Author Archives: Rochelle Editor

Reflecting on teaching

reflection hp

yoga reflected at the beach

I teach yoga because I believe this holistic practice can be positively transformational for people – assisting discovery of greater happiness and health, of greater freedom in body and mind.

Yoga can bring us into the present moment, awakening us to being truly alive to what is here.

I get great joy when I see my students experience the benefits of yoga, things like:

Letting go of stress.

Insights and epiphanies of understanding.

Spines that are buoyant on the breath.

Stronger bodies.

Increased vibrancy.

An inner resource of calmness and ability to be OK despite difficult responsibilities.

A growing sense of ease in body and life.

Openness and playfulness in their presence.

Yoga really is a wonderful gift to share.

The journey to teaching

teaching in the Equilibrium studio

teaching in the Equilibrium studio


In 1999, in India, I received instruction and a blessing from a Brahmin Scholar of Sanskrit, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi India who said that I must share my understanding of yoga philosophy and daily living in the West.

My cultural conditioning to downplay incidences like this, for fear of seeming grandiose means I kept it to myself for a long time – even though his associate kissed my feet and excitedly and earnestly tried to convey that this was a very big deal!

It’s taken 14 years to truly acknowledge and accept the instruction and to believe I am ready. 

Working with Maori in managing the natural environment I learned that access to the joys, benefits and rewards of something comes with the responsibility of care. This holds true for the role of teacher.

I have never considered teaching yoga as a skill I could quickly acquire through a route learned approach. I respect people and the power of the practice too much for that.

I believe that how we choose to practise or are ‘told’ to practise may perpetuate harm. So I became a teacher when I felt both strong and humble enough to be capable of holding a sacred and safe space for my students during class. A space where I can open the door to an exploration of yoga that has the most chance of being beneficial to students.


Yoga permeates daily life, so I became a teacher when I felt mature enough in my own life, to be a teacher of yoga in other peoples’ lives.

I am authentic and genuine in living the guidance I offer, in my own life and I am able to be honest about my fallibility.

I’m so grateful that a revered scholar of the Sanskrit Sources felt me worthy of his wisdom. So for him, for his associate, for me and I hope for the benefit of many people, I now embrace his instruction and blessing with enthusiasm for all the opportunities yoga can bring to people and planet.

And to all of you, who read my blog, attend my classes, listen to my guided meditations and relaxations, ask me questions, share your seeking and learning with me … Grazie Mille! Thank You times a million!


Namaste, Rochelle

Hatha Yoga

pp equilib ashtanga seq In most yoga classes in the west, we use the limb of asana (physical postures) as our door into yoga.

This physical practise is commonly called Hatha Yoga.

Hatha derives from the word “forceful” and is also said to combine opposites Ha – the sun and tha – the moon. A strong and balancing practice.

The word asana, which is used to name each physical yoga posture, literally translates to “comfortable seat”.

The physical postures and the breath control in hatha yoga allow our bodies to develop the strength, flexibility and endurance to sit comfortably for long periods of time in meditation.

parsvk equilibrium As beginners of asana we are focused primarily on our physical body; the muscular-skeletal system.

We focus on finding our body in space and develop a good foundation in aligning our body and listening to our body to keep our practice safe.

We start to work on developing an inner perception, particularly in the core of the body around the pelvic floor and navel centre, and of the alignment of the central axis of the body, our spine.

With sustained practise, we can develop a well-aligned posture and re-learn how to stand, sit, walk and lay down with ease.♥

The physical postures develop the ability to bend, twist and invert our body, which is said to assist in cleansing and de-toxing the inner organs and regulating hormones.

In asana practise we work with the breath – learning some control of the breath and allowing our bodies to be moved by breath.

The continuous free flow of breathing is re-established contributing to the flow of life-force through the body and a feeling of being both calm and energised. m twist equilibrium

Hatha yoga assists us in developing mental focus and concentration (pratyahara and dharana) by staying aware of sensations and experience in our body, staying focused on the free flow of breath and using dristi or looking places (for example when we gaze to our middle finger in warrior 2).

Throughout asana practice the mind is focused on our breath and body.

This, in conjunction with a well aligned spine and stable core, and the final relaxation at the end of practise, often takes us out of the “flight or fight” stress or anxiety response (where the sympathetic nervous system is dominating). We come back into the parasympathetic nervous system, which naturally regulates our everyday body function.

When we are relaxed the body can work in a state of equilibrium. Today, in our often busy, multi tasking lives this relaxation response is one of the most beneficial gifts of yoga.

Yoga is not a quick fix – it is a practice that rewards practise.

abpp eq

By turning up on our mat and staying with the ups and downs of our practice, seeking to find some ease (or a “comfortable seat”) in challenging postures, and experiencing how our practice changes, we develop mindfulness and can strengthen our ability to stay present with our experiences in daily life.

With regular practise, and a openness to learning, we can change toward greater emotional and mental equanimity, whilst discovering ourselves – our limiting beliefs and our pure potential.

I believe Yoga will benefit you most if leave expectation and judgement off your mat. Instead, invite compassion and curiosity to join you – it’s much more fun that way! And you’ll be happier for it - well that’s my experience:)

u danurasana eq

The content of this post relates to bodies that have the possibility to become well aligned and that can sit, stand, walk and lie down without the help of another person. If your body can not do these things unassisted and you want to practise yoga then I recommend finding a yoga therapist who can develop a tailored programme for you.

Ashtanga Yoga 101

The Yoga Sutras dated around 300BC and attributed to the sage Pantanjali, consolidate yoga philosophy into 196 aphorisms.

Whilst the historical literature linked to Yoga is vast (and offers different perspectives), the Yoga Sutras are often cited as the guiding document to the practice of Yoga.

The sutras define the eight limbs of yoga, known collectively as Ashtanga Yoga.

Think of the limbs like eight spokes supporting a complete wheel. The eight limbs are:

1. Yamas – ethical precepts focused on moral relationships/characteristics.
These precepts include:

Ahimsa non violence

Satya truth

Asteya non-stealing

Bramacharya preserving creative life-force

Aparigraha non-grasping, non-possessiveness

2. Niyamas – ethical precepts for purifying mind and body/living soulfully. These include:

Saucha purity

Santosa contentment

Tapas disciplined/inspired effort

Svadhyaya self-study

Isvara Pranidhana service & dedication to life-force/Great Spirit…

3. Asana – Postures.

This is the limb (spoke) of physical postures to keep the body strong and flexible, relaxed and cleansed.

They aim to support the function of the organ system and energy flows in the body, strengthen the nervous system and refine our inner perception.

4. Pranayama – developing the movement of prana (life-force) through the body.

This is accessed through breathing practices and breath control.

5. Pratyahara – focusing the senses inward, or withdrawing the senses away from what they are experiencing (e.g. hearing or seeing) external to the body.

Though sometimes pratyahara practices actually focus on fully experiencing one or more of the senses in an externalised environment.

6. Dharana: Concentration

7. Dhyana: Meditation

8. Samadhi: self realisation, liberation, bliss.

When the mind rests in the original silence or space of creative energy that is oneness.

rainbow at sea

Yoga is…


Balasana child's pose

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that is often translated to mean ‘yolk’ or ‘union’.

Yoga is the coming together of activities in the body-mind.

Yoga is a philosophy for living: a practice for getting to know our selves.

Yoga is cultivating an ability to be in the present moment.

Yoga is discovering and maintaining  greater equanimity through the ups and downs of life.

Yoga is a method for clearing away limiting beliefs and ways of seeing ourselves and our world.

Yoga is a journey toward greater freedom to experience our true nature.

Yoga is a foundation for being in the world in a way that honours life and living.

Yoga is a philosophy that does not ask you to believe anything in particular to begin a practice – you can just try different yoga practices and experience for yourself what happens. (There are fundamentalists is all philosophical traditions, who will spout the superiority of their method above all others – where is the love and freedom in such approaches?).

Yoga is often talked about as an advanced set of calisthenic postures – physical movements and poses of the body that will make us more flexible and strong. Yes, these are some of the benefits from physical asana practice! Stay open to more, because the physical practice brings with it a door to so much more.

Yoga can be an experience with a focus on chanting, meditation, service, devotion and study of the sacred texts, alongside asana, especially if you happen to be in India, often called the home of yoga.

Yoga is defined as:

Yoga citta-vrtti-nitodhah – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind (yoga sutra 1.2 atrributed to the sage Pantanjali)