to The Yoga Centre
a school of learning
The Yoga Centre, an Iyengar school was founded by Caroline Coggins in 1984. Today it has a home that sits beside these giant granite rocks on the side of a mountain called Yarrahapinni on the mid-north coast of NSW. It is a simple, beautiful space for practice, retreats and contemplative prayer.
As a school of learning, the home of the Yoga Centre is also in the very large world of online teaching, retreats, intensives - and in people's hearts. Those who train to become teachers, or train other teachers, and the yoga practitioners who walk the yoga path together.
These rocks were formed under great pressure for a very long time- maybe 300 million years ago. We are much younger, but knowing our world lets us place ourselves within the larger context of time. When you gaze at the stone there is something comforting for us younger ones. It is the on-goingness of life and the part we play in it. It is an exciting and challenging invitation.
To study Yoga is to step into a very old science concerned with the evolution of the human being in their own lifetime and beyond. It is a science to culture and form the human to become the human we are designed to be.
a pathway of learning and practice of transformation
I have had a teacher
The evolution of The Yoga Centre began in the 1980s when BKS Iyengar first visited Australia. He was like the fire that formed the granite, creating pressure that stirred the inner fire- Wake up! This was his attraction, a pathway of learning and practice of transformation.
My journey required me to travel to India to study with the Iyengar family for over thirty-five years and to have an ongoing commitment to working with myself through practice and study. That was just the beginning! Later there was involvement in this growing community, training of teachers, and the certification of teachers.
Yoga is a practice done with our bodies, mind and heart.
There are a range of classes available. There is a starting out class, experienced practice classes, a Saturday taught class and a regular Sunday yoga as philosophy. All currently held online.
There are a number of retreats held each year. Lennox head, Yarrahapinni, and when possible, Bali. Bookings are currently open for the Nambucca retreat in February.
Practice in your own time, or follow the days of an intensive with videos from the library. These can be rented or purchased.
Classes and Retreats
This is a path. You may be setting out, learning the asana, learning how to create some discipline into the structure of your days. To find freedom in your order. Or you are more experienced- and still, the path goes on, it does not end when you can do the asana, it begins. A new level of freedom is given. Then with this new freedom, you want to teach, or understand more this extraordinary art- you are drawn to the mentoring program. Yoga is a collaboration between a teacher and a student, between your body and mind, and as you become a teacher within a wider community that supports others too.
Each will help you to focus, to unravel some of the aches and pains of the body and the heart. Each will give you joy, understanding and perhaps frustration. Each will reward you with time, space and a quieter heart. Each will call forth the deeper listening -and a heart that can be itself.
It is to read widely and look closely
A Working Group
The 'learn to teach' training program is to learn how to become a yogi. How to practice and how to work with oneself. To become familiar with the Iyengar methodology, thoroughly and through your own experience.
It is to read widely and look closely, to attend classes with Caroline and practice regularly
The year is an immersion, beginning 4th February 2023. Included components are a weekly teachers class, and at the start of each month a Saturday teachers' day.
March 26th - April 2nd retreat at Nambucca Heads for this group.
Applications close December 20th or when the quota is filled.
We sew the disparate parts of ourselves together. The biggest thing we offer is to be open, sensitive and available -ready to take our place beside the granite. A member of this family of our world. Now the school has a different life. It is mobile, responding to the needs of the time and the extended community. It is a school, a center, a community of seekers on the road, learning together.
Let your life speak. Don't tell your life what it is for.
The chapel emerged from the land. I would stand on my balcony which overlooked the valley the chapel is in, and in the early morning the sun would catch the tin roof and it looked just like a mosque. It appeared sacred. I liked to be in the valley. I could look up and see the forest sparkling and across the paddock to see the strong white trunks of the trees, creating an amphitheater.
I believe in sacred spaces. I believe we can feel them. But what makes something sacred?
One day I thought as I practiced in this shed it should be made into a place of beauty, practice, and stillness. A retreat away from, and a retreat into. A sanctuary, a place of orientation.
I need these times and I imagine others do too. I had visited and then stayed for a long time in a Jesuit retreat house in Spain. On the top of the large building that once housed priests in training, a far-sighted priest had the vision to build a room without any icon or symbol but silence and an empty bowl. A place that welcomed all faiths, or none. A place to sit and be still. It was such a sacred room that many were drawn to it- to finding themselves resting in the silence. A place of great contemplative stillness..
So the chapel arose from the experience of this room. A place for all of any faith or none, where yoga could be and where just sitting could be. Where there could be prayer, chanting, or silence.
I got some builders and we began the build. I wanted to serve them ceremonial green tea as we began, but I was shy. I wanted them to know the auspiciousness so it is built with the ‘right energy. Strangely they have been perfect, they are surfers, who ride waves of the ocean and understand energy. They are also diligent and have looked after the chapel.
Now the room has spread. There is a kitchen and bathroom and a small bedroom. There are places to sit and lookout. I hope it will be a place of welcome. A place that says -come- rest a while and have some time to find your way in the goodness of this life.
Simone Weil puts it this way-
‘Why should I be anxious? It is not up to me to think of myself. It is up to me to think of God. And it is up to God to think of me.’
Let there be plenty of room for the mystery and some silence...