What's ON with Off the Mat into the World Australia

Oct 1st 2015  Mullumbimby 

Listen to this overview with event organisers Karen Eivers & Cate Peterson.

For more events in you  neighbourhood check in with the OTM Aus Facbook page 

Go here for your donation entry fee.



Gain the tools, motivation and community
to live a more purposeful, courageous and meaningful life

Have you ever been to an event that leaves you feeling really and truly privileged?

I’m buzzing in that wonderment right now….I’ve just returned from diving deep into the process of the
Embody your Purpose” workshop.   Embody Your Purpose  is 1 of 4 key “common unity “ offerings from Off the Mat  Into the World. (OTM)

On the first weekend of August 2015; 18 awesome Off the Mat Community Leaders came together in the loving care of Cate Peterson, Sarah Ball and Robin Borrud, in salubrious surrounds in Moss Vale NSW. We immersed into the experience & fine-tuned the context for this one day workshop for the purpose of facilitating it to anyone who is willing to explore their purpose!

Embody Your Purpose combines audacious questions, experiential exercises, yoga postures, mindfulness techniques, group discussions, guided relaxation and self-reflection to help you clarify your passion, purpose, vision and path.

 OTM events are being planned in regional areas and in major cities, motivated from this this grassroots movement. For me, the motivation is about the way we can use the tools and principles of Yoga for Resilience, in Leadership, for Sustainability of people, animals and our planet.

You may have already attended an OTM course or event and wondered, “what’s next” or perhaps this is the first you’ve heard of it? Please, keep an eye on the OTM Facebook page for events in your hood, or dig around the OTM website  for more background.

Do you live in Victoria and interested in getting involved? There will be an informal OTM conversation  held on Sunday 23rd August @ 1pm in Melbourne (Southside). Venue to be confirmed. Please be in touch with Bettina Mitchell 0407 793 017 or Riki Edelsten 0414 375 798. (Anyone able to host the venue and are happy for tea and snacks? Please be in touch that would be awesome)

Stay Fabulous!


Roma Blair

Roma Blair

Roma – Blair – Swami Nirmalananda

At the age of 43 she was honored with becoming Australia’s first female Swami – Swami Nirmalananda.  This is a wonderful Australian story… Roma Blair founded the International Yoga Teachers Association in 1967.  Throughout her career, Roma  has published six books on yoga, made two videos, four records, established a string of yoga clubs, filmed yoga exercise shows for Channel 9, wrote for her local Queensland paper on health  and has featured in magazine lift-outs and newspaper columns for decades.

At 89, Roma continues to practice yoga every day. A girl from a loving family who enjoyed a love of dance, enviable beauty, devastating loss and a rich spiritial journey.  Roma is fondly known as the Mother of Yoga in Australia.



Listen here (Be patient to allow a bit to download)



Yoga Teacher Podcasts - show notesShow Notes


Bettina:           Hi listeners and welcome to Yoga Teacher Podcasts. I’m your host Bettina Mitchell, bringing you interviews with the revered yoga  teachers of our time. Get ready to inspire your inner guru.

Well, hello listeners, thank you again for joining us at Yoga Teacher Podcasts. My guest this evening is Roma Blair, the Mother of Yoga in Australia. This is a wonderful Australian story of a girl from a loving family who enjoyed a love of dance, enviable beauty, devastating loss and a rich spirital of journey.

Roma is known as the Mother of Yoga, the first person to have an exercise show on Australian television and at the age of 43 she was honored with becoming Australia’s first female Swami.  Roma Blair founded the International Yoga Teachers Association in 196. Throughout her career Roma has published six books on yoga, made two videos, four records, established yoga clubs, filmed yoga exercise shows for Channel Nine, featured in magazine lift-outs and newspaper columns. Still 89 I hope I have got this right, Roma, Roma continues to practice yoga everyday. Roma Blair, thank you so much and welcome to yoga teacher podcast.

Roma Blair:     I’m happy to be here!

Bettina:           It’s wonderful to have you and I must tell our listeners that at the moment you have a broken leg.

Roma Blair:     Yes,  it’s silly I  really somehow I slipped and I came right down in a very heavy fall. So, I ended up being in the hospital for five weeks.

Bettina:           Oh! Really?

Roma Blair:     And then during that they wanted me to go to rehab and I said, “Well I ain’t go over there until I have a room of my own … So they started to give me things to do; exercises and I could do them all and so when I went over to rehab I only had to stay there one week… being so active … I am not very happy because I can’t get on to the floor to do my yoga exercise on the floor so I am doing everything on the bed,  standing ones I can’t do but  the rest  I do and I do my prayers and meditation morning and night.

Bettina:           That’s amazing. So, are you in a cask or…?

Roma Blair:     No, I have a stick, just a walking stick and no, it’s not that bad and I’ve got a knee – not the plates, something in the leg to put in order to get up….To listen click on the PLAY butter – subscribe in iTunes for the most convenient way to listen to your favourite Yoga Teacher stories.

For a copy of Roma Blair’s book From Prison to Paradise  contact us


For more on Roma click here

Taking Yoga into Prisons – Episode # 18

Yoga for inmates.

Image with permission from Robert Sturnman

Yoga for Inmates  Episode # 18 .

It seemed to me that men, women and children living in the prison system may benefit from  the practice of yoga asana, meditation and pranayama.  So I went on a journey to find out about teaching yoga in prisons. I had the pleasure of speaking to  four guests about their personal experiences.

The intrigue in this topic started at the Yoga Therapy Conference in Melbourne in 2012. While listening to Janet Lowndes talking about  the beginning of her career as a young psychologist, who was given the task of talking to men in prison about anger management.
I thought, wow how intimidating for a young women! (Janet Loundes is an experienced psychological counsellor and yoga therapist in Melbourne.) I asked her if she thought YOGA would be of value to people incarcerated. She agreed as did Annette Loudon who shared her brief experience of teaching men yoga in this setting. The audience of some 100 people where asked if they had experience  teaching yoga in prisons and only one person raised their hand and told of how they  applied to a prison, but had not been able to secure the opportunity.

From putting together this 4 part episode I  know there are quite a few dedicated yoga teachers doing this work. For those seeking the opportunity to be invloved you will find some great insights from our 4 guests. I hope you find these interviews interesting and inspiring.

  • Rob Thomaes,  Founder of 2 Moksha studios – Canada – Coming Soon
  • Adhyatma – Founder of the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust – New ZealandComing Soon


This is what I asked them:
  • Why did you choose to take this path?
  • Are you currently teaching yoga in the prison setting?
  • How long have you taught yoga in this setting?
  • What was the most profound aspect of teaching in the prison setting?
  • What advice do you have for other yoga teachers interested in doing this work?
  • Is it an intimidating environment to go into?
  • How did you go about getting permission to teach in the prison?
  • Have you any success stories to share?
  • What hurdles have you encountered?
  • Was your service free or funded?

Yoga in Prisons – Resources Galore

I got soooo immersed in the resources available on this subject. If you’re interested in stories and studies on how yoga can help reduce recidivism check out these resources.

Adhyatma - Co Founder of Yoga Education in Prisons Trust

Adhyatma – Co Founder of Yoga Education in Prisons Trust

James Fox – Founder of The Yoga Prison Project – San Quentin Prison CA – If you would like to buy his book go HERE

Rob Thomaes Founder of 2 Moksha studios – London, Canada

Adhyatma – Founder of the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust – New Zealand

Louise Avery of Awakening Yoga in Melbourne – Australia


Yoga Pass - Founder Cate Peterson

Yoga Pass founder Cate PetersonCate Peterson is the founder of  the Yoga Pass. Cate tells us how Yoga Pass works, how students can save money and the opportunities for smaller yoga studios to attract more students. Yoga Pass

Cate is a true “earth angel” who is busy leading initiatives that support yoga and the community.

If you haven’t heard about her initiative to divert preloved yoga mats from land fill via recycle and reuse then please listen to episode #14.


Listen Here:


Yoga Teacher Podcasts - show notesShow Notes: If you prefer to read rather than listen to the audio, the show notes are below.

Bettina: Hi and welcome to Yoga Teacher Podcasts. I’m your  host Bettina Mitchell bringing you interviews with revered yoga teachers of our time. Get ready to inspire your inner guru. Today I am with Cate Peterson who is the founder of Yoga Pass. Regular listeners have already met Cate when we spoke about LovEarth mats. Cate welcome back to Yoga Teacher Podcasts.


Cate: Thank you very much

Bettina: Great to talk to you again. This time we’re talking about Yoga Pass. What is Yoga Pass?

Cate: That’s a good question. [Laughs] Yoga Pass is an initiative that we started probably we being myself and Alex Grant from Find Yoga (.com.au) Have you actually done a podcast with Alex?

Bettina: I did on … on the Spirit Festival last year.

Cate: Oh, okay, alright so Alex and myself we … we dreamed it up some five years ago. On it’s the way of encouraging the entire populous of Australia and New Zealand to do some yoga. So it’s an initiative to try and get the other however many percentage of people that haven’t yet come to yoga to come try yoga. The research shows that depends on which research you listen to. But if you listen to most optimistic research, would saying that 12% of Australians practice yoga. And if you listen to most pessimistic research who are saying 1.8%. So some are between 1.8% and 12% people of are doing yoga around Australia and it seems to not enough.

Bettina: This would be more … more studies on … who … what … who is doing yoga because it’s been a while since the Australian study of yoga was conducted.

Cate: It’s definitely has and I mean, that’s been a good six years I don’t know I think something like that. So they are kind of tack it on to Australian Bureau of Statics studies as well. But then they are looking at it as a sport, which you know, most of us to in to yoga would agree it’s not really a sport. Some of us would disagree anyway yeah so it depends which direction they look at it. If they look at it some people who have done studies around natural therapy and that’s where the 12 % is coming in. So I am not sure what the treat is that. I do know there are lot more people could be doing it.

Bettina: That’s right. It certainly the application is from for many and varied people so good for you. So Yoga Pass how does a work?

Cate: Okay, now so the mechanism is this, so we are … we are trying to marry the studio out there, with general marketing strategies to the population of people who haven’t yet done yoga. So, there is at present on Yoga Pass we represent close to 500 studios around Australia. 

Bettina: Okay.

Cate: And any studio or any teacher actually who is doing it in their own garage can join for free and it’s always going to be free. We’d like to get as many people on there as we can. So there is that population of people would have joined it as a studio or as a teacher and then we go out and we approach charities and we approached deal sites as we did last year we’re never going that again. But we do a lot of marketing kind of strategies and giveaways like face cream and optimum cat food I don’t know what. Anything we can think of this going to approach a difference group of people then would normally be approached by yoga studios or have an interest in yoga studios. This year big initiative, the one that we are really going to work on is approaching GP’s. So we are going to launch an initiative to encourage GP’s to start referring to yoga teachers for all manner of ill. Be it headache, belly aches, depression, postural issues, bad backs etc… all the things that we know as yoga teachers yoga is just so fantastic at dealing with and you know, there is a varied level of understanding from GP’s about what yoga is. And how to refer out there to yoga studios. So that’s what will be concentrating on in terms of targeting the market this year.

Bettina: Very good, so just to recap on that, so basically it’s a marketing vehicle is it for yoga studios to reach out to the population that may not necessary be deciding on the new year’s resolution I must do yoga.

Cate: That’s the one you got it. That’s exactly it in a nutshell. It’s  to make people, who haven’t really thought about yoga to consider as an option. Yoga Pass is set up in such way that it’s really … really palatable to the general public. So if you look at our website in some way, it looks fairly un-lotusy this is not kind of floral bits and the things that we the yoga teachers get attracted to it has a very clean look. And it makes choosing the yoga studio really … really easy. So what happens if somebody goes on to the Yoga Pass website. They click on purchase the Yoga Pass or they are directed to a specific page if they are in a competition or whatever. And then they can purchased or acquired a 10 class, 5 class, 2 class or 1 class yoga pass. Now they are very cheap and reasonable those passes because they are introductory passes, which means that if they were to buy 10 class pass it would only be a $100 so $10 a class. Now that’s very appealing to a lot of people, that … that deal thing. And it is only an introductory pass, so the studios agree to accept anywhere between one and 10 yoga passes. Most studios will accept 1, 2 or 3 yoga passes and when somebody comes to the studio or the teacher with the Yoga Pass it’s handed over. It’s payment for the class then that studio teacher can log-on to our website and reclaim $5. So what’s happening in that process is that somebody, who wouldn’t have found their way to your yoga studio, turns up and you are given $5. And then your job is to try and get encouragement to stay, and do lot’s more yoga. Yeah so we were trying to whet the appetite of the populas for yoga.

Bettina: Okay, so for yoga studio it’s free, however they agree to take a lesser class fee at that they might normally take, however they are getting people turning up who may not have be making their way to their yoga studios. So it’s getting new clientele from a very different … different market place.  

Cate:      Absolutely and if somebody has already been your studio they cannot use the Yoga Pass and that’s written on the pass, on the print out, on the website, on the everything and that they are not allowed to. So it happened very … very rarely I think in five years we had three misdemeanor which is pretty impressive considering the number of yoga passes that we have distributed, which is well over a 100, 000 passes. So you know, that’s not bad. I think people most people who attracted to yoga are not attracted to being naughty.

Bettina: Alright, yes if I bought 10 classes. I would need to use that an introduction to 10 different studios would that be right? Not use my 10 classes at one studio.

Cate: Yes and no, many studios choose to accept 3, 4, 5 because they know that is somebody comes along for that period of time that they will establish brand loyalty with that person. So that’s actually not a bad idea and a lot of studios are doing it anyway on their own they have you know, during $20 a month deals just to get the people in the door, and really committed to their practice. So Yoga Pass can be used that way. So a lot of studios are accepting you know, 5 to10 yoga passes. So when somebody purchases a Yoga Pass. And they choose to just go to one studio that’s doing that or they might try to classes here and three classes, and one class here. And to get a smallest part which is really what we hope feel good because we all know for any of us. One type of yoga is going to more appropriate for us  than another, so for one person Satchidananda might be more appropriate than Bikram. So yin yoga might be better for them and Kundalini or whatever it’s going to be and we feel really … really strongly that people need to be given that opportunity to try and to understand, that there is all these types of yoga out there, before they make a decision to which pathway they want to follow. So we both found Alex and I have both have the experience, and I am sure any other yoga teachers is listening is had that where somebody you are talking to somebody at party and they said I tried yoga once, but it wasn’t for me. This is like what, you know, you try that one class. There are million other teachers out there doing all kinds of different things please try again. So that’s what one of the big motivation we had behind establishing yoga pass.

Bettina: Well that’s very good so there is benefits in here both a studio and the student. So the students gets to try before they, long term commit and they can it’s like you say you know, it’s a smorgasborg you can go out and try all sorts of different yoga. What a great way to introduce a friend to yoga, to ask them to put their toe in the water and try some different … different styles because I know like you say not every studio or not every style suits everybody I took my sister to a Bikram class and she didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day [laughs]

Cate: You need to try before you buy with yoga because it is such a varied kind of thing.

Bettina: Also say and I like the benefit for the studio because if the studio. If it’s a marketing tool and that was a bit I didn’t really understand I can see clearly the benefit for the student but for the for the studio the you know, you are doing all the leg work around marketing and tapping into areas that they might not have thought about and just being part of Yoga Pass would they sort of start to learn some techniques, around  marketing?

Cate: If they wanted to, they could. So let me say, first of all the leg work that we are doing is quite extensive. So we have got ourselves out there with Go Do and Red Balloon and Club Life Style and Presidential Card and Gift all these incentive sites that have a huge reach across Australia. So we are putting the product out there or putting Yoga out there and trying to encourage people to getting into that way. I mean we are doing all these product launches too. So we do Asar computers and Nivea and I think up and coming is Apple and etc … you know, there is a lot of things happening out there. As a small studio there is no way that you’ve got the time to get across that or have the money to put yourself out there that far because we have all banded together, we can do that. So that’s kind of it’s much more appealing to bigger organizations and charities across Australia. So yeah it’s marketing tool, now in regards to that question of getting involved with Yoga Pass does it increase your marketing savvy. Yes and no there is we’ve got a whole back section now. So when you join Yoga Pass which again it’s a free than you even access to the back end of your listing on Yoga Pass which is called the studio portal. And in that studio portal there’s lots of different ideas for increasing your marketing capability. There is a lot of different options and we all be launching that this week, so exciting to all the people they are already part of Yoga Pass and it’s so exciting.

Bettina: Well, I know you are very busy and you are so committed and passionate about this, I really commend you for that. I know you are going to get on the road and bit of road show and get out to see the studios to inform them of this opportunity, what’s the plan there?

Cate: Okay, well on the 23rd of January, were are doing the first road show, which is up to Lighting Ridge the opal place in New South Wales. So we are going to going all through New England tablelands and all the way up to Dubbo and Burke. So that’s exciting because you know, like often as a rural teacher you are out of the circus. And I have found over the last five years of trying to talk to people by email it just doesn’t work, you know, it’s much better to sit down over tea. So we are taking the whole idea out there and we are going to be showing them that whole back in that I was just referring to which is the possibility of allowing people to book classes on line when they go to yoga website or your Yoga Pass listing which increases, I think they’re saying 22%  increase in people coming to the studio because they can book when they are out there doing web surfing. So and that really helps teachers to draw students to their studio. The other thing that we are offering on that back end is to be able to sell their own class passes because we used to be able to reimburse yoga passes at $10 a pass. Now there is a long reason why we can’t do that anymore, we can now and reimburse at $5 pass and we are very aware that … that’s not a lot of money. So we came up with the ideas helping studios and sell their own passes. So say you have a 10 class passes available at your studio for $160, then what people can now do is click on to your yoga passes listing and buy that $160 bucks 10 class pass. And then they are instantly sent an email they can print out a piece of paper that has your studios name and this is 10 class pass and they can bring that in to use for your classes. So it’s a really good little ideas that we had. It’s very we try to keep the cost really low for yoga studios so its only 6% of the total cost goes to Yoga Pass for doing that, so that covers our bank fee charges, shopping chart charges, tax charges etc. etc. And it also really help the studio because they don’t have to sit behind the desk and write out that card. Yeah so that’s one thing that we are doing, and I think that’s going to work really well for a lot of yoga studio who haven’t got … got to the point where they have actually got a shopping cart attached to their website.

Bettina: And we have mention the website a couple of times. So we will put it in show notes of course for this yogapass.com.au and the area they kept referring to there is some you will see on the menu bar. There is the studio area and that’s where you sign up isn’t it.

Cate: Well it’s kind of a long list of options for yoga studios and that’s completely again voluntary you don’t have to do any of it. It’s all there on offer. So basically at any stay under my studio you can go in there and you can change the picture or change your blurb or change contact details at any time on your listing. You can decide to sell my passes, which is as I said say you’ve got 7 different pass options including single passes, even you can put those all up for a sale on your listing. You can well if you get a yoga pass, you can claim that Yoga Pass online. So and then you can see your, whole claim history as well now so …

Bettina: Okay

Cate: You can establish an online booking system for your yoga studio, which is I think we are working with a really lovely guy from New Zealand doing that, and it’s called Easy Bookings, and to he is just so down to earth and fantastic, and I think quite reasonable and what he is offering. So if people don’t already have an online booking system. They can established that or if they do have an online booking system then they can just put in URL and that all appear on their listing, and then we are move in to the area that you and I talked about last time, which is stocking LovEarth maps and collecting pre loved mats for us send one to charity. And there is also an option, of establishing a loyalty program for your studio. We have been working with Simon Lowe, he is the genius, he has been working in loyalty programs in big business for a long time that he just established loyalty work form the last 12 months and they are working with small business. So it’s a very um … very realistically priced loyalty program that helps your students to be encouraged to come back … back and back to your studio and order to him, quite it’s an order to get more engaged in your different programs and different products. So it’s thickens the experience of using your studio for your existing students. And then last but not least as a running of the Off the Mat programs, which is a whole different topic area.

Bettina: Yeah so that really interesting and the listeners if you are not sure Off the Mat and really this is targeted to you yoga studio and its of course and yoga teacher to get involved. Off the Mat we spoke to Marianne Elliott in a previous podcast. So please go back to that episode and have a listen to that one about off the mat but you’ve really taken the rains here Cate, and gone ahead and done the training for Off the Mat. And there is big plans for 2013 I here.

Cate: Yes, absolutely so you know, like the big thing with Yoga Pass is to try and to make yoga more universally practice in Australia. Its very much being seen by the mass media and by people as a physical discipline to tighten your abs or getting rid of your headache. Off the mat is a program that you and I got kind of interested in at the beginning of last year and it’s brilliant program for helping yoga communities move their practice in to being a service. So meaning that, it help people establish within the yoga community a point of action within their community for people who are in need, so targeting what our community actually needs to have happened like what how could we be of most use and how could we use all this new found mental and physical health of ours.

Bettina: Sounds fantastic

Cate: Yes I will be talking to everybody, who wants to listen all these needs a lot of chatting face to face and so that’s what I am going to be devoting the year to.

Bettina: Iif out listeners want to find out little bit more about the Off the Mat program um … and Yoga Pass and to find out when you will be in their city, how do they get in contact with you?

Cate: I would absolutely love them to get in contact with me by sending me an email to info@yogapass.com.au

Bettina: Well that’s sounds good. Well I have just congratulate you and put behind you all the energy that I can offer so that you can, spread wings around the country and tell people about Yoga Pass and Off the Mat because I think that’s fun and exciting as well as rewarding. If anyone can provide some support and opportunity for Cate to get the word out there please get in contact with Cate. Okay I am going wrap it up there we could talk for hours but I want to thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you in my home town of Melbourne.

Cate: Bettina Thank you so much for all your words of support and thanks for giving the opportunity to chat and happy 2013.

Bettina: Yeah, like wise all the best take care Namaste …

Bettina: I am really always enjoying speaking to Cate Peterson. She is so inspirational such a dynamo so much stuff going on, that real true Seva yoga work.

Please leave your comments below…..




Jennifer Reis - Senior Kripalu Teacher

Jennifer ReisJennifer Reis is a senior Kripalu Yoga teacher who has been leading yoga retreats and professional trainings since 1996.

Jennifer is an experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500, and Professional Integrative Yoga Therapist. Jennifer’s teaching is informed from her skill and knowledge as a Shiatsu, Ayurveda, and licensed Massage Therapist. She teaches weekly yoga classes and R&R workshops at Kripalu Center for yoga and health, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where she has been on the faculty for the last decade. www.kripalu.org.

In this interview we chat about her trip to Australia to teach her 40 hour yoga teacher training in Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra.

Listen Here 


Yoga Teacher Podcasts - show notesShow Notes:  For those who prefer to read than listen here are the show notes.

Hi and welcome to Yoga Teacher Podcasts. I’m your host Bettina Mitchell, bringing you interviews with revered yoga teachers of our time. Get ready to inspire your inner guru.

Our guest today is Jennifer Reis. Jennifer is a senior Kripalu yoga teacher, who is been leading yoga retreats and professional training since 1996. She is an experienced registered yoga teacher and professional integrative yoga therapist. Jennifer’s teaching is informed by her skill and knowledge in Shiatsu, Ayurveda and as a licensed Massage Therapist. Jennifer teaches weekly yoga classes and workshops at the Kripalu Wellness Center in Stockbridge Massachusetts, where she is been on the faculty for the last a decade. Welcome Jennifer, thank you so much for joining us today and welcome to Australia too.

Jennifer :         Oh thank you so much.

Bettina:           Is it your first trip to Australia?

Jennifer :         This is my first trip to Australia, and I am coming back.

Bettina:           Oh! Very good, have you enjoyed yourself?

Jennifer :         It’s amazing. Yeah but it’s just I got a really warm welcome here, and everybody’s hearts are so open and I am really loving in here.

Bettina:           Well excellent. You are born not in Massachusetts, you’re where born in Canada, weren’t you?

Jennifer :         That’s right I am Canadian and I have been in the United states for eleven years at Kripalu.

Bettina:           Okay. So when you are not travelling the world, teaching your programs, where do you live?

Ohana Yoga Studio - Melbourne

Jennifer :         In Lenox Massachusetts so the next town over from where Kripalu center is.

Bettina:           So you are here being hosted by the lovely Gena Kenny teaching your forty hour, Devine Sleep Yoga Nidra program. Can you tell us a little bit about your training program?

Jennifer :         Sure, so it’s a forty hour teacher training. It doesn’t only, what I am trying to say is everybody can come. So it is you only have to be yoga teachers because everybody can do this training. We go very thoroughly the five koshers, which means the physical body, the energy body, and the mental emotional body. The wisdom witness body and the bliss body because that’s what Yoga Nidra is really based on, it’s essentially a meditation that is for each of these — a series of meditations really that come together to form the whole of divine sleep Yoga Nidra so its relaxes and heals a person’s all of those levels of being. [2:30]

Bettina:           I’ve heard of Yoga Nidra before, the Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra is that something a little more unique?

Jennifer :         Yes I would say it is, my history as an integrative yoga therapist, as well as an Aryuvedic and Shiatsu therapist, Kripalu yoga teacher, all of those things and elements come in to divine sleep yoga Nidra. Many of the various forms of Yoga Nidra that are popular these days, do not go into a visualization or journey or don’t do any sort of healing, like have a healing symbols that you would place in your body, that would heal you or healing through the different energy points in your body with a Mandala or healing rings of light and things like that or visualizations out into nature like a waterfall or to the ocean or things like that. So it’s a juicy form of yoga nidra. I would say it’s very colorful and artistic. My history before I was a yoga teacher, I was an artist in Canada and the States exhibiting nationally and so this really is also an art form as well as a therapy for people.

Bettina:           Beautiful and who can benefit from the Yoga Nidra ?

Jennifer :         Anyone with stress [Laughs] and actually everybody because it’s meditation. So if you think of who can benefit from meditation it’s everybody. It’s proven to improve health and wellness and it’s so really good time to for a person to go inward and really get in touch with their deeper levels and deeper layers. Also twenty minutes of Yoga Nidra is said to be equated to three hours of sleep at night. So for anyone who is missing out on any sleep or having insomnia it’s a practice that can help. Teach your nervous system how to relax again so that you can sleep, and also put you to sleep, that can put you to sleep. So I have three Yoga Nidra CDs Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra CDs. One of them has a track for insomnia. So I have lullabiedthousands of people to sleep thus far. And people are so grateful and thankful that they have a natural method to fall asleep to.

Bettina:           That must be great too for people who are travelling, people who would busy working, and prefer not to sleep their lives away and just want to catch up on some rich refreshment I suppose, before they get back to work. So it’s not just about the people with high levels of stress it might be people you know, who just want to refresh themselves quickly well I imagine.

Jennifer :         It’s very energizing much more energizing then a cup of coffee because you feel that in your adrenal glands at some point but Yoga Nidra is going to re charge you. These days we are so — we are using so many technological gadgets. And our senses are going outward all the time on — and we are hearing all of these mechanical and industrial sounds all the time. So, Yoga Nidra is an attempt to go inward and refresh your senses and connect deeply with yourself and it’s that sort of integrative time that we are really missing I think in our culture. It’s  time to go inward and feel who am I right now. How do I — how is my mind and my emotions, how is my physical body, how is my energy. So it’s also a practice of awareness. There is nothing asked of you when you are practicing divine sleep Yoga Nidra except for to become aware and feel what’s already there. So we are not going in to meddle, we are not going in to change anything, we are not trying to transform or shift, that happens all on its own just by you become unaware of where you are at right now. It’s like the reset button that happens naturally just by becoming aware. It’s very powerful. [6:50]

Bettina:           And did you get like of response from your teacher training here held here at Ohana Wellness Centre in Port Melbourne, you had fifteen people attend the training and what was their response? [7:10]

Jennifer :         Oh they were amazed by it, they had no idea that the training will go to the depth, that it would and some people say oh a Yoga Nidra training that’s five days, what you are going to do with all that time. I really feel like it could be a 200 hundred hour teacher training. It definitely could be a two hundred hour teacher training. So they learned so many things I always teaching Mudras, so they learned a bunch of hand Mudras, with very powerful affirmations. And going through all the stages of a being there is just so much richness, there is so much depth to every layer, that I feel like it we could a have a lot more time to go into all of it. So the response was great they all want me to come back to do part two or something else, and they are really enthused about taking it out into the populations that they work with. So two of the women are massage therapist, they are going to combine it with their massage therapy practices. One of them does Lomi Lomi the Hawaiian massage. There is a women who works in the intensive care unit in a hospital, and so she envisions that she is  going to be leading not only the people who have fallen unconscious or the people who are really intensely flipped out because they just they are there in the intensive care unit or the people that she has to give bad news to. But also that she has envisioned, that she will be leading the doctors and nurses. The people who are going to be effecting so many people. Who, when they come with a deep insensitivity to themselves and their patients, that it will be a very powerful thing that.

Bettina:           That sounds like an amazing piece of work, I like to — I like to interview her. And see what and how the patients respond to that. I think it’s wonderful. So just a little bit tracking back a little bit your journey in yoga, how did you come about? What was your first yoga class and who inspired you who’s your teachers?

Jennifer :         Well I would say I actually remember meditating in my crib. I remember that and then I mediated as a child for many years until I got to that stage where I don’t know if you can remember. But you start to look around and you notice, if you are fitting in or doing what everybody else is doing or if you are doing something different. And I realize that nobody else was doing what I was doing, nobody else was meditating I didnt know it was  called meditation of course. I just thought it was this thing that I did, that wasn’t really appropriate for something. So I made a conscious decision to stop because it seemed socially inappropriate or whatever I don’t know. And then when I began art classes, I mean I was taking art all the way through the school, but in the high school we were drawing doing drawing on the right side of the brain, which was a very meditative style of drawing which was very similar to how it was meditating my eyes would follow the surface and patterns of things for hours there is a kind of meditation that’s Mandala meditation, where your eyes follow I think it’s from Tibet. So then I was  able to meditate again, and it was very powerful. And that lead into becoming an artist and then my first yoga before I even did any yoga postures, I was lead through yoga nidra. And it was actually on an overnight bus trip with my art school down to San Francisco. And the bus driver lead us through Yoga Nidra to put us to sleep. And I touched places that in within myself, that I did not know existed. And it may, I was feeling very unconfident, about myself and my abilities at that time and when I did this Yoga Nidra I realized that I am so much more expansive and infinite then my personality. Then my like and dislikes. Then this small box, that I was living within. And it gave me a lot of confidence. And so it always stuck in my mind like wow what was that I need that. Shortly, after that I started doing Iyengar yoga in Vancouver. You see that was the only style of yoga and had a really wonderful teacher, and he would lead the Shavasanas very detailed, in a very detailed way. So feel your eyes like warm stones and butter, sinking and go through the body like that. So I was very amazed when eventually I became a yoga teacher at Kripalu center. And nobody guided anything in the Shavasanas. And it stuck in my mind that well I have got a bring Yoga Nidra and Kripalu yoga together because they go together so well and because also it was a special passion of mine. So I spend the next, you know, decade doing that.

Bettina:           I would actually like to ask you about the Kripalu center, tell us a little bit about the Kripalu centre? [12.25]

Jennifer :         The Kripalu centre in Stockbridge Massachusetts has been going on for many decades. I can’t remember if it’s been thirty years or fifty years. And It’s a style of yoga that is very reflective, meditative, based in energy and Prana. There is no set flow of postures. It’s very intuitive to practice. We follow our energy and our prana, and the teacher often does not what they are going to teach. They are really using their intuition it’s a very feminine flowing form of yoga. Of course there is also you know the regular Asana of the yoga, postures and a vibe finding out how much you get the energy going. Swami Kripalu actually was a Kundalini Master, not Kundalini registered trademark mark master. I mean he lived before that era. And Kripalu yoga was developed by one of his student Amar Desai from India, who brought it to North America, and it’s evolved and grown since then. So Kripalu centre is a center that offers a live Kripalu yoga, as well as has a school of yoga. So there is of 200 and 500 hours teacher training as well as the Kripalu school of Aryuveda. And also you can study with many, many other teachers there. That’s where I did my own integrative yoga therapy teacher training and now I am part of that faculty. I teach yoga therapy, and there are many international teachers, who come through. And the biggest teachers from Australia come up there as well Donna Farhi had in years past come, Mark Whitwell and Angela Farmer as well all the most well-known English speaking yoga teachers. [14:25]

Bettina:           And it’s a quite a large center I understand from what you were telling me little bit earlier on. How many students do you think there you in here?

Jennifer :         Well we calculated and this is a not a completely accurate, it’s probably this is on the low and we are probably see a lot more than fifteen thousand students a year in my classes.

Bettina:           Well thats a lot of students.

Jennifer :         It is a lot of students when I read that number I thought oh no wonder I feel tired today and I doesn’t always tire me out. It really energizes me as well but sometimes I do need a day away from there. So there is at least forty thousand people who visit Kripalu a year, and we can house about 750 people per night. The food is amazing, the location is incredible. It’s on a lake people fly from all over the place to come to — oh its really an incredible journey to be there. It’s changed my life it really has changed my life. It’s given my life so much focus and direction and a way to be a teacher and to be a student because I keep learning and growing. I am able to study, myself,15:46] there with all the best teachers, and also give back and share what I have learned and experienced with others.

Bettina:           Is there at large faulty there?

Jennifer :         There is a large faculty there yes, that’s true so we have our yoga teacher is that teach yoga, weekly yoga classes and workshops as well as we have incredible healing arts departments with many angels up there, they are on the top floor and it just like heaven up there. And I practice there as well for six years but not too busy with the teaching. I practiced Ayurvedic body work and shiatsu and massage and other things there.

Bettina:           So is it a full time job at the center?

Jennifer :         It’s full time.

Bettina:           And so you are getting a way and to travel, you do actually travel quite a bit teaching don’t you.

Jennifer :         I do, so it’s a matter of balancing between the two because I have obligations to both like them. [16:39]

Bettina:           Actually I wanted to ask you about your living as a yoga teacher. I have done some interviews recently with some people to get a bit of perspective on getting right through yoga teachers and just a bit of insight into the business of yoga teaching. I see you and your husband travelling and that looks like the perfect way of, you know, the perfect life to be able teach yoga. And travel it’s obviously thousands of people would be inspiring to that, is it a good life?

Jennifer :         It’s a wonderful life I really love it. Because I have a really nice home life. We have two German shepherds they are little angels. And so we have a nice domestic life and it’s very close to Kripalu and also we get to travel which is wonderful and meet all these amazing people from all over the world. In obvious different locations and it’s wonderful that in summer if you are right now because at home I just like two and half feet of snow or something like that. So yes I cant remember what I was answering exactly but yes it’s a good life.

Bettina:           Is it a good life being a yoga teacher at this scale because I suppose, you know, some people choose to be yoga teacher as a part time thing they’ve got a full time career, and teach for years one or two classes as a week, and there some that are struggling they racing from school to school from one end of the town to the other end of the town to try and get five, six, seven, ten classes a week. What would your advice be for a younger teacher or teacher who wants to take this as a full time career? [18:27]

Jennifer :         Well that’s really interesting I have been doing this full time for seventeen years, and I do yoga world has really changed since I was working like in a city in a particular location because in like Kripalu I can just do it all under one roof, which is really amazing I don’t have to go anywhere else. I have been asked to go different places in the community but I just don’t have the time. I don’t know if I have any advice because that’s not really how, like my situation is so different because I am at the centre and all these thousands of students come to — come there. So, I don’t know if I have any advice at all I am sorry. Because it’s a whole different rhythm when I first started teaching I was teaching in Toronto for four years and I was still explaining what yoga was and I am sure people are still needing to explain yoga because there is lot of miss perception, but really back then there was one yoga studio like in Toronto or may be two. And I am sure now there is one on each block.

Bettina:           Yeah it’s certainly growing which is great for students because, you know, we all benefits so much from it. Where to now, what’s next for Jennifer Reis?

Jennifer :         Well we are going to fly back home and I’ll be teaching at Kripalu center for couple of weeks and then we have a retreat in Mexico for a week which will be really nice. And there is a five element yoga teacher training have also developed, five element yoga which comes out of Aryuveda yoga therapy, Kripalu yoga and it’s a beautiful style of yoga that really helps people tune in with their five elements. So that’s coming up in the summer Kripalu and before that in the spring will be divine sleep teacher training which I also be leading in New Orleans and Boston, and some other locations as well. So pretty busy schedule of a rhythm of being at Kripalu and then being away for week or two and I am coming back for a month something like that. And so we are trying to space that out. My husband helps manage everything so we are just trying to have a livable rhythm that feels good.

Bettina:           It sounds great, so how can people find out more about you and your — range of digital product CDs and so forth, how we find that information out?

Jennifer :         So I have a web site www.jerriferreisyoga.com so there is ‘r’s’ there Jerriferreisyoga.com. And I send out a monthly very educational news letter which many of the people who receive have said this is an award winning news letter. So many people benefit from it I really see it is one of my teaching tools. I am an artist so It’s also very full of photographs and poems and it’s really one of those things that I do each month that I just love putting that out there. I always interview a student in a student spot light. So that’s a good way of if you look on a website in the top right-hand corner you can put your name in, and receive the monthly newsletter. I do have mp3’s and three Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra CDs have been extremely well received, by people there the three top selling CD’s at Kirpalu and always have been since that happened and also have a five element yoga CD which is movement or mp3 as well which is movement and a Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra  at the end. So it’s postures, mudras and that so.

Bettina:           Okay so we don’t have to just wait for you to return next year or whenever you are coming back. Have you got any idea when you will be back in Australia?

Jennifer :         No not yet. We are hoping to organize perhaps the five element yoga teacher training which is another forty hour teacher training, which people do not have to be yoga teachers to do because you learn how to that do body or self care, body work tune into the elements for you. It’s about coming back into balance at all levels of being all elements. So and of course it seems as though Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. We are planning on doing it may be in some other cities as well, as well as coming back to Ohana but nothing is set in stone yet just some talking about it.

Bettina:           It’s good because I understand you attracted people from as far away as Western Australia to this training. So I’m sure they will be very keen to have it in their own hometown.

Bettina:           Jennifer I just want to say thank very much. I will put in the show notes as I always do the links to our guest websites. Is there anything else that you would like to leave us with today?

Jennifer :         Take time to rest and rejuvenate because it really is what helps turn on your self healing switch and bring into that relaxation response mode. So the easiest way that I found to do that with this Yoga Nidra. But take the time to rest and rejuvenate.

Bettina:           That’s  good advice. Well thank you very much Jennifer Reis thanks for being a guest on Yoga teacher Podcasts.

Jennifer :         You are welcome. Bye

Bettina:           Thank you for listening and I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jennifer Reis from Kripalu. It’s great to have international guests come and visit Australia. There are some great people out there, doing wonderful things, and I think Yoga Nidra in all its forms is a really wonderful therapy for people that might be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) or not sleeping well or they just want to have a recharge it’s great stuff in their busy lives. There is more to come if this is your first time listening to yoga teacher podcast thank you and welcome. There is plenty more at www.yogateacherpodcast.com. And if you have got any comments, if you have got any ideas if you want to be part of yoga teacher podcasts please send me an email or go on Facebook and leave your comments there. Well that’s me Bettina Mitchell wrapping up for another session. I have got lots more coming, I’ve got a really, really special guest coming up, Roma Blair who is one of the founding mothers of Yoga here in Australia. So that is a fabulous story please listen in and watch out for that one, you take care, stay inspired, and I’ll catch you next time bye for now.



Narelle Carter- Quinlan

In this ENarelle Carter- Quinlinpisode # 15 of Yoga Teacher Podcasts I’m talking with Narelle Carter – Quinlan. Narelle presents a unique yoga teacher training on  yoga and scoliosis and is the Director of Studio Scoliosis, a studio located in Forest Lake Brisbane QLD.

Narelle Carter-Quinlan a biomedical scientist, dedicated Iyengar Yoga practitioner and international presenter on yoga and scoliosis, backcare, and spinal anatomy.

Originally working in Cellular Pathology, Haematology, and Clinical Biochemistry. Narelle’s postgraduate research lies in the functional anatomy of the lumbar spine and sacrum in health and dis-ease.

Listen here.

Show notes Yoga Teacher PodcastsShow Notes If you prefer to read rather than listen to the audio ( you know you can subscribe and use the amazing Itunes podcast app for super convenience) here are the show notes, lovingly typed out, just for you.

Hello Bettina Mitchell here, host of Yoga Teacher Podcasts, thank you for tuning into this episode with our guest Narelle Carter- Quinlan.

This is the first installment for 2013, it’s been great taking some time out with family and friends and to be honest I’ve really enjoyed being away from my daily companion… the computer.

Bettina: Narelle Welcome  thank you for taking the time out from a busy schedule to contribute to YTP.

Narelle: Hi Bettina my pleasure.

Bettina: when I first contacted you it was just after the Yoga Therapy conference in Melbourne (August 2012). I really appreciated your presentation on scoliosis, I got an amazing insight into how it might “feel” to have a lateral deviation of the spine and the effect particularly on breathing – it really was a light bulb moment for me! Can you give us a brief overview of Scoliosis HOW it affects the body and

Narelle: A lot of people relate to Scoliosis as simply a lateral deviation of the spine and indeed that’s a component of the landscape but it’s a three dimensional shift. In actual fact it begins with a lordosis anomaly where the spine particularly the lumber spine but also the Thorasic spine looses its kyphosis and the lumber lordosis increases. ..and then there is a rotational component and then the lateral deviation comes in so it effects the body in all three cardinal planes [2:45] And of course that takes the whole of the landscape of the body with it, so it does effect the lungs.

B: What took you down this path was it a personal experience with scoliosis?

N: Yes I get asked that a lot. This is my body I have quite a significant scoliosis myself that was diagnosed when I was thirteen. I was an elite level ballroom dancer and my mum was a dressmaker fitting my costumes she would say stand up straight and I said I am. [3:40] We would both looked at each other in the mirror and say Oh my God. My yoga practice has been an exploration of that territory.

B: Is Scoliosis then a functional thing? [4:00] resulting from the positioning of being a ballroom dancer?

N: Scoliosis is sucha vast territory. One of the researchers I’m in contact with here in Queensland says Narelle I think scoliosis is so many different “diseases.” So many pathologies that manifest in this particular physicality. [ 4:30] No one in my family has a scoliosis.

B: Does it show up mostly in women or in men too?

N: Probably 80% of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis are female. [5:50]

B: Since we first spoke. You were in the throws of moving house, heading to Europe on a teaching tour, writing a book and preparing for the arrival of a grand child! I guess you keep your self pretty busy!

N: I do actually I think of it as streams or threads of my life. I do travel a lot and teach mostly to New York a little bit to Europe once of year. New York twice a year I teach there but I also study there. Yes I’m writing (laughs) Ive been writing this jolly book a couple of years. [6:55] I’m getting a couple of e-books out.

Why do you go to New York is it more in tune with the type of workshops that you’re delivering.?

N: There is this studio called Yoga Union Centre for back  care and Scoliosis. It’s the only studio in the world currently that has a studio dedicated to back care.

B: You have been a yoga teacher for a long time ?

N: A very long time the way I work this out is that my son is now 26 and I began teaching when he was 15 months old.

B: Can you tell us a bit about how yoga came into your life? [9:15]

N: I was four years old, I didn’t know there was a thing called yoga I was just on my lounge room floor and my mother would say would you go outside and play with the other children and Id say noooo.  I would be exploring how I could move my body and get a stretch here and there. I had this little book that Id look at it was a book by Swami Sarasvati. I lived in the Blue Mountains and Alan Goode – (Canberra ) was coming up to do monthly workshops with his wife (at the time) Lulu Ball from New Town in Sydney. [11:00] and that’s how I discovered Iyenga yoga. I loved the precision and its incredible strength.

These days my teachers are also my colleagues:

B: Yes there is a lot of great teachers in the US and there is a lot of great teachers here in Australia that’s one of the reasons I started YTP because I wanted to create a platform for Australian teachers to share their teachings.

N: There is a studio in Austria that gets me over once a year to teach on yoga and scoliosis and spinal health. [12:50] And I  taught for Simon Low at the Yoga Academy he had an advanced teacher training weekend, he wanted his students to experience something with scoliosis. [13:00]

B: So Europe is switched on about health care through yoga what about in Australia?

N: (laughs) I cant really speak a lot for that I understand a course that Leigh Blashki and his beautiful work with yoga therapy I think a lot of people don’t know my work in terms of spinal care I’m not really that familiar with the scene here. [14:25]

B: The more information that yoga teachers have available about the different ailments and diseases that may be present in their classes the better. Are you doing any workshops in Australian this year?

N: Yes I am I’m teaching up in Darwin in the Yoga Space at the end of September and in the Whitsundays in July. The information is available on the website go here 

B: As a specialist in Yoga with Scoliosis & back care, and Spinal Anatomy, What is the essence of your teaching, the core “Take Away” that you want your students to gain from your teaching? [16:25]

N: Really, for me it’s about embodied conciseness. Deeply search the sensation of the spine but the entire physical landscape and can they be present with that and embody that. [16:50] Step out of the headspace of thinking it (yoga_) as an exercise and thinking about it as a communion it’s a communion that’s was yoga is communion with oneself [17.35]

B: Can you rectify scoliosis with yoga?

N: Yes you can, maybe, maybe not. Scoliosis can be a strong willed animal with a mind of its own. I’ve changed my scoliosis my angle has decreased dramatically; it is a structural scoliosis its not a functional scoliosis. So yes it can but is it prescriptive  are there guarantees No.

B: When you are teaching do you use blocks and straps and other props?

N: Yes utterly loud and clear. My practice is not my practice with out my trestle and ropes it’s like asking a plumber to do their job without the tools of their trade. [18:55]

B: So when you’re looking for studios that might invite you to present your workshop material would you be looking for an Iyengar studio with all the equipment?

N: Yes that would be my first port of call definitely. However saying that I did teach for Simon Lowes studio in the UK and that didn’t have those facilities so you make do. After all the students aren’t going home to a full set of wall ropes and a trestle in their lounge room. So we show the adaptation. [21:35 ]

B: Does you teach include pranayama and meditation?

N: I haven’t taught pranayama for a while but that is about to change. Meditation is always part of my personal practice.

B: From Patanjali’s yoga  sutras comes the teaching of   abh-yasa (practice and vai-rag-ya non attachment? How do these show up in your life and practice? [22:20]

N: I have this beautiful teacher for nearly 20 years Alan Goode and Alan weaves the sutras seamlessly into his teachings … abh-yasa loosely translates as action and vai-rag-ya loosely translates as observation These are with me as a constant. [22:55] (Listen to the audio for the full answer.)

B: Tell us a bit about your photography work [25:35]

N: Last year I had an exhibition of my work in New York and produced a little book called Australian Skin. You can see it on my website.

B: You have some training coming up in Brisbane tell us a bit about that.

N: It’s a short teacher training modeled al little bit on what Elise Miller does in the US. Its three weekends over May, June and July. Its open to all people , you don’t have to be a yoga teacher to do it. You could be a student with scoliosis that want to learn more about how can I practice yoga safely and effectively or for teachers who want to support students with scoliosis and back pain.

B: A lot of people have back issues. Your sessions are only limited to 6 people correct?

N: Yes its provides a high level of attention.

B: So what’s happening in 2013 for you?

N: Training, eBooks, writing teacher training, travelling to Dubai for the world congress for low back pain, teaching in the Whitsundays, Darwin and possibly Turkey and that’s probably it oh except for my dance research project which Yeah finally I’m getting into that as well. Its an arts practice and theater performance [29:20].

B: Well that sounds like a very busy 2013 for you Narelle!

N: I’m also doing some work in transformation work, it’s a goal setting process it’s more like spiritual process. It’s  one on one; practitioner working with a client.

B: Your website address  Who would you like to hear interviewed on Yoga Teacher Podcasts

N: Alan Goode

B: Thank you Narelle Carter- Quinlan I look forward to seeing you at the Yoga Therapy conference in Sydney this year.

For more information on Narelle Carter – Quinlan visit  Narelle’s website  Embodied Terrain.

To tap into a couple of online lessons go here  & listen to Narelle’s Signature Songs of the Spine©- yoga for scoliosis and spinal health.

Alan Goode – Yoga Teacher

Love Earth - diverting preloved yoga mats from landfill

Cate Peterson is the founder of Yoga Pass and LovEarth mats. She is a Sydney based yoga teacher  on a mission to divert preloved yoga mats from landfill while supporting other yoga leaders with charitable causes.

Find out about how you can relinquish preloved mats without adding to a landfill disaster.

Cate says, ” As a yoga community I think we need to take responsibility  for what’s happening at the base.”

We chat about :

  • The nasty petro chemicals in the non eco yoga mats.
  • What Lovearth mats are made from.
  • How to collect old yoga mats for charitable causes, reusing and recycling.
Listen Here: 


Prefer to read?…here are the show notes.

Bettina: What took you down the path of developing a yoga mat?

Cate: Guilt! I was teaching corporate yoga for 10 years and bought in well over 1000 mats. They were pink and bright orange, bright green and I starting to think this isn’t a good thing.

I started to wonder what does and eco mat mean. So it took us about 2 years of to-ing and fro-ing with the samples and we came up with the LovEarth mat.

Bettina: What is the LovEarth mats made from?

Cate: It’s one of the “greenest” on the market, so we are standing up amongst  Jade and Manduka,  [mats] as an eco product.  The Love Earth is made of jute and rubber and that’s it. Tree rubber not synthetic rubber, no petro chemicals. At the moment it is Non Fair Trade jute and rubber, but we are looking to get a bigger market share so we can insist  our suppliers work with  Fair Trade rubber & jute. The other big “green” thing about this product is that its not green, pink or orange. It’s no color. A lot of the poison comes from the dyes that they use in the mat,  they are grouse, if you knew what was in those dyes you wouldn’t want to put your nose or your hands near it.

B: It must be hard to influence the buyer’s choice.

C: Yes it is, a lot of people are influenced by bright beautiful colors  and aesthetics. The other problem is that the mat doesn’t lend itself to the gruelling conditions of regular studio use by a lot of students. Because its colourless the wear and tear gets to it. We’re working on a studio mat that will have a color, probably green or brown, some thing fairly innocuous, so it doesn’t tarnish so much in a heavily used studio setting.

B: There a  lot of acronyms we see these days like; not PVC or PER or TPE what are these ingredients that we should be looking out for and steering away from. [6:00]

C: Well, I’m no biochemist but TPE is better than PVC. The really cheap mats they make from plastic, and they are the more dangerous. TPE & PER are a step in the right direction. Lululemon use TPE mats. But its still petro chemically derived, it depends on your attitude towards peek oil and petroleum derived material. It relies on petro chemical rather than sustainable plant products.

As I mentioned earlier this is a work in action,  the LovEarth mats are made out of rubber and jute, but the emulsification of the rubber is still a bit of an issue and apparently quite heavy chemicals are used in that. So there washed off, but that needs to be washed off to some where. We are talking to chemist’s about different ways of how we can emulsify that rubber with out heavy residue or heavy run off… [7:00] That’s an issue for all yoga mats and I think it’s an issue that needs to be solved.

 B: Now at the end of the life of a yoga mat, generally they g, I don’t know , I guess into land fill. But your on a bit of a mission to change that.

C: Yes I’m on a mission I really am. And I think a lot of yoga studios are coming awake on this issue. Today I’m going over to Power Living in Manly, they are handing over a huge amount of mats. Fiona from  Verona Ashtanga have donated at lot of mats a few other studios have too. We are on a mission to encourage studio owner not to throw those mats into land fill. It’s a terribly un- yogic thing to do. A lot of them don’t rot. Love Earth mats do. I have some amazing images of mats that we have planted in a compost pile about 4 months ago that are dissolving to nothing.

Most yoga mats the ones petrochemically derived don’t rot and the sit in land fill and leach nasty chemicals into the environment slowly for the next 100 years.

We are on a mission to collect mats and send them off to various charitable yoga causes. [9:00] A number of studios in New Zealand donate old mats to animal shelters.

We grade the mats into two groups those that are quite dirty and those that are quite fine and can be used again by humans. There are lots and lots of ideas on our website on how to reuse and recycle mats check it out on  www.lovearth.com.au.

We have about 5 charities that we are working with in Australia and I’d love to encourage any yoga teachers out there that have other ideas on how they could use a source of free mats to contact us.

B: What happens if you’re not in Sydney how do studios in other states recycle their mats through your program? Is there a depot in Melbourne or do they have to be sent over to NSW?

C: I’m saving up my cash at the moment to buy big bags and boxes to distribute to yoga studios so that they can collect old mats for pickup.

B: Anyone out there with a recycle company that could help out Cate with her initiative who could promote thier ethical practices in conjunction with Cate?  Please get in contact with Cate Peterson at info@yogapass.com.au and get involved in the recycle your Yoga Mat program.

 C: We are hoping to settle an agreement with Rebel sport to host a recycle program that will head yoga mats away form land fill. This will be great because it will broaden the initiative to the general community as well as yoga studios. [13:40]

B: So what’s the story about you going to Taiwan to chat to you suppliers can people jump on board and come along with you?

C: Yes I’d love the company. In April 2013 I hope to do a photo essay about manufacturing mats I expect to see the good, bad and the ugly. As a yoga community I think we need to take responsibility to for what’s happening at the base. So if you at all interested in this please call me.

B: What else would yo like to tell us before we wrap up?

C: Keren from Anahata Healing does a great job of supporting studios and teachers throughout Australia with programs for people who have been through or going through cancer. We send out pre loved mats to any of the people who register for Anahata Healing. Those mats are gather in Queensland and sent out from there. The other place we are sending them is Sunnyfield homes in NSW supported by Yoga Aid. And also to Bali via Carly Shoud’s program that teaches older orphans to become yoga teachers and they also run hospitality courses.

B: I have goosebumps I had no idea how much work you have personally done for the recycle program.

C: Don’t for get to look at the website to check out ways to reuse your old  mats.  http://www.lovearth.com.au/

 Buy your LovEarth mat at Yoga Bazaar


Studios involved in collecting mats include: -

  • Verona Ashtanga Studio NSW


  • Power Living Manly, NSW


  • Wellbeing at Work Denise in South Australia is donating them to homeless shelters for people to sleep on.


  • Atira Tan,  Art to Healing Program in Asia


  • Anaharta Healing ://www.anahatahealing.com.au – QLD


  • Carly Shoud –yoga teacher program for orphans in Bali- Perth


  • Sunnyfield homes supported by Yoga Aid


Go here for great ideas for uses for old pre loved yoga mats.


Contact Cate Peterson at info@yogapass.com.au and get involved in the recycle your Yoga Mat program.

Divert preloved yoga mats from landfill & support charitable causes with LovEarth eco yoga mats. Episode #14

Cate Peterson, founder of Yoga Pass and the developer of LovEarth eco yoga mats talks to us about:-

  • The nasty petro chemicals in the non eco yoga mats.
  • What Lovearth mats are made from.
  • How to collect old yoga mats for charitable causes, reusing and recycling.



Listen here: 


Go here for great ideas for reusing pre loved yoga mats. http://www.lovearth.com.au/


Contact Cate Peterson at info@yogapass.com.au to get involved in the recycle your Yoga Mat program.


Studios involved in collecting mats include: -


  • Verona Ashtanga Studio NSW


  • Power Living Manly, NSW


  • Wellbeing at Work Denise in South Australia is donating them to homeless shelters for people to sleep on.


  • Atira Tan,  Art to Healing Program in Asia


  • Anaharta Healing ://www.anahatahealing.com.au – QLD


  • Carly Shoud –yoga teacher program for orphans in Bali- Perth


  • Sunnyfield homes supported by Yoga Aid



Email Marketing

Do you use an email marketing system to get in contact with your list of clients and students?

If not you could be breaching privacy laws or spamming YIKES!

Here are a few examples:

  • Mail Chimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Mail Chimp
  • Namaste Light -

I use Namaste Light and they have offered a special gift  just for listeners of YTP.  To receive the $20 discount off your  first month’s upgrade pricing.

When you are ready to upgrade go here to the upgrade page  you will notice a section on the form that asks for an “Offer Code”  enter  code:  <<yogateacherpodcasts>>

I hope this is helpful – cheers Bettina