I had some time this morning – quite a lot of it, actually – to wander around Bondi Junction, my old stomping grounds. Here’s a photo of the entrance to the Australian School of Yoga on Oxford Street.
I was mentally winding back the clock to 1979 when I had my first experience of Iyengar Yoga taught by this man:
It’s fair to say that Martyn Jackson, Iyengar Yoga and the time I spent at the Australian School of Yoga changed the course of my life. After doing a 6-month teacher training course with about 25 other trainees led by Martyn, I started teaching. And never stopped.
Meandering around the Junction, eating breakfast at the whole foods cafe, I found myself looking out for the old crowd. I know some of them are still around the neighbourhood – Kay Parry, Carole Hart, Trevor Tangye, Anna Pryor – but, no, there was only the new crowd.
I saw the Ashtanga Vinyasa youngsters with well-defined chaturanga dandasana triceps leaving their Mysore-style class. And then, there were mums who had just dropped off their school kids, showing up for their hatha yoga work outs.
I used to travel to my classes on a bicycle, but the Junction garages are now full of every make and model of luxury cars which are parked by valets. The Bondi Junction bus terminal, railway station and malls all still look down-at-the heel, but enter Westfield shopping centre, and you would think you were in Beverly Hills.
Yoga’s been good for me. As I get older, my tastes have become simpler. I really don’t want for anything materially. The training I got way back then set me up in a profession that shaped me for a lifestyle that is uncomplicated, wholesome and gratifying. It was really only natural for us to leave all the crowds and congestion behind and find our way to the peace and beauty of Mitchells Island.
And, for me to find a new crowd to teach….