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Report on "IYTA 50" in the International Light

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A special report on the IYTA 50th Celebrations at Sydney published in the International Light journal.

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Report on "IYTA 50" in the International Light

  1. 1. 5AUTUMN 2018 MARCH - MAY BY MARGARET NORTHHow proud do you feel, fellow yogis and yoginis? Let us all glow with pride in the strength of an association that exists solely to bring wellbeing to the world through Yoga. The whisper started with the initiation of our association in 1967 by the far-sighted Roma Blair (Swami Nirmalananda), together with Joy Macintosh, Margit Segesman and Michael Volin. Today, fifty years later, our IYTA has roared its worth, having flourished on the highest ethical and professional standards, its inclusivity and sheer good fellowship and support. Thus it is no wonder that throughout every moment of our special conference, from Mary-Louise Parkinson’s 7am yoga on Friday 20th October through to the exhilarating finale at 4:30pm on Sunday 22nd October, some three hundred of us vibrated with pride, warmth and joyfulness. We were celebrating not only our common path but the knowledge that our IYTA has given each of us priceless tools with which to increase our own wellbeing and that of our students. How remarkable is that, when you consider that nearly all of the guidance and practical delivery of IYTA training, workshops and administration has been generously given voluntarily. We have much to be grateful for in that for over fifty years many wonderful women and men have given their wisdom and knowledge to bring our Association to its pre-eminence today. FROM A WHISPER TO A ROAR Our Celebration of Yoga Conference – an incredible event SYDNEY TOWN HALL, 20 – 22 OCTOBER 2017 Presentersandspeakersfortheanniversaryconference:backrowfromtheleft:ChrisBarrington,EveGrzybowski,DonnaFarhi,SalFlynn, MarionMcConnell,DrJuneHenry,RosFogg,DrAnandaBalayogiBhavananiKneeling:MargoRobertson,SarahManning,Mary-LouiseParkinson,KylieCarslaw
  2. 2. International Light6 We also acknowledge our grateful thanks to our out-going president Mary-Louise Parkinson, our new president-elect Astrid Pickup, conference organiser Sarah Candy, PR people Cate Petersen and Daniella Goldberg, archives manager Jo Tauro, and the myriad of happy, smiling volunteers who worked so hard and efficiently over the months in preparation for this amazing event. From the moment we arrived at Sydney Town Hall we could feel the personal warmth as our colleague volunteers welcomed us and helped us in making each minute of the whole conference flow with ease and delight. Thank you. After the Welcome to Country by our Ros Fogg, Darug elder, and the greeting from Mr B. Vanlalvawna, Indian Consul-General, we were treated to presentations of the highest order from internationally respected yoga educators covering the physical, the mental and the spiritual aspects of our knowledge. The first of our keynote presenters, Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani (Yogacharya) in Energy Matrix of Yoga offered a new definition of yoga: the art and science of connectedness. He spoke of yoga as being about the choices and perceptions we make of life. And the aim of yoga? Discernment, the ability to choose the highest aspects of our selves. He invited us to ponder the word ‘alone’ as meaning‘all oneness’. When Dr Ananda spoke of the point of steadiness and ease as the time you feel you are yourself, established in your own special self, I reflected how right and flowing the whole Conference was, evidenced by the glowing happy faces and posturally graceful bodies of all attending. As always Dr Ananda fascinated us with the breadth and depth of his many years of study and personal wisdom. What drew the greatest laughs however was his impersonation of a renowned wise man when invited to answer the question ‘Who am I?’(that question being at the core of meditation practice) who responded in deep resounding bass tones‘Don’t know! Don’t know!’ Simon Borg-Olivier with his wonderfully toned body, strength and flexibility and incredible anatomical knowledge led us in How to Move Fluidly from your Core in your Postural Practice. We followed his flowing moves to the best of our ability. After repetitions and encouragement we could feel the all over glow of prana released throughout our bodies. As we gained further practice and encouragement by this master the word‘fluidly’became evident as our bodies were enabled to respond to the moves willingly and, yes, fluidly. Yin Restorative was beautifully offered to us by Sarah Manning. Her soothing voice reminded us of our restorative powers through the guidance of our breath, our mind and our body. A perfect ending to our opening day. We were most fortunate that the renowned teacher and author,‘teacher of teachers’ Donna Farhi, shared with us her wisdom in What Sal Flynn presents Donna Farhi gave the keynote address
  3. 3. 7AUTUMN 2018 MARCH - MAY makes yoga – Yoga. After all, the answer to that question should inform every yoga teacher’s guidance to his/her students. Donna showed how the power of yoga is derived from historic and ancient wisdom, together with the more recent scientific understandings combined with our individual experience and that of our yoga community. Truly, we all learn from each other, thus adding to yoga’s wealth and breadth. Did all of us realise how important is the psoas to our physical health? I certainly did not. In her presentation Strong, Centred & Pain Free: the psoas as keystone to balanced posture we were fascinated by Donna’s clear anatomical explanations. We learned and practised specific asanas relevant to maintaining the health of this essential muscle. Donna educated us about the psoas’ far-reaching effects on our whole body generally and on our mind by its ability to release deep psychological stress. In Classical Teachings from Our Great Yoga Masters of the Past our former long-time IYTA Canadian Representative Marion (Mugs) McConnell entertained us light-heartedly with her stories of how persistently she sought yoga wisdom and the renowned teachers she encountered … truly an example of the qualities of devotion, persistence and adaptation. She has recently published her book Letters from the Yoga Masters: Teachings Revealed through Correspondence from Paramhansa Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi, Swami Sivananda and Others. How fascinating that she could share with us some of the wisdom she received directly from these great masters, those so revered in our yoga world and in the wider world. After lunch on Saturday we arrived back in the hall to find the dais a glorious explosion of colour, heaped with exquisitely arranged mounds of vibrant flowers to celebrate the exuberance of Diwali and lift our souls heavenwards. After a blessing by Shakti Durga we were invited to claim the flowers and sweets for ourselves thus acknowledging the message of positiveness over negativity and, so appropriately in our setting, knowledge over ignorance. Dr Rama Prasad brought us the wisdom of ancient science in Ayurvedic Principles for Yoga Practitioners. From his extensive study and practical knowledge he encouraged us to know our body type and gave us many useful tools and ideas to work with to empower ourselves. These skills are available to us to help avoid depletion of our life force, including Ayurvedic herbs, some 2,000 of which Dr Prasad has identified as being native to Australia. Truly, we all learn from each other thus adding to yoga’s wealth and breadth Dr Ananda presents A great atmosphere in a beautiful venue Long-time members gather for a catch-up
  4. 4. International Light8 Donna Farhi presents Strong,CentredandPain-Free
  5. 5. 9AUTUMN 2018 MARCH - MAY Our hearts went out to the sufferers of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as Dr June Henry told us of her many years of work to bring ‘our’ Yoga Nidra, renamed iRest, to the attention of the world as an effective therapy. Studies show that some 80% of U.S. defence personnel suffer from the disabling life and relationship problems caused by PTSD. iRest has been proven to be as effective, or even more so, as drug therapy in current use in the USA. As a result, the US Military adopted iRest as therapy and, just now, Dr Henry announced with justifiable pride, the US Air Force has announced their adoption of iRest as therapy. What an achievement for yoga and for this remarkable woman. Then, new learning temporarily put aside and our dress-up garments donned, it was an evening of fun and beautiful food at the Gala Dinner, high up in Sydney Tower. An evening to remember, as the beauty of Sydney mellowed into the evening sunset behind us. Yoga in the Light of Physical, Mental & Spiritual health was the title of the always charming Chris Barrington’s talk. However, he revealed, he nominates a title then talks about whatever he wants to! And we want him to do just that because his talk was filled with humour, humility and profound, broad knowledge of our calling. He quoted Swami Satyananda in reminding us that yoga is not about feeling good, yoga is about becoming good. However he made us feel Matthew O’Malveney points out the building where Roma Blair had her Sydney studio at Liverpool St in the city. Veteran members of the IYTA including Matthew coincidentally gathered at a restaurant in the building for lunch, booked by Cate Petersen, who didn’t know it was the site of the old studio. All photos: Katie Brown Mary-Louise Parkinson smiles with quiet joy on the presenters’platform, reaping the rewards of many months’hard work
  6. 6. International Light10 good too by leading us in spinal and arm moves, reminding us to rest our mind in our focus. One of the most responsive laughs he received was when he advised us to acknowledge an unhappy awareness, invite it to sit with us briefly … then ask it to go outside and leave us alone. Sal Flynn brought to us from her extensive study and practice in the eastern traditions a reminder of the utmost importance The Art of Mindful Presence in Yoga Teaching. Sensitively and caringly Sal reminded us of how to be sensitive and caring to our own self and to those we teach for in that way we become fully present, open and enriched by the special relationship we have with our own selves and those who entrust themselves to us as our students. How fortunate we were and grateful to those who prepared our bodies, minds and spirits by opening each day for us with early morning yoga. Thank you for your much appreciated classes Mary-Louise Parkinson, Simon Borg-Olivier and Eve Grzybowski. The thread, the sutra, linking the varied presentations during each day was the glorious singing in the spiritually-inspired voice of Kylie Carslaw accompanied by her father Wal. A yoga teacher herself, Kylie emanated a spell-binding soul quality of sweetness and personal depth that was soothing, uplifting and inspiring. Now to our conclusion! And what an incredible ending to an unforgettable event! Who could ever forget the celebration, the exhilaration, the vigour, the wholeheartedness the amazing Toni Childs engendered in us all in her session titled Because You’re Beautiful. Yes, you are, I am, we are BEAUTIFUL … and we felt it, we moved to it, we squeezed together because of it, we expanded outward because of it and we LOVED it! We were touched by some revelations from Toni’s own life but we celebrated the triumph of spirit over life itself and YES, YES, yes, yes … we are BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL … and so was our magnificent Conference. Our IYTA is now not just a vision, whispering the benefits of Yoga for all. Our IYTA now roars its way forward, confident of its power to spread untold wellbeing to all who embrace ancient wisdoms. Yes, yes, yes...we are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... Marion McConnell, co-founder of South Okanagan Yoga Academy, from Canada Chris Barrington, director of curriculum of DruYoga, from the UK Dr June Henry, clinical and consulting psychologist with Health Journeys Australia, from Toowoomba Margo Hutchison and Val Clark Kylie andWal Carslaw. All photo credits: Katie Brown

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