March 2017



The Yoga Room is excited to host a Weekend Workshop with Gulnaaz Dashti. Gulnaaz is as close as you can get to the teaching from the Iyengar Institute without making the trip to India. She has studied directly under BKS, Geeta and Prashant Iyengar for over 20 years. She has been teaching at the Iyengar Institute for the last 14 years.


Also in this newsletter we take a deeper look at the yogic philosophy as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. We will look at the eight limbs of yoga starting with the first two Yamas (ethical precepts).


Due to the teacher training schedule there will be no Yoga Bali Retreat this year. For those of you wishing to participate in the Bali Retreat in 2018 the dates have been set for 16th to 28th July.


Enjoy the newsletter and keep practising.




Video of the Month – Gulnaaz Dashti, Yoganjali
Article of the Month – How yoga philosophy can be useful in our everyday lives: The eight limbs of yoga (Part 1)
Upcoming Events; Gulnaaz Dashti Weekend Workshop
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Susie Tagarro
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Previous newsletters




Video of the Month: Gulnaaz Dashti, Yoganjali


Next month we are excited to be hosting a weekend workshop with Gulnaaz Dashti.


Gulnaaz Dashti has studied directly under BKS Iyengar, daughter Geeta and son Prashant for over 20 years. She has been teaching at the Iyengar Institute in India for the last 14 years and runs therapeutic classes.


Gulnaaz will be teaching in Melbourne, Perth Sydney Darwin and on the Gold Coast. Don’t miss a unique opportunity to learn from senior Iyengar teacher who has spent many many years at the source of Iyengar yoga.


Gulnaaz is a dedicated practitioner and a passionate teacher. She was granted a teaching position by Guruji (BKS Iyengar) to teach beginner classes in 1998, currently Gulnaaz is a senior teacher. Since 2003 Gulnaaz has regularly been teaching in Iran as well as Switzerland, Dubai and the USA.


Here is a link to a video file showing a brief introduction to Gulnaaz.

Click here to see the Gulnaaz Dashti, Yoganjali video.





Article of the Month – Article of the Month – How yoga philosophy can be useful in our everyday lives: The eight limbs of yoga (Part 1)

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – 196 Indian sutras (aphorisms ) – were compiled before 400 CE by Sage Patanjali. They incorporate materials about yoga from older traditions. The Yoga Sutras refer to eight limbs of yoga, which offer guidance on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.


The 8 Limbs of Yoga

1 Yama (moral disciplines)
2 Niyama (rules of conduct)
3 Asana (poses or postures)
4 Pranayama (restraint or expansion of the breath)
5 Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
6 Dharana (concentration)
7 Dhyana (meditation)
8 Samadhi (absorption, spiritual enlightenment)


Growing off the mat as well as on it

While our practice of yoga on the mat – i.e. the physical poses or asana – can increase our physical strength and flexibility and help calm our minds, when we learn to apply the same principles off the mat, we can grow, maximise our potential, be stronger, calmer, more flexible, and generally happier in our everyday lives. We can also learn the importance of kindness and truthfulness, using our energy in a positive way to benefit not only ourselves, but everyone and everything around us as well.


This series of articles will investigate the sutras and seek to apply them not only to our practice of yoga, but to our life in general. The articles are written as a beginner’s guide. They do not go into deeper aspects of the philosophy. Students wishing to delve deeper into the philosophy will find plenty of resources . Please see the end of this article for a selection.


This month’s article visits the first limb of yoga, Yama. As there are five Yamas, we only cover the first two in this first article, Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness).


1. YAMA – moral disciplines – the first limb of yoga

What are Yamas?
Yama refers to restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows.
In BKS Iyengar’s Light on The Yoga Sutras, he explains that Yamas are ‘unconditioned by time, class and place’. No matter who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practised, we can all aim to instil the Yamas within us.


There are five Yamas:
1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
2. Satya (truthfulness)
3. Asteya (non-stealing)
4. Brahmacharya (right use of energy)
5. Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding).


Ahimsa (non-violence). The first Yama. What it means, and how we can apply it

Ahimsa means ‘not to injure’ and ‘compassion’; cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa incorporates non-violence towards all living beings—including all animals.
Ahimsa is inspired by the premise that all living beings contain the spark of divinity, therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself. Ahimsa is associated with karmic consequences. Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of Ahimsa.
‘Causing no injury’ applies not only to our actions, but equally to our thoughts and words. Ahimsa encompasses avoiding all violent means—physical violence, thinking violent thoughts, verbal abuse—anything that injures others.


Applying Ahimsa to our yoga practice

Even more broadly, Ahimsa applies to non-violence towards ourselves. Thinking of this in relation to practising yoga asana, we can apply Ahimsa by respecting our physical capabilities and limitations, rather than injuring ourselves through non-acceptance of these physical aspects. Also, by not berating ourselves (either through our thoughts or by verbally abusing ourselves) if we are yet unable to achieve a certain proficiency in a pose.
By overworking one side of the body in favour of the other, we are causing violence to both sides. The side that is overworking may be harmed from the over-extension. And the side that is under-extended may be harmed in that the cells are not being nourished adequately.
Ahimsa implies a level of acceptance of what is, rather than what could be.


Applying Ahimsa to our everyday life

Applying Ahimsa to our everyday life, an acceptance of what is encourages us to be gentler and kinder on ourselves, in thought, word and deed. This may include a conscious effort to think positive thoughts about ourselves, to repeat daily positive affirmations about ourselves and what we want to achieve in our lives, and pursuing a healthy lifestyle rather than abusing our bodies through over-indulgence in any way. We can then apply Ahimsa to others, being consciously positive, kind and gentler towards others in our thoughts, words and actions.


Satya (truthfulness). The second Yama. What it means, and how we can apply it

Satya means truth: being truthful in our thoughts, speech and actions. It is the virtuous restraint from falsehood and distortion of reality in our expressions and actions.
Satya is essential; without it, the universe falls apart and cannot function.
Truth and truthfulness are considered a form of reverence towards the divine, falsehood a form of sin. Satya applies not only to our past thoughts, words and deeds, but also to our current and future contexts as well.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali state, “When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him.” In Patanjali’s teachings, while we may not always know the truth or the whole truth, we do know if we are creating, sustaining or expressing falsehood, exaggeration, distortion, fabrication or deception. For Patanjali, Satya is the virtue of restraint from such falsehood, either through silence or through stating the truth without distortion.


Applying Satya to our yoga practice

Understanding how much effort is required in each asana is a part of Satya. If we are constantly pushing too hard in the posture, we are not being honest about the needs of the body. Alternatively, if we are lazy in the practice, saying the body needs rest when it would benefit from a more rigorous practice, we are also not being honest with the needs of the practice. The challenge is to recognise what is the appropriate amount of effort required for the practice. This recognition comes about through a consistent regular practice.


Applying Satya to our everyday life

To build a better relationship with the world around us and with ourselves, we need to be honest with ourselves first – in thoughts, words and actions. We also need to be honest with others in the same way.
A way to practise being completely truthful with ourselves is to create space and stillness and slow down the mind. Instead of reacting instantly to situations on a primitive and emotional level, we can instead choose to see beyond the trigger to the truth. Instead of acting from a place of fear and conditioning and reacting blindly to a stimulus – e.g. someone close says something that triggers us to respond with a knee-jerk reaction – we can aspire to being more like the Dalai Llamas, who have trained themselves to slow down their response to stimuli within the primitive, emotional brain and create a fraction more time to process situations, thus seeing them clearly and truthfully.
We can practise observing each thought as it arises, without getting caught up in it. Like most worthwhile things, Satya is simple but not easy. It takes practice.
Once we know we are not our thoughts, a gap is created between who we think we are (the ego), and who we really are (the I am).


Next week, we cover the last three Yamas, Asteya (non-stealing); Brahmacharya (right use of energy); and Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding).


Recommended reading
• BKS Iyengar’s Light on the Yoga Sutras.

• Wikipedia




Upcoming Events


Gulnaaz Dashti Weekend Workshop

When: Friday 21st April to Sunday 23rd April 2017
9:00am to 5:00pm
Where: Yoga Room, James Street, Burleigh Heads
Price: $310 Earlybird $275 by 31 March. A few places Only remaining.


Gulnaaz Dashti has studied directly under BKS Iyengar, daughter Geeta and son Prashant for over 20 years. She has been teaching at the Iyengar Institute in India for the last 14 years and runs therapeutic classes.


Click here for more details, or Email us. Or call 0431 837 244 if you have any questions.




Our Yoga Students “off the mat” – Featuring Susie Tagarro


In this section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.



Susie Tagarro, who has recently joined the Yoga Room, began practising yoga in 2008 when she was 14 or 15. Her mum’s interest in yoga got her started, and she also wanted to do some form of exercise.


A health science graduate, Susie’s studies included anatomy, physiology and nutrition. She also completed two years of medical school. She’s currently assisting Maurice by teaching the anatomy and physiology segments of his yoga teacher training course, The Art and Science of Yoga, as well as participating as a student in the teacher training.


In December, she attended a 200-hour yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India where she learnt to teach both hatha and vinyasa asana, sequencing of yoga postures, pranayama, theory and philosophy, therapy and meditation. She loved Rishikesh. “It’s a holy city at the foot of the Himalayas, considered the world capital of yoga with Mother Ganga flowing through it, a vegetarian alcohol-free city. The whole city is full of yogis and yogis in training. I stayed in a village called Laxman Jhula and everyone there was lovely and trusting. Even the street dogs and cows roaming the street were friendly! They all wanted a pat.”


Since returning from India, she’s been teaching vinyasa asana weekly to a small group of people and particularly enjoys incorporating yoga philosophy in the classes. “I find it very interesting and helpful in life in general.”


Through practising yoga regularly, Susie has noticed a dramatic increase in her strength and flexibility. “The physical benefits I derive from yoga have given me the confidence to do other forms of physical activity. I’m more interested in walking, hiking and swimming, for example.” Susie also notices a marked psychological change from undertaking regular yoga practice. “It’s given me the confidence and made me more open to trying new things off the mat as well.”


She mentions inversions as an example. “I used to fear trying headstands then one day, one of my yoga teachers in India said, ‘You’re not going to magically get better at anything unless you practise it.’ In classes previously, I used to wish I could do an inversion without ever actually trying it. With my teacher’s comment, it clicked that it was my responsibility, not my yoga teacher’s. I have to do the work, have the discipline. So I started practising and now I’m getting better at them.”


Yoga has also contributed to her spiritual development. “I’m a lot more conscious of my thoughts, words and actions, particularly my thoughts and judgements about myself and others. I understand that everyone’s on their own journey and in realising this, I’m learning not to take other people’s reactions towards me personally. Their lives and circumstances dictate their reactions. I try to be more patient and understanding of people’s situations. Yoga has also made me realise that consciously trying to be a better person through my actions and thoughts – doing things in service of other beings – makes me much happier. In addition to this, if I’ve had a bad day or a disagreement with someone, I’m always able to find peace on the mat for that hour or hour and a half.”


She decided not to pursue a career in medicine as she wasn’t being fulfilled by it and it was causing stress-related issues. “I didn’t have time for any activities that improved my quality of life, including yoga, so I decided to change paths and incorporate into my career choice my passion for cooking, vegan food, healthy mindful living and wellness, including yoga.”


Susie has been vegan for four years and in December, she launched the website for her business, The Hippie Cook, a platform for plant-based living. Her website offers a wide range of free vegan recipes. She’s recently begun writing blog articles on topics such as veganism, minimalism, environmentalism, improving our environmental footprint, nutrition, yoga, etc. She also bakes vegan cakes and cupcakes for special occasions under the banner of The Hippie Baker. She’s been working on her recipes for several years and is currently working towards producing a recipe e-book of vegan meals, including their nutritional breakdown.


Susie’s website:
Instagram: thehippiecook
Mob: 0433 448 750
Susie would like to make a healthy offer to Yoga Room students: 12 healthy bliss balls for $12 (normally $30)



Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month


Chapter 2 Verse 47


Moral injunctions (yama), fixed observances (niyama), posture (asana), regulation of breath (pranayama), internalisation of the senses towards their source (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), and absorption of consciousness in the self (samadhi), are the eight constituents of yoga.

BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 134





Quote of the month


“Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Lao Tzu

Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244

December 2016



Of all the different types of teachers, “to be a yoga teacher is the hardest of all, because yoga teachers have to be their own critics and correct their own practice”.
B.K.S. Iyengar ‘The Tree of Yoga’


After many years of requests from people wishing to participate in a teacher training program at the Yoga Room, I have decided to conduct a two-year training program called “The Art and Science of Teaching Yoga”. I’m still finalising the details of the program which will start in February 2017. There will be an information session in mid-January, so if this is something you’ve been considering then see below.


The Yoga Room website has been updated and the timetable is now live and you can book online.


Enjoy this newsletter and have a safe and happy Christmas.
Peace and love to you all




Audio of the Month – BKS Iyengar, Invocation to Patanjali
Article of the Month – Teaching Yoga
Christmas Timetable
Teacher Training Information Session
Upcoming Events; Autumn Morning Yoga Intensive
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Dan Hanson
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Previous newsletters




Audio of the Month: BKS Iyengar, Invocation to Patanjali


Many people ask about the chant at the beginning of the class.

The sage Patanjali is the author of the Yoga Sutras, one of the classical yoga philosophy texts and the basis of our practice. At the beginning of many of our classes, we chant this invocation to Patanjali to honour the ancient tradition of yoga and the lineage of yoga that we practise.

Geeta Iyengar describes another reason for reciting the chant: “We chant so that at the very beginning that feeling of sanctification comes from inside, with the feeling of surrendering oneself, because nothing can be learned in this world unless you have the humility to learn.”

Here is a link to the audio file on the official BKS Iyengar website. There is also an English written version of the Invocation.

Click here to visit the official BKS Iyengar website and listen to the Invocation.





Article of the Month – Teaching Yoga

Of all the different types of teachers, “to be a yoga teacher is the hardest of all, because yoga teachers have to be their own critics and correct their own practice”. So says B.K.S. Iyengar in the final chapter of his book ‘The Tree of Yoga’, entitled ‘On Teachers and Teaching’.


Yoga teachers must understand how the body functions, and they must know how to help their students and protect them.


The relationship between teacher and student is complex. It is at once close, and distant; it is “a two-way avenue between pupil and teacher involving love, admiration, devotion and dedication”.


Even at the time of writing his book (1988), Iyengar was dismayed at the trend of Westerners – which has only increased over the years – returning from short courses in yoga teacher training in India to teach yoga back in their own country. He emphasises that, “In the West, people go to classes without ever testing the calibre of the teacher. As the master tests the pupils, so too the pupils should test the teachers’ standards before accepting them as teachers.” He suggests that teachers must do their own practice, just as doctors must undergo proper training to give medicine. “This is known as an ethical discipline.” So, “Teaching with practice is ethical, but it is unethical when teachers teach without clarity in their postures.”


His method involved constantly moving around the room, correcting his students, and he says that while he could have chosen simply to sit at the front of the room and verbally instruct, to do so “would be creating a polarity between my pupils and myself”. He preferred to correct the pupils who were going wrong, “because they also should see the light that I have seen”.


Iyengar makes the point that many people call themselves gurus, yogis or yoginis, and says, “This is wrong. Teachers should not be called gurus, and gurus are not to be seen merely as teachers. A guru is one who removes darkness and gives light. One who protects his or her pupils always so that they may not become victims of circumstances, and makes them work more and more so that they develop humility, is a guru.”


He emphasises that to live spiritually is to live in the moment. In his method of teaching, he used to keep his students practising for anywhere from two to four hours. During this time, students’ minds were fully on their practice; they were fully aware of their body, mind, senses and intelligence. He says, “If, out of twenty-four hours, they remain spiritual for four hours, I can say I have done some good in this world!”


Iygengar always found the reference to the ‘Iyengar method’ uncomfortable. He only introduced certificates for teachers to create and maintain a uniform teaching system and to distinguish between genuine students trained by him or by his senior pupils from those who only claimed to have been. The certificate itself is not important, he says. “What is important is whether you are sincere, whether you are humble, whether you are compassionate.” He says that a teacher needs to be merciless as well as compassionate, and when to be one or the other, in order to help students with their problems.


He gives insight into fatigue when doing asana. “When my body is tired, I say my body is tired; I never say that I am tired. If my brain is tired, I do halasana and get back the energy, and if my body is tired, I do half halasana and rejuvenate the cells.” Therefore, if we are physically tired but we overstretch in the standing poses, then we will naturally become even more tired. He tells us to use our discrimination about what to do, when and how much.


Towards the end of the chapter, Iyengar poses the question, “When should a teacher end the class?” He says this is important, and that if he notices that the pupils cannot take any more, he simply tells them to stop. A mature teacher knows when to make a pupil stop. He tells us there are two types of teaching: teaching using intelligence, and knowing the physical and emotional weakness of pupils. The latter requires creativity in order to introduce a new style that works for them.


Finally, Iyengar exhorts teachers to remember that they learn as much from their pupils as the pupils learn from them.


(Source: The Tree of Yoga (1988), B.K.S. Iyengar, Shambhala Publications, Inc., Boston.)




Yoga Room Christmas Timetable



Please note there are no classes on Sunday 25th, Monday 26th, and Tuesday 27th December and also Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd January.


There is a General Class at 9:30am on Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th, Friday 30th and Saturday 31th December.


The regular timetable resumes on Tuesday 3rd January.


Click here to see the Yoga Room Timetable and book a class.




Yoga Room Teacher Training Information Session

Maurice McCann (


“Thinking knowledge of the head combined with the experienced understanding of the heart should be the dharma of a teacher.”

B.K.S. Iyengar


A two-year teacher training program.




· Exemplary, well-tested practice and teaching


· Deepened, authentic self-study and expression


· A clear understanding of how to communicate
the art and science of yoga through language,
demonstration, observation, correction
and adjustment


· Practical, effective experience in how the body
works, moves, feels, and knows.


· A foundational sense of connection to the yoga
community regionally, nationally, and


An information session will be held mid January Email us or call 0431 837 244 to register your interest.




Upcoming Events


2017 Autumn Equinox
Yoga Intensive

When: Monday 13th March to
Saturday 1st April 2017
(except Sun. 19th & 26th) 6:00am to 7:30am
Where: Yoga Room, James Street, Burleigh Heads
Price: $295


This intensive will focus on the Body, Breath and Mind connectedness with a strong focus on breath techniques for deepening the practice.


Click here for more details, or Email us. Or call 0431 837 244 if you have any questions.




Our Yoga Students “off the mat” – Featuring Dan Hanson


In this section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.



Dan Hanson, originally from Liverpool, UK, and now a Burleigh resident, has been a Yoga Room student for around 18 months. During this time, his practice has become regular, although he is not new to yoga. When he is not travelling, for work or pleasure, he attends Yoga Room classes between three and five times a week. When he is travelling, he tries to do a few poses to wake up in the mornings, or wind down in the evenings. He occasionally also gets to the self-practice sessions with Maurice.


Like many sportspeople who take up yoga, Dan’s love of extreme sports causes him to get injured more than he’d like to. He finds yoga helps improve his flexibility and resilience. “I also find it helps me get out of my head and into my body,” he says.


Aside from these benefits, “I get to give myself the biggest gift I can…attention and love.” Dan has worked as a dentist on the Gold Coast for the past eleven years. For the past two and a half years, he has been in private practice. Because of his profession, he can become very focused on helping others and it then becomes easy for him to neglect himself. By dedicating himself to yoga, “I get to take time out for just me and nobody else. This is new for me and I’m loving it.”


Dan is a qualified Buteyko Institute Breathing Educator. “I work with kids and adults when they have symptoms of breathing dysfunction such as asthma, allergy, snoring and sleep apnoea. This is not dentistry so I take my ‘dentist hat’ off to do it. However, I do it from a multi-purpose room in my holistic dental practice (Heal Dental Care) in Burleigh.


“This room is my ‘work playground’. From here I carry out lots of my passions in my working life. I use it as a post-op recovery space for babies who have been struggling to feed, when they have just had tongue and lip tie laser surgery, while they feed with their mothers, and of course the breathing clinic. I also use it for community health talks and men’s groups. I host my own men’s group there but also co-facilitate other men’s groups for the men’s wellbeing organisation.”


Dan’s work as a breathing educator inspired him to invent a great product called sleepYstrip. It helps to reduce snoring and dry mouth, and improves sleep by ensuring nasal breathing.


In his spare time, Dan loves to be in the outdoors, whether it’s walking his huge dog Obi with his wife Rach, or going kite-surfing in the crystal-blue Gold Coast waters. He also likes to spread vital information about his work in tongue tie surgery – helping breast feeding – and children’s facial growth to prevent the need for braces. “For these subjects I’m fortunate enough to travel the world lecturing to my own profession as well as to chiropractors and osteopaths. While I’m travelling lecturing I like to fit in side trips to cool destinations. Last year while lecturing in London I managed to squeeze in a snow-boarding trip to France. This year while at Tokyo Health Expo I did a sneaky snowboarding trip to Hakuba.”


Dan and his wife Rach both love to travel and do fun things together. This year they took up rock climbing. “It’s a great sport for couples as it requires complete trust and patience.”


If you would like to learn more about Heal Dental Care, the Buteyko breathing method, or Dr Dan Hanson, please visit: or
To learn more about sleepYstrip, go to:



Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month




Chapter 2 Verse 47


Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.

BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 150





Quote of the month


“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”

William Gladstone 1809-1898

Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244

September 2016

Podcast of the Month – Living Yoga, Practising Life with Maurice McCann
Article of the Month – July 2016: A New Chapter in My Yogic Journey
Reflections on the 2016 Bali Retreat
Upcoming Events; Spring Morning Yoga Intensive (starting next week)
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Pete Crossley
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
Previous newsletters




Podcast of the Month: Living Yoga, Practising Life with Maurice McCann


Instead of a video this month I have included a potcast of an interview I had with Deb Ozarko who describes herself as a cultural revolutionary, status-quo crusher, wannabe dancer, Ironman triathlon finisher, unapologetic vegan, voracious seeker of truth, radical critical thinker, and passionate lover of life. It was a lot of fun chatting with Deb. Check out her webpage

Click here to listen to the podcast.





Article of the Month – July 2016: A New Chapter in My Yogic Journey

Just over a month ago I returned from attending classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (the Institute) in Pune, India. People are still asking me how my trip to India was. As with the four previous visits to the home of Iyengar yoga, the experience was profound.


Anyone and everyone who has attended classes at the Institute will tell you that it has changed their outlook on yoga and probably on their life.


The first couple of days there were extremely difficult for me. I had just finished teaching a retreat in Bali and spending a couple of days with a very special friend whom I had recently realised a deep love for. The monsoon rains were heavy and relentless and I felt alone, as there weren’t many people in the practice hall the first day and very few westerners in the first class of the month. I questioned my reason for being in India and my motives for practising and teaching yoga.


My previous two visits to Pune coincided with some significant life events for me. In August 2013, my mother died and I came back to Australia after only attending three classes. This opened the window for my return in 2014, and it was 20 August of that year that BKS Iyengar (Guruji) died. I was blessed to be present to say goodbye to this wonderful and amazing man and to witness his cremation. Added to this the separation from my wife in July 2015, and some of the apprehension I was feeling the first few days into the July 2016 visit seem understandable.


The Institute, although nothing much to look at, has an amazing feel and is one of the few places in the world where I feel very much at home. In the past, the presence of Guruji in the hall always brought a sense of reverence to everyone present. This time around, although his physical presence was absent, there was an even greater feeling that the great man was still in the hall as everyone worked at their own pace to deepen their practice of the art and science of yoga and to connect to their Self. Added to this the wonderful teaching of Prashant Iyengar and the other teachers there, and it is no wonder that profound changes occur.


A typical day consisted of a two-hour class and a three-hour practice session. On some days the practice session immediately followed the class. This provided an amazing opportunity to integrate the teachings of the class into the desired outcomes of the personal practice.


This was my fifth trip to the Institute and I’m just starting to understand that yoga is much more than a physical pursuit. I have always recognised that asanas are a way to access the mind and to quieten the fluctuations. I started practising yoga in the early 1980s as a way to deepen my spirituality. After studying some of the texts, I heeded the warnings not to go too quickly into the “mind stuff” and decided to work with the body and the breath to build a solid foundation for the more intense practices. Having practised for over 30 years, I still feel that the foundation is not yet secure enough to unlock the power of the mind. I have tasted some its power and with it some of the possibilities of the “madness” referred to in the texts. This has prompted me to be even more cautious and to continue building on the foundation of the body and breath whilst slowly integrating the power of the mind into the practice.


Since my first trip to Pune in 2005, I have heard Prashant say, “Body for the mind, breath for the mind and mind for the mind.” The “mind for the mind” has always been a challenge for me. Through some amazing pranayama classes conducted by Geetaji and Pranshantji, I’ve experienced the powerful effect the breath can have on the mind. I have experienced this in my own practice in asana and pranayama. The tools for allowing the mind to work for the mind have always been there for me. They are quite clear in the texts I read in the early 80s, and on my first trip to Pune the details of the techniques were clearly taught. I have been experimenting with these tools all this time; however, in this most recent visit, I decided to increase my efforts of learning how to utilise these tools. Now I can see how the mastery of these tools is the way forward on my journey of yoga. I’m feeling confident in the practice and am now just starting to integrate my understanding of these techniques into my teaching. It is wonderful to see the students taking some of these techniques on board in the class and in their practice. It is also inspiring to see that some students are erring on the side of caution (as emphasised in class) when working with these techniques… they are not advanced techniques. They are basic techniques that have subtle but profound outcomes.


It’s always important to ask the big questions and review one’s life path. Having reviewed my reasons for practising and teaching yoga, I’m excited to say I still feel blessed to have found this path and I offer my deepest respects to the teachers in Pune, especially Prashant S Iyengar, and my thanks and gratitude to my friends and family and to the students at the Yoga Room for your ongoing support.






Reflections on the 2016 Bali Retreat

Pete Crossley (

As a couple, we were looking for a holiday away with something different. Being occasional students of the Yoga Room, we thought it a good opportunity to get away and practise.


We decided to go with the flow of the group arrangements and see where it took us, in the spirit and philosophy of Iyengar.


This meant trusting in Maurice’s itinerary, arrangements and the people in the group (who we didn’t know), although we believed they would have a similar outlook or at least a shared interest in yoga. We met some great people who we have cemented good friendships with.


Our approach to this yoga retreat proved to be as enriching as the retreat itself. We were exposed to new experiences, environments and best of all, great people who had some great knowledge to share.


Being new and occasional students of yoga, we had in our minds that five hours of yoga a day was probably something we would not be able to manage, and so we decided to take it as it came and see what happened. Well, five hours of yoga a day did happen!! And best of all, it was tailored to the individual people in the group and was a terrific opportunity for almost one-on-one/small group tutorage at a high standard. The yoga was amazing and the discussions of yoga philosophy deepened our understanding of ourselves and our practice…absolutely invaluable.


The two different locations and retreats were simple, run by Balinese locals that Maurice had built a respectful and trustworthy relationship with over the years. That allowed us to relax and go with the flow. We were also able to undertake our own activities such as riding around the islands, swimming, massage, exploring, shopping and some fantastic snorkelling with the other yoga members arranged by Maurice …stunning scenery and all arranged with local Balinese people.


The food at the first retreat and surrounding restaurants was diverse and tasty, very much in line with Balinese culture as well as western style. The service and feasts we were provided with in the second retreat were outstanding and have helped reshape the way we feed our bodies and minds beyond the yoga retreat.


We are very grateful for the fantastic experience and were genuinely able to relax and focus thanks to our yoga mentor and holiday guide, Maurice. BEST HOLIDAY EVER!! (we are not sure how we are ever going to match it).


Jodie Paul (

My time at this year’s 12-day yoga retreat in Bali far exceeded my expectations. I went wanting a relaxing holiday and to deepen my yoga practice, but what I received was much more.


The first six days of the retreat was in Nusa Lembongan, a small island off Sanur and only reached by boat. The island was a great way the begin the retreat. It gave me the time and space I needed to slow down and settle into the daily yoga routine of early pranayama (breathing) and yoga asana (postures) as the sun rose, and restorative yoga as the sun went down. I had time to myself during the day to relax and explore the island, if that’s what I felt like doing.


The next six days was at a retreat in the hillside village of Sideman, a couple of hours from Ubud, where I felt I could ‘go deeper’ into my practice. The environment was tranquil, extremely beautiful and without distraction.


As we were only a small group, the time we had with Maurice was invaluable because we had the time to explore, ask questions, and gain insight and understanding about yoga and the Iyengar method during our daily practice. The daily massages were pretty good too, as was the food that was organically grown and prepared by the local villagers working at the retreat.


I thoroughly recommend the Yoga Room Bali Yoga Retreat and can’t wait to go again next year. The best holiday I’ve had in a long time.


Thanks Maurice.




Upcoming Events


2016 Spring Equinox
Yoga Intensive

When: Monday 12th Sept. to
Saturday 1st October
(except Sun. 18th & 25th) 6:00am to 7:30am
Where: Yoga Room, James Street, Burleigh Heads
Price: $345


This intensive will introduce and develop the concept of balance of body, mind and breath to the yoga practice.


Click here for more details, or Email us. Or call 0431 837 244 if you have any questions.




Our Yoga Students “off the mat” – Featuring Pete Crossley


In this section of the newsletter we introduce Yoga Room students showcasing some of the amazing things they do off-the-mat and encourage you, where possible, to support their endeavours.



Pete Crossley, who attended this year’s Bali yoga retreat with his wife Joanna, has been attending yoga classes at the Yoga Room for the past six months. Joanna, who has been practising yoga for two years, believed it could be helpful for his flexibility. And she was right.


“I love how Maurice encourages students to focus on their individual practice,” he says. “This creates a unique experience where I get to focus on me – and I’m not distracted by engaging with others.”


Pete says he doesn’t currently attend enough classes, about one a month, but he feels the benefits nevertheless. Aside from more flexibility, he appreciates Maurice’s mentoring, and has experienced focus and an internal peace such as he has never experienced before.


Originally from Sydney, Pete moved to the Gold Coast 35 years ago. He has run his business Fotomedia for the past nine years with business partner Lincoln Williams. It is a boutique creative agency with studios in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Fotomedia provides full campaign, video production, animation, brand, digital and print. They film and edit TV commercials and corporate videos, and create campaigns from inception through to delivery. As an example they have worked with the Gold Coast Titans for the last four years, coming up with creative concepts through to TV campaigns for each season.


Pete plays golf and surfs in his leisure time, and as a foodie, he loves cooking for his family and friends.


For anyone interested in the services that Pete’s business provides, you can call anytime on (07) 5535 4015 to discuss how they can help you, or drop in for a coffee to see their work. You can also email at and check out their website



Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month

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Chapter 2 Verse 49
tasminsati ?v?sapra?v?sayorgativiccheda? pr???y?ma?||49||
Pranayama is the regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath with retention. It is to be practised only after perfection in asana is attained.

BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 152





Quote of the month


“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed”

Albert Einstein

Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244