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Welcome to the BIY Blog

Articles and Thoughts from our Teachers and Students

In Conversation with Shayna Ogden: Exploring Surrender

March 26, 2018

by Susie Surtees I confess. The resistance/surrender duality is alive in me. The dictionary definitions of surrender are: ‘Stop resisting to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority’, and ‘Give in to a powerful emotion or influence’. In yoga practice, I experience both. I’m reminded of the Balinese checked fabric poleng—black squares against white—a metaphor for life’s many…

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Yoga — Two Kinds of Body Memory. Like Paper. Like a Flower.

February 1, 2018

By Susie Surtees In February 2017 I came home to yoga after decades away. After almost a year, I’ve discovered that my body is using two memory systems. Let me tell you how I experience them. Picture a sheet of artist’s paper. Fine, smooth, fit for purpose. But when creased, crumpled or rolled, restoring it to a flawless state verges…

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Hepburn Springs Yoga Retreat with Shayna

November 9, 2017

by Shelley McBean In September, I attended Ballarat Iyengar Yoga’s annual 6 day retreat with Senior Iyengar Teacher Shayna Ogden. This was a wonderful opportunity to step back from the day to day responsibilities of work and family life and become immersed in the benefits of a yoga practice under the tutelage of a wonderful teacher without the usual distractions…

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Overcoming the Obstacles to Yoga Practice – Part 3

November 4, 2017

Overcoming the Obstacles to Yoga Practice Part 3     Tips for Establishing Your Home Asana and Pranayama Practice By Shayna Ogden,  October 2017 Edited by Cara Steele (thanks) In the previous two blog posts I shared my own experience of establishing a home yoga practice then explained some of the obstacles to practice that we all face, as outlined by Patanjali…

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Overcoming the Obstacles to Yoga Practice – Part 2

November 4, 2017

Part 2     Practice in Relation to the Sutras By Shayna Ogden,  October 2017 Edited by Cara Steele (again, thanks Cara) In my previous blog post, I described my personal journey in establishing a home yoga practice. In this post I examine three sutras that relate to that experience. The obstacles that we all face when trying to establish a home…

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Overcoming the Obstacles to Yoga Practice – Part 1

November 1, 2017

Part 1     Personal Experience By Shayna Ogden, October 2017 Edited by Cara Steele (thanks Cara) Often students ask me how to start a personal home yoga practice. It is easy to dismiss this question as silly. Surely the aspirant just gets on the mat and practises the poses that they know. But students and teachers alike know that it…

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Benefits of a Yoga Retreat

August 31, 2017

by Shayna Ogden Often students ask me why they should go on a yoga retreat. I answer honestly “to do more yoga”. But this doesn’t really do justice to their sincere question. Attending a residential yoga retreat is a completely different experience to attending yoga classes on a regular basis. Below I have tried to outline a few major points…

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yoga training

Reflections on Passing my Iyengar Yoga Introductory Assessment

June 28, 2017

On the 7th of May, this year I received the news by the Iyengar assessment panel that I had passed my Introductory Level Iyengar yoga assessment, I responded with tears of relief. The possibility of not passing the assessment had felt very real, I had participated in previous Iyengar Yoga assessments volunteering as a mock student in the past, so I had seen how daunting the process could be and I had heard that many trainee teachers failed their assessment for various reasons, such as their practice being floppy and out of alignment or their teaching skills being too casual and not up to the Iyengar standard.

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The Joy of Being a Student

June 14, 2017

By Shayna Ogden I arrived in India keen to begin classes at RIMYI. I hadn’t been for four years and was eager to have my body opened and knowledge poured into it to facilitate further yoga self-discovery. It was late Saturday afternoon, too late for a class, and the Institute is closed on Sundays. So we (J.H. and myself) chose…

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Stop Fiddling With Your Device

June 4, 2017

Stop fiddling with your device – it can get you into sticky situations.

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Yoga and Anxiety

November 16, 2016

Recently, I have noticed an increase in the number of new students enrolling at our yoga school who suffer with mild or in some cases chronic anxiety. Some students take medication for this condition. I know this because we ask all new students to fill in a health assessment form before starting classes and up to 15% of new students…

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Try Yoga and Get Much More than you Bargained For

May 18, 2016

by Shayna Ogden What is it that you really get when you start going to yoga? Are you just getting some flexibility or is there more to it? When beginner students first start our six week beginner yoga courses, they usually come along looking to improve their flexibility and fitness, or to alleviate stiffness in the joints. Many tell me…

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Conversion to Inversions

March 5, 2016

Why do we do inversions in Iyengar yoga? by Shayna Ogden Sitting in my local library chatting to an erstwhile yoga student, I was contemplating subject material for my next blog instalment. I asked her if she had any burning questions to ask about yoga. What is it that she most wanted to know about yoga? “Inversions” she replied. “What…

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Why do we focus so much on standing poses in Iyengar Yoga?

March 5, 2016

by Shayna Ogden When beginner students first start Iyengar yoga, it is typical for the teacher to introduce the standing poses first (of which there are eighteen). The standing poses are strong dynamic asanas that can be difficult to perform initially. When taught and performed correctly, standing poses educate the legs, teaching them how to straighten and support body weight…

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basic yoga

Guest Blog Post – A Dozen Features to Look for When Choosing a Yoga School

February 5, 2016

10 features to look for in a yoga school. A bloog that lists the important features to look for before choosing where to do yoga.

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Iyengar yoga

Mindfulness by Another Name

December 16, 2015

By Shayna Ogden The subject of mindfulness is enjoying a lot of popularity recently, as it should. More mindfulness in the world can only be a good thing. The recent prevalence of mindfulness courses and the abundance of articles about mindfulness that have appeared in newspapers, health and wellness magazines as well as the explosion in the availability of mindfulness…

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yoga for beginners

Why are we concerned about menstruation in Iyengar yoga?

December 2, 2015

by Shayna Ogden An Iyengar yoga teacher will usually enquire as to who is menstruating each class. For some people this can be an awkward or embarrassing question. It is not meant to be. In yoga, it is advised that menstruating women practise a sequence specific to their condition rather than join in with the general class. This is because…

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basic yoga

Home Practice

August 26, 2014

By Jules White. ‘Why not meet up and practice once a week together?’ Based upon these wise words of our yoga teacher, Jo and I embarked on a whole new world of home practice. As you can see from our photo we listened and gave it a shot. We practiced for about an hour with all the distractions you can…

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beginners yoga classes ballarat

My Left Leg – Yoga and Injuries

March 6, 2014

Some time ago Shayna mused to me (and to newsletter readers) how swimming was bad for her yoga. While not entirely dismissive I pondered how much 25 minutes (at most) of swimming, crammed in while children were having lessons, could possibly affect your yoga. Now into my second season of soccer with the local seniors I can say that Shayna’s…

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yoga poses

Abhyasa and Vairagya – Foundations of Yoga

November 26, 2013

A complete study of yoga requires us to study and apply the concepts of Abhyasa and Vairagya. They are the two main principles upon which yoga is based. To have an in depth discourse about them, we need to understand what they are. Abhyasa is defined as practice and repetition of practice. “It is the art of learning that which…

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