Follow my yoga quest at home and on the road…

Documentary – Sadhaka: the yoga of B K S Iyengar

BKS Iyengar with Sadhaka executive producer, Lindsey Clennell. Photo Jake Clennell.

BKS Iyengar with Sadhaka executive producer, Lindsey Clennell.
Photo Jake Clennell.

A few weeks ago I discovered a website about a documentary that is being made about BKS Iyengar.

Rather than me trying to explain what this is about, if you feel so inclined please visit the website, watch the trailer and you may wish to make a donation toward the completion of this project.


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A class with Caroline Coggins (23 Nov 14) – an unexpected lesson in compassion

I was looking forward to attending a Caroline Coggins lead class at Yoga West in Perth, Western Australia on 23 November 2014.

The class was to commemorate the 96th birthday of BKS Iyengar.

Caroline began the session by recounting her experience at Mr Iyengar’s  recent memorial in Pune.


116I had read about, and heard about, Caroline Coggins and I was interested to experience being a student in one of her classes.

However, in the lead up to the class I developed vertigo and dizziness (which lasted for several months), and also I had a cortisone injection for an ongoing ankle injury several days before the class which required resting the ankle. So, I changed tack and asked if I could attend the class as an observer, rather than as a participant. Permission was granted.

Being an observer at a asana class was new to me – previously I had always been “on the mat”. I found a spot to sit that I felt was out of the way of teacher and students. I felt strange sitting on a stool, pad and pen at the ready – I felt as if I should make an announcement as to why I was sitting and watching and not joining in. I wondered if others wondered why I was sitting there. I tried to make myself really small – inconspicuous – almost invisible, but, I still wanted to see and hear everything.

All these feelings and thoughts – I this – I that (!)  Once I got over the I-ness and listened to Caroline’s words… familiar Iyengar instructions…. I watched her adjust participants, and watched participants adjusting themselves and each other…  It was OK to just be there, and it was OK to be a student that observed. And, as I watched the students I had a feeling of compassion wash over me – compassion for myself and my own asana practice – my practice was OK – whatever I did it was OK.

This was a new experience for me. I previously felt I had to be more, do more…
all I have to do is BE.

I give thanks for being given the opportunity to observe, and to find that compassion. Compassion for myself that flows on into compassion for others…

Much gratitude to Mr Iyengar
Caroline Coggins, and Yoga West


 Words of inspiration from Caroline on the
teachings of BKS Iyengar

Guruji said to his great grand daughter the night before he died
that he had given her everything, and that now she needed 
to find out for herself.

He was speaking to us all as well.

We are not handed anything of value,
except love and being enabled to progress.

I believe we need to follow in
his footsteps, led by his example,  which does not mean necessarily
only watching and recalling his classes and all the information which has
been generated from Pune.

Rather, the footsteps I am referring to are the
inner ones: the steady work and practice; the keen intelligence
applied to practice; courage and capacity to think for ourselves and not
just follow blindly.  This means that we must know ourselves, our strengths
and weaknesses and culture ourselves.Culture to Guriji meant as a human
being, not in outward things but inside ourselves, creating a unity and inclusiveness,
seeking truth, while being ethical in our dealings with others.

We are all cracked vessels, and acknowledging this frees us to be less
judgmental and self protective. As teachers we share what we know,
endlessly exploring with a 
fresh and open mind.

Let us be bold as we step forward now into our future.

2014 11 23 caroline coggins workshop at yoga west perth


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Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield and a little yoga on the side

imageBack in August 2014 I visited the Northern Territory (NT) for 8 days. My time was divided between Darwin, Litchfield and Kakadu.

There is much to see and do in the NT, ie from a gentle stroll along Mindil Beach to watch a breathtaking sunset, to action packed – adrenaline pumping – adventures involving helicopters, airboats and crocodiles.

Two decades ago, I lived and worked in the NT for 18 months. I have very fond memories of this part of Australia. Back then there was no speed limit on the open road. Friends and I would go on adventures – either mountain biking or driving – to waterfalls, gorges, abandoned mine sites, etc… It was a seemingly carefree period of my life.

For me, the Dry Season is the perfect time of year to visit the NT – warm temps (29-33 deg C during the day), and low humidity. Although the wet season finished several months ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find water flowing on all waterfalls visited.

During my visit, I made my asana practice on the tiled floor of my temporary home. I did not take a mat with me so I made a small pad out of a towelling face cloth for Sirsasana, and focused on standing asana.

The one yoga venue I visited whilst in Darwin was the Darwin Yoga Space (DYS) which is an Iyengar studio.

On arrival at DYS, I asked permission to attend a class on a casual basis. Not knowing me, or my yoga practise, Margie – the teacher – invited me to join her beginner 2 class.
I had not attended a formal class for almost two weeks – there was a sense of coming home as I entered the studio and set up for class123

Margie’s class was very enjoyable – I liked her gentle, caring, method of teaching.

The DYS is a lovely yoga venue – comprised of two spacious studios – with a view from both studios into a peaceful, luscious tropical garden, with water features and statues.

Mats, bolsters, and other props often found in an Iyengar studio were available for students use. A special of $18 was charged for a casual class during August.120

Darwin Yoga Space
Warehouse 11 & 12 Caryota Court
Coconut Grove
Tel: 08 8948 2299

Following are a several other Darwin yoga venues identified, though not attended:

Flame Tree Yoga Studio
Agoy Yoga
Om Yoga
City Yoga Zone

A few of the highlights of my NT visit…

Darwin – Deckchair Cinema – saw a movie called The Lunchbox which I highly recommend, Wharf Precinct, Mindil Beach (famous for its outdoor market and beautiful sunsets). Berry Springs, Howards Springs, and The Territory Wild Park are a short drive from Darwin.

Wharf Precinct, Darwin, NT

Wharf Precinct, Darwin, NT

Litchfield – Wangi Falls, Florence Falls, Buley Rock Hole, Cascades, magnetic termite mounds.


Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park

Kakadu – Bowali Visitors Centre, Border Store, East Alligator River, Jabiru, Yellow Water – recommend the 6.45am Yellow Water Cruise – lots of wildlife to see (eg Jabiru, eagles, ducks, crocodiles, kingfishers) and the sunrise was beautiful, Nourlangie and Ubirr – rangers provide wonderful, informative talks about Aboriginal art and culture. NB Insect repellent is a MUST – I forgot, and fortunately a Danish tourist generously gave me some.

Sunrise at Yellow Water, Kakadu, NT

Sunrise at Yellow Water, Kakadu, NT

Morning mist - Yellow Water, Kakadu, NT

Morning mist – Yellow Water, Kakadu, NT

Many thanks to the beautiful NT, and Darwin Yoga Space, and the kind Danish man

PS If you are looking for a great café, checkout Laneway Specialty Coffee in Parap

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Aeroplane Yoga! reblogged from Michael Romero’s ‘Home Yoga Practice’ blog

I am going to give Michael Romero’s Aeroplane Yoga postures a try next time I fly, ie later this year….

Home Yoga Practice

aero 1

Flying is taxing on the whole being. Between jet lag, bad airplane food, getting your immune system assaulted by travelers from all over the world who are sick, and bad posture from narrow airplane seats, you run many risks of getting ill.

During a weekend trip to San Francisco, I had my wife take a few pictures of me doing some asanas that are possible on a long plane ride. These postures combat some of the ills of sitting for five hours.

aero 6

This is Gulphasana (a variation of Uttanasana where you put your hands around your Gulpha, or the Marma point around your ankles). I like this variation because it gives the spine more traction and the ankles give you leverage to pull against. If you are stiffer, you can simply hold the elbows in Uttanasana. You can do this pose by in the area for the loo queue.

aero 4


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Iyengar Yoga at the Busselton Yoga Centre with Lara Favelle

I am most grateful to Iyengar teacher, Lara Favelle, for moving to my part of the world… Lara has established the Busselton Yoga Centre (BYC) in Busselton, Western Australia. Busselton is 220km (2.5 hr) South of Perth, the capital city of WA. Busselton is also a short drive from Dunsborough (20 mins), and Margaret River (35 mins)

029As mentioned in earlier posts, my first yoga lesson was Iyengar based, and though throughout the years I have practised, and benefitted from, many styles of yoga I find myself drawn back to the Iyengar method. Access to an Iyengar teacher has not always been easily available near to where I live, hence my gratitude to Lara being located only a 52km (40 min) drive from my home in Bunbury.

027BYC is situated in a spacious, light, commercial unit. The studio is equipped with ropes, bolsters, mats, blocks, pads, straps, blankets and several back benders. There are black and white photos of Mr Iyengar in various – inspirational – asana, dotted around the studio walls.

024I have been attending Lara’s classes for around 12 months. Classes are delivered for three levels of asana practise, ie Beginner, Developing, and Established students. Lara currently takes 8 classes/week. Private consultations are also available on request. Classes may be paid for on a term, 5 class pass, or casual basis – payment may be made via the internet or at the studio.

Each term (usually 10 weeks) has a theme, eg hip opening, back bends. I enjoy this themed approach to classes, and see and feel myself “moving forward” throughout the 10 week period.

I love Lara’s teaching style – she teaches with humour, patience, passion, and kindness. I feel uplifted when I enter the BYC studio, see Lara, and practice with other Iyengar students – and I float out the door after class. Thanks Lara!

Busselton Yoga Centre
Unit E5 | 115 Strelly Street
Busselton WA 6280
M 0422294687
E tocontactlara@gmail.com

South West Western Australia has a plethora of things to do…

The South West of Western Australia has much to offer both locals and visitors. For example, beautiful beaches – for swimming, surfing, or skiing; wineries; restaurants; galleries; walking trails; fishing; diving; whale watching… to name only a few of the highlights of this region.

A few of my favourite things to do are: take a stroll on the 1.8km long Busselton Jetty, spend a chillaxed weekend in Augusta, enjoy a meal at Samudra in Dunsborough, listen to live music on a Sunday afternoon at Caves House Hotel in Yallingup

Anyone visiting this area is spoilt for choice of what to do and see.

Love and Light

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