Gold Coast Yoga Centre May 2016 Newsletter.

Namaste Yogis & Yoginis,

This month sees us celebrate 20 years of the Gold Coast Yoga Centre. Wow. It seems like a lifetime ago that Cameron & I left the classes we had running in Sydney and made our way up the Coast looking for a place to land. As many of you know, we had intended to re-locate somewhere in the Byron region, but we were WWOOF-ing and as we drew near there were fairly major floods that stopped us getting to where we were booked in next, so we just kept driving north. The afternoon we arrived in Burleigh, I went for a walk around the headland – and as I gazed across the water to the few (in those days) twinkling lights of Surfers Paradise, I got a feeling of something magical – I felt that anything was possible here – and within a week we had a place to live and a place to teach. We had our first class in St Johns Hall, Park Ave, Burleigh on the 13th of May 1996 – and I am happy to say that we still have students from those days (even one from that first class) that still come to us now. My musings over those 20 years include:

Floods seem to play a big part in life changing events. Sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively (e.g a flood of life events) but there is usually something that forces us to look at life and re-evaluate. Sometimes the flood brings about the change, sometimes it guides or clarifies, but if we can go with the flow and receive its guidance, we often end up somewhere amazing when we land.

  • Trust your intuition. Over the years, whenever I had tuned into that internal guidance, things have always gone better. Whenever I have over-ridden that and sought outside advice – even when it contradicted what I felt, even from “experts” - I ended up off track for a while. Of course there are always lessons and adventures on the side tracks, but if you really want to stay aligned, then you must tune in. One of my teachers used to say – try not to make a decision from your mind, as it will always be influenced by the ego (yours & others) – get still, and ALLOW the right actions to reveal themselves. This teaching has been invaluable over the years.

  • Learn to love feedback. At first, I would take all feedback as criticism, and would get upset. My self confidence seemed to depend on the opinions of others. Over the years, as I realised that everyone has their own unique agenda and perspective – I learned to allow people to not “like” me or the centre, to recognise when someone's unhappiness was a projection of their internal state and not related to me, but most importantly to listen to it all, to check in and see if there really was room for improvement. I love feedback now. It offers insight and a chance to grow and evolve. I am not able to see what I'm doing objectively, the perspective of others can be extremely valuable. One of my other teachers used to say if you reacted to a comment – check in – there was probably something to look at. The most important thing is to be able to look yourself in your eyes and know you are doing your best. If you can't – then you may need to explore how you can improve how you are living/working/relating. Mistakes are our friend, they give us knowledge and motivation to be more skilful in future!

  • Live & work with integrity. It is not always easy running a “spiritual” business. In the olden days, teachers did not charge for yoga, but then again – the students provided the teachers with food, shelter and a place to teach. These days teachers have to provide for themselves – finding the balance of sharing yoga & keeping the doors open. Running a business that still fits in with yogic ethics and principles is sometimes a challenge.. but it can be done. It has been very difficult at times, but I feel glad I have done my best in this way. Not for the external rewards, but for the internal. I can sit with myself and know I have done my best.

  • Listen and observe. To others, to yourself, to your body, to your inner knowing, to your elders, to your teachers. Our minds are often too busy formulating our response/opinion to truly listen, and so new knowledge and possibility just bounces off us. When we truly listen, take everything in – we can expand our understanding and our options, we can call on our wisdom to respond, not react and we can change our outcome accordingly. The gathering of knowledge in yoga has 3 parts: Listen, Contemplate and Apply (& repeat as often as necessary to feel you know or understand something). It combines the external with the internal – and allows you to embody knowledge, not just understand it intellectually. As we go through this practice, again and again – the combination of embodiment and repetition brings us to a deep place of knowing, where we live our wisdom. When you apply this to the dharmic texts – you embody their wisdom, drop away the stories of the mind and begin to live the path. At this point you are living the mantra “om mani padme om” “all praise to the jewel (essence) in the crown of the lotus (highest knowledge).

  • Let it go. The Sutras teach us the value of abhyasa and vairagya. Variously translated as practice and detachment, application and observation and action and surrender – the skill is in knowing when to act and when to let go. Santosha (contentment) teaches us to be content with what comes without undue force. The Gita teaches us Karma Yoga – to do our actions the best we can, but to surrender the fruits as they are not ours, the motivation and focus is on the work itself. And whether we are successful or unsuccessful, we are taught to stay steady - “samatvam yoga ucyate” “yoga is equilibrium, they say”. Life always has its ups and downs, happy times and sufferings – we can't change that, but we can try to stay steady. This single teaching has had a vast impact on me over the years, and enabled me to move forward in difficult times, and be grateful in good times. I can't stress strongly enough how potent repeating the two little words “stay steady” can be even in the face of our greatest challenge.

  • It is all Yoga. There are so many practices called yoga, and they seem to be vastly different. True Yoga is a vast array of practices and experiences and the state of mind at the end of the path. The only differentiation is that whatever you are doing – asana, chanting, service, meditation, prayer, sharing food, living in harmony – should transform your mind to a place of greater peace, compassion, contentment over time. These are the qualities of the yogic mind and the qualities that allow us to be present and recognise the interconnectedness of all. Yoga doesn't mind what vehicle it uses to come through. Yoga goes by many names but the experience is universal. It's like a vast river of consciousness – there is the river itself and all the major and minor tributaries and streams that branch off and cover the earth making it accessible to all. The greatest teachers and lessons do not always come in the form we expect. Stay present and be open.

  • Read the ancient texts. Their wisdom and guidance is as relevant and fresh as it ever was. Perhaps it is even more potent now – having distilled for thousands of years. Buckminster Fuller used to talk about Universal Truth – that which holds true over millenia, regardless of age, race, culture, gender, social status or era. The Vesica Pisces is that place where different beliefs all cross over. These are the places where truth resides. Teachings of presence, compassion, harmony, equanimity, kindness, detachment, contentment, and looking internally are found in all traditions that lead to freedom and true happiness. The idea of a greater consciousness and interconnectedness are to be found across the board. The understanding that everyone is motivated by the quest for happiness, whether they realise it or not. Discerning what that happiness is and how to attain it is at the heart of yoga – as is recognising what is real, and what is an illusion. Living in the moment and discovering who we truly are brings the greatest gifts of freedom and understanding. Following these teachings not only helps you on a spiritual path – but are directly beneficial to your relationships, your work in life, your sense of health and happiness, your sense of esteem and freedom, how you feel in community, your connection to the Earth – here and now – they are deeply profound and deeply practical.

Time brings healing, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, skill. There is no subsitute for time. I am incredibly grateful to have spent so much of it in service at the Gold Coast Yoga Centre, and in the company of my sangha/colleagues/friends Cam, Mark, Kath and Dan, and over recent years my admin angels – Marni, Anita, Antoinette, Jana & CC, as well as all of the amazing yogis & yoginis who have passed through our lives each contributing the to co-creation of the GCYC and bringing us to where we are today. As well as an anniversary, it feels like a rebirth – with a new vision, new experiences and constantly evolving understanding – I have that magical feeling again! We look forward to sharing the next era of commitment to practice, yoga and community at the GCYC with all of you. With deep love and gratitude..



May 13 – the actual Anniversary day!!! 20 years!!!

May 14 – Our 20 Year Celebration – Doors open at 4pm. There will be divine Indian Classical music, a yoga demo by some of your teachers, delicious Laos food and chai for sale, prizes and giveaways, time to catch up with your yoga community, and finishing off with kirtan with the House of Bliss!! It will be epic!!!!!! Look forward to seeing you there!


May 21 – Apprenticeship Meeting

May 28 Backbends Workshop -  Come join us on the 28th May for our Backbends Workshop to gain wisdom on keeping this wondrous structure happy!!! 1-3pm, $25 – please book.

June 5BALI!! Our first ever overseas retreat begins in Bali – one room left!!!

June 5World Environment Day – take a moment to appreciate our Mother Earth <3

June 11The divine Murray Kyle lifts us to the heavens with a very special Kirtan night.


More coming up in June & July..

June 18th  Winter Ayurveda talk (TBC)

June 25th Apprentice Meeting

July 2nd Pawanmuktasana Workshop

July 9th – Talk – “Quest for Happiness’

July 16th – Neck, Knee, Shoulders

23rd July Apprentice Meeting

and keep your eye out for our upcoming 5 week Meditation Course - dates TBC

Quotes ..

Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam tan nirodah – Sustained practice and surrender will lead to the quietened mind. (Patanjali)

Abhyaso na hi tyaktavyah, abhyaso hi param balam

An-abhyase visam vidya, ajirne bhojanam visam

Practice should never be abandoned, practice is the highest strength
Truth becomes poison without practice, as food becomes poison undigested – Bhagavad Gita

Thank you once again – we look forward to many more years of practice together.



Remember - you go into the draw to win a $50 voucher from our friends at Wray Organics. Just pick up a free pass, write your name & phone number on the back and give it to a friend. When they come in for their free class, you go in the draw! One voucher to be won every month!!

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