Wednesday meditation class we have been continuing to explore Patanjali and have reached this very interesting and often misunderstood sutra. Abhasya is practice. In the sutras mostly he is referring to meditation and self study but we can explore more broadly. Practice may be anything we engage in that brings us closer to Self realisation of our inner essence. Detachment is a concept that is often misunderstood and abused. You may think it implies renouncing things like possessions or money and many people complicate their relationships by thinking they can't be attached to people. But this isn't the dance that Patanjali is instructing.
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Patanjali Yoga

After twenty years of yoga, I have studied Patanjali with different teachers probably six or seven times. As a yoga teacher I've always preferred the non dual philosophies of vedanta and tantra, but for the first time this year in yogaphysio meditation classes we have started to explore Patanjali and I have come to a new appreciation of this view of mind. Read on to gain insight into the simplicity of the first four sutras.
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Listen to Your Body

I've noticed in my own practice and in teaching that we are sometimes mistaken in thinking that we are being mindful, when in actual fact we are being cautious. The state of caution is a mind state that sometimes limits us from exploring our edges. And I'm not talking about the 'fancy pants' poses; sometimes it's just returning to a normal practice after an injury. So how do we get out of our mind and more into our body. Maybe this blog will guide you into a little self enquiry that will guide you back into listening to and trusting your body, and letting go of some of the stories that limit you..
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Not just mechanics

Medicine has known for a long time now that pain does not always mean there is damage. Experience of pain is complex and multifactorial. When you are sick with the flu do you notice the onset of old pains. You might like to read of my recent experience.
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Love ya Curves

What is the right position for the spine in yoga and for everyday posture and other sporting activities. Read on to find more and above all explore the full range of spinal movement to determine what is right for your body.
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Why you should be cautious of neck stretches.

Ever had a blinder of a headache after a seemingly relieving traps stretch. I approach neck stretches cautiously. Many of the neck muscles are small and we are not always sensitive to the force we can generate through them, particularly if tension is more the problem, not tightness.
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Tension and Tightness

Muscles that feel tight might actually allow normal joint range of movement. Muscles that are a little bit tight might be weak. Muscles that feel tight, might actually be tense which requires a different approach to stretching a tight muscle. And even when a muscle is tight good movement and fitness in other areas may determine it is not a problem. The prescription of an individualized yoga program is determined by a skilled practitioner assessing the entire body; a practitioner that knows what the normal range of movement and muscle length is and can assess strength balance around the relevant areas of the body.
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Devotion in Yoga

Devotion is a touchy subject that people often shy away from because of religious connotations. Early in my life I had an interest in religion. I enjoyed the ritual and concepts of God, but the church didn't provide the answers I sought as I matured. With a growing interest in psychology for many years a moved towards less devotional forms of spirituality and psychology which seemed to make more sense to my mind. After many years though and much yoga experience there is still some draw to the mystery of the divine. Allow me to share more thoughts.
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On Loneliness and Fear

The sleeping Vishnu represents the time between the manifest universe's, pre- Big Bang if you like. He slumbers on the snake Ananta, endless time, in the cosmic ocean, infinite space. At some abitrary point, I'm sure there is a crazy algebraic equation that would detail it, he is roused and as he awakes a lotus sprouts from his navel and seated upon the blossum is the creator of the universe Brahma.
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Judgement

I wanted to write about something that became the theme of our last retreat and by many reports was very helfpul, judgement. Judgement has been something that I've worked with a lot in my meditation and in my life. Despite being intellectually aware of it for some time, it's only in the last year, particularly, I have become very intimate with it and aware of the confusion and suffering it was causing me and probably those close to me also.
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The Centred Central Base with Libbie

Twenty years ago and more many of us were working in a way that destroyed our central base. This may sound harsh but ask us what happening to our backs and hips now after doing yoga poses too strongly and forcing ourselves into spaces predetermined by our teachers and holding there interminably while we were all adjusted into those spaces.
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Mindfulness of mindfulness

I have been itching to continue to share some of the conversations started at the yoga australia conference. Last newsletter I shared from the panel I was part of Power abuses. I hope you managed to hear the interview on the spirit of things on Radio National. Yoga has been getting a lot of good press lately, not just on RN, but generally. And another very hot topic has been the health benefits of yoga and meditation, but there are some things we need to be aware of when pursuing these practices deeply.
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The only place for power is in the word Empowerment

The number of scandals in the church has been met in recent years by revelations of sexual abuse by self acclaimed yoga Guru's In India and the west. The damaging side of human nature is not prevented by codes of conduct nor testaments of awakened being, it seems. So this was the background that gave impetus to the panel I was invited to participate in at this years yoga conference on the Gold Coast - Is Power a dirty word in Yoga?
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Pondering India

India is so different from here. Over the years of traveling between here and there the culture shock has become less. Or perhaps it's reversed; that even though I spend less time in India the culture shock happens on my return to the west.
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Getting better

Why don't we think we'll get better? I want to discuss something that is very complex around pain and healing. There are a few things that really go against us in terms of managing our health, particularly musculo-skeletal injury and pain. They are based on few general confusions and mistaken assumptions. There are two misconceptions that I think we need to examine. 1. We think pain always means there is physical damage or something wrong in the body.
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Nice day for a walk in the park - Silence

So, again and again as I try to sell people the idea of our 7 day retreat I meet with the response.. "oh I couldn't be possibly be quiet for 7 days" or "why would you want to be quiet for 7 days"...... Some of you probably can't imagine how I could be quiet for 7 days... Anyway, I thought I'd write a little about silence.. to demystify it a little.
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