AUDRA'S JOURNEY

Some of my earliest memories are of me contorting my body into weird & wonderful shapes.

I remember my brother & I having "lotus" races up the hallway in our childhood home

- terrible for the joints but hilarious! I have always found joy and freedom in movement and

spent most of my youth and early adult years playing many different competitive sports.

In 1985 I made the 1st Australian team to compete at the world championships for Jump

rope in the USA where we broke several world records & came away with the Gold Medal.

The following year my dear childhood friend, Julie, introduced me to yoga.

We took it as an elective sport subject in year 9 & while I enjoyed the classes immensely it

wasn't until the mid 90's that I started a regular practice, initiated by my big sister Julie.

I always felt so good after the classes that I was driven to look further into the

philosophy of Yoga. Soon after that, I started my journey into Teacher Training.

At that time I had 3 young sons & was not in a position to travel the world (or the country

for that matter) seeking enlightenment.  The only way it was possible for me to learn these

wonderful teachings was by Distance Ed. back in the days of snail mail.

So, with the help of my first teacher, that's exactly what I did.

Around that time I was also completing a Certificate in Massage Therapy and

a Diploma in Basic Chinese Massage & Acupressure.

In 2000, I relocated to Bundaberg where I assumed I would make the bulk of my income

through massage, but the Universe had a different plan! 

I got my first job teaching yoga at the YMCA. I walked in unannounced the day after I arrived

in town and made my first introduction as a "yoga teacher". Coincidentally, their long time teacher

had recently relocated to Coffs Harbour & there was no-one else to take the classes.

I was a shoe in! And this is where my real education commenced...

Some of "my students" had been practicing yoga for decades (one was even a yoga teacher in what

she termed her "other life") and these wonderful people were so very kind & helpful on my

early journey. Obviously, there were absolute beginners coming to these classes too & these

people were presenting with all manner of issues, some physical, some mental/emotional. 

During these years I had many students approach me about their personal issues

& I found that yogic techniques could always provide them with some sort of relief.

My first private client came from these classes. It was during the warm-up phase of an evening class that 

I instructed the students to move into a Ragdoll (gentle forward bend with very bent knees) and I saw

these 2 eyes looking at me from high above everybody else's heads, his face blushing red, looking

incredibly embarrassed. Our eyes locked & he gave me one of those "well, what's a guy to do" kind

of smiles. I helped him modify the postures for the rest of the class & had a chat with him afterwards.

He asked if I could help him with his bad back. He said he had "tried everything, none of which worked" & he was now "desperate for relief". My interest in using Yoga as a healing modality was ignited right then & there.

Within 6 weeks this gentleman was back to living his ideal retirement lifestyle... fishing daily from

his little tinnie when the weather was good and sitting playing classical guitar when the weather

was not so good... he hadn't been able to do either of these things for over a year. His sheer joy & 

gratitude was the ultimate reward... what a wonderful thing to be able to help another human being

that is suffering - my dharma was found!

The Bundy YMCA often ran programs for groups in need and funding was gained for a

Vietnam Veterans program. I was asked to work with this group to provide relaxation techniques.

I really had no idea what these guys were going through... so began my education in PTSD.

What a journey! I enjoyed this work immensely & learned a huge amount from every session,

but sadly, as is often the case, government funding was cut and the program ended.

A short time later another program presented , this time for a Disability group and

again I was thrown in the deep end. This forces you to do your own research and again I learned 

a massive amount from working with these people. I was privileged to work with another

disability group many years later (this time thinking that I knew what to expect) and in the

6 months this program ran (again, cut due to lack of funding) I witnessed remarkable results

in these individuals. One of my favourite stories is about a very large (think amazon), non-verbal

woman who, on our first meeting, walked over & punched me, hard! Fast forward 5 months, during 

our last few sessions together, she couldn't wait to shake my hand upon arrival, a big smile beaming

across her face, and show me how she could now balance on one leg, something she had never been able

to do in her 40 odd years of life.

While still in Bundy I continued my yoga education by reading as much literature as I could get my hands on.

During these years my 3 young sons started Little Athletics & I got involved in the National Athletics

Coaching Scheme at the grassroots level, completing Level 1 Coaching in Track & Field.

I also completed the first year of an Advanced Diploma Health Science (Naturopathy) with Distinctions

but due to Divorce, I deferred these studies and relocated back to my roots in Brisbane's Bayside. 

I started a few small group classes in halls etc. and covered the odd class here & there while I waited

for some permanent classes in gyms to come my way. I was offered some part time work in a

Learn to Swim program so I trained & qualified and took it on to help pay the bills.

I started attending as many yoga workshops as possible with the master yogis who travelled

through Brisbane. Clive Sheridan & Simon Borg-Olivier were among my favourites. These 2 guys

formed the unshakable foundation of my teaching journey. One teaching me very valuable

information about the Physical body and the other about the Pranic Body. I kept learning at every

opportunity & also qualified in Pilates Matwork with Studio Pilates and attended workshops on

Breathability with Tess Graham and Yoga for Breast Cancer survivors with Annette Loudon.

Fast forward many years & literally thousands of teaching hours later, my interest in the Yoga Sutras deepened during a life-changing Teacher training workshop with the fabulous Bryan Kest.

I soon realised that life is too damn short & I finally enrolled in the Yoga Therapy program that I'd been

dreaming of for many years. The faculty consisted of some of the world leaders in their specialist fields

& it was truly an honour to learn from these amazing women. My interest in this area has flourished & I am 

now spending most of my days working 1-1 with students who are seeking relief from their troubles.

I have a specific interest in helping those who suffer from Brain Injuries and Neural disorders, 

those who are going through, or have been through, cancer treatment, people suffering with Lymphoedema  

and, of course, those people who are seeking relief from Musculoskeletal imbalances and physical pain

like my very first client in Bundy who ignited this fire so many years ago.

I get a huge amount of joy and satisfaction from seeing these wonderful people make progress in their recovery

& I feel privileged to witness their journeys!

 I am Registered with the Australasian Association of Yoga Therapists & Yoga Australia.

I am continuing my studies in Yoga Therapy, under the Mentorship of Annette Loudon,

with Yoga for the Lymphatic System.

I was honoured to present a Case Study on Yoga Therapy for Brain Injury at

The Australasian Yoga Therapy Conference in Sydney in September 2018

& I look forward to many more years of sharing my knowledge through Yoga Therapy appointments,

public speaking and Teacher Training.

 

I have since completed my Diploma of Naturopathic Nutrition and continue to pursue more qualifications

in Massage and all things Yoga Therapy.