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