What was your first job out of school?
I was an apprentice fitter and turner with the Electricity Commission NSW. That led me into mechanical engineering. I’d attend trade shows and demonstrate welding and other mechanical tasks. A woman doing what was considered a traditional male role created quite a stir. I have always gone against popular choices and trends to follow the direction that feels right for me.
A woman doing what was considered a traditional male role created quite a stir. I have always gone against popular choices to follow the direction that feels right for me.Kym McDonald
What careers did you have before yoga?
After my mechanical career, I moved into wine sales as a team leader in customer service management. From there I started my own national training company for the long term unemployed and indigenous people, partnering with large banks and contact centres. The business expanded into consulting, coaching and training.
I had been meditating for several years and could really notice the benefits. So, the next logical step was how could I provide a holistic service? Along came yoga teacher training and I’ve never looked back.
What qualifications did you gain before opening your Boolaroo business Yogic Wisdom?
A diploma in yoga teaching as well as post graduate yoga therapy training. That included three internships with my teacher in India who is also a medical doctor. I am a lifestyle ayurveda practitioner and have qualifications in senior first aid, training and assessing, coaching and frontline management.
You will teach a post graduate diploma in yoga therapy next year. What is yoga therapy?
Yoga therapy uses yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve mental and physical health. It encourages the integration of mind, body and spirit.
How do you differentiate yoga and yoga therapy?
Yoga classes are often taught in groups and are usually more general. Often, students are seeking exercise to stay in shape. Identical form and instruction is taught, with some adaptations, without the individual in mind. Yoga instructors may offer classes for specific conditions such as pregnancy, runners or seniors. A yoga therapist is an experienced yoga teacher with substantial additional training in therapeutic applications and supporting skills. They incorporate a multidimensional approach to caring for individuals. A yoga therapist’s goals include managing and reducing symptoms of suffering, rooting out causes of suffering, improving life function, and shifting attitude and perspective in relation to a client’s condition.
Who do you expect to do the yoga therapy diploma?
Qualified yoga teachers in the Hunter and Central Coast who want to deepen their knowledge and provide a holistic solution to their students, either one on one or in small groups.
How many hours are involved?
650 hours over two years of study. Once qualified, they can practice as a yoga therapist and register with Yoga Australia.
Why does yoga remain relevant?
People use yoga to manage their work life balance, to de-stress and improve their quality of life. Others are searching for a place and community to understand themselves more.
Do you practice daily?
Just before dawn I practice movement and breath techniques for 40 minutes finishing with 30 minutes of meditation. In the evening, 20 minutes of relaxation breathing, mindfulness reflection and gratitude for my day.
Do you believe in yoga’s benefits moreso for body or mind?
To separate the body from the mind is difficult as they are part of the whole being. Many students initially come to class for the body and quickly realise that their whole being is benefiting. Students often share that they feel much calmer, sleep better, their relationships improve and they have greater personal awareness.
What’s the answer for those who want to do yoga but have no time?
Yoga doesn’t have to take long and you can do it at home. At Yogic Wisdom we can review diet, body structure and personal requirements to recommend a customised home practice. For many, it is a simply a 20 minute morning practice and sometimes a 10 minute evening breathing and gentle movement to provide restorative sleep. Greater results are always gained from daily practice, as yoga was originally designed.
Any other innovation in your business?
We want to offer a scholarship program for students. We’re also creating opportunities for more people to benefit from yoga through our new all bodies and ages beginner’s classes, plus free yoga classes. In a first, our yoga therapy students will observe client sessions provided by me through free clinics. Yoga is about giving back. Nine years ago we created the Karma Yoga community charity which supports a school and orphanage in Bangalore. We plan to run more events to fund a school bus.