Winter is here and I’m off to Bali for the annual retreat. All classes at the Yoga Room will continue as usual with some amazing locum teachers. The Yoga Room congratulates Dominik Mueller for successfully completing his teacher training and welcomes him to the teaching team.
The other exciting news is that I will be attending classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune (the heart and soul of Iyengar Yoga) for the month of July and very much looking forward to continuing my learning as a student again.
Also, the Yoga Room has moved premises. We are now 15 metres closer to the beach and on the other side of the corridor, still in the same arcade at the top end of James Street. The new room has more wall space and is more intimate than the room on the north-side of the building. Thanks to everyone who helped with the move.
The articles and videos in this newsletter look at Yoga as an Art and Science.
Keep coming to class and experience the wonderful teaching of all the teachers and I look forward to seeing you in class again in August.
Video of the Month – Questions on Science and Yoga with Kofi Busia
Article of the Month – BKS Iyengar; System of Practice
Bali Yoga Retreat,
2016 Beginner Courses
Yoga Students “off the mat” – Dominik Mueller
Patanjali Yoga Sutra of the month
Quote of the Month
In the American summer of 2002, upon a recommendation from a friend, I was very fortunate to attend a week-long intensive with Kofi Busia in Santa Cruz, California. I have followed his teaching ever since and always find his presentation of the subject insightful. This video was made in response to an article published in the NY Times in 2012 and shows some of the deeper meaning of yoga. Always good to remember yoga is not all about asanas and asanas are not all about stretching.
Development of a System of Practice
According to Indian philosophy, darshana and religious truths must be experienced (darshana: the auspicious sight of a deity or a holy person). People hope that analysing the scriptures will lead to religious experiences. This has popular appeal and calls for little effort and less discipline. For Guruji, the sequence was always the other way around: ‘Experience first and explanation later’, is a hallmark of Iyengar.
Guruji was not an ‘ivory tower’ yogi, negating the body and the world. His method is an affirmation of the body and through it, the affirmation of spirit. He systemised the practice of Yoga to cater for the needs of ordinary men and women. Though demanding and exacting, this systematic approach appeals to people of all walks of life. It offers the best of both worlds. It strengthens the body and mind, enabling the practitioner to face life with courage and clarity. At the same time, it purifies and elevates, silently enlivening the spiritual dimension without setting up religious barriers.
Guruji made Yoga into a science, an art and a unique spiritual quest, refusing to turn it into a dogma, creed or cult. It is founded on universal ethical principles fundamental to all religions. The techniques he evolved are so universal that they are compatible with diverse religions and political systems.
In evolving his system of Yoga, Guruji started with the gross body, then went on to the subtler mind and subtler spirit. He emphasised practice and experience, leaving the speculative interpretation of the ultimate to the individual. The interplay between the gross and the subtle, between practice and experience – a recurring theme of his Yoga – is what had made the system so universal.
Creation of an Art Form
For yogis, unlike artists and scientists, creativity is not an occasional episode of their life. The mind freed from fear and longings unlocks creativity. In Guruji, as a true yogi, creativity flowed continuously, both with his body and mind. This can be seen by watching the unceasing innovations in his practice and teaching, the harmony, grace, strength, motion, vitality and inward serenity.
Yehudi Menuhin spoke of Guruji’s art. “His is an art that has been reduced to its simplest form because it requires no instrument at all except this first and most complex instrument of all: the body. There is no formal choreography, no script and no rule laid down for form. But all the rules of the choreographer, the artist and the writer are inherent in the body itself. However, it requires a lifetime of patient, dedicated and persistent effort to perfect this body.”
Robert Engman, a world-famous sculptor and former chairman of the graduate department of arts at the University of Pennsylvania, said after watching a demonstration by Guruji, “lyengar is a great man – a supreme artist.” Engman created a monumental bronze sculpture capturing the elegance and beauty of nature and named it After B.K.S. Iyengar. At the dedication ceremony, he proclaimed that Guruji’s performance was the most incredible physical and mental expression he had ever witnessed, barring none.
A leading American photographer, E. Simmonds, wrote to Guruji to say that ‘Iyengar was to Yoga what Renoir was to painting, Rodin to sculpture and Sterchen to philosophy’
Next month: Perfection of the teaching method; Iyengar as cultural ambassador of India; and his unique contribution to health and medicine.
Retreat practice gives you the time to rest and to let go of your normal day-to-day routine. It gives you an opportunity to nurture yourself, restore a sense of balance and well-being.
When: Starting Wednesday 29th June and also Tuesday 19th July
6 week course
Where: Yoga Room, Burleigh Heads
For anyone who has never done yoga before or is new to the Iyengar method.
Book now! Places are limited. Call 0438 837 244, or email
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.
Many Yoga Room students will soon be seeing a new face at the front of the practice room.
Dominik (Dom) has recently completed his teacher training, and will be helping out by taking some of Maurice’s classes while Maurice is busy with this year’s Bali Yoga Retreat (June 13 – 25) and attending classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in India.
Dominik first started practising yoga about five or six years ago. At the time, he was living in Broadbeach, regularly visiting the local gym and training for a marathon. His leg muscles became very tight from all the running so he joined a yoga class at the gym to incorporate stretching. Quickly discovering the huge benefits, he then joined as many yoga classes as the gym had on offer. His yoga teacher at the time was Nicky, also an Iyengar certified teacher who has taught at the Yoga Room, and she recommended that he join one of Maurice’s classes. He joined the Yoga Room after moving to Burleigh about three years ago.
For Dominik, yoga provides the obvious physical benefits of a healthy body and a healthy posture, also “undoing all the imbalances daily life throws at us…at work, in the car.” More significantly, Dominik noticed the psychological and spiritual benefits gradually and now realises that yoga has changed his whole outlook on many things. Slowly and steadily he has changed his diet, often without being aware of it, to the point of gradually eliminating animal products from his diet altogether.
“The reason for that is the fact that I feel much more connected to the whole human and non-human cosmos. And I can only relate that back to yoga. It ultimately led me to the point where I decided to become a teacher guided by the desire to help people and take them on the journey I am currently on.”
The journey to becoming a yoga teacher has had the dual benefit for Dominik of helping others gain similar benefits from yoga practice, and deepening his own practice.
Off the mat, Dominik works for a luthier on the Gold Coast, Hancock Guitars (a luthier builds and repairs string instruments). Dominik enjoys working with this small, tight-knit team that custom builds guitars, and the company also has a repair business, GuitarTech.
Born and raised in Koblenz, Germany, a small town in the very west of Germany about an hour from the French border, Dominik came to Australia almost eight years ago to study business at Griffith University. After he completed his degree, he was sponsored to stay and hasn’t left Australia again. His parents, who run a successful car rental company in Germany, come to visit him here once a year.
Yoga and work take up a lot of Dominik’s time, but in his limited spare time, he likes to swim and bodysurf. He also reads and enjoys watching movies and TV series.
“Initially, I came to study in Australia to improve my English skills. But who would want to leave a beautiful place like this if you don’t have to?”
Chapter 1 Verse 49
“This truth-bearing knowledge and wisdom is distinct from and beyond the knowledge gleaned from books, testimony, or inference.”
BKS Iyengar. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pg 95
“We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin.”
Yoga Room Burleigh Heads
+61 438 837 244