Teaching yoga in Australia is different. Our intention in opening the door to awareness of First Nations across Australia is to simply begin your personal journey of considering the embodied wisdom of the longest continual culture on the planet. This is an inherently rewarding process and one that should not stop here. There are many pathways to further relationship building and Cultural engagement, one of which is Ngungwulah’s First Nations Cultural Training.
As yoga teachers guided by the Yama and Niyama, named within the Statement of Ethics held by Yoga Australia, we might consider the Cultural wisdom available through Community and connecting us to Country as a direct pathway of learning. Looking at Yama and Niyama through this lense :
- Ahimsa – Nonviolence and Compassion How might we view the colonial history in this nation as part of what we have come into as teachers on this land and work in a way that re-establishes respect and healing ?
- Satya – Truthfulness Truth telling is a fundamental necessity if we are to heal in this country. Not addressing the past and ongoing interactions of First Nations and colonial culture will prevent us gaining strength by walking side by side.
- Asteya – Not stealing Reconsideration of ownership of Country as a principle and the emphasis of intangible as opposed to tangible assets is one way First Nations’ ways of being, doing and seeing correlates with yoga and may inform our spiritual progress.
- Brahmacharya – Self-Restraint in the path to wholeness The principle of living within the means provided by Country can be best approached by listening to those that have always done so.
- Aparigraha – Non-clinging Nature always tends towards balance and understanding our place in nature also helps us to understand we will always be provided for.
- Sauca – Purity/Cleanliness How can we best understand this principle as caring for ourselves as part of Country and apply these principles more widely to the environment with which we interact.
- Santosha – Contentment/Happiness The principle of deep listening, Dadirri, as fully expressed by Dr Miriam Ungmerr Rose, Australian of the year 2022 is a local way to explore this Yama.
- Tapas – Discipline Understanding how best to survive in a physically challenging continent and to live according to rules that support this requires physical, mental and spiritual resilience.
- Swadhyaya – Self-Study In Cultural understanding we are seen to have come to this planet as our place of learning which necessitates continual humility. Following guidelines, mentorship and our own pathways of self-learning best incorporates local ways of being, doing and seeing.
- Ishvarapranidhana – Relationship with Wholeness The innate wholeness and our relationship to all, can be explored by paying respect to all of Country…the skies, waterways, seas, lands and all creatures and plants. The ultimate form of humanity is to live as a custodian of nature and humanity as part of nature. Yoga gives us the tools to stay strong.
With this very short introduction to appropriate pathways of respect and learning for our yoga community we hope to encourage everyone to take the opportunity to go deeper into relationship with Country, Culture and Community. We invite you with all our heart to join us for a deeper dive into Ngungwulah’s First Nations Cultural Training and to explore the many links and resources provided here.
Each video is followed by a series of questions to encourage self reflection and further suggestions to deepen understanding. We strongly encourage you to journal these questions and to return to them from time to time to allow evolution of experience, reading and exposure to Culture to inform your answers. This is not an introduction to plough through.
At the end of the course you will be provided with a certificate of attendance at the First Nations and Yoga Practice – an Introduction which is strongly recommended by Yoga Australia, in accordance with Yoga Australia’s commitment to their Reconciliation Action Plan.