Looking for a good yoga teacher?


This is what you should know

OYoga Alliance Think Differentver the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have practised with some of the best yoga teachers in the world. I’ve been taught by young yoga teachers and much older ones and teachers of various nationalities and experience levels from different lineages and traditions. I attended classes with “world famous” yogis and those who have taught for 30 years or more without much acclaim.

Lately, however, I have been doing some self-reflecting on the search for the right teacher. So what makes a yoga instructor great? Who is the best? Teacher and student is after all a relationship, right? Most of us are drawn to yoga through some hardship in our lives and are transformed through the practice of yoga.  A good teacher simply shares her/his practice and all the many benefits students gain when they practice yoga correctly.


Because teaching is a job where the teacher makes contact daily with people and have an interest in who they are, it helps them teach from an intuitive place where they invite participants to explore their own authentic self.

While there is no quintessential yoga teacher as they all are different, there are definitely some qualities that great yoga teachers all have because being a good yoga teacher is all about being a good teacher and being humble and not talking down to anybody.

People are going to a specific teacher’s classes to feel good, even better, than they do when they stepped on their mat. If  the teacher give alignment suggestions or call attention to her/his instructions, the teacher must  make sure it’s from a loving place that makes the student feel INCLUDED, as opposed to excluded.


As professionals, yoga instructors need to be vigilant in keeping their egos in check with the teachings of yoga, and to also practice humility (vinaya) to eliminate the perils of pride and arrogance.

Ego-less teachers are happy to share their wisdom and knowledge openly!  For yoga teachers being more fully connected with  students and colleagues is a much more authentic and heart-centered way to move through the world. If a teacher’s authentic personality is more about warmth and compassion and they teach from their heart, they have the ability to create a really beautiful and uplifting class.


Serious yoga injuries, though rare, are on the rise

More and more people across the world have been taking up yoga in recent years and the rate of yoga-related injuries has also climbed, a new study in the United States finds. Although the number of injuries occurring  it’s a small compared to how many people practice yoga, researchers said, the odds of a serious injury are high.

At the beginning of each class, every yoga teacher should take a moment to touch base with their students and ask them about possible injuries. In order to give appropriate guidance with recommendations, the teacher should obtain certain essential information such as  the history and nature of a student’s pain and the type of injury, and eventually advise the student whether or not continued practice is appropriate. Important questions must include: When did the pain start? Is it better or worse with exercise? What is the nature of the pain (e.g., sharp or achy)? Are there pins and needles associated with the pain? What is the intensity on a scale of 1 to 10?

The majority of yoga students don’t exactly know what yoga teachers know of anatomy and how they apply it to prevent and address injury among yoga students. The increased use of yoga for post-injury rehabilitation highlights  the differences in knowledge between an “average” yoga teacher and “one who can identify”, assess, address, and prevent injuries.


There are five main organisations in the world  that provide credentials for yoga teachers.  These organisations are often referred to by reference to the country in which they operate / are organised – e.g.“Yoga Alliance” (Australia), “Yoga Alliance” (Canada), “Yoga Alliance” (USA),”Yoga Alliance” (Italia), “Yoga Alliance” (New Zealand), “Yoga Alliance” (UK) now “Yoga Alliance Professionals”, “Yoga Alliance” (Singapore). This group of Alliances, are considered the largest yoga teachers and schools membership organisations in the world with over 100.000 members between them!

The professional affiliation with any Yoga Alliance is widely recognised by employers, insurance companies, yoga students and practicioners around the world. The purpose of registration as a Member of Yoga Alliance is to fulfill the primary purpose of protection of the public, yoga students and aspiring yoga teachers in an “unregulated industry”.

If practising  with a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)  is important to you, then you can  find out if they have registered and by visiting the Yoga Alliance® Registry

By Rosie Brent 



Yoga Alliance® New Standards for Teacher training


Yoga Alliance Think Different

While many Yoga Organisations focus on addressing problems, the most successful focus on raising the bar!

Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new or different and that’s precisely what Yoga Alliance® -International Australia did! “Sometimes it’s those quiet achievers who can make just as big an impact without having to be ostentatious about it.”

In January 2017, after nearly twenty years Yoga Alliance® – International and its associate Yoga Alliance®  Australia and  Yoga Alliance® Italy, were the first organisations to revise and implement new Standards for Teacher Training in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the rest of the world.

Now other Yoga Alliances across the globe are duplicating the Yoga Alliance® – International’s innovative Standards Scheme! Why? because the world is full of fast followers! 

Yoga Alliance New Standard fro Teacher TrainingYoga Alliance new Standard for Yoga TeachersYoga Alliance Italia International RYS-250 PLUS StandardCSEN - ITALY

The first step to achieving High Standards is to lift the quality and status of Yoga Training Programs. Organisations that represent the yoga community worldwide owes a duty not only to the people they operate with, but to anyone who may be affected by the organisation’s activities.

In January 2017, Yoga Alliance® International and its associate Yoga Alliance® (Australia) and Yoga Alliance® (Italia) in Italy in association with the C.S.E.N (Centro Sportivo Educativo Nazionale (National Educational Sport Centre), a Body for Sports Promotion recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee CONI, were the very first Yoga Alliance organisations to introduce new Standards for Teachers Training based on the proliferation of low quality yoga teacher training, and inadequately trained yoga teachers. Updates were made after receiving input from many member schools, renowned yoga experts and yoga teachers from every corners of the world!

These group of Alliances considered by experts and members of the community the most innovative of all yoga organisations, felt that the seventeen years old standards were out of date, and restrictive in their prescriptive breakdown of course content and hours.

Rather than requiring a specified, narrow curriculum, Yoga Alliance® International evaluation is based on the content, number of contact hours, structure of training programs and the experience of the Director of Training.

The creation of more rigorous professional standards is one sign of progress to ensure that teachers will know the subjects they teach and how to teach them to yoga practitioners. The Yoga Alliance® International’s new standards were created to respect the diversity of perspectives in yoga, while still providing a framework for yoga teacher training programs.

For more detailed information please visit: http://www.yogaalliance.com.au/raising-the-bar-for-teacher-training.html


All Yoga Alliances are the Same



“All Yoga Alliances Are The Same”







In the true spirit of yoga, meaning “UNION”, Yoga Organisations worldwide should be UNITED and work together to benefit the yoga community at large.

Just as Yoga has one underlying philosophy of UNION but many different styles and practical expressions of that philosophy, one would expect the Yoga Alliances (the peak bodies for yoga in the world) to uphold the teachings of yoga and foster the integrity of yoga teachers and schools from all lineages and traditions.

With Yoga nowadays a multi-billion dollar industry, it is no surprise that the yoga industry has become a diversified market with a number of independent Yoga Alliance organisations been established  to serve the fast growing community of yoga professionals in Europe, Australia, Canada, Asia and North America.

Although the Alliances are legally separate entities governed by the law of the country where they were established, Yoga Alliance -International Australia, Yoga Alliance Professionals UK, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Italia-International, Yoga Alliance International with headquarter in Sydney (not to be confused with the Indian YAI) Yoga Alliance New Zealand and Yoga Alliance U.S are today considered the world’s largest, independent membership yoga organisations with over 100,000 registered members.

The designation of Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and Registered Yoga School (RYS) are the premier form of recognition in the field of yoga. The credentialing system implemented by the  Yoga Alliances remains the globally accepted professional credential for yoga teachers and yoga schools.

But what about “UNITY” beyond the walls of the Yoga Alliances? Shouldn’t these organisations be UNITED and work together to make a positive difference for the community of yoga practitioners,teachers and schools worldwide? Shouldn’t they all advocate UNITY?


Unfortunately, union can be difficult when the ego becomes involved in business and this became apparent when one particular organisation: Yoga Alliance U.S, who in November 2014, just two months after the resignation of its CEO Richard Karpel who basically saved YA from imminent demise, published an article on their web-site “Not All Yoga Alliances Are the Same”.Sadly the article does not incorporate the Philosophy of Yogic Yamas and Nyamas as would be expected from an organisation that ‘promotes’ Yoga Unity and Integrity.

In the article, Yoga Alliance U.S claim that the name Yoga Alliance is “their name” rather than Yoga Alliance U.S which is a “moniker” (nickname) according to them, that “some other entities use to refer to them”. However with Alliance Organisations established across the globe whose name: “Yoga Alliance” is a registered trademark and the property of those organisations, why does Yoga Alliance U.S claim that the name Yoga Alliance is “their name”? IP (Intellectual Property) Offices from around the world would not allow the registering of trademarks if exclusivity already existed.

In the same article, Yoga Alliance U.S went on to publish a list of Yoga Alliance organisations she claimed to not be affiliated with which includes the officially recognised yoga bodies: “Yoga Alliance-International Australia/”, “Yoga Alliance Italia/International”, “Yoga Alliance International” with headquarter in Australia, “Yoga Alliance Professionals UK” and the “Canadian Yoga Alliance”.

Not surprising, Yoga Alliance U.S failed to mention in the article that when in 2006 they were contacted by a group of yoga teachers who asked if they were interested in setting up a Yoga Alliance outside the USA, they were told that their organisation had been set up in the States, under United States law and specifically for the USA, and they were NOT considering establishing counterpart in other countries. However, in the spirit of yoga, Yoga Alliance U.S was very helpful and encouraged the group to set up a version of Yoga Alliance outside the U.S, and offered to give  advice and help if needed.

In the meantime, the CEO of Yoga Alliance U.S, with whom the group was in discussion, was removed from office, and Yoga Alliance U.S’s former warmth became distinctly cold and distant to the point of threatening the group with legal action if they did not stop calling themselves Yoga Alliance.

The threat was withdrawn because the group succeeded to register the trademarks Yoga Alliance, RYT and RYS in the country where they had established a Yoga Alliance. However, it was disappointing to find that the spirit of sharing and cooperation one would expect between similar organisations set up to promote the benefits of yoga and maintain high teaching standards, no longer existed.

Yoga Alliance U.S does not register yoga teachers who have completed a  training program accredited by highly respected yoga bodies such as the British Wheel of Yoga (the oldest yoga organisation in the world founded in 1965 in the UK, longer before YA U.S even existed), Yoga Alliance-International Australia, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Professionals-UK, Yoga Alliance-International Italia, Yoga Alliance-New Zealand or the IYN (Independent Yoga Network). But what is really intriguing is why for nearly 16 years and until November 2014 Yoga Alliance U.S coexisted in harmony with these organisations?

Is it a competitive feeling, greed, envy of others success and achievements or a divide and conquer attitude that triggered  Yoga Alliance U.S to write the article? Why does an organisation that claims to promote ” Unity and Integrity” feels that it should shift its focus on the competition?


Any business, that has separation or “divide and conquer” as its underlying attitude, will end up becoming divided itself, and we must constantly be vigilant to ensure that our own personal ego’s do not affect our business decisions in a way that is harmful to others (in this way we practice ahimsa and non-harming). There are many ways that organisations can work together to support each other. Building relationships with similar businesses in your industry will also help your bottom line.

Over the past twelve years, the Canadian Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Professionals-UK, Yoga Alliance International-Australia,  Yoga Alliance- Italia/International, Yoga Alliance International and Yoga Alliance-New Zealand (the largest Group of Alliances) gained popularity and respect  amongst the yoga community and acquired market strength nationally and internationally. These organisations coexist in harmony because they think of their relationship with fellow Yoga Organisations as ‘coopetition’ rather than ‘competition’ unlike their counterpart Yoga Alliance U.S.


There is no governing body or council behind Yoga Alliance U.S to hold RYTs accountable for upholding a certain standard. therefore, what  does tearing others down do for Yoga Alliance U.S?  Well, tearing others down might make one feel better. No doubt! But the truth is that no one likes anyone who tears others down. If you are bad-mouthing someone, it might make you feel better, but others won’t like it. You will gain a bad reputation, and your bad-mouthing will come back to hurt you. If you are sabotaging others, that’s even worse.

If you become an obstacle to others’ success, they will despise you for it. They will try to get around you, and failing that, will try to go through you. Your energies and time will be spent trying to stop others, and defending yourself against their attacks.

What a waste of precious time and energy dear Yoga Alliance U.S! Couldn’t you spend that better on building things yourself? On creating something beautiful and truly useful? and perhaps  improve the quality of your Standards and services??

Tearing others down is destructive. It hurts other people, and in the long run, it’ll hurt you and your members also registered with your competitors. Don’t waste your time and energy on it! Instead, build others up. Praise their success. Learn to be truly happy for the successes of others, rather than envious. Be a part of their success, rather than an obstacle. Participating in something great, including the successes of others, is a wonderful thing to have accomplished.


Building Alliances with similar businesses in your industry and working together is an important dynamic for organisations to understand. If you feel that you have to take steps to position yourself against the competition and you focus on the competition, “you might miss something important in your own business”.

Relationships typically move up and down a continuum based on a number of factors:the degree of commitment; the nature of changes required; relative levels of power and trust; the willingness of all parties to share resources, and most importantly, the state of mind of the parties involved.

Nowadays, it is essential for your organization’s success that you are an effective collaborator rather than an untrustworthy competitor. Why? Because if we develop the mindset of scarcity we create an environment of fear and see everyone else as a threat to our survival.

If you cultivate the mindset of co-operation you create an environment of opportunity and creativity which encourages the same state of mindfulness not only in other organisations but within your own organisation and this is imperative to the survival of your business.

Given the rise in popularity that yoga is experiencing on an international level, there is no need for yoga businesses to adopt the mindset of scarcity and fear. This is particularly important in bringing the philosophy of Yoga to western nations.  If the philosophy of yoga businesses is seen to be one of competition, division and self-interest then this will be a grave injustice to this ancient art and philosophy and a disservice to its cultural heritage.


Yoga is currently unregulated everywhere in the world, as such there is NO official Yoga Governing Body anywhere in the world recognised by a government, and anyone claiming otherwise is misrepresenting themselves and misleading the yoga community and the general public.

Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased. Jiddu Krishnamurti



Yoga and an exercise in relative experience



By Quinn Mclachlan.Yoga Alliance Australia® Member of the Board of Directors,RYT-200.

Take three containers of water, each large enough to fit your hand inside. Fill one with hot water (but not so hot that it burns your hand!), one with cold ice water, and another with normal temperature tap water. Place one hand in the hot water and the other hand in the ice cold water and leave them there for 30 seconds to a minute. Then place them both at the same time into the container of normal room temperature water.

You should find that both hands have a different sensation when held together in the room temperature water. The hand that was originally in the hot water will now feel cold, and the hand that was in the ice cold water will now feel warm, even though they are both in the same water with the same temperature. This demonstrates that the perceived feeling of each hand was relative to its previous experience of either hot or cold.

In the very same way, all of our perceptions at each moment are influenced by our experiences from previous moments in our life. We have an innate tendency to judge the present moment as good or bad relative to a previous moment that we have experienced.

Pain, unhappiness or suffering is the result of having what is not wanted,- or not having what is wanted. Both of these situations arise from incorrect perception that is the result of incorrect thought. Incorrect thought results from a limited understanding of why things appear as they do.  Things in reality are actually much different from how we perceive them to be.

Just as when both hands were placed into the water container with the same temperature and the water simultaneously felt cold on one hand and warm on the other, we can be misled by our sensory experience.

Happiness is usually experienced as the result of the senses detecting pleasurable objects, or environments. The object or environment is in no way pleasant in itself. This is obvious when we examine what may appear to be pleasurable to different people. What appears pleasurable to one person may appear horrible to another. Further-more, something that is at first pleasurable can later become intolerable to the very same person. It is only our relative perception that creates the notion of pleasure or pain, good or bad in any given moment.

So if pleasure or happiness does not exist within the object or environment itself, where does happiness and pleasure come from?

Happiness and pleasure must belong then within the person themselves. If this is so, why then do we so often need an external object or environment to seemingly trigger the happiness that is already within us?

The truth is that when someone imagines or thinks of something they desire and then they come to have that thing within their possession, happiness results because they have obtained their desires, not actually from the thing itself. The object has no happiness or pleasure within it, but the temporary gratification of a desire invokes happiness within the person. Happiness is actually the result of a cessation of desire.

When a desire is gratified there is a momentary feeling of freedom from any further external need or want and the consciousness of the person rests within itself.

Unfulfilled desires create a feeling of loss or a sense of despair because we may judge the present moment to be less than what it could be if our desires were to be fulfilled. Pain and suffering is caused by judging the present moment to be something other than what we desire it to be.

Becoming momentarily freed from desire allows contentment to be experienced and in this state there is no need for the consciousness of the individual to be externalised by the desire of external things.

Withdrawing desire from attachment to external things is a form of pratyahara, or sense withdrawal. By practicing pratyahara and a withdrawal of the sensory distraction to external objects, we can focus our energy back to the path of self-realisation and the understanding that happiness comes from within ourselves and not from anything external.

Yoga is the pursuit of union within mind, body and spirit and through the practice of yoga we become more at peace with the current moment by learning to restrain our desires that might wish for the current moment to be something other than what it is. Allowing things to “be” helps to create inner peace. Allowing our experience of the present moment to be perceived without comparing it to a previous experience allows us to be in union with all that is in the present moment.


United Nations World Yoga Day 21 June 2015


World Yoga Day 2015

United Nations Celebrate the First ever World Yoga Day on June 2015

First ever World Yoga Day will be celebrated in 192 countries simultaneously on June 21 2015 International Yoga Day Celebrations at UN to be Broadcast at Times Square to a global audience be presided  by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The UN will commemorate the inaugural International Yoga Day with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Sam Kutesa gracing the occasion.

It is estimated that close to 200 million people around the world practice yoga (of some form or the other), a majority of them in India, and over 20 million of them in the United States alone.

YOGA  embodies unity, unity of the mind and the body, thought and action, restraint and fulfilment. On the whole, it’s a holistic approach to health and well-being.


Outcome of Spirituality


Yoga Spirituality -Yoga Alliance AustraliaYOGA-Fundamentals of Spirituality: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The world is one  family).

We are not living in isolated compartments the world has become one family. In a society plagued with domestic and communal violence, we need to globalise wisdom. Though we have advanced technologically, we have cared very little for the emotional and spiritual needs of people. A sense of belongingness with the whole world rising above the narrow considerations of color, culture or background, is the need of the hour. We need to look back and learn from the mistakes of the past, we need to understand what is lacking in society and how we can nurture the human values without which his earth cannot be sustained.

Once the spinning impact of the west becomes weak, there is a bound to be a more helpful and harmonious process of mutual give and take. And that will be for the benefit of all. But for this to happen, India will have to intervene with his powerful spiritual influence and his characteristic integral philosophy and way of life. That alone will help resolve the conflicts of the present situation and reconcile the seeming contradictions in a harmonious and holistic vision.

Mere listening to spiritual discourses is not enough. One should always sit back and reflect on what had been said to actually benefit from them. It is said, “one hour of reflection” is equal to seventy years of pious worship. It is only when we introspect about good things that we try to imbibe them in out life.Listening to the best of things without reflecting back on them has only superficial effects. By reflection, one can realise the depth of the issue and its meaning.

Janism says that the dharma is made up of “Non-violence,Self-control and austerity.”Positive emotions bring pleasure and negative emotions make life miserable”. Non-violence is the heart of Jainism. All worldly problems can be solved by keeping nonviolence in center. We can protect environment (i,e earth, water,fire, air, vegetables and small creatures) by reducing our day to day requirement by reducing our greed. We should meet on injustice not with the force but with forbearance, Violence begets violence, enmity leads to Enmity. There is nothing in the world or even out of it that can be called good except the principle of nonviolence of all living beings. The root course of violence is material goods. The virtue of non-violence and Aparigraha are capable of establishing universal peace. Anand (bliss) is experienced by the sage who is free from all desires. Gita tells us that the actions should be performed after brushing aside all attachment and the desire for the fruit. The highest aim of human life is to attain eternal bliss. All the conduct should be such as would bring us the maximum of happiness and remove miseries from our lives.

Knowledge and spiritual awareness should go hand in hand win social and political systems. Religious leaders, political leaders, business establishments and
social workers should get together and spread the message of unity. All religions and traditions have a common value system.

These shared values have to reach every corner of the world. Even if one pocket of the world remains ignorant of these values, the world will not be a safe place. Sit a while in solitude, meditate, reflect on your thoughts, actions, your immediate environment the world around us. Think over and over again, introspect. Never let dust or dirt settle on it and distort our vision. Keep it bright and shining. Keep it pure and radiant. Let our thought be
pure, let our whole life be pure. It is also very necessary to teach our children about the importance of purity of life. Moral education is a must today. Young children have impressionable minds and we should try to develop a spiritual outlook in them from a very young age. We should help them inculcate good values and thoughts.

It is also very necessary to teach our children about the importance of purity of life. Moral education is a must today. Young children have impressionable minds and we should try to develop a spiritual outlook in them from a very young age. We should help them inculcate good values and thoughts.

We ought to be sensitive to the cause of the society and humanity. We must involve ourselves in the activities of the society and try to reform it from within as much as we can. We should not shut out eyes to the crimes taking place in the society. We are about to enter a new era, which will see the dawn of a new divine civilization on earth. Let us now try not to divide the people into smaller sects or sections but unite them to accept the
values of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness and good conduct.

Yoga as a Panacea for Mental Illness


 Registered Yoga Teacher Yoga Alliance AustraliaUBER Yoga; Yoga as a Panacea for Mental Illness by Dr.Sarah Smyth Psychologist-RYT Yoga Alliance Australia.

Previously it was believed that the ‘talking cure’ (Freud and Breuer, 1895) was the one and only treatment option for individuals suffering with mental illness. Yet yoga’s presence in the literature on psychotherapy has been noted as far back as 1918 and possibly further. Winter (1918) in ‘The Yoga Systems and Psychoanalysis’ compared, contrasted and related Freudian and Jungian psychoanalysis with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Ever since there has been numerous writers and researchers proposing an integration between psychotherapy and Yoga and it seems that this is currently happening.

Over the last number of years various forms of psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), body-centred psychotherapy and self-help programmes such as the 12 Steps have been looking to the past and incorporating ancient traditions such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, as a means of improving treatment options and outcomes for individual with disorders such as depression and anxiety, addiction (substance misuse, eating disorders, self-harm) and trauma.

Cognitive behavioural psychotherapy makes a person aware of how their thoughts (psychological) affects their feelings (emotional) and behaviours (physical). Through education and awareness it aims to help people overcome problems and make progress towards personal goals by teaching new and more effective coping skills (Williams and Garland, 2002) such as mindfulness. By learning mindfulness techniques the person is more aware of all incoming thoughts and feelings, is able to observe them and accept them but is taught not to get attached to them or react to them (Linehan, 1993). Thus leading to improving such things as; health, self-care and self-regulation; anticipating, preparing for and managing stress; behaving more effectively in testing situations; and minimising or coping with unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Similarly, yoga is recognised as a form of mind-body therapy that integrates the physical, mental and spiritual elements of  an individual. It can be used as a process of self-investigation and self-regulation. Through asanas and meditation,  the individual can direct attention inwards toward their  health and wellbeing to improve these aspects of their lives (Iyengar, 1989).

Body-centered psychotherapies use movement-based and body-centered techniques to assess and treat psychological and physical distress thus supporting the processes of change and transformation (Aposhyan, 2004). A recent study ;Yoga Based Body Psychotherapy: A Yoga Based and Body-Centered Approach to Counseling, by Livia Shapiro (2012) looked at incorporating yoga into body-centered psychotherapy. Shapiro (2012) stated the aim of the approach was to overtly bring yoga postures into the context of body psychotherapy to support further development of body-centered ways of counseling, and to afford a new lens for the practice of yoga postures by making their inherently therapeutic nature overt in the context of a psychotherapy session so that eliciting emotional material becomes a potentially viable content for healing, growth and change…(p.42) The research of this study found that introducing yoga postures into the psychotherapeutic process provides body psychotherapy with another means of movement analysis and structural intervention to explore, thus broadening the scope of the field.

Much research has been conducted over the years citing the relevance of yoga practice in recovery from addiction. Studies have suggested that the skills, insights, and self-awareness learned through yoga and mindfulness practice can target multiple psychological, neurological, physiological, and behavioural processes implicated in the relapse (Khanna and Greeson, 2013). In various articles, comparisons have between the infamous 12 Steps programme and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The 12- Step  is a set of guidelines involving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual processes, which when abided by helps the individual to become sober and maintain their sobriety (Wilson et al.,2001). Similarly, Patanjali cited the eight limbs of yoga as ethical principles and practices for living a meaningful, purposeful, moral and self-disciplined life which leads to spiritual awakening.

In  addiction treatment and rehabilitation facilities and addiction models, yoga is now often present as a part of the therapeutic structure (Lohman, 1999). Various rehabilitation centres are using integrative approaches to the treatment of addiction such as ‘Yoga of 12-Step Recovery’ and ‘Yoga of Recovery’ (Hawk, 2012). In his documentary film ‘Addiction, Recovery and Yoga’ Senior Iyengar Yoga Teacher and filmmaker Lindsey Clennell, interviews a several people who have combined the 12 step model with yoga as part of their recovery from various addictions (substance misuse, gambling, relationships). Their experiences highlight the positive outcomes of yoga in recovery (www.adyo.org).

More and more prisons are incorporating yoga and meditation curriculums. In America, the Prison Yoga Project was founded by yoga teacher James Fox. Since 2002, Fox has been teaching yoga and mindfulness meditation in various prisons across the States.  Through his teaching, Fox recognised most prisoners are suffering from complex trauma and discovered that yoga can have a positive impact on alleviating symptoms. His experiences led him to found the Prison Yoga Project. The project advises prisons, private entities and/or individuals about establishing yoga programs as part of a rehabilitation program, and provides an already proven to be effective curriculum and protocol. Additionally the project offers trainings for yoga teachers who are interested in working with at-risk populations (Prison Yoga Project).

In 2008, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy published a study by Pashupati Steven Landau and Jagat Bandhu John Gross, titled Low Reincarceration Rate Associated with Ananda Marga Yoga and Meditation. In this five-year study, Ananda Marga (AM) Yoga was taught to 190 male inmates at Wake Correctional Center in Raleigh, NC. The results of the study concluded that Ananda Marga Yoga and meditation can safely and effectively be taught in prison to a varied population, irrespective of religion or race. Inmates voluntarily participating in four or more Ananda Marga Yoga/meditation classes were found to have a lower than expected re-incarceration rate.

A randomised controlled trial by Carter et al (2013) looked at a yoga based breath programme for Australia Vietnam Veterans with various disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress and substance misuse.The participants were encouraged to do daily yoga practice at home for 20-30 minutes in the morning and 10-20 minutes in the afternoon. They were offered group sessions once a week for one month and once a month thereafter. The 6 month follow up revealed  improvements in measures of PTSD and in reducing substance abuse.  These positive responses occurred despite the veterans having 30-year histories of treatment-resistant severe PTSD, alcohol abuse, and dependence on disability status.The study discussed the intervention of mind –body techniques as a valuable tool in the treatment of PTSD.

Another treatment approach which is rapidly developing is Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.Trauma sensitive yoga is founded in the belief that yoga helps people discover a different relationship to their body, one that is gentler and more forgiving,  requiring practising kindness and patience.  It allows for investigation of new positive habitual body patterns and explore new ways of being physical that have not been previously considered. Experimenting with these patterns and discover healthier and more expansive ways of being that in turn advances self-understanding thus awakening possibility (Emerson and Hopper, 2011).

The studies presented in this article have cited the need for further research into which styles of yoga are best suited to treating the different types mental illness. Outcomes also indicated that people’s beliefs about yoga may influence participation in yoga and outcomes of yoga interventions (Atkinson and Pemuth, 2009).

Cautions have been highlighted in the use of yoga and meditation as therapy. In trauma-sensitive yoga teachers must take into careful consideration the use of physical adjustment due to the many forms of trauma an individual may have experienced, for instance a physical touch by the teacher could be a trigger and lead to flashbacks of past abuse (an example of which is highlighted by Emerson and Hopper’s 2011 book, Overcoming trauma through yoga, p. 125). Similarly.
meditation may permit deepened access to the unconscious leading to the unlocking of latent memories of past trauma (Miller, 1993). However these concerns can be combatted through the use of comprehensive assessments for each client starting treatment, in order to insure they can tailor the therapies to the needs of the individual (e.g. using visual and verbal cues for yoga adjustments, altering the intensity of meditation).

Whether or not yoga is a panacea for mental illness remains to be seen, however increasing evidence indicates yogas and meditations profound usefulness with psychotherapy as an integrative approach, which in its true essence is what the Sanskrit term for Yoga means, union and integration.


Interview with Swami Shivapremananda direct disciple of Swami Sivananda



Yogacharya Swami Maitreyananda


Interview by: Dharmachari Swami Maitreyananda – President International Yoga Federation

For you Swami, what is Yoga?

– In the West you have the belief that Yoga is primarily Hatha Yoga, and is not; Hatha Yoga is the Yoga of physical and breathing exercises. This is the base of  the Yoga Vedanta philosophy. Yoga has been primarily an aspiration to seek spiritual identity through meditation. Yoga was developed in India, where it is said that ancient sculptures prior to arrival of the Aryans (1800 BC), representing cross-legged figures were found. Among the Indians of Latin America and in Egypt also found that cross-legged position, but that does not mean that it was Yoga. In times of Buddha practiced Hatha Yoga, which was not only to achieve a healthy mind and good health, but for psychic experiences.
Starting about 2,300 years ago, yoga started to be really practiced to achieve good health, purify the mind and harmonize the flow of the nervous system, as a means of meditation, to maintain clear and healthy mind.
Highest value of Yoga is the integration of the two aspects of our nature, human and spiritual. The goal is to combine different aspects of Yoga. We need a deeper and clearer understanding, no fantasies, through the reality check along with a spiritual aspiration: this is Jnana Yoga. Then, we also need devotion because without love you cannot have inspiration and sublimation of the passions, in order to deepen our feelings, this would Bhakti Yoga.
Moreover, we need mental discipline through Raja Yoga, i.e. replace our instincts crude for goals and ideals, and the practice of meditation.
The fourth aspect, which is Karma Yoga, would be to translate our spiritual experience in unselfish service, and that the work will determine the truth of faith.

In the Bhagavad Gita says, “It’s yogi who remains inactive, but executing the works without worrying about their fruits.” Would this be an explanation of what a yogi?

– That would be a aspect of Karma Yoga, i.e., Yoga of the service, but first we must explain what is meant by “fruits”, which in the Bhagavad Gita translated by the result of the action inspired by selfishness. Logically we should always expect a good result when we do something, if not, we would improve our level of efficiency, but we do not have a particular gain egotistical calculation. Of course we have to defend our way of life material security, but should always be work for the sake of an ideal, and that believing in an ideal he will do better and better. Therefore, a yogi is one who loves spiritual ideals that are of value only when specified in the action. Any yogi, any religious, or anyone who believes in a religion must have spiritual ideals, if not, their religion is worthless, it’s just emotionalism. When you really love God, the truth of that love leads to love of neighbour, is how he behaves, how he lives with his family, in society, trying to help improve the level of those around him.

His teachings have always been in favour of a better integration of man in the world, but can keep inner calm when you are immersed in the whirlwind and in the acceleration of the big city?

– For practice you can find inner serenity. When you have spiritual aspirations, having understood the high values ​​of our life, the practical means to apply them in different circumstances, forming our most healthy and strong to the challenges faced attitude. For example:. With the restriction of our excessive expectations, attachments that stifle our relationships with others by possessiveness, exaggerated desires and also educating and sublimating our selfishness, vanity and arrogance
Finally, we live to have a sense of living as live is how we form our values, how we perform, we express and experience in our daily life. To live is to make the most of our being. We live in a family to feel a spiritual satisfaction with their members, have friends not because they only serve to entertain us, but we must satisfy our hearts sharing spiritual values with them.
When you have achieved the experience of inner serenity and can maintain a balance, you can live in any city. It is true that to be in the field one is quiet.
Bhagavad Gita In is said that a person sitting doing meditation can have your mind wandering and being with great inner turmoil, as it is involved in mental activity. However, another person whose mind can be calm even in the midst of the action, has inner serenity. Sitting one can be very restless and working can be very quiet. Do not be disturbed if you have inner strength.

You teach that must sublimate the ego, not dissolve. What is sublimation?

-For we must first restrict sublimate. When our ego wants to put his weight on other egos restriction is needed, which does not mean suppression, but we must respect the right of other people’s thinking. We can communicate well with another person only if we respect your opinion. It is wrong to want to impose our ego. We must educate practicing modesty, knowing that we have much to learn. It’s a process that is ongoing as we learn that there are higher values ​​than personal benefit.
sublimation of ego would then exceed our gross ego, our selfishness. Of course, we are forced to make decisions in life. The choice is inevitable and cannot do it without ego, we become dependent on another person. It is better that one should suffer through their own choice for the wrong choice of another person.

Do we need the guidance of a teacher or guru?

– All teachers need to learn about various topics from our lives, but I do not think a spiritual master should become the owner of the fate of a disciple. No one should surrender to another’s personal responsibility to choose their own path and walk.
guru can show the way, can explain, can help in the process of understanding of spiritual teachings, but I do not think we should surrender our will to another being human. We can learn, we can respect those who deserve respect, we can have devotion to noble souls, because we always need inspiration in our lives and if we find a teacher, if we can link with it, we use it for learning and inspiration.
But a teacher should not only be wise, must have spiritual qualities in his personal life, and his works should command respect due to their righteousness. We should find these qualities in a teacher. Integrity, altruism, pure love, sublimation of the passions and humility
His wisdom must be based not on mysticism, but a thorough examination of the search for truth.

Could you explain what is meditation?

-. Meditation is a process of search for inner serenity, but its real value is to make you feel the identity of the self with its spiritual source, i.e. come to love a sacred presence in the heart
Meditation is not merely relax mind into a self-hypnotic process by repeating a mantra, a few letters, a sacred word or a group of sacred words.
The mind is an energy field and when there are multiple pulses scattered energy in different directions, a conflict occurs in the mind and this loses energy. When we capture these pulses through continuous repetition of a mantra, the energy moves in a circle and do hold, in this energy pattern, a balance that would be a small degree of self-hypnosis occurs. The mind feels so calm and serenity and ease tension.
But this is not enough. Repeating a mantra is an aspect of meditation. The most important thing is to love a sacred presence in the heart, feeling the body as a temple, mind like an altar, and this altar feel the spiritual essence of our being. Along with this feel mental clarity, inner strength, since we are unaccompanied and this allows us to be more understanding.
Several techniques in meditation, some of which are: focusing on the breath, repeat “peace and freedom”, synchronizing with inspiration and expiration feeling the freshness of the nerves in the head and the warmth inside the chest or nasal respectively pits.
You can also repeat one mantra to accustom the mind to its sound structure, to record their grooves in the subconscious, as another means of concentration.
exercising can make a autosuggest to plant in us spiritual ideals, repeating, after choosing the following statements, according to the preference and individual and need to memorize.
Inhale, feeling your breath , mentally repeated slowly and with deep conviction: “Peace is my real nature” and exhale “no conflict.” The phrase three or four times repeated, then it is silent absorb meaning. It continues with “Love is my real nature”, “no selfishness”; “The truth is my real nature”, “No falsehood”; “Happiness is my real nature”, “no unhappiness”; “Strength is my real nature”, “no weakness”; “Freedom is my real nature”, “no bondage.”
I would like people to know that meditation is more than simply repeating a mantra, because above all there must be a cultivation of spiritual ideals, one autosuggest on the qualities for the formation of character and come to feel connected to their spiritual source, which is God.

In one of your books you say you cannot know God through the mind and only emerging in what he made. Can you clarify this?

– God is the transcendent spirit, transcendental in the sense that is beyond matter and at the same time inside her. This spirit of our purified feel more emotion than logic intellect. God is the source of the spirit in which we relate to the devotion, which is a sacred emotion; lift our hearts and feel the presence of God. After achieving the approach to our spirit, we feel peace and serenity. But we have to realize the spiritual ideals they represent God; all religions are God’s ideal expressed by spiritual values.To understand why we need the intellect and we need our discernment of right action.

Interview published in Integral Yoga Magazine, No. 2, 1989, Buenos Aires directed by  Ph.DFernando Estevez-Griego Yogacharya

Mindfulness, Kindfulness: What’s in a Name?


By Melissa O’Shea- Yoga Alliance Australia RYT 500 hour Gold Designation


There is nothing new about mindfulness: 2500 years ago Buddha taught people how to meditate sitting, lying, standing and walking, and then how to bring this focused attention to the rest of life. Mindfulness has become the preferred modern term thanks to the popularity of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s MinYoga Cow Posedfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Some people prefer the term mindfulness as they believe it to be connected to clear physical and psychological benefits while distancing itself from the religious and spiritual aspects of meditation. Enlightenment and Nirvana aside, whether we call it mindfulness or meditation, the goal of sitting meditation is to get up and live mindfully.

Mindfulness is simple. It is doing one thing at a time with focused attention. It could be as simple as eating breakfast slowly, tasting every bite. It could be walking the dog, feeling every step beneath your feet, inhaling the scents of nature (be selective with this one). It could be showering, or gardening, or even washing dishes, stopping the car at a stoplight and taking three deep breaths. Mindfulness is the antithesis of multi-tasking: it is not texting while driving, walking while eating, or cleaning the kitchen, supervising homework and clocking up kms on the pedometer while you talk on the phone. Which begs the question, who has time for mindfulness, let alone meditation?

Apparently, about 300 people do on a Friday night in suburban Perth. Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre features a 3 metre tall golden Buddha and a monk in brown robes: Ajahn Brahn. Recently back from retreat and in full humorous form, Ajahn Brahn leads a 30 minute meditation followed by a 45 minute talk. Referring to the recent Time Magazine cover article, ‘The Mindful Revolution’ Brahn says, “If you want to know about mindfulness, you’ve come to the source.”. The audience laugh but then sit at attention as Ajahn Brahn explains what is missing from mindfulness as taught by psychologists and corporate gurus, and the term he would like to replace it with.

Meditation in western culture began as a spiritual practice but popular culture has now unhooked it from religious tradition and embraced as a way to reduce stress, promote health and sharpen the mind. Happiness is often touted as one of the outcomes of mindfulness/meditation. “Living in the moment” and “Be here now” is a prescription for how to live well. But what happens when the moment doesn’t feel particularly liveable? When we’re in pain physically or emotionally, or someone else is? When we have too much to do, our job is boring or underpaid or we work for the boss from hell? This is where compassion, or as Ajahn Brahn suggests, “kindfulness” comes in. Through compassion for our self and others we can infuse any moment with kindness, making the tough times more bearable and the pleasures more exquisite.

There is a story in the Buddhist tradition about a monk who went on retreat in a cave for 7 years. Upon finishing his retreat and heading to town for sustenance the monk tripped over a dog, kicked the dog and swore. Making meditation a separate pursuit is a good way to practice and hone the skill, but without compassion for yourself and those around you it can become just one more thing to do in your busy schedule, one more pressure to feel stressed about. What good is seven years (or ten days, or an hour, or even 20 minutes) of meditation if you yell at your kids or your partner when you emerge?

Practicing compassion can in itself be a form of mindfulness. Be kindful when your child tracks dirt onto the newly vacuumed carpet and gently help him to clean it up. Wait kindfully when you are stuck in traffic, focusing on some music or the blue of the sky. Listen kindfully to your colleague’s account of her latest illness. You could even kindfully take out the rubbish or scrub the toilet or make the coffee (especially when it’s not your turn).

With practice and a little effort, living mindfully and kindly can become a regular part of your day. At first, think of it like tea breaks or bathroom breaks, something you will do every few hours. Over time you will find favorite mindful activities, and you can experiment with more challenging situations (lunch with a prospective client, reading The Cat in the Hat to your child for the 40th time). Mindfulness with kindness is the whole package: it can promote good health, reduce stress, and make you a happier person, all at the same time. Through kindness you might even find yourself improving someone else’s life and, with each small act, potentially changing the world. How’s that for multi-tasking?


The Lady of Yoga



Indra Devi Lady of Yoga

1988- Indra Devi and Yogacharya Dr Fernando Estevez Griego (Swami Maitreyananda Dharmachari)

For over 60 years, Indra Devi was Yoga’s most prominent female force. She pursued the practice of Yoga in an era when women were normally not accepted as students. Of European descent, she not only brought Yoga to her native Russia, she taught Yoga to the Hindus themselves. In America she taught Yoga to celebrities. Even after she reached the very advanced age of 100, she continued a yoga practice which included Ardha Sirsasana, Janu Sirsasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana and, of course, Padmasana. Indra Devi’s followers called her Mataji, a rare and well-deserved honour for a woman who exemplified Yoga’s principles with her love, light, and a liveliness that lasted nearly all of her 102 years.

The woman who would become Indra Devi was born Eugenie Peterson on May 12, 1899, in Riga, Russia. Her father was Swedish and her mother was a member of the Russian nobility. Although Eugenie had been drawn to India’s spiritual ways at a very young age, she first pursued a career with the theater. In 1920, while Russia was still in the midst of revolution, Eugenie and her mother relocated to Germany. She became part of a renowned Russian theatrical troupe that toured all over Europe. It was during this period of her life that she met Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Finally, in 1927, Eugenie was able to visit her beloved India for the first time. She wound up living there for 12 years, during which she married a Czechoslovakian diplomat, became an movie star in Indian films and befriended Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1937 she became a student of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a Yoga master whose other students included a couple of kids named B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and his son T.K. Desikashar . After a year Krishnamacharya urged Eugenie to teach, and when her husband relocated to Shanghai in 1939, she opened her first school of Yoga.

After the end of World War II, Indra Devi continued studying Yoga in the Himalayas and after the death of her husband, her travels took her to the United States. She founded a Yoga studio in Hollywood where she taught stars of the day such as Gloria Swanson, Jennifer Jones, Ramon Novarro and Olivia de Haviland. In 1953 she married a renowned doctor and humanitarian, Sigfrid Knauer and continued spreading Yoga throughout the United States and Mexico via conferences, radio and television.

For the next several decades, Indra Devi took Yoga worldwide. She went to the Soviet Union in 1960 and became known as “the woman who brought Yoga to the Kremlin.” She conducted a meditation in Viet Nam in 1966 and traveled frequently to India. In 1985 she moved to Argentina, where she set up the Indra Devi Foundation (the URL of its website, which is in Spanish, is http://fundacion-indra-devi.org/). She spread Yoga throughout South America, along with holding seminars and classes in the U.S. and Europe. Over the years she has published a number of books, including Forever Young, Forever Healthy, Yoga for Americans (which has a forward by Gloria Swanson), and Yoga, the Technique of Health and Happiness.

Indra Devi practiced all that she taught, and as a result she remained active and vital well into her 90s, and even after she passed the century mark, her energy was amazing. After 102 remarkable years, however, it was time for her to move on. Indra Devi viewed death as fearlessly as she lived her life, and the world she left is very much richer for the gift of her presence.In the 1960s and 70s, Indra Devi was very much a presence in Los Angeles and Mexico, and was very close to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Traveling from LA (and her retreat in Mexico) to Bangalore and Puttaparthi, she was greatly honored by Him.

In 1982 she moved to Argentina. In 1987 she was elected President of honor of the International Yoga Federation http://www.internationalyogafederation.net/ (former International Yoga Teachers Federation) and Latin American Union of Yoga under the Presidenceship of Swami Maitreyananda in Montevideo, Uruguay. She died in Buenos Aires.

Yogachraya Fernando  Estevez-Griego  and Swamini Lakshmi

Yogachraya Fernando
Estevez-Griego and Swamini Lakshmi (first left)

Yoga Luminaries:

Yogacharya Dr Fernando Estevez Griego (Swami Maitreyananda Dharmachari) direct disciple of Swami Vishnu-Devananda- Yogacharya Master Fernando Estevez Griego studied with him at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas, Canada and United States).

Swamini Lakshmi (Yogacharini Eugenia Salas) six-time winner of the World Yoga Championship www.worldyogachampionship.com in Artistic Yoga Pair and Rhythmic Yoga Pair, disciple of Swami Maitreyananda creator of Artistic Yoga ®.  She is director of International Yoga School of Aurobindo Sivananda Ashram.  President of the International Federation of Yoga Sports 2010 – 2014 

The  International Yoga Federation is a non-profit tax-exempt organization founded in 1987, it is the largest yoga organization in the world and is open to all yogis and yoga organizations. IYF supports the minimum international standards for yoga teachers from 1987. Below is  the honourable Swamini Gauri.

Swamini Gauri IYF President

Swamini Gauri President of International
Yoga Federation 2010-2014


Marisa Cheloni -Swamini Gauri is the world-wide  President of International Yoga  Federation (2012-2016)






B.K.S Iyengar

Great Grand Master and Father of Modern Yoga: IyengarIyengar, the Father of Modern Yoga


Iyengar, the Father of Modern Yoga

B.K.S. Iyengar has systematised over 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama (with variations of many of them) ranging from the basic to advanced. This helps ensure that students progress gradually by moving from simple poses to more complex ones and develop their mind, body and spirit step-by-step.




Father of Modern Yoga

Acharya Sri T.K. Sribhashyam- the third son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya (Father of Modern Yoga), was born in Mysore in 1940.

Acharya Sri T.K. Sribhashyam

Sri T.K. Sribhashyam, the third son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, was born in Mysore in 1940. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Accountancy as well as in Hindu philosophy in Chennai. Right from his childhood Sri T. Krishnamacharya initiated him to Yajur Veda and taught him in the traditional way all major Upanishads, Brahma Sūtra and Bhagavad Gīta. Sri T. Krishnamacharya trained him in Yoga practice and teaching. Apart from this, he also received intensive lessons on Yoga Philosophy and Indian Psychology. Āyurveda, the Indian Medical Science, was another subject of study under his father.

Registered or Certified Yoga Teacher?



Yoga Alliance Australia Registered Teacher

Marina Brooking in Yoga Prayer Pose-Yoga Alliance Australia Registered Teacher

Many aspiring Yoga teachers, are left confused as to the purpose and difference between certification and registration of Yoga teachers.

The purpose of the Yoga teacher certification is to make sure that instructors have an excellent knowledge of all Yogic aspects and safety issues. Yoga teachers should be certified for their own protection. With liability law suits being so popular these days, it is wise to have a Yoga teacher’s diploma on the wall. Yoga is not considered to be as dangerous as some of the other activities in health clubs, but some Yoga classes can be surprisingly vigorous, to say the least.

The purpose of being a registered yoga instructor is to make sure that individual/s have met the requirements set out by the Yoga Registering Body through an educational program with a yoga teacher training school. A minimum of 200 hour contact (face-to-face training) and 500 hour teaching experience is required by most reputable Yoga Organisations in the world to be considered a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT).

On the National and international levels, Yoga is a self-regulated practice. Many certifying bodies such as  Yoga Alliance Australia (also known as Yoga Alliance International)  the Yoga Alliances around the world, The International Yoga Federation (recognised as the supreme Yoga Organisation in the World)  work toward a standard of excellence in teacher knowledge, ethics and, student’s safety.

Liability insurance companies look favourably upon policy holders who are qualified in the field in which they provide services, and Yoga is not an exception. The general perception is that a credentialed policy holder, is professional, experienced, mature and the odds of claims are reduced.

What about established Yoga teachers who don’t have a diploma? They should seek advice from Yoga Certifying bodies on how to gain recognition, based on their studies, practice and teaching experience.

The majority of studios now require you to be a registered Yoga teacher. In North America, South America, Australia, Asia, and most of Europe, Yoga teachers although Certified (qualified) are not required to be registered but if you are, the chances of finding employment are much higher. Over recent years Yoga organisations have worked together to ensure that Standards are continuously revised and that Teacher and School can demonstrate they meet those standards.

NOTE: Although some Countries offer government accredited training courses, there is no such thing as a government-accredited Yoga teacher.


Breath of Fire (Agni-Prasana)


hero-poseBreath of Fire is without a doubt the most sophisticated Pranayama (breath control) used in yoga. It is an amazing tool that fights against anxiety, nerves, fears, pain, and depression.

Master Yogis said that a person has been granted a predetermined number of breaths from birth till his death, and breath of fire is ONE (from the moment you start until you end). This means that you can prolong your life span by doing Breath of Fire!

The way we feel is directly related to the way we breathe. When dealing with challenging or stressful life situations, our body has an unconscious tendency to pull the diaphragm in. This is the area of the Solar Plexus, where the body keeps all of its emotions.

There are seventy-two thousand nerves in our body. Out of the entire seventy-two thousand , seventy-two are the most important. Out of these seventy-two, ten are vital. In India, they say that if the third Chakra (one of the focal points where all the seventy-two thousand nerves meet), is not in balance, a person cannot be healthy no matter how much medicine he/her is taking. A way to balance this out is by doing Breath of Fire in “lotus pose or hero pose”.

Breath of Fire is done through the nose (further down the page are the basic instructions) and the inhalation and exhalation are of equal duration. The body stays relatively still and relaxed, only the naval point is vigorously working.

In BOF it is essential that the navel point is pulled in only on the exhalation. Some people have developed the habit of pulling in their stomachs on the inhalation. This is called “reversed” breathing.

To check your breathing to make sure that your BOF is not reversed, lie on your back with your hand just below your belly button. As you exhale, be sure that your belly moves inward (your hand should ink toward the floor).

As you relax your naval to inhale, your hand will rise. Be aware of the movement of your hand: it rides toward your spine on the exhalation and away from your spine on the inhalation. Once you became comfortable that your breath is correct while lying down, sit up and again use your hand to make sure that you are using your naval point correctly.


  • Releases all of the built up anxiety and nervousness. Breath of Fire forces the diaphragm in and out and this has a direct impact on the Navel centre, releasing the emotions as well.
  • Readjusts and strengthens the nervous system.
  • Helps to regain control over stressful mental states.
  • Helps the heart and circulation by flushing the toxins out of the blood stream.
  • Massages the internal organs.
  • Releases toxins and deposits from the lungs, mucous lining, and blood vessels.
  • Expands the lungs capacity

 How to do it

Breathe in and out through the nose (or mouth). Pull the abdomen in towards the diaphragm during the exhalation and out during inhalation. This is very fast, as fast as 2 or 3 times per second, and also very loud. The people next to you should be able to hear you. When perfected, the rate should be 120 to 180 times per minute!!


Seek medical approval before practising breath of fire if you suffer from any of the issues below

  • breathing problems such as asthma
  • dizzy spells
  • epilepsy
  • heart conditions
  • digestive problems such as ulcers or colitis
  • regular headaches

 How many times should be done?

From 5 to 15 minutes every day, it is the best way to keep the blood purified. (start with 3 minutes and work up)31 minutes of Breath of Fire every day will regulate the pituitary. Pituitary will regulate the entire glandular system. Glandular system will change the nervous system. BOF is a breath which burns away all disease and karma. It is a conscious voluntary breath.

Quickly oxygenates your blood, thus helping the body detoxify itself and remove waste more effectively. Builds lung capacity and helps purify the respiratory system.

Generates heat and increases your level of energy by activating the energy flows in your body.

Synchronizes your entire system under one rhythm, thus promoting greater internal harmony and health. Balances and strengthens the Nervous System.

Magnifies the benefits of exercises done in conjunction with this breath.

When done forcefully, the pulsating of the diaphragm massages the internal organs, thus improving the digestive system.



Vibrational Healing





In this article we will explore some of the various aspects of healing that correspond to the teaching of the east and the metaphysical ideology of the west. Both these approaches rest on the foundation that all of material creation is ruled by an invisible substance that animates the physical level. This is the Prana of the yogis, the Chi of traditional Chinese medicine and the vital force of the metaphysicians.

In one of his modern-day fables, The Little Prince, the French philosopher Antoine De St. Exupery states that “what is essential is invisible to the eyes.”

At the subatomic level of reality, material nature loses all its solid reality to reveal a constant dance of particles and waves that fluctuates in a swirling field of light and Electro-magnetic energy. Most spiritual seers of different traditions, from the druids to African shamans, pranic healers to twenty-first century Reiki practitioners have attested to this other dimension where they can feel, manipulate and work with the light and energy. Today this level is being acknowledged as vibrational medicine.

The quantum theory teaches us to respect the non-material aspect of nature and the dynamic quality of the invisible realm, which has been considered as empty space. According to quantum physicists, this is an invisible matrix of interaction between elements that are so small, we need very powerful microscopes to see. In fact, some of these particles, with fancy new names like quarks, bosons, leptons etc are so small that we cannot even see them.However, they leave a trail of light which is characteristic of their presence. How amazing is such a concept, that at the microcosmic level of reality we appear as fairy dust.

Indeed, research into the properties of natural remedies brings a new dynamic to the forefront of our perception. Many of these modalities deal with this substratum of reality, where matter takes a back seat to the vibrational level, where all the changes in body and mind really happen. Let us take homoeopathy as an example, in which the remedies used are so diluted that the active chemical elements can be considered inoperative, yet this is when the remedy becomes effective. The homoeopathic principle claims that the more the physical component gets reduced, the more the energetic aspect becomes potent. In the past there has been confusion and downright cynicism, but today the evidence of quantum physics helps us understand the dynamic nature of the invisible force field that underlies, interacts and sometimes overrules the material realm.

Healing modalities like homoeopathy are therefore using the vibrational level, which is fast becoming the new frontier of scientific exploration. It is indeed a great leap forward in medicine that science is now able to interpret this concept in a way that our modern, rational intellect can understand. The whole folklore, mythology and mystical teachings of humanity throughout the ages have been about such a non-material level, and light and vibration have been the characteristics described by seers, healers and prophets. These new scientific paradigms will enable us to validate and feel confident in using therapies that were perceived as useless superstitious relics from the past.

It is also this subatomic, quantum level of reality that is the whole basis for the teaching of meditation. The main teaching of esoteric, mystical circles is that the essence of the material world is non-material. Therefore to know the real nature of reality we have to look deeper than the surface appearances. Indeed, most meditation techniques help us distance and detach from the external environment, then, when we start to move inwards, to focus and face our inner being. Those who have taken that inner journey have left mountains of descriptions and explanations, yet such things can only be perceived by oneself.

This is because the whole experience is subjective and personal. The poet Kahlihl Gibran puts it this way:


Paramahansa Satyananda, the leader of the modern yogic renaissance explains, “there is nothing to be understood, everything has to felt and experienced”. Therefore we go back to the motto for this course, “an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory”, which by now is permanently imprinted on your brain tissue and mind circuits – well at least that’s our intention.

Most natural therapies have up to now been rather misunderstood because they often mention the aspect of synergy of their potions and lotions. This is based on the principle that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. For example, we all know that the body is so much more than a mass of flesh, blood, bones and chemicals. This understanding was a very real foundation in the making of remedies, being very much apart from the chemical constituents of the actual herbs, oils, metals or other medicinal agents that were used.

So, apart from these there was also an inherent acknowledging of the inner, mystical or magical properties, imparted by the healer’s own intuitive awareness, which led to the knowledge of achieving the right balance and combination of formulas, blends and concoctions. Many healers and wise men considered their role as a sacred duty; they spent time in quiet contemplation, during which their power to heal and help was enhanced.

Tibetan priests bless the herbal preparations to impart added energetic potency, Pranic healers chant healing mantras on and for the people that ask for their help, Ayurvedic medicines were revealed to sages in states of deep meditation, and metaphysical healers such as Edgar Cayce placed themselves into trance states before giving healing sessions to many patients who attest to his cures.

Underlying this unknown or X-factor in healing is the energy, or Prana, or Chi that is imparted by the healer to the remedy and the person. Of course this would have been dismissed as pure superstition, but in the twenty-first century the research and study in quantum physics have revealed the amazing fact that the observer interacts with the observed at a subliminal, subconscious level.

This has overthrown the whole idea of scientific objectivity and has made us more aware of the powerful invisible forces that form the substratum of reality. As a modern race relying on technology, we accept the existence of electro-magnetic rays, cosmic rays, x-rays, gamma rays, infra and ultra-violet rays, which we cannot perceive with the human eye. Before the age of microscopes and other gadgets that helped us peep into the inner levels of matter and space, only seers gifted with insight and inner wisdom interpreted what our outer senses could not detect, and in the light of modern discoveries their accuracy in some fields of knowledge is quite amazing.

Vibrational medicine today comprises those modalities that are far from purely physical in their effect. It is the premise of such therapies that the person needs to heal on an inner level as well for the benefits to be long lasting. Many of these remedies also act on the psycho-emotional nature. These therapies are based on the fact that the vital energy in the body can be accessed in many different ways, and therefore we can tonify, pacify or balance, according to how the energetic system presents itself. Some of these modalities that act on the subtle vibrational level of the body are:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Kinesiology
  • Homoeopathy
  • Reiki
  • Herbalism
  • N.L.P.
  • Yoga
  • Tai-chi
  • Chi-gung
  • Bach flower remedies
  • Crystal Healing
  • Colour therapy

There are of course many more that we may not have mentioned here. Indeed, our aim is not to get into any details on these subjects. We only want to point out their relevance in the field of healing, especially on an inner and subtle level.

Meditation is one of the most precious tools in vibrational medicine, and is at the forefront of mind/body medicine today because it puts us in touch with our own self-healing mechanisms.

Psycho neuro immunology, or mind/body medicine, tells us that our body produces all the chemicals it needs to balance and heal itself under ideal conditions. The research into transcendental meditation shows that the perfect operating conditions for body and mind are the meditative, contemplative states. The physiological changes that happen during meditation are indicative of optimum health. The body is always performing thousands of chemical reactions, involving complex inter-reaction between hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters to achieve homeostasis (the condition in which the body’s internal environment remains relatively constant, within physiological limits).

Doctor HIROSHI MOTOYAMA, a Shinto priest and healer, explains in his book Karma and Reincarnation that the evolution of man is being limited by spiritual ignorance, and meditation is a way of awakening the deeper layers of consciousness. One very simple method, which is recommended for daily routine to keep the mind calm and clear, the emotions stable and the spirit attuned to higher wisdom, is the practice of observing the breath. When our whole attention is on the breathing process, the constant restless wanderings of the conscious mind or beta level gradually settle down, and this silence and stillness brings the mind inwards.

This type of meditative exercise has been taught in many disciplines. In yogic Pranayama, there is this typical breathing routine:

The practice consists of deep, slow, breaths, inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of eight and exhaling for a count of four. During the breathing process the centre of attention is on the abdomen. Abdominal breathing calms both the body and the mind. It also increases the Prana or vital energy, its circulation within the meridian pathways and its storage. Such energy is needed for the intense state of inner concentration as conscious awareness is turned within. The ancient Taoist teaching also recommends abdominal breathing to its adepts to still the fragmented manifestations of the mind. Some Christian texts, such as the “method of holy prayer and attention”, describe a similar Pranayama concept of focusing attention on the belly and the flowing of breath. Meditators in all times and conditions have found this an invaluable practice to get in touch with the source of peace, joy and equanimity.

Meditation has been used for centuries to find inner clarity and peace of mind. Druids often use it to achieve greater heights of focus and concentration, and to correct inner unbalances. For the best effect, one should meditate regularly in order to get the mind set to a proper level, after long years of practice, the meditative state can be reached without effort.

Mind can recollect past experiences, keeps thinking about the future and experiences the present with all its might and we do not have any control over our minds journey.
‘Dhyan'(meditation) is the study of deep concentration, calmness and tranquility of the mind. It is the study of attaining complete control over ones mind. Meditation takes the consciousness beyond conscious, sub conscious & unconscious states to super consciousness.

So, always keep this simple practice as a regular meditation exercise, whatever else you are exploring with. By itself or as a way to prepare you for more intense and longer practice sessions, abdominal breathing can be an easy way to get into a meditative state of mind.

Paris European Capital of Yoga



An exceptional event. MORE THAN 9000 PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO PARIS FOR THIS EVENT, 11, 12 and 13 October 2013.

An event that reflects the diversity of approaches and expectations of the public, with spaces ‘discoveries’, free courses, master classes, Workshops, demonstrations, conferences, roundtables, music, concerts, screenings , friendliness and a lounge space – 110 exhibitors on 2000m ², the ‘Yoga Village’. Presenters: worldwide renowned Gran Masters Yoga. For more information: http://www.yogafestival.fr/view/content/all-toute-la-programmation-2013?session=ag9ua2gr3u6ooleotrnpk2kc06

swami-maitreyanandaSwami Maitreyananda  

Darmachari Swami Maitreyananda, Yogacharya Fernando Estevez Griego (Swami Darmachari Maitreyananda) born November 11, 1956 in Montevideo, Uruguay, has lived up to this Bahamas, United States, Canada, Spain, France, Switzerland, Israel, India and Argentina.

Now considered one of the most important and prestigious master Yoga worldwide, it is an indisputable reference in this discipline at the international level. His training continues House nearby the best and most renowned Masters of Yoga, then known in India, is a direct disciple of Krishna Yogavatar Kisore Dasji Swami Vishnudevananda (Sivananda) and the venerable L. Ariyawansa Nayaka Mahatera.

He graduated as a teacher of yoga in the Sivananda Ashram, and obtained the title of Yogacharya and master Yoga in the Forest Vedanta University Institute, India. In addition to its specialization in Yoga therapy, he has a doctorate in psychology and professor of Ayurveda. He is a pioneer and co-creator of the Foundation for International and Continental organizations Yoga coming together now in the International Yoga Federation. His Integral Yoga International School, founded by Swami Asuri Kapila in 1932, is considered one of the top three schools in the world level, having trained over 9000 yoga masters or yogacharya, master, trainers, teachers and yoga instructors. He was twice elected President of the International Federation of Yoga 1990 -1992 and 2003 – 2005

paris-2013Swamini Lakshmii,
Invited by the European Union of Associations intervener Yoga Swamini Lakshmi is an internationally recognized master of yoga. His gentleness, wisdom, 
 its sensitivity and depth as well as his mastery of spirituality and meditation in addition to an extraordinary approach to the art of yoga techniques that carries and transmits with excellence. She is the Director of Aurobindo Sivananda Ashram and the International School of Integral Yoga in which it has trained thousands of yoga teachers. She has served as president of the International Federation of Yoga Sports, Pan American Secretary of the International Federation of Yoga and president of the Argentine Federation of yoga, she teaches and shares her knowledge in America, Europe, Asia and more specifically in India. http://www.worldyogacouncil.net/worldwide.html

Fathers of Modern Yoga




Though his name is perhaps less well-known than some of his famous students, it’s not an overstatement to call T. Krishnamacharya the Father of Modern Yoga. His development of a unique approach to hatha yoga, together with his tireless promotion and exceptional acolytes, led directly to yoga’s increased availability to Western students.

Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) was an Indian yogi and scholar. He received his training in hatha yoga during seven years spent with his guru, Ramamohana Brahmacharya, who lived in a cave in a remote region of the Himalayas. Krishnamacharya also spent many years studying, and then teaching, Sanskrit, Vedic rituals and philosophy. His style of yoga is the first known to have incorporated movement through a series of poses that are coordinated with breathing, a style that is known as vinyasa yoga.

From 1926 to 1946, Krishnamacharya ran a yoga school at the palace of the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar in Mysore. During that time, Krishnamacharya had several students who would go on to play pivotal roles in popularizing yoga in the West.

Ashtanga yoga guru K. Pattabhi Jois was a devoted, long-time student whose vigorous style of asana was closely based on Krishnamacharya’s teachings. B.K.S. Iyengar, whose sister was Krishnamacharya’s wife, received his first yoga instruction from his brother-in-law before branching out to develop his own alignment-based style.

His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati – Founder of The Divine Life Society, born, 1887. Alive today in countless names & forms.

Sivananda Yoga is a classical and holistic approach to Hatha Yoga that stretches and tones the whole body.

This style of yoga has not been modified or watered down. The teachings have survived intact and are practiced as originally presented in India by Swami Sivananda in 1936. Sivananda Yoga is an international practice which follows the same format worldwide.

Sivananda Yoga is a complete healing system designed to help the body maintain a natural healthy state. It was developed by Vishnu-Devananda who wrote one of the contemporary Yoga classics, “The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga,” first published in 1960 and still one of the best introductions to yoga available. Sivananda training involves frequent relaxation and emphasizes full, yogic breathing.

K. Pattabhi Jois 

Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois was introduced to yoga in 1927 as a twelve year old when he attended a demonstration by S. T. Krishnamacharya who had learned yoga in Tibet. Thus began Guruji’s 25 years of yoga study with Krishnamacharya. In 1929, Jois moved to Mysore to study Sanskrit. He married in Mysore and with his wife Amma had three children.

Twenty years later he established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute as a centre for the study and practice of Ashtanga yoga  a system of yoga which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian the specific yoga practice known as Ashtanga (Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”) Yoga. In 1958  Jois he began writing Yoga Mala. It was published in India but took more than 40 years before it was published in the west.

Jois’ yoga shala attracts thousands of foreign yoga students every year. The west was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in the early 1960s when an European student spent two months with Jois learning the primary and intermediate asanas of the Ashtanga Yoga system. He returned to Europe and spread the word, marking the beginning of westerners coming to Mysore to study Ashtanga yoga. Power yoga and vinyasa yoga are generic terms that may refer to any type of vigorous yoga exercise derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

 B.K.S. Iyengar was born Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar in 1918. As the founder of Iyengar Yoga, he is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 60 years.

He has written many books on yogic practice and philosophy, and is best known for his books “Light on Yoga,” “Light on Pranayama,” and “Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.” He has also written several definitive yoga texts. Iyengar yoga is taught around the world.

Iyengar Yoga, is a form of Hatha Yoga known for its use of props, such as belts, blocks, and blankets, as aids in performing asanas (postures). The props enable students to perform the asanas correctly, minimising the risk of injury or strain, and making the postures accessible to both young and old. The development of strength, mobility and stability are emphasized through the asanas

B.K.S. Iyengar has systematised over 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama (with variations of many of them) ranging from the basic to advanced. This ensures that as the students gradually progress by moving from simple poses to more complex ones and develop their mind, body and spirit step-by-step. Iyengar Yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.





Yoga Alliance-International Australia World Yoga Summit

Yoga Alliance-International Australia-World Yoga Summit 2016

Yoga Alliance -International Australia “World Yoga Summit” 2016 Beijing








Yoga Alliance® International-Australia guest speaker at the “World Yoga Summit”  Beijing June 11-13 2016.

A panel of  world’s renowned  yogis and  Great Grand Masters  will  discuss the many aspects of How the Yoga industry in China and the rest of the  world will be developing in next five years, How to build a successful Yoga Business, Successful Operation on Community Yoga Club,  Wisdom on Yoga Operation and much more !

The event graced by the late B.K.S.Iyengar in 2011, will this year be graced by the presence of His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand, the President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, one of the largest interfaith institutions in India, and Swami Sadhiv BhagawathiJi-the Director of “Yoga International Festival Rishikesh”, India and many highly regarded personalities of the Yoga world.

Yoga Alliance® is extremely grateful  to the Yoga community of  the Republic of  China and to Mr Yang Hong the CEO of  the “World Yoga Summit 2016” for the invitation.

A large number of yoga practitioners from all over the world are expected to participate in the event considered one of the biggest in the history of yoga.

His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is the recipient of World Peace Ambassador Award, Mahatma Gandhi Humanitarian award, Hindu of the Year Award, Prominent Personality Award, by Lions’ Club, Best Citizens of India Award, the Uttaranchal Ratan Award and leader in numerous international, inter-faith summits and parliaments, including at the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum and the Parliament of Religions as well as with Religions for Peace, KAICIID, the Hindu-Jewish Summit in Jerusalem, the Hindu-Christian dialogue by the Vatican and so many others. He is also a leader of frequent world peace pilgrimages across the world.


yoga-alliance-china-world-yoga-summit-2016sadhvi-bhagawati- and-h.h.saraswati-pujya-swamiji