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YAA Interview: Lynne Abrahamson

June 27, 2012


Lynne Abrahamson.


17 September 1955.

What style of Yoga do you teach?

Integral Yoga as developed by Swami Sivananda and also influenced by the Satyananda style as taught by Swami Pragyamurti.

Where do you teach?

From my home in Marina da Gama, Cape Town.

How long have you been practising Yoga?

I started yoga in 1980 practising Iyengar yoga until 2003 when I was introduced to Integral yoga on the Teachers Training Course.

How long have you been teaching Yoga?

I have been teaching since 2004.

Who have you trained with and where?

I trained at Ananda Kutir Ashrama in Rondebosch in 2004 with Swami Parvathiananda and Yogesh. I completed the Yoga Nidra Teachers training course with Swami Pragyamurti in 2008. I have attended numerous workshops on different styles and methods. At present I attend a weekly 2,5 hour class with Chaitanya in which we integrate all aspects of yoga moving progressively towards a meditative state.
What lead you to teaching Yoga & at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?

I never intended to teach yoga I did the course purely for personal growth as I was interested in learning more about the subjects offered. Towards the end of the course 2 friends presented themselves and insisted that I begin regular classes. Those 2 are still with me and my students now number 15. I have 5 students in a class 3 times a week. I have never advertised so all the students have a connection as they are referred by each other. This has created a safe and supportive energy which enhances the whole class’s experience of yoga.

What do you love most about teaching?

Seeing the changes which yoga brings about first physically and then mentally as each one accepts and works within their own limitations ceasing to be concerned with what anybody else in the class is doing. Observing their own starting point and later looking back realizing that without trying to change, changes have occurred. Carrying these changes out from the class to put into practice in life situations. An unfolding of what lies beneath the physical body. My students are mostly over 60 and had never done yoga before. This has been challenging as they are often inflexible and need modifications to get the best out of their practice. My Iyengar background comes in useful in knowing how to adapt postures with props where necessary and also having developed an eye for physical presentation of postures.

Is there a focus in your teaching style?

The focus is on being in the present moment, self- observation and accepting how your body is at this point in time, instilling the realization that there is plenty of time to complete each asana. A yoga class is the space in the day when time ceases to be important. A slowing down and letting go of competitiveness. I also focus on the inner form of the asana developing first and then being reflected in the outward form.

What do you love most about Yoga?

I love the contentment and calmness that it brings into my life. I also love the natural unfolding of the 8 limbs of yoga as taught by Patanjali in the yoga sutras. The practice of one limb which leads to the growth of all the limbs. I am still enthralled by the realization of the subtle growth of the yamas and niyamas as the other limbs are practiced. The sutras were the biggest revelation to me on the Teachers Training course as I had never been exposed to them before. For me, the essence of yoga is Sutra 2 “Yogas Citta Vritti Nirodhah” and it is this experience which I would like my students to feel during their time in class. Communicating with words and guiding the experience is the challenge as a teacher. Teaching is my meditation as I am completely engrossed in what is unfolding in the class.

What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of Yoga?

Surrendering to the experience rather than trying to control it, accepting that what is easy physically for one person may be extremely difficult for another and adapting accordingly, resisting pressure to perform to the Western idea of yoga being physical and staying true to the experience of yoga rather than the “doing” of postures. Letting go of self judgement and a feeling of not being good enough as a teacher. It took a long time for uncertainty to evolve into certainty.

What advice do you have for people who have never tried Yoga?

Try out a few different teachers until you find the right one for you. At each life stage there are different needs so speak to like minded friends and find a class where you feel comfortable to explore the “sukham and sthira” of the postures.

Do you have a regular practice?

I practice at least 5 days a week and attend a 2,5 hour class myself once a week.

Favourite Asana?

I like to practice Karnapidasana, (spider pose), both as a meditative posture and also as an indication as to how well my back has warmed up.

Strongest Asana?

Strongest as in challenging – Virabhadrasana III. No least favourite.

Any religious affiliations?

Open to all, no fixed ideas. I like the simplicity of Swami Sivananda’s direction to “be good, do good.”

What are your other interests?

I am involved with a literacy outreach program at a township school which has now extended into a school shoe project, feeding assistance during school holidays at the library and recently fund raising for a young person with potential who needs help with school fees for high school. My students are very supportive with hands on helping and also fund raising initiatives. I would like to do more of this community work but as I still work full time I am limited in what I can undertake.

Any “Thank Yous?”

Thank you to

TEACHERS: Jenny McClarty, Jeannie Hitchcock, Swami Parthvatiananda, Swami Vidyananda, Yogesh, Swami Pragyamurti and Chaitanyananda who have inspired me by their example.

STUDENTS: All my students for their perseverance and dedication to their practice of yoga and the challenges they present to me.

AUTHORS: Eckhart Tolle, Donna Farhi, Patanjali and Swamis who provide a constant source of knowledge and wisdom through their writing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bettee de Groote permalink
    July 5, 2012 11:29 am

    I just love my yoga classes with Lynne and will not change it for anything. Would love to extend to two sessions per week. Bettee


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