Forty years ago this year

Time doesn’t always fly. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it plods. I know it’s forty years of teaching yoga because I can add up the students I’ve taught along the way. It’s a lot!

I did my first yoga teacher training in 1980. (I felt obliged to do another one 20 years later to fill in the gaps.)

Afterwards, a teaching ‘opportunity’ opened up in the school where I had studied: The Australian School of Yoga in Bondi Junction.

Not really much of an opportunity––teaching in the 8 am. slot, between the 6am and 10 am classes. But, hey, I was enthusiastic and I was happy my two students kept coming back. By the time I ran out of enthusiasm, I’d built the class up to 4 students. I was ready to move on.

Image of Martyn, yoga teacher.

Then my teacher, Martyn Jackson, offered me some real opportunities. I travelled with him to the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India, at the end of 1980. There I met the renowned B.K.S. Iyengar, Martyn’s teacher. While I didn’t get to attend any classes at the Institute, I was able to enjoy the beautiful hills district of Pune and soak up the exotic atmosphere.

Pune, India street scene

Another opportunity presented as Martyn invited me to travel with him to the U.S. as his teaching assistant. We visited six cities in as many weeks and I got to meet the prominent Iyengar yoga teachers of that time. Some of them are still teaching: Felicity Green, Lolly Font, Elise Browning Miller, Jean Couch and more.

Martyn and I made a good teaching combination and we were invited back to the States the following year. We spent three months in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, teaching an intensive to students at Gangha White‘s school.

It was all glamour and glitz hanging out with the California yogis. But I was keen to get back to Australia to start teaching under my own banner. In retrospect, this was an audacious aim, but I had put in 3 years of apprenticeship with Martyn. This is a lengthy commitment that is rarely elicited in today’s factory-style yoga teacher trainings.

With help from my partner of this time, Tony Miles, I set up my own studio in McMahon’s Point.

I think I must have a guardian angel looking after me. At every juncture along my zigzagging life path, I seem to have followed a light in a propitious direction. A friend suggested I take over the lease of the East West Centre––city premises next to Paddy’s Market in Sydney. That decision whereby we created Sydney Yoga Centre felt like jumping off a cliff. But it was just a stepping stone to a long and, dare I say, successful period of teaching in Sydney. I taught in the classroom, in teacher trainings, workshops, retreats, and wrote a book and a manual.

Collyn, Mardi and Eve at 10 year anniversary of Sydney Yoga Centre with big cake.

When left Sydney Yoga Centre in 1999, I couldn’t help myself. I opened Simply Yoga in Crows Nest.

And now….

Living on a semi-rural property with it’s own Yoga Shed, I’ve feel extremely fortunate as I can continue to teach in the Manning Valley. There’s not a doubt in my mind that forty years of teaching yoga is not quite enough. I will continue until I can’t. But with the continuing glow of yoga good health, that may be a long time into the future.