When Amelia and Liz met over 20 years ago, we felt an instant spark. As yoga teachers in training, we discovered a shared passion for spreading the positive benefits of yoga for physical and mental health. We seemed to intuit, in our connection, the growth and healing that yoga had already played a huge part in during our late teens and early adulthood.
Some years later, as experienced graduates of Yoga Synergy, Amelia moved to the Bellingen shire where she established her thriving school, Yoga Bellingen, and Liz settled in the Northern Beaches where she continues to run Balanced Practice Yoga and practices as a physiotherapist and yoga therapist at Therapyworks.
Both women became mothers and despite juggling work and parenting, started their Total Escape Yoga Retreats , taking students to exotic locations like Bali, Fiji and India.
It was while running yoga retreats together that Amelia and Liz began to develop Balanced Practice Yoga Teacher Training.
When we created the course content we said we wanted to bring together the best aspects of our own trainings and the unique skills and knowledge that we have, to create the best possible yoga teacher training, and we are proud of how that has evolved since our first delivery in 2018.
We both have a very in-depth understanding of yoga anatomy, yoga postures and how to vary them when people have certain goals to achieve, or limitations to respect.
With our 40+ years of teaching experience, we have a lot of wisdom to share, especially around the language teachers use to relate to the different layers of each individual person.
The words we use are profoundly important to the student. The students need to know that they are safe on their mat and in their own body, that their yoga teacher has the capacity and knowledge to hold space for that student. Challenges always have physical, mental and emotional layers, and we teach our trainees to be a guide for students, so they can use their practice to help themselves navigate.Our yoga teacher training includes functional anatomy, modern science that focusses on the nervous system, pain awareness and meditation.
Our training involves thousands of hours of mentoring and learning from our teachers. Yoga is a life long journey, and we are both students and teachers on the path.
We don’t teach a prescriptive sequence or a particular “ style” of yoga, as both of us moved on from this approach many years ago.
The responsibility of a yoga teacher is to plan safe, balanced and purposeful sequences, applying the yogic principles that we explore carefully during the teacher training. We love to see creativity and expressivity arise, and nurture the unique style and passion of each teacher trainee, while providing lots of opportunities for practice sequencing, class delivery and feedback from us and the other trainees in a safe and supportive environment.
We observe that people get the most value out of a yoga teacher training, whether to teach others or for personal learning, when they integrate their learnings into their daily life. Our online teacher training is designed to deepen our students connections with their body, to tap into their own wisdom, to the subtle energetics of yoga, with the help of Ayurveda, which is essentially awareness of our livingness in the natural world, and with the help of the practices of yoga beyond the poses, breath work, study, meditation and journalling.
We gather together once a week via Zoom on Thursday evenings over the duration of the 200 hour training, to discuss the online videos and lessons from the printable manual, and for teaching assessment tasks so our trainees have lots of scope to develop their practical skills.
Skills in inclusive, positive and choice-driven language, expressing subtle cues that are appropriate to the students, learning to modifying yoga poses for diverse bodies, these are all hallmarks of a quality yoga teacher. Skills that take time to evolve.
We offer optional ongoing mentoring support for our trainees, and will be running our 100 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training next year in Byron and a 50 hour online Advanced Yoga Anatomy course, which provides a pathway to 350 hours of Yoga Teacher Training when you can register as a Level 1 Standard Yoga Australia Teacher.
We’re proud of our standards, and of the wonderful graduates of our Yoga Teacher Trainings who are contributing to the wellbeing of their communities, clients and students as advocates and teachers of yoga.
Are you considering yoga teacher training, for yourself and to inspire others?
Balanced Practice 200 our Online Training begins on September 1st and runs till December 17th.
Invest on your own personal growth, learn with us, and you could start a new year and a new vocation in 2022 teaching yoga.
Our 200 hour Online Yoga Teacher Training , c0-delivered by senior teachers Liz Bennett and Amelia Disspain, offers you the opportunity to turn your passion for yoga into a rewarding job, transform your practice and deepen your understanding of this wonderful healing science.
Whether you’re already teaching and looking for a structured way to develop your knowledge and skills or about to embark on your training journey, we know we can support you to the next level.
You may not want to teach yoga as a career, and not all our students do. We have trained teachers who take the benefits of their experience into other fields, who shared our yoga teacher training for personal development.
Together, we dive into a deep exploration of subtle energetics and the functional anatomy of yoga. While learning to prevent injuries and develop your own anatomy informed skills in yoga practice, you will develop a deep and positive relationship with your own body.
You’ll learn about Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, which helps you harmonise your actions and rhythms with nature, according to your unique body type.
You’ll explore how to teach trauma -sensitive yoga, yoga informed by modern pain science, for people of all different phases of life, including mature students. We mentor and nurture your teaching skills throughout the training, and you’ll have lots of opportunities for practice teaching and sequencing and feedback from us and your peers.Yoga Teacher Training is a lifelong journey that brings healing, vitality and health.
We’d love to share that journey with you.
Some yoga schools create a teacher training product to churn out year after year.
Our training is the best we can offer, every time. Amelia and I work on our course, and we work on ourselves. We never stop learning. We have been training yoga teachers collectively for over 20 years, and began running our own trainings together back in 2016.
During the past year, Amelia has undertaken advanced trainings with Donna Farhi, and I have become a Pain-Aware yoga teacher and continue my study with physio – yoga therapists Neil Pearson, Shelley Prosko and Marlysa Sullivan. Amelia also became a Mentor for Yoga Australia, to support new teachers, and Liz was accepted into the Yoga Australia Yoga Therapy working group.
Jane Macnaught teaches Trauma-awareness on our 200 hour Online teacher training. Jane continues her studies of Stephen Porges’ Poly-Vagal Theory and has integrated these scientific advances in knowledge into her module for teacher trainees.
We are proud of our commitment to safe, individualised yoga and to the yoga tradition. Having seen through many waves and trends in the yoga world, we choose to teach and deliver intelligent yoga that is founded in authentic philosophy and informed by modern science, without limiting our students to a particular lineage or class style.
Whether you’re interested in teaching others, or deepening your own yoga journey with us,Amelia and I would love to share our inspiration with you.We’ll help you develop your skills, confidence and your own unique contribution to the evolving mind-body science of yoga.
Book to join our free Info and Q&A session this Tuesday August 3rd at 5:30pm here.
Over the past couple of weeks Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which is where I live, has once again gone into lockdown.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, a cluster of cases being found in the more northern region of the Northern Beaches, the Government has put into place restrictions about what residents can and can’t do. Much to many people’s disappointment, this hasn’t come at the best of times, over the Christmas, New Year and the summer holiday period. However we have an understanding as to the reasoning for why these restrictions have been put in place – in order to contain the number of cases and to keep people safe.
Most people readily accept this, however what I would like to discuss in this article is what can happen when we are put into lockdown and our movements are being restricted and some simple tools to support you to not feel oppressed or restricted. From discussions with people on the Northern Beaches and getting a feel as to where people are at, it is understandable that many are feeling frustrated and hoping that this pandemic will just go away or that a vaccine will be available soon.
I taught an online yoga class this morning and I shared with the participants of that class how I have been working with the current restrictions to not allow them to affect me. Having open discussions with people, it seems as though many are affected, with some more open to talking about it, and others not, going about their day-to-day life coping as best they can.
So this is what I shared with the class this morning. Restrictions can be put in place and we can be told where we can go and where we can’t. We don’t have much control over this, but what we do have control over is how we move within the restrictions.
As an example, if you walk around feeling frustrated, upset or annoyed that these restrictions are in place and you can’t do what you want, you may spend the whole time in lockdown feeling this way. This isn’t going to be or feel good in your body. – we can all relate to the damaging and unsettling effect of emotions, attachments or desires in our body.
Perhaps you then go to behaviours to try and dull down these feelings and you end up spending more time eating, watching TV/Netflix and not truly dealing with what actually is there in your body and the tension continues to build.
What I worked with in the first round of lockdown earlier this year and doing again this time around, is using the space to focus on owning my movements. What I mean by this is rather than let my movements be governed by a feeling that may arise due to a reaction brought about by the restrictions, I am focussing on making all of my movements of my body be gentle, nurturing, flowing and in a quality of connection. When I move in this way, I own my movements and the more I move with and in these qualities, it feels lovely inside. Therefore, it doesn’t matter so much what I am told I can and can’t do as how I move and feel isn’t based on external factors but rather is based upon the feelings that I nurture from the inside. After all it is what is on the inside that counts.
The more I focus on this way of being and living within the lockdown, the simpler and expansive become all the things that I go about in my daily life – going for a walk, cooking, shopping, working, calling a friend can all be done in a quality that nourishes and contributes to how I feel moment to moment. If we don’t consciously and deliberately own our movements, then our movements can easily be owned by our reactions. Use this time during lockdown to deepen your connection to and with your body. It is worth the effort and the benefits are tangible and invaluable.
Esoteric Yoga Class this Sunday 3rd January 7 – 8pm ONLINE
To support with deepening your connection with your body, Donna will be running an Esoteric Yoga/The Yoga of Stillness class on Sunday 3rd January 7 – 8pm ONLINE via Zoom. Esoteric Yoga is also known as the Yoga of Stillness. The practice is simple, no fancy postures, and follows a specific sequence that includes only a few movements divinely designed to support the body to come to a place of stillness – our innate, natural state of being although long forgotten for most of us. Read more and book here.
We all know how trying 2020 has been. Why not start 2021 with a deeply stilling yoga class to begin the new year. This class is a meditative style class that is restorative, rejuvenating and calming. What better way to start the new year!
Esoteric Yoga is also known as the Yoga of Stillness.
The practice is simple, no fancy postures, and follows a specific sequence that includes only a few movements divinely designed to support the body to come to a place of stillness – our innate, natural state of being although long forgotten for most of us.
The format for an Esoteric Yoga class
The class will start either in a lying down position or sitting position.
Simple movements guided by your practitioner such as lying down, sitting up, bending a knee, straightening the legs, opening and closing the eyes.
Extended periods of time of lying down and deep rest.
You will be guided to reconnect with your body and the quality of stillness within.
What you will need in preparation for the class
A quiet space to practice where you will not be disturbed.
An exercise mat or floor space. The practice can also be done on a comfortable and supportive bed mattress.
A mobile device with camera on and facing towards you on your mat.
Cushions, pillows to support the head, neck, spine, your hips, your legs in both the lying and seated positions.
Blankets/covers to keep your body warm. An eye pillow may also be used to support a deeper letting go and enhance the nurturing quality of your practice.
New to Balanced Practice Yoga? Check out our new student offers and pricing here before you book.
Existing students can book with a pass or membership here
Rather than losing connection with our shared practices through this unusual Christmas season, Donna and Liz are choosing to continue offering morning yoga classes from home.
Whether in lockdown or not, it’s helpful for us all to maintain rhythms. Rhythm nourishes our immunity, our bodies and our mental health, to help us detach from whatever turmoil or unease is brushing up close to us, inside or outside ourselves. To get deeply connected to our breath and inner selves clears the mind, helping us ride through whatever changes we’re experiencing with more emotional peace and heart connection.
We’re challenged to rise, to be creative, responsive and deeply caring towards ourselves and others this week. We can help ourselves come to terms with expectations and preparations being thrown awry this Christmas season.
Our classes over this time will aim to help you to simply come back to the core of your flexible being-ness with the help of gentle breath and movements and meditative focus.
We wish you all a safe, spontaneous and happy Christmas!
How to book Zoom classes
Clicking on the class which you’d like to attend will take you straight to our scheduling app. Click the date you’re booking.
If you have a membership or pass, remember to add your code or email address, and if you don’t have a class pass/ intro pass/membership but would like to purchase one, click here first.
Continue through the prompts to book.
You’ll receive a confirmation email with the Zoom Link. Please arrive to each Zoom class 5-10 minutes before it’s scheduled, to give you time manage your camera and audio and settle in.
There is no “ one way” or superior way to learn to meditate, to drop beneath the waves of thoughts to peace within ourselves.
Some forms of meditation practice are hard for people whose minds are very busy, and those who struggle to sit comfortably. Between seated meditation and yoga postures is the profound yet often forgotten practice of Yoga Nidra – which is Sanskit means literally ” Yogic Sleep”, in which you simply lie down, find a comfortable position, and follow the guidance of Ana’s words as she leads you into a deep state of relaxation.
Yoga Nidra helps us draw back and rest from the outside world, by connecting us with our inner experiences in a safe, guided and methodical way that has been proven by science to help improve sleep, emotional regulation and stress.
Yoga Nidra is a beautiful practice for those learning to meditate.. a doorway to meditation and a valuable tool for everyone’s self-care toolbox.
In a fast paced world, the gentle yet deep practice of Yoga Nidra makes room to focus on ourselves, expanding our sense of inner peace and ease, to alleviate fatigue and sleep issues, and awaken our innate creativity.
Join Ana @pittwateryoga for a free introduction to Yoga Nidra this Tuesday 7:15-8pm at Warriewood Surf Club.
How to Book your Free Class
Book via the scheduling link and make sure that you add the code RELAX before checkout to redeem your free class. Only available this Tuesday 3rd to the first 20 students – we’re social distancing COVID-safe, bring your own mat and blanket ❤️
Please make sure that you feel well each time you come to class, with no coughing, sneezing runny nose, sore throat or fever. If you have any doubt, please stay home. Most of our classes give you the option to practice online via Zoom so you can still share the class from the safety of your own home.
You will need to bring your own mat, blanket, eye pillow and any other props you like to use.
Our classes will not be requiring the use of additional props such as blocks – so rest assured that you will just be able to bring your mat, warm clothes for relaxation and you’ll still be able to flow with ease through your practice.
Arriving at the surf club you will need to sign into a log ( in addition to booking your class online) which allows the surf club to track visitors to the club each day.
Please use the hand sanitiser provided
Whilst in the surf club please observe social distancing guidelines ( approximately one mat for every 4 floor tiles ). Only two people are allowed in the bathrooms at the same time.
Although we love to catch up with you all after class, we’re mindful that our priority after classes is to clean the floor in the area we have used with spray and wipes. We have been advised by WSLSC to limit socialising in the room after class. You can always head downstairs to the beach cafe and have a chai or sit on the grassy slope and appreciate our beautiful beach and fresh ocean air
We have missed you!
This is a new world for us, a world of hybridised in-person and online classes both at the surf club and at home. Please be patient with us as we navigate our way out of Covid-19. We’re doing the best we can to be here, and more than ever, to be keep coming back to yoga with our community.
Zooming our Classes
Online yoga classes are here to stay for the foreseeable future. We’ve all had our ups and downs adapting to the online platform. The positives of Zoom – you can practice even if you’re not feeling 100% , have a sick child at home, or don’t have time to make it to the surf club. If you’re still working days from home, attending a class via Zoom can improve your productivity without the time of travel. Keeping up led classes with the teacher who inspires you can help you establish and maintain your own home practice and bring you the deeper physical and mental benefits of a steady yoga routine.
Before sharing my first tip, I’ll start with an unusual piece of advice. Know what is non negotiable in your self care daily routine and protect it.
Be uncompromising about the one or two actions in your day that are most pivotal to your mental and physical well being in your current situation.
Think about it for a moment.
What is it that you do, that leads to more self – aware and self caring choices for the rest of your day?
“When I ……….. then, I choose to eat better, breathe better, focus better.. or feel more friendly towards myself. “
Commitment to that positive, self caring action doesn’t need to be self centered or obsessive, instead it can be a recognition that that the better version of yourself arises from your daily self care.
The state that I create for myself affects how I move through and perceive life.
So when you surrender a part of your daily life to the meditation, or core workout, or nature walk that serves your better self, you make those actions a non negotiable part of your daily life for months and then years. You don’t have to panic when a curve ball throws your routine out of whack because you have practiced better self care so many times that you still make good choices for yourself. You have up- levelled your habits already.
In yoga, the effort to follow through a positive change is called Tapas. The word tapas also means heat.
Change is a transformation and with any transformation there is a release of energy. Think of this as your effort, its like a fire that burns up the old for the new, or the heat produced by friction when a moving body changes course. How comfortably you can endure the effort of sticking with a change in behaviour ?
If you’re someone who finds disciplined change harder alone, then setting your goals with a practitioner, therapist, group or class is proven to increase your likelihood of success.
Here are some self-caring changes that are not difficult, expensive or tiring.
This advice comes from Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, which is concerned with living well in accordance with nature.
1.Eat a lighter dinner
Eastern medicine warns us against eating heavy, rich meals in the evenings, as our digestive systems are not as efficient overnight. Poorly digested food can worsen congestion, allergies and dysbiosis.
At night our digestive system should be resting and repairing.
If you can’t make the last meal of the day earlier, at least make it lighter by steaming or slow cooking, consuming veggies, broths and soups rather than pasta or rice.
Instead of searching for sweet treats at night, treat yourself to a special dessert or treat during the day.
At night, replace dessert with a self massage with oil before you go to bed and you’ll sleep soundly and wake feeling mentally and physically lighter.
Go to bed when you’re ready to sleep, not when you’re exhausted
You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again- one of the best things you can do for your health is protect your hours of sleep. Lack of sleep basically makes your system “ hot” – your tissues don’t have as much healing and regeneration time and your inflammation increases.
Sleep is not just an investment in rest, but also in the strength of your body. While you sleep your body produces HGH – human growth hormone, which influences the quality of your collagen, one of the main building blocks of your skin, and connective tissues. If you’re exercising regularly, eating a high amino acid and low carbohydrate diet, and using good skin products, don’t forget that sleep is your other essential anti-ageing tool.
If you have trouble getting to sleep, a lovely practice from yoga is Viparita Karani -done in its simplest version, you just lie with your lower back and hips on a firm blanket or pillow and your legs elevated up the wall and close your eyes. Viparita Karani activates the baroreflex that induces relaxation or sleepiness. Place a warmed wheat bag on the soles of the feet and wrap up your elevated legs in a soft blanket just before sleep. This simple 5 minute practice is deeply restorative for the sleep cycle.
3. Self Massage
Ayurvedic self-massage, Abyangha, increases the circulation of your lymph and helps your body to release wastes. Touch is also important for the release of oxytocin, the feel good chemical that is associated with compassion which also de-stresses our nervous systems.
Use a high-quality organic oil and massage your body with gentle, light strokes directed towards your heart. One of the great benefits of self massage is that the actions of acknowledging and feeling your body bring you into the present moment, grounding you and releasing anxiety. Sometimes we’re so used to being wound up tightly that we don’t even realize. The simple act of abyangha increases attention “ in” the body. When we feel subtle sensations like warmth and gentle touch, our nervous system moves from a state of defensive alertness to safety and ease through increased activity of the vagus nerve, which can in turn help us feel more at home and calm in our whole being-ness.
This blog was originally written for Therapyworks website.
As of Monday 23rd March, we are no longer operating face to face classes at Yoga Essentia until further notice.
Read about our online schedule and changes to how we plan to support you and maintain the valuable place of our yoga classes in your life here.
With the government directive to close all non essential services, sporting venues and clubs, we regret that we can no longer offer our community any face to face classes for the foreseeable future. There will be no yoga classes at the Warriewood Surf Club for the foreseeable future. The good news is that we have our classes online.
The shift to online connection is something that our society is doing its best to adjust to quite suddenly, and we are certainly in the first phase of response. In the upcoming weeks, we look forward to updating and expanding our online classes and workshops and helping to keep you calm, healthy and vibrant during this unprecedented phase of our lives.
To join our classes online, all you need to do is set up your computer, phone or Ipad and log into the class from the comfort of your own home.
You’ll need your yoga gear, your device and wifi connection.
Set up your mat, candles and lighting, blanket and eyebag ( or any other props you’d like to use) just as you normally would when you come to class.
The platform that we are currently using is Zoom. You’ll find this week’s class schedule here.
You simply click on the meeting link and it will take you into the virtual class room.
We will spend the first few minutes getting everyone set up and any questions can be asked.
Have your camera on so that we can meet via our virtual classroom.
Then we run the class as per usual and we’ll be able to see and communicate with each other, more or less as usual.
It’s simple. We all get to practice together but from our own homes and build our practice habits at home!
The cost for the classes will be as usual for the present.
3x classes $45 ( new students)
10x classes $220
If you have an existing class card, we will write down who is in the class and then have this marked off your card.
For those paying casually, please deposit the money into the Yoga Essentia bank account.
Account Name Yoga Essentia
BSB 112 879
Account Number 455020391
We’ll have a simpler online way of organising payments for the near future.
Please let your teachers know which classes you intend to join online this week. We will offer these class regularly ONLINE and potentially offer further classes and some free workshops for you too.
We look forward to sharing our classes and keeping our community strong, connected and benefiting from our yoga practices in the upcoming weeks. We will be uploading the links to all our scheduled classes every week.
In this time of uncertainty, the situation is changing daily.
On a personal level, we want to encourage you to make choices based in those steady inner messages that your yoga and meditation have helped you to be present to. While we need to be responsible and follow the recommendations of the WHO and NSW HEALTH and keep ourselves informed each day about the COVID-19 virus, remember that you must also maintain your own personal medicine, your own individualised approach to remaining healthy. Only you know how to keep that part of your day to day experience optimised to see and feel and respond to these confusing times as best you can.
Maintaining your physical and mental health will help you to be clear minded enough to choose how you adapt to this crisis as it unfolds for us personally.
Do not lose your healthy habits, your rituals, or your sleep.
Keep up the activities that nurture your mental and physical stability.
Ayurveda and western medicine both tell us that maintaining our circadian rhythms and routines are important for the homeostasis and vitality of our bodies.
A healthy body houses a calmer mind.
Fresh air and fresh food are vitally important. Consider how, if you do need to isolate, you will maintain access to healthy foods.
Rather than stocking up on canned food, freeze some slow cooked meals and use the fragrant herbs and greens from your garden for bio-available anti-bacterials and vitamins.
Make or purchase bone stocks and broths, to which you can add noodles and fresh vegetables.
Don’t overuse alcohol, especially if its an avoidant or relaxant for you. You have better tools to pull out of your lifetime of experience to make today and tomorrow ok.
Vitamin C and Zinc are important for your immunity and available through fresh and supplementary sources.
The government confirmed today that the local organic markets will stay open for the time being.
If you’re concerned about going to markets for organic food, order online.
Exercise boosts your immunity.
If you choose to avoid the gym, go to a park or open your windows and do an online class at the same time each day as you would be attending a group class.
Deep breathing boosts your immunity.
Today and each day, take some longer exhalations. Your pranayama, however simple or complex, will help to counter the anxious breath holding that’s happening all around us.
Going to bed a little earlier will boost your immunity.
We’re a sleep starved society. This is the time to be disciplined and self caring when it comes to your bed time.
Social connection boosts your immunity.
Keep talking with friends and family about life and how you feel, but make an effort not to gossip or catastrophise.
Don’t take on that challenging extra job, task, relationship drama.. steer clear of unnecessary emotional challenges that will have you lying awake at night.
Steadiness is so important for your nervous system, and doing as many things with the intention to remain calm and nurturing to you and your close ones will help protect you from the furore of social media, the shock stories, the mathematics of how CV-19 will spread and anything else that could send us all into monkey mindedness.
More than ever, a balanced mind-body approach is important for us all.
“ Today I will do my meditation so that I can be more in touch with the underlying truth of what I am. And I will try through the day to listen to the voice of Truth within, rather than to the voices of fear and panic in my head.”
The teachers at Yoga Essentia are remaining informed of the developing situation and the recommendations from the Government, Department of Health and the World Health Organisation, but today our doors remain open.
We will continue to conduct our group classes this week at Warriewood Surf Club with the following new conditions in place from Monday 16th March to protect your health:
Surfaces such as door handles bathrooms, and tabletops are being cleaned daily and disinfected.
Mats will be cleaned after each class with an antobacterial, 60% alcohol wipe.
We will be providing locally, ethically produced Whalesong Mats for purchase at a discounted price of $60 and encourage you to purchase and bring your own mat to class, and use it for your own home practice should we need to shift to an online class platform for a while.
We will be increasing ventilation of the studio during and after classes and ask students to maintain a space of at least a metre between mats
We will suspend the use of props and minimise hands on adjustments at this time
We encourage hand washing and good hygiene practices for our staff and students
Please bring a hand towel to class to ensure that with any contact your skin is protected, and also to dry your hands after you wash
We’re all becoming quickly aware of why we should do our part to take care of our community.
Please do not come to class this week if you:
Have recently returned from overseas
Have flu like symptoms
Have sick family member
If you have come into contact with a suspected coronavirus case
We are assessing the situation daily, our teachers are communicating with and supporting each other and we’re doing our best to maintain a safe and positive environment for all our students and staff members.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns.